For a Workerpedia

I often have ideas which are beyond my ability to execute. Since ideas are so common as to be mostly valueless I usually simply ignore them. This one seems neat though, so I’m putting it out there in the hope that someone will steal it.

Wouldn’t it be cool if there were a Workerpedia? A hub of information about different workplaces, run by, and for, workers? With labor increasingly fragmented and disorganized, an easily accessible resource might, at a minimum, improve some workplaces. If it caught on, might even go beyond that to be transformative.

 This hub could combine:

*Information about salaries at each workplace, allowing workers compare pay rates and spot discrepancies.

*Online forums for organizing and mutual aid within each company.

*Information about the specific policies and worker-management relationships of each company.

*Strategising and power mapping for industrial solidarity, activism and union formation.

*General information on how to organise, labor law, persuasive communication etc.

*Requests for solidarity and boycotts of particular companies by the public.

All of this could be made available not just to current staff, but also prospective staff members, allowing workers to make more informed choices about where they want to send their applications. Even in itself, providing this information would put pressure on companies to clean themselves up.

Many of these functionalities already exist, scattered across different websites.

There is a good website called Glassdoor which aggregates info on the conditions at different workplaces. Unfortunately though it’s a capitalist enterprise and not under workers control. It’s priorities reflect that.

A more worker driven initiative is salary-spreadsheets which have been popping up at various companies e.g. at Google. These aim to let workers know what their co-workers are earning, and often reveal patterns of racial and gender disparity. Rolling out a plan to apply this across many different companies could be productive.

Subreddits and other forums for particular workplaces have also been quite successful e.g. Target. These forums are often politically ambiguous on questions like unionisation. Creating forums with a clearer pro-unionisation line could be positive.

There’s many different ways these objectives could be achieved- it doesn’t have to be a single website called Workerpedia.

At one extreme it could indeed be a single website.

Alternatively there could be a tool or “kit” to roll out and create different websites (or Google sheets?) for each company.

Another strategy would be to setup resources for people who want to create a subreddit for their workplace.

I’m not going to be super-prescriptive about what this could look like, there’s a bundle of possibilities, and there’s plenty of room for different groups to try different things.

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