Digitally, creatively and innovatively shaping tomorrow's labour unions.

20. / 21. November 2020

Countdown to the Union Hack on 20.11.2020

  • 00
  • 00
  • 00
  • 00
Union Hack 2020

The corona pandemic and the rapid advance of digitalization associated with it are turning the professional world upside down and are also presenting labour unions with major challenges. Challenges that we can only solve together.

That is why we have launched the Union Hack – a digital cross-union hackathon. In 24 hours, the Hackathon teams develop creative solutions, concepts, and prototypes to solve real challenges that labour unions are facing today –

to shape digitalization to be innovative and meaningful, to support more contribution and participation, to ensure strong and sustainable unions.

We're looking for you...

Fun, creative, and innovative solutions are a must for the Union Hack. At the same time, we’re focusing on tackling real challenges that unions are facing today.

This means – the prototypes you develop should have the potential for future projects and could change the way unions are working and communicating with millions of users.

At the Union Hack we’re digitally connecting cool people with different expertises to create awesome teams that can crack real challenges that unions are facing in the digital word in 24 hours. We make sure that the mix is as colourful as possible because we want the most creative results.

You are already a cool team? Feel free to use our team sign up.

You have the best ideas and want to win with your team? You want to use your expertise and passion to convince the jury of your prototype? Then register now!

After 24 hours hack-time, each team presents their results to a jury consisting of tech and union experts. The first prize? – 2000€.

modern design, Big Data, unions, concepts, process development, creative ideas, teamwork, interesting topics, front / back end development, prototyping, product development, consulting methods, team building and support, digital innovation frameworks…

… or you just want to be there! Sign up now!


The challenges for the Union Hack were submitted by colleagues of the participating unions. Which means: all challenges are based on current and relevant issues that union work is facing in the digital world.

In the next section you will find a detailed overview of the different challenges, divided into three thematic blocks:

Data Driven Insights, User-Centered Offers, Network-Based Power

Feel free to check it out and figure out what you are most interested in. We’d love to hear about your preferences in sign up form.

Challenge Block 1: Data-Driven insights

6 million members including their professions, interests and activities are recorded in the unions databases. They’d love to use the potential of this data collection in the future but at the same time they need to adhere to the highest data protection frameworks and ethical standards. Merging these data sets with publicly available data on industries, economic trends and demographic developments opens up major opportunities for unions.

Are you interested in working with real data sets and structures? Do you want to take a variety of data sources and combine them in new and exciting  ways? Do you want to discover new things and boldly go where no developer has gone before? Big Data Analysis, Machine Learning and Data Visualization are your passion?

Then check out the following challenges:

Early-Warning-System for membership resignation
How can we predict member resignations and based on that counteract them proactively?
Hunting the hidden data treasure (union oracle)
How can we uncover the added value hidden in the unions data using modern algorithms and AI? What can we learn from the data?
Seismograph for economic eruptions
How can we recognize, assess, and vividly visualize economic developments for individual companies and industries at an early stage?
Start Up-Tracker
How can we identify start-up companies that are just getting started, find out what topics and challenges they are facing and try to win them over to support union issues and union memberships?

Challenge Block 2: User-centered Offers

Our world is ever changing which also changes the realities of unions. In addition, the corona pandemic has given an extra boost to all areas of digitization. The time has therefore come to erect new paths that are shaped by digital and creative opportunities for unions and employees.

Would you like to join forces with union experts to develop new digital formats such as apps, games, and gamification approaches?

Then the following challenges might just be for you:

Be Present without (on site) Presence
How can we reach employees when many of them no longer work on site but at home? How can we excite people interested in unions and potential members? How can we support them via digital channels and identify and push those topics that are relevant to them?
Find your Union
What would be an appealing way for employees to find out what unions do in general and what they can do for you in particular? Which one is the right union for you? Help us to develop digital tools (apps, games, etc.) to help others unveil their path to their labour union.
Digital engagement and opportunities for participation
Especially today, volunteering and supporting labour unions is extremely important. Help us to develop creative and digital ways to attract thousands of new people and get them interested in volunteering.
Transformation Quick Check
How can we take the abstract changes that industries are going through (digitalization, Industry 4.0, Global Warming, etc.) and make them understandable and tangible?

Challenge Block 3: Network-based Power

Labour unions and most of all their members pose an extremely strong network of like-minded people. The power of this network is especially visible on May 1st – Labour Day. The extremely important messages, topics and overall expertise this network carries has so far primarily been dealt with in a more traditional way: Knowledge management as digital yellow pages, classic digital and analogue campaigns and direct contact to the members (often at their place of work).

With the help of your ideas we want strengthen the power of the network and its members in the digital world and take it to a new level:

Together with the unions, you want to transfer the dynamics of May 1st or labour strikes to tackle new issues and challenges? You know how to safely guide users through a jungle of information?

Then the following challenges are for you and we are looking forward to seeing which digital path you will take (smart searches, learning algorithms, artificial intelligence, …):

Collective Union-Power
How can we enable new forms and empower new forces of union engagement and political work by combining and broadcasting the union members powered (for example, during labour day demonstrations or strikes)?
Information is power
It is extremely important for us labour unions to know the opinions of their members: What moves them? What issues are important to them? What can we help them with? In a world of a thousand polls, we want to develop a new way for digital surveys: attractive, fast, personal, easy to evaluate. Are you with us?
Data To Go
Our members do not sit at the union headquarters. The relevant information about their work, their workplace and their working conditions is mostly available on site or at certain events. Our colleagues are usually there live - most of them with their smartphones in their pockets. How can the information and data from these events be easily collected and presented in an appealing, understandable way (maps, heat maps, fluid visualization)?

The central mission of the labour unions and our 6 million members is to improve the working conditions – e.g. salaries, working hours or legal protection – of almost 50% of the working population in Germany. At the same time, we are also experiencing the profound change processes of the digital transformation and want to contribute shaping the working world of tomorrow in a proactive and participative manner.

Participating Unions
The German Trade Union Confederation (Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund / DGB) is the biggest umbrella organisation of labour unions in Germany, representing almost 6 million members from 8 member unions.
The Industrial Union of Metalworkers (IG Metall) represents employees working e.g. in the areas of metals and electricals, iron and steel, crafts and textiles and clothing, With 2.26 million members, the IG Metall is Europe`s biggest labour union.
As the second largest labour union in Germany, the German United Services Trade Union (Vereinte Dienstleistungsgewerkschaft / Ver.di) represents employees from more than 1000 professions in the service sector, e.g. research and education, tourism, health and social services or transport and logistics.
The IG Bauen-Agrar-Umwelt (IG BAU) unites workers from the construction and building materials sector, recycling and waste management, forestry and agriculture as well es environmental and environmental protection and nature conservation.
The IG Bergbau, Chemie, Energie (IG BCE) represents the interests of employees working, amongst others, in mining, chemicals, natural gas, petrol, plastics, glass, leather, paper and water management.
The Eisenbahn- und Verkehrsgewerkschaft (‚railway and transport union‘) fights for better working conditions within the transport sector – e.g. for bus drivers, inland waterway workers, railway workers or service staff of transport operators.
Initiated by
Labour Digital

The Jury of the UnionHack evaluates the ideas and prototypes that the teams developed, choses the winning team and supports promising solutions beyond the Hackathon.

Reiner Hoffmann

Reiner Hoffmann

Chairman of the National Executive Board, German Trade Union Confederation (DGB)

Jürgen Kerner

Jürgen Kerner

Member of the Executive Committee and Treasurer of IG Metall

Christiane Benner

Christiane Benner

Vice President of the IG Metall

Francesco Grioli

Francesco Grioli

Member of the Central Board of Executive Directors of IG BCE

Christoph Meister

Christoph Meister

Member of the National Executive Board, ver.di

Eduard Kvanka

Eduard Kvanka

Managing Director of Labour Digital and initiator of the UnionHack



Who is Labour Digital?

Labour Digital – or LD for short – supports trade unions and NGOs in the identification, development, and implementation of digital solutions. Founded in an environment close to the labour unions, the young technology start-up is dedicated to their future. Labour Digital is the idea generator, initiator, and main organizer of the Union Hack.

Which unions are participating at the Union Hack?

The Union Hack is a joint project by the DGB labour unions. The following unions have already agreed to participate: Deutscher Gewerkschaftsbund (DGB), IG Metall, ver.di, IG BCE, IG BAU. The organizers are currently in exchange with other DGB unions. If your union is not yet among them, please contact them about the Union Hack and get in touch with us if you are interested.

What's the role of the German labour unions?

6 million Labour Union members are fighting to ensure that over 50% of the working population in Germany receive better working conditions.

Their central mission is to negotiate with employers on improvements in salaries, working hours, legal protection. Currently there are more than 77.000 collective wage agreements in place securing the working conditions of more than 20 million employees. Labour Unions represent their members in the companies, grant legal protection in labour and social law disputes and support their members in the event of strikes, lock-outs and disciplinary measures. They offer qualifications and skill trainings, and provide advice and support in all employment related questions.

Labour Unions in Germany are thus powerful political players with a long history and have an immense impact on the German labour market policy.


Who can be a participant at the Union Hack?

Anyone who is interested in working in mixed teams to develop solutions to the unions challenges can participate. A membership or previous union experience is NOT mandatory for participating in the Union Hack. No matter what your professional background is, most important is that you want to use your creative, professional, technical, methodological, thematic or graphic skills in a solution-oriented way.

How can I sign up as a participant?

To sign up as a participant simply use our sign-up form link). To ensure a good composition of teams with mixed perspectives and skills, we will ask your to not only provide us with your contact details but also to tell us about your skills and motivation.


Do I have to choose a challenge when signing up as a participant?

You are welcome to indicate which challenges you’d preferably participate in in our sign-up form. We try to consider all preferences. The actual assignment to a specific challenge will be done by Labour Digital.

I cannot decide which challenge I’d enjoy the most. Can I choose multiple challenges?

As part of the sign-up form you can tell us which challenges you are most interested in. Labour Digital tries to take all preferences into account when assigning participants to teams and challenges.

I do not mind which challenge I’d tackle. Can I still join?

Sure, Labour Digital simply assigns you a challenge. If you prefer to indicate a preference, you can simply do this via our sign-up form.

According to which criteria are the participants selected?

First and foremost: First come first serve! So sign up now! For the specific selection and composition of teams, our focus is on creating balanced, cross-functional groups that we believe have cool, innovative approaches, creative, technical solutions and a certain gut feeling for the added values and challenges of the unions. This means: the more and the more colourful the expertises the better. At the same time, we make sure that all teams are fair and balanced, no matter what challenge they face – because of course there is some price money at stake as well.

Who selects the participants?

Labour Digital (i.e. the organiser) selects the participants.

What do I need to know to become a participant?

Anyone who is interested in working in mixed teams to develop solutions to the unions challenges can participate. A membership or previous experience with unions is NOT mandatory for participating in the Union Hack. No matter what your professional background is, most important is that you want to use your creative, professional, technical, methodological, thematic or graphic skills in a solution-oriented way.

How long will the whole event take and what happens during the UnionHack?

We start on Friday (20.11.2020) at 10am. After starting the event together with all participants of the event you will get time for a conception phase with your team, so that the 24h hack-time will start in the early afternoon. With the recording of your video presentation the Union Hack will end on Saturday evening at 8.30pm. You can find the preliminary program and time schedule here: [PDF]

How are the teams put together?

If you already have a team you can use our team sign-up. If you do not have a team yet – no problem. We connect you to other awesome participants and create great teams. It is crucial for us that your skill sets, expertise and interests complement each other well.

How many participants will there be per team?

The team size can vary between 3 and 7 participants.

Do I have to be able to communicate in German / English to be able to participate in the Union Hack?

Both English and German speaking participants are welcome. We make sure that the teams are put together in such a way that you will understand each other.

Do I really have to stay up the whole time or is it ok to take some naps here and there?

That depends on you or your team. Nobody is forced to stay up all night, but part of what makes a hackathon special is the possibility to spend a limited time (24 hours) completely dedicated to a problem. In general we recommend to communicate transparently and simply coordinate things with your team mates. Who needs what and how can we make sure that we use the available time as efficiently as possible?

How are the results being presented?

You create a short video in which you present your prototype. This video will then be forwarded to the jury.

What requirements does the prototype have to meet?

At the end of the hackathon the prototypes should give a real impression of how the finished product would feel. That means: no 50-page concept but rather an animated click-dummy.

What can I win?

The jury, whose exact composition can be viewed at, will award the best prototype with an attractive cash prize for the winning team worth 2,000.00 euros.

The cash prize is distributed among the individual participants of the winning team according to the number of individual team members.

The jury will decide on the winning team based on the following criteria:

  • Focus and added value (killer app) – Is there a clear focus and added value of the idea/solution?
  • Innovation and positive disruption – Are the ideas innovative and disruptive? Do the digital solutions lead to a positive change?
  • Degree of maturity of the prototype – What is the quality of the solution after 24 hours?
  • How strong are the added values for end users (trade unions, DGB, members)?
  • Technological finesse (architecture, scalability, feasibility of technical development/maintenance)
  • DGB-Family-Fit – Would the solution be applicable in the reality of DGB trade unions?

The winning team will be determined at the end of the hackathon, at the latest by 21.11.2020. The participants of the winning team will be notified by e-mail via the e-mail address given during registration. The claim to the prize expires if the participant does not contact the organizer within 2 (two) weeks after notification of the prize. The organizer assumes no liability if e-mails do not reach the participants and as far as the organizer cannot be charged with intent or gross negligence.

The payment of the winnings shall be made by bank transfer to an account which the respective participant of a winning team shall inform the organizer. The prize is not transferable or inheritable. The participant is responsible for any local taxes and any other fees or charges applicable to the prize. No legal action will be taken in relation to the jury’s determination of the winning teams.


How are the challenges being selected?

There is a selection committee that selects the most suitable of all submitted challenges. The panel includes Labour Digital and representatives from the unions involved. One of the main selection criteria is that the challenges should be relevant to all DGB unions. Additionally, they should pose a tricky problem where the solution will have an actual positive impact – no endless theory. Finally, of course we need to make sure that it is feasible to handle the challenge in 24hrs. It is possible that several submitted challenges are combined into one overall challenge block and that a challenge-sponsor-team will be chosen to support all challenges of this block.

Challenge sponsors

What is the task of the challenge sponsors?

The challenge sponsors represent and accompany a challenge during the hackathon. As challenge sponsors they present the challenge in the plenum, answer questions and support the teams in developing a solution for the problem. Before and during the Union Hack the challenge sponsors are supported by coaches. Also, a joint pre-time (e.g. substantiate the context and problems) with all necessary information will take place in advance.

How can I become a challenge sponsor?

The challenge sponsor are those colleagues of the unions that have submitted a challenge and whose challenge has been selected for the Union Hack.

Communication and tech specs

What are the technical requirements to be able to participate in the Union Hack?

As basic technical equipment you need a mobile device (ideally a computer, laptop, or tablet) with camera, loudspeaker and microphone as well as a stable internet connection. We will inform you in advance which applications and tools we will use for the Hackathon so that you can prepare yourself accordingly. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us at any time!

How can the participants communicate with each other during this digital event?

A hackathon lives from mutual exchange – both in the team and in the plenum. The event will therefore have different formats that allow the participants to interact in different contexts. We will create different virtual rooms in which you can move around. These range from the coffee kitchen, workshops, and team rooms to the Union Hack Forum. You will find out exactly how all this works in the week before the event. The only important thing is that for the duration of the hackathon you set yourself up in such a way that you’ll be able to communicate freely and you don’t disturb anybody while you’re video conferencing in the middle of the night.


You have questions about the Union Hack? You want to know more about the event format of a Hackathon? Then get in touch with us!

Email us:

Phone number:
+49 151 1801 2215 (Ina Litterst)

The Union Hack 2020 is an inter-union event. Initiator of the Hackathon is Labour Digital.

Labour Digital GmbH, Wiesenhüttenplatz 25, 60329 Frankfurt am Main

Our customers are the trade unions.
Our expertise is digitization.
Our passion is innovation.

Responsible for content according to § 6 MDStV: Eduard Kvanka, Frank Oberste-Dommes
All photos used on the website are from and can be used without a license: