IT Employment

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Would unions help or hurt?

By jmottl ·
As a IT leader, what's your viewpoint on whether the IT worker population should unionize or not? Some believe it would strengthen job security, bring fair pay scales and boost benefits. Others believe it would bring layoffs, and hurt the worker pool? We want your insight and opinion for a future article.
Judy Mottl
CIO Community Editor

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Risks and Benefits

by MadMark In reply to Would unions help or hurt ...

Unions came about as far back as the 1800's. Their purpose was to protect workers' rights & to give workers a voice in decisions regarding the companies that they worked for. Unions were a noble cause.

Modern unions seem to be a business unto themeselves, & union leaders more politically motivated & focused than true representatives of the average worker. There are always questions about who ultimately controls the unions, & references to organized crime.

Although I would like to see the protective measures & collective bargaining benefits that a union can provide, I am discouraged by yet another cost in the form of union dues added to my already over-taxed paycheck, loss of career control due to "seniority" issues, & being forcedto strike & picket, risking violence for a specific cause or disagreement that I may not fully believe in.

Unions have made the cost of doing business higher, without much impact to the businesses that are being run. The corporations still make money, & the consumer pays the higher prices.

Unions also tend to foster a less than productive attitude in workers. Just step into a government office and see what sort of service you get as standard. I hear enough "It's not my job" as a manager and a consultant, I would hate to see that become acceptable.

Another 2? added to the pot.

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disadvantages of unions

by john_wills In reply to Would unions help or hurt ...

When unions control hiring, they often discriminate by race in submitting candidates. That is said to be why iron workers on the SF airport expansion are predominantly White, except among minority-owned subcontractors. The people sometimes most opposed to racialism are pro-union, so nothing gets done. Perhaps this would not be so in an informaticians' union, but one never knows.

Unions often give money to causes of which only a majority(sometimes only a minority) of members approve, e.g. pro-abortion political candidates; this kind of donation should be made by individual members in their citizen capacity, but the unions "concentrate" by stealing. Until there is a paycheck protection law this will continue. Even if I do approve of a cause, do I approve of bribery? Recently the Governor of California accepted a donation from the prison guards' union in exchange for raising their pay, but obviously some prison guards would prefer to keep their present wages and support another gubernatorial candidate.

We are not poor. The UFW is needed - and it is anyway fairly pure in its activities - but is an informaticians' union needed? My salary is about 2.5 times that of a flight attendant, and would be 3 times had I not had some bad luck of a kind against which a union cannot help. I have good benefits, and it is unlikely that they will be taken away, even if I change jobs.

There are moral risks in unionization, and I do not think we have much in the way of potential benefits to weigh up against those risks.

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Low number of workers

by TheChas In reply to Would unions help or hurt ...

The biggest problem with unionizing, is the small number of workers at each location.

Also, the corporate trend is to out-source IT functions to small firms with the lowest bid.

I just don't see it happening. The average IT worker does not fitthe profile of a Union Member.
Couple that with a tight job market, and unionization is tough.

The only route would be to setup something like the construction trades where employers had little choice but to hire from the Union.


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by djent In reply to Would unions help or hurt ...

The dirth of unemployed IT personal would negate organization efforts. Get a new body, would be the cry from corporate america.

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Silly to even think about

by maxwell edison In reply to Would unions help or hurt ...

If the IT industry were to unionize - which would not be realistic and/or possible - I would certainly be an outsider because I would refuse to do it - under any circumstances, regardless of the repercussions. (Even if I had to change careers.)

Iconsider unions "blue-collar", so to speak, and I consider the IT industry more “professional”, along the lines of engineers, architects, and attorneys. I think that the "professional" professions that have unionized have hurt themselves- or the ones they're supposed to serve - by doing so. The teacher's union is one that comes to mind, as do the air traffic controllers (remember 1981?) and airline pilots.

Professionals do not engage in work stoppages and go out on strike.

Professionals can negotiate for themselves.

Professionals can provide for their own well being.

In addition, it would be virtually impossible to unionize.

? Too many outside consultants. What other “business owner” is a union member?

? Too many IT professionals are also other type of professionals – they wear two or more hats.

? The IT industry is simply too diverse in scope, i.e. Web Masters, Network Administrators, Help Desk personnel, CIOs. Can you imagine a corporate CIO going out on strike?

? Too many reasons to list. TechRepublic Web Site would crash because of data overload.

?With whom would they negotiate? (See next post)

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by hurin In reply to Silly to even think about

Quote: Professionals do not engage in work stoppages and go out on strike.

Professionals can negotiate for themselves.

Professionals can provide for their own well being.
What a load of drivel.
professionals do go on strike, professionalsdo need joint negotiation, yes they can provide for their own well being - until they are unfairly dismissed - then where are you?

Professionals do not have to have the same job title or be on the same pay scales, or be in the same company to me in the same union.

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drivel or reality?

by maxwell edison In reply to Drivel

One person's drivel is another person's reality.

There are people (in the USA) on (fourth & fifth generation) welfare who have been told that they don't have the wherewithal to succeed on their own, to overcome obstacles on their own, and to be responsible for their own lives - because there are those who've convinced them that they can't.

It's high time people are given the message that they can.

Collectivism - in the long run - has never proved to work for the better - never. Collectivism robs people of self-responsibility. Collectivism doesn’t allow people to be as self-driven. (Sorry, the union won’t allow you to do that.) How many incompetent "union members" employees can't be fired because of negotiated agreements with the union? Do yourself a favor and engage in a little experiment. If your city is like mine, there are several different grocery store chains in your town. Some are "union" stores, others are not. (The union stores are, most likely, in the majority.) Visit them both - as a customer - and give them enough business to get a feel for how they do business. The non-union store will have lower prices AND the employees will be more competent, more friendly, and more helpful. The non-union storeswill be cleaner and have more variety. The non-union employees have something on the line. The have to perform better. The non-union employees simply don't give a $%&@ because they don’t have to.

Unions served a useful purpose – 100 years ago. Today is different.

A message to hurin: You should give yourself more credit than you do. Whether you think you can or can't, (do anything) you're probably right.

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CORRECTION to drivel or reality

by maxwell edison In reply to drivel or reality?

I have a MAJOR MAJOR typo (I didn't proof-read) in the aforementioned message.

I said:

The non-union employees simply don't give a $%&@ because they don’t have to.

I SHOULD HAVE said (and meant to say):

The UNION employees simply don't give a $%&@ because they don’t have to.

(I'll be out for a while, wiping the egg off my face.)

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I'm with you oin this

by LordInfidel In reply to drivel or reality?

I was'nt planning on chiming in but.

It would me extremely difficult to unionize the IT profession.

Can you see a bunch of geeks at a union meeting?
Not unless it was streamed online and invloved a round of UT, JediKnight or Wolfenstein.

Geeks barely have time to **** much less unionize.

I for one would not want to have to consult my union everytime I did a side consulting job.

I just can't see what benefit a union would bring. Unless by joining it you have to pass a practical hands on exam of your speciality. But is'nt that like certain certs anyways?

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The idea WAS good

by apache5056 In reply to I'm with you oin this

I also agree, the idea of unions (way back when) was awesome. It brought together the common worker and made (then) corporate America provide proper benefits and pay to the workers of yester-year. The unions started the financial America as we know it today and that I thank them for. An America with the best financial economy in the world and you get out of it what you put into it and nothing more. If you are going to live via well-fare, do it on you time and money, not mine (there is exceptions due to unforeseen circumstances and that I understand).

Times are tough right now (as I fall into 'the between positions' at the moment) but I do have hope that things will get better, financially speaking. Oh heck, if you can't work or find a job, go back to school and learn something new.

I have worked in union shops (in the past) and when they closed, I got nothing from the union, nothing. I personally will not work in a union shop again, as a professional or not. My best job was in a non-union shop and I quit to find a position in IT....OOOPS!..;^)

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