Architecture, as practised under neoliberalism, is an instrument of erasure and exploitation. Its function is to inflate the financial value of land to extract profit in service of a powerful minority. The architectural office is itself one frontier of exploitation. Architectural workers are subjected to endless overtime, paid asymmetrically based on so-called “countries of origin,” and hierarchically classified and subordinated to the director. The impact of architecture imposed in the city, and its ready exploitation of its own workforce is not a coincidence but intimately connected to a wider structure of domination. Capitalism deliberately drums up hostility between its subjects to maintain its power. Trade union organising means forging connections across and between individual experiences. And so, to challenge its hegemony, United Voices of the World—Section of Architectural Workers (UVW-SAW) presents its strategy for how architectural workers can transform architectural work: ally and coordinate against its acting leaders, and dismantle it together.
United Voices of the World—Section of Architectural Workers (UVW-SAW), is a newly-formed grassroots trade union for architectural workers in the U.K. SAW collectively take action and fight against the negative impacts of architectural work on workers, communities, and the environment.
Jake Arnfield (he/him) is an elected workplace organiser for UVW-SAW, and sits on the Coordinating Group. He focuses on increasing the participation of workers in the union, and organising them to take coordinated collective action.