TechRepublic Poll Finds Surprisingly Strong Support for Representation
LOUISVILLE, Ky., January 22, 2001—Nearly half of the nation’s Information Technology specialists would consider joining an IT union, according to a recent online poll by TechRepublic (www.techrepublic.com), the leading online destination developed exclusively for IT professionals by IT professionals. Of those IT pros participating in the poll, a surprising 45 percent of respondents—significantly more than expected—said they would join a technology workers union if one existed.
Typically considered too independent to formally organize, the results suggest IT pros may be beginning to realize the potential power of collective bargaining. It is likely, based on the poll results, that entry-level IT workers are more interested in organizing than are higher-level workers like programmers. TechRepublic plans to conduct follow-up polls to further determine attitudes and differences in the IT workforce.
"Organized labor sees a real opportunity to introduce IT services professionals to the power of collective bargaining for issues such as fair wages for all New Economy employees, H1-B visas, and job security," said Ted Smith, vice president of community research at TechRepublic. “With an increasing amount of entry-level IT work moving offshore, I wouldn't be surprised to see the first significant union of IT workers in the next three years."
There has been much debate recently as to whether IT workers will be among the next group of workers to unionize. IT is the fastest-growing segment of the economy, accounting for 8 percent of U.S. employment and one-third of U.S. economic growth. And now many IT workers are looking for organized representation.
"I feel that an employee-protection organization (like a union) could address and hopefully remedy problems such as IT pros' lack of company loyalty, technological emergencies for which IT pros are inappropriately blamed, and the lack of experienced IT pros in the workplace," said Mark Chiampi, MIS systems specialist for Polk County, FL, public schools and a TechRepublic member.
By contrast, organizations such as the National Association of Computer Consulting Businesses (NACCB) point to the significant bargaining power of individuals in IT compared with workers in other service occupations.
"If I didn't like the way I was being treated, I would first try to resolve the issues with my employer," said TechRepublic member Mike Sullivan, senior systems manager at Merge Computer Group, Inc. "If I was unsuccessful, I would leave."
For further discussions on this and other IT-related issues, log on to the TechRepublic site at http://www.techrepublic.com.
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