All workers need unions – including those in Silicon Valley

I spent 20 years in industry before entering politics, and my first job was with a Canadian company called Northern Telecom. It championed the principle of valuing employees as partners, viewing workers as “the primary source of productivity gains”.

But when it came to rights – well, it was hardly a bastion of socialism. When I asked where I should go to join a union the look on the HR woman’s face has stayed with me to this day.

Over 20 years on and hundreds of miles south of the Canadian border, it is a similar story. Much like Nortel, the tech titans of Silicon Valley like to portray themselves as fostering a positive working environment. Google’s co-founder Larry Page said it should be “like a family”, and it has been rated by CNN and Fortune as the No 1 place to work in the world.

Read more from Chi Onwurah for the Guardian here: