'New Economy' High-Tech Jobs Look Much Like Old Economy Low-Wage Work  - CLEO Skip to main content


The ‘new economy’ is another name for an old bag of tricks where promise and reality don’t match up. E-workers counting on valuable stock options, a revolutionized workplace, and premier wages and benefits have instead gotten mediocre wages, useless stock options, relentless production pressure, and maximum job insecurity.

Only recently has labor begun meeting these workers to chart a course for collective action and unionization. Amazon.com is an example of both the crisis for e-workers and the challenge for unions to organize in this sector.

In 1998, the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and its project Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech) began an organizing effort to link up high-tech workers in the Seattle area, including workers at Microsoft and customer service reps at Amazon. In mid-2000, the Prewitt Organizing Fund started the Alliance of New Economy Workers (ANEW) to organize Amazon’s distribution center workers worldwide, including about 5,000 at seven centers in the U.S. (POF is an independent non-profit group formed by labor organizers to help workers organize, with the expectation that they will hook up with an existing union.)

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