In some cases, the issues have been around classic workplace safety issues, but as US society has evolved both socially and technologically, tension has been mounting for many corporations to include employees in the formation and fostering of healthy company cultures. Still, there is notable resistance from tech companies to this new wave of employee organizing. 

In the past, unions have primarily been used as a tool for blue-collar workers grappling with wage and safety issues. But as automation continues to erase many of those jobs, thereby increasing the ranks of knowledge workers, white-collar workers have begun to look to unions as a means to shape their everyday working realities, as well as secure standards for pay and benefits.

Culture memos aside, workers will ultimately decide what it’s like to work at Netflix

Netflix’s updated dictum is a clear message that it doesn’t plan to change its content menu to cater to the tastes of its workforce. But as the Netflix worker demand list indicates, some employees are simply looking to influence company culture, which may, as a byproduct, influence the choices the company makes.

A Netflix union cannot directly control the content choices its executives make—and that’s not the purpose of a union. Nevertheless, history has shown that such a group could have more significant internal cultural influence than loosely organized protests that highlight issues but don’t have the leverage to drive the direct action many employees are hoping for. 

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