In 2017, the Bmore Black Techies meetup was started by a couple of friends in Baltimore Maryland. We grew the meetup from 10 to 1000 members in our first year, offering weekly in-person programming focused on technical education and career development. Inspired by the work of Core Staffing, a worker-owned staffing firm focussed on returning citizens & started by one of the black techies' co-founders, a few of the techies came together to create Tribe Works. The Tribe platform is a web application that helps our members to find work, communicate with each other, and bill for their time.
In December of 2018, Tribe Works and Core Staffing joined forces and created a worker-owned holding company called the The Staffing Cooperative. Through this unique structure, workers in both entities share in the profit and control of the entire enterprise, creating pathways and incentives for value exchange between the two groups.
Staffing in this country is a $180 billion industry and rapidly growing. The technology sector makes up roughly a quarter of that. Our vision for Tribe Works is simple. Contract labor is an entryway into the technology industry for many people, but the process is extractive. Staffing companies often charge 50 to 65 percent on top of what they pay workers, forcing the workers to accept as little money as possible in order to turn a profit for their shareholders.
We are changing that by allowing the staffed workers to own and control the business while building pathways to entrepreneurship and career advancement. Tribe’s service rate is set at 25 percent, and any profit that remains after paying our expenses goes back to our workers.
Our team is spread out between multiple cities across the country. We’ve worked for Fortune 500 companies, startups, consultancies, media labs, and more. When we can’t be face-to-face, we use Slack and Zoom to stay in touch and on the same page.