United Voices of the World – Section of Architectural Workers (UVW-SAW) is a Trade Union by and for people working in the architectural sector. We are non-hierarchical, member-led, and action-focused. We organise against the harmful impacts of architectural work on us as workers, but also communities, other sectors, and the environment. By working together, we collectively empower each other to re-shape the architectural profession from within.
As a union, we come up with strategies against overwork, under-pay, unstable employment, toxic workplace and university culture, and unethical practice. We facilitate workshops and training, provide collective support, run campaigns, host social events and upskill each other to change the architectural sector.
Anyone can be a member of SAW if they a. currently work, have worked or will work within or around the architecture industry; and b. agree to the Code of Conduct (pg. 22). We actively unionise with everyone who is either involved in architectural or spatial design, or maintains the architecture profession. This includes: architectural assistants, BIM/ CAD technicians, admin workers, cleaners, architects interior designers, security guards, model makers, landscape architects, visualisers, students, educators, researchers, and studio support staff.
We formed from a process of bottom-up analysis and investigation, over 2 years Workers’ Inquiry: Architecture formed community to survey the architectural industry from within, and to radically change the terms of our employment. We aim to shape architectural practice for the workers, and in the interests of those impacted by architectural work. Workers’ Inquiry: Architecture was a series of meetings structured around the key questions we all want to voice and answer; using workshops and open discussion to let our personal working experiences inform collective strategies for resistance and action!
We are architectural assistants, BIM/CAD technicians, admin workers, interior designers, model makers, landscape architects, architectural technicians, urban designers, planners, visualisers, graphic designers, students, educators, cleaners, researchers, artists, studio support staff, and architects. We are not bosses, the architectural establishment, or those with the power to hire and fire.
Inspired by the successes of other unionised workers, of differing roles and levels of precarity; we seek to learn lessons, foster alliances, and develop strategies between and across industries.