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Time for IT to Organize?

By Oldefar ·
I have stated from time to time that perhaps it is time for IT workers to think about organizing. I ran across this link in the Dallas Morning News today - http://tinyurl.com/ixhg.

The link is for US workers and is sponsored by the CWA, a US union. However, anyone working in IT who feels they are being exploited should look at this site.

So what is the answer? Is it time for IT workers to look to unionization? Is there an alternative approach such as cross company and cross border trade guilds that work on behalf of all IT workers? Or do we all simply press on looking out for number one?

Personally I think the issues go beyond single companies and single countries. The Indian developer pulling work away from the first world developer today will see the Chinese developer pull it from him tomorrow. Work will move tomorrow even easier than today. Call centers, NOCs, data centers, and all aspects of engineering and production are no longer tied by geographic constraints.

I see no incentive for company management, rewarded by short term profit margins, to take a broader or long term perspective. However, the same technology that makes my job so portable makes every IT worker my peer and coworker. In the end, we are talking about how we, the global IT worker community, makes our livelihoods. That is a sizable community if we make it one.

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Thanks I'll give it a try

by HAL 9000 Moderator In reply to IE Spell Check

My spelling is absoultly terrable now asI've been relying on word processors for far too long and they do make you very lazy as you just type in what you aree thinking without any thought for the spelling as you can correct this latter.

About three weeks ago I was exposed to some crule ans inhumane punishment I had to use a typewriter for some thing my God it was hard but at least I kept the white out people in business.

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Thanks Chas

by Oz_Media In reply to Thanks I'll give it a try

I have the common problem of tying madly and missing spelling mistakes and the ever popular hitting space before typing the last letter of the word. Thank sfor you rhelp.
Useful as usual.
OM

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by Peleke In reply to Actually we might get a S ...

Col Luck, whatever you may think you lack in spelling or typing, you more than make up for it in content and information. I have enjoyed reading a number of your posts and despite the "typos" I have been able to glean valuable information and insight from your writing.

All I can say is there should be more employers, no, make that people, out there like you.

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IT Union on Australia

by VNCoder In reply to Open Source Unions?

In Australia, we have IT Workers Union:
http://www.itworkers-alliance.org/

However, it seem no one joins or very small number of people.

I personally can't see any benefit from joining the union.

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Problem with Unions

by Oldefar In reply to Time for IT to Organize?

I have been traditionally against unions as we know them in the US for several reasons.

First off, unions have shown the same short sighted attitude as corporate management. The benefits gained by steel workers and auto workers merely hastened the move of work off shore. Benefits gained in the 1960's and 1970's have been a boon for many of those retired today, but these gains never came about for new workers and that workforce is only a third of its former size.

Next, the focus on employment often worked against the best workers. Bad workers kept their jobs, all workers got automatic raises, and outstanding performance provided little reward to that individual. Like many who began work in the 1970's I personally faced the problem of senior managers denying locally approved merit raises or accelerated promotion because of the size of the annual raises provided to those under bargaining unit contracts. A union free workplace seemed a much better opportunity to grow and gain individually for many years.

Union leadership often was as corrupt and self serving as some corporate leadership has been. Being a pawn between two greedy kings is not a nice place, and many of us felt one king was the better choice.

All of these problems stem from membership apathy. Perhaps we all do get what we deserve, including loss of jobs to workers who demand a smaller share of the company earnings?

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Trade Unions and Profesional Unions.

by jardinier In reply to Problem with Unions

In Australia, as elsewhere, unions were very necessary as workers were ruthlesly exploited by management. It has been our experience here, however, that once unions reached a certain power base in the community, they became counter-productive. Because union officials were paid a salary, they didn't lose anything personally by calling their members out on strike. Certain key unions (tanker drivers and waterside workers spring to mind) found that they could hold the country to ransom to gain ever increasing wages and perks.
The trade unions have long ago passed the point where they served their original purpose of getting a fair deal for the workers. Pushing for ever higher and higher wages, they actually made fewer jobs available for their members.

Professional unions don't seem to have much pull in Australia. The Australian Journalists' Association of which I was a member, called strikes from time to time to seek higher wages. But the newspapers, using administrative and non-journalist personnel, were always able to keep the newspaper going until the journos gave up.

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More about unions ...

by jardinier In reply to Problem with Unions

Notwithstanding the defects of unionism (corruption, failing to serve all members equally etc) I would most certainly agree that some intergrated structure, possibly as suggested on an international basis, should be strongly considered. As I have suggested above, to be effective a professional union would have to take a few tips from normal trade unions and be quite aggressive and steadfast in pursuing its goals.

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union corruption

by john_wills In reply to Problem with Unions

Unions take sides in elections. The Teamsters have just declared for one of the Democrat presidential precandidates, and members' money will support that precandidate even though some members may prefer a different precandidate or a different party, or even remain in a wait-and-see mode regarding upcoming elections. The union leadership is stealing members' money and giving it to political candidates. Similarly, the management of many firms contributes to political causes, stealing from the shareholders. From time to time some brave politician submits a "paycheck protection" bill to Congress to stop this stealing, but a majority of Congressfolk is always too dependent on stolen money to risk more honest politics, so the stealing continues. They do not know what theft-free politics would be like, and do not want to take the risk.

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Member actions

by Oldefar In reply to union corruption

What would prevent the "rank and file" from adding a union bylaw prohibiting contributions to candidates from union funds?

As with unfair employment practices, poor legislators, or dirty environments, do we not get what we are willing to tolerate?

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Pragmatic Politics.

by admin In reply to Member actions

The fear of the other party having a large block of support in voter base and funding keeps both sides trying to listen to the workers. The members can vote however they want at the elections.

It's not only that we: "we not get what we are willing to tolerate?"

We get what we are willing to not be active in. Many people will belly up to the bar and complain, some will vote, but very few get involved politically.

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