Frequently Asked Questions
We will reopen the application portal when we have raised enough funds to cover at least five $2500 stipends for workers engaged in activism and organizing in the tech sector. To contribute to the fund, donate here.
No. Coworker Solidarity Fund is incorporated as a 501(c)(4) organization. Contributions to 501(c)(4) organizations are generally not deductible as charitable contributions for federal income tax purposes. For more information, please refer to the IRS guidelines on Donations to Section 501(c)(4) Organizations.
Coworker Solidarity Fund relies on contributions from individuals and philanthropic institutions. We also received in-kind support from Amalgamated Bank. You can make a donation to support our work here.
No. While Coworker Solidarity Fund, a 501(c)(4), and Coworker.org, a 501(c)(3), share vision and values in supporting worker-activists, the organizations are autonomous, financially and legally independent, and governed by separate Boards of Directors. Each does all of its own fundraising and makes its own decisions.
At present, all donations support our pilot fund. Upon completion of the pilot, our aim is to support worker-led solidarity funds from multiple companies. However, we will also keep an eye toward solidarity. If a worker in need from a company without a current fund applies for funding, other company funds may choose to support this worker.
To be eligible for funding, an individual must meet all the following requirements:
- Be employed (or formerly employed) by a tech sector company, either directly or indirectly, regardless of job function;
- Be a worker who, with their coworkers, builds collective power or pressures those in positions of power within a tech company to make lasting change to improve working conditions in the tech sector;
- Be at least 18 years of age;
- Have a social security number (SSN) or individual taxpayer identification number (ITIN); and
- Have a US bank account.
The Tech Worker Committee recognizes that the 'tech sector' isn't easily defined. To determine whether a company operates in the tech sector, the committee will be looking at how the media generally refers to the company and its influence in the culture, whether a company presents itself as a technology company in its IPO filing or other public records, and how much influence its leaders have in the tech industry.
At this time, funding is only available for individuals and not organizations.
In the future, we expect to host funds for workers in other sectors. If you’re interested in launching a fund for workers in your sector, contact us.
During our pilot, applications are first reviewed by our staff who ensure that submissions meet the eligibility requirements. Eligible applications are then reviewed by a Worker Committee composed of activists and organizers in the tech sector and Fund Staff .who evaluate the applications based on the eligibility criteria above, and decision criteria below. The following individuals are current members of the Worker Committee:
- Irene Knapp, Committee Chair
Formerly employed at Google as a software engineer, founding member of the Trans At Google employee resource group steering committee
- Laurence Berland, Committee Co-Chair
Terminated Google organizer
- Chewy Shaw, Committee Member
Engineer currently employed at Google
- Damien Desfontaines, Committee Member
Engineer currently employed at Google
During our pilot, the Fund will consider the following criteria (developed by the Worker Committee in partnership with the Fund’s board and staff) in deciding whether or not to recommend funding:
- The extent to which an individual’s actions further the pilot’s mission of fighting for a safer and more equitable tech industry;
- The extent to which an individual’s actions are aligned with the Fund’s values including: collective liberation from white supremacy, patriarchy, and other systems of oppression.
- The availability of funds;
- Anything else the Worker Committee deems relevant.
The Fund will consider an individual’s application as well as any information about the individual publicly available or previously known to members of the Fund. Unfortunately, not all applications that meet the criteria will be approved.
The pilot fund is intended to be a learning process, and therefore the criteria may evolve during the pilot. The Fund will update these FAQs with any new or modified criteria as soon as possible.
We recommend that you DO NOT use your work email for any workplace activism or organizing activities.
While the National Labor Relations Act offers certain protections, the law as currently written falls short in shielding employees from employers spying during the digital age. According to an FAQ on employee surveillance by Workplace Fairness, a comprehensive online resource for employees about their workplace rights, “employers can legally monitor almost anything an employee does at work as long as the reason for monitoring is important enough to the business. Employers may install video cameras, read postal mail and e-mail, monitor phone and computer usage, use GPS tracking, and more.”
You can learn more about the use of company-owned digital tools for workplace organizing in this post.
The application should take approximately 10-20 minutes to complete and can be completed via computer, tablet, or smartphone. You can also save your application and come back to it later if you do not wish to complete it in one sitting. You will be asked four questions, each with a 50 word limit. Some of the the questions are:
- What is the issue or demand that you are addressing?
- Please describe the kinds of activities you've engaged (or want to engage) in to make your job or workplace better.
- Why are these activities important to you?*
You may upload any files that verify your activism such as screenshots, documents, videos, social media posts, etc.
The application ends with an optional demographics section. This section does not have any bearing on your application, and it will not be shared. Data from this section will only be used internally and in aggregate to improve the work of the Fund going forward.
Within two weeks of submitting your application, you will be notified of your application status via email. If your application is chosen to move forward in the process, you will be asked to schedule a 30-minute phone call to discuss your application. You will receive a final decision on your application within 2 weeks of your phone interview.
We trust that you will choose how to best use the funds awarded to support your activism work. Examples include, but are NOT limited to:
- Buying a new non-company phone to communicate safely using off-corp encrypted technology.
- Travel expenses for workers to attend strategic actions, training, meetings, or other types of workplace activism gatherings.
- Funding for communication materials for workplace activism.
- Paying the fees to have a guest speaker present on issues related to activism.
- Facilitating workplace organizing events (venues, tech platforms, etc.).
- First-time legal fees for filing unfair labor practice charges..
You may choose to have your payment made electronically to a US bank account or by check. Payments are made in one lump sum.
Yes, payments are considered taxable income. You will be asked to submit a W-9 and payments will be reported to the IRS. You will receive a 1099 for your tax filing purposes. Income tax requirements vary by state. We recommend that you check with a tax professional or tax preparation service for guidance on how to report your payment when filing your state and federal taxes.
Unemployment benefits vary by state. Please check your state’s Unemployment Insurance Benefits (UIB) rules, or check with your local benefits office or caseworker to determine if income from the Fund will affect your current or pending unemployment benefits. Here are links to UIB Rules in CA, NY, TX, MA, and WA:
- California: https://edd.ca.gov/pdf_pub_ctr/de1275a.pdf
- New York: https://www.labor.ny.gov/ui/claimantinfo/Claimant%20Handbook%20-%20Languages.shtm
- Texas: https://www.twc.texas.gov/files/jobseekers/unemployment-benefits-handbook-twc.pdf
- Massachusetts: https://www.mass.gov/files/documents/2017/10/05/unemployment%20bro%20P2594-10-02-17.pdf
- Washington: https://esdorchardstorage.blob.core.windows.net/esdwa/Default/ESDWAGOV/Unemployment/ESD-Handbook-for-Unemployed-Workers.pdf
No. This is money to support you and your leadership. We won't require you to do anything in exchange for these funds beyond what you've already done or plan to do in your workplace. That said, we'd love to stay connected and support your efforts to organize in the tech industry. Please contact us if you would like to explore other layers of support that we may be able to provide.
We send all fund recipients an optional survey to complete 2-3 months after receiving payment. The questions in this survey will inquire about your experience with the Solidarity Fund and how the funding was useful to you.
We are privileged to support your leadership and workplace activism, and we think you're doing incredibly important work. If you'd like to talk about our support for your organizing and activism, we suggest language like, "The Solidarity Fund has awarded me a $2500 stipend to support my workplace organizing efforts at [company name]."
- Our sister organization, Coworker.org, can provide you with coaching and training on how to take action in the workplace. Send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org to get connected to an experienced organizer.
- If you are interested in learning more about starting a petition on Coworker.org, please click here.
- To learn more about staging a workplace walkout, please visit “So you want to stage a workplace walkout. Here are a few things to consider.”
Donate to the Fund
We’re able to commit 100% of the funds contributed online to providing financial support to workers in need. Join others in donating $25, $100, or $500 to the pilot fund today.
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