Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Should IT Unionize?

CmdrTaco posted about 6 years ago | from the working-great-in-detroit dept.

The Almighty Buck 1141

snydeq writes "Sixty-hour work weeks with no overtime or comp time, a BlackBerry hitched to your belt 24/7, mandates from managers who have no clue what you actually do — all for a job that could be outsourced tomorrow. 'Is it finally time for technology workers to form a union and demand better working conditions?' InfoWorld's Dan Tynan asks. To some, the odds against IT unions are long, in large part because the 'lone gunman' culture is pervasive. Diversity of skills and job objectives is another hurdle for rallying around common goals. But that has not dissuaded several union-minded groups from cropping up across the industry as of late, Tynan reports. In the end, the best bet for IT may be a professional organization modeled after the American Bar Association or the American Medical Association, one that could give IT professionals a single voice for speaking out on issues that affect everyone — such as H-1B visa limits or tax incentives to keep IT jobs onshore."

cancel ×

1141 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Hell no. (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 6 years ago | (#24873197)

Well, gee, lets see. Setting aside the economic issues, the inertia and sloppy work that comes with systems where "seniority" is more important than "ability", lets talk about the Bar thing.

What does the American Bar Association do? Primarily it sets standards for it's members, and enforces them. Almost all professional associations do this, whether it's lawyers, accountants, or plumbers, you can't practice your trade unless they say you can...In Union strong states, you aren't allowed to hire plumbers and electricians who haven't jumped through the hoops, regardless of qualifications...Which is to say Joe Bob with his Master Electrician badge is more fit to wire your house than a guy with a PhD in electrical engineering who has 20 years experience in the field. Not only is he more fit, but you can't even hire the other guy because he can't get licensed without jumping through the union hoops.

Now, how many people get into IT through "non standard" channels? How many self-taught pros are there out there? How many people have a non-IT educational background? How many people from other countries?

Do you really want a bunch of senior people telling you what qualifications you need to have? This is a young industry, and it's changing all the time. What you need to know changes all the time. And they think setting up a professional organization is a good thing? Instead of clueless PHBs, we'll have 30 year vets telling us that our modern methods are crap compared to the work they did, back in the day, with punchcards.

Jesus. If you want to drive offshoring, that's the way to do it. Make American IT more expensive and less efficient than everywhere else in the world, and the work will flee this country and leave us longing for the days of H1-Bs and mere outsourcing.

Re:Hell no. (0, Redundant)

deep_creek (1001191) | about 6 years ago | (#24873239)

well said!

Re:Hell no. (5, Insightful)

phlinn (819946) | about 6 years ago | (#24873251)

Oh for mod points. I agree wholeheartedly.. Can everyone say 'rent seeking'? I found it disturbing that the summary mentions 2 organizations who have gotten the law to explicitly protect them from competition as good examples to follow.

Re:Hell no. (1)

AioKits (1235070) | about 6 years ago | (#24873291)

Well said good Sir. I do believe I have found a new friend.

Re:Hell no. (5, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 6 years ago | (#24873299)

I agree with what you said, except for one small nitpick. .Which is to say Joe Bob with his Master Electrician badge is more fit to wire your house than a guy with a PhD in electrical engineering who has 20 years experience in the field

Joe Bob may be better qualified. Code changes from year to year, and I doubt an electrical engineer is going to be up one specifics of what gauge wire is appropriate for a given number of electrical outlets to feed, or how far the circuit breaker must be from the gas line. The electrical engineer undoubtedly would have a better theoretical understanding, but I would not want him wiring my house.

Re:Hell no. (2, Insightful)

blhack (921171) | about 6 years ago | (#24873371)

Code changes from year to year, and I doubt an electrical engineer is going to be up one specifics of what gauge wire is appropriate for a given number of electrical outlets to feed, or how far the circuit breaker must be from the gas line.

Who do you suppose writes those codes?

This is akin to saying "a bank manager would never be able to work as a loan officer because of the bank's constantly changing interest rates".

Re:Hell no. (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873501)

Exactly. The only things in a code which the electrical engineer wouldn't be able to work out are things put there arbitrarily by state officials. Do we really need a new lot of self-important busybodies to protect us from another?

Re:Hell no. (4, Insightful)

jimicus (737525) | about 6 years ago | (#24873517)

Who do you suppose writes those codes?

This is akin to saying "a bank manager would never be able to work as a loan officer because of the bank's constantly changing interest rates".

A small group of electrical engineers of which your particular engineer may or may not be a member.

Joe Bob's job, OTOH, is to keep up with what that small group write.

Re:Hell no. (4, Insightful)

MyLongNickName (822545) | about 6 years ago | (#24873545)

Um..... no it isn't the same at all. If our PhD is in fact, the one writing the codes, then fine. In your example, it would be a finance professor stepping into a teller role for the day. He happily accepts a deposit of $25,000 in cash, not realizing he needs to fill out the appropriate "suspicious activities" form required by the government.

Re:Hell no. (5, Insightful)

Chirs (87576) | about 6 years ago | (#24873581)

It's possible for an electrical engineer to have very little experience with electrical power systems.

I have taken several electrical engineering courses (have a degree in Engineering Physics) and have also done extensive home renovations (permitted and inspected).

While the actual electrical parts of the NEC are generally fairly simple for most household circuits, there are many aspects to the code that are not simple electrical issues: conduit fill, thermal derating (which varies depending on the specific insulation type, wire gauge, and number of bundled wires), pigtailing requirements, box fill calculations, GFCI/AFCI requirements, mandated switch/receptacle locations, exceptions for heaters/furnaces/air conditioners, and all sorts of other things.

Re:Hell no. (5, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 6 years ago | (#24873401)

Maybe, maybe not. The point should be whether or not the wiring passes code, not who does it.

The thing that bothers me most is the exclusivity, especially with craft unions. There is no way in except through seniority, so if you come from a non-union state (or country) with tons of experience and ability, you're automatically a second class citizen in your chosen trade, and the only way out of that is having to jump through union hoops for literally years, maybe even under the supervision of someone with less skill and experience than yourself.

As far as I'm concerned, the work is what's important. It all has to be inspected, so if it passes code, then what does it matter who did it in the first place?

Re:Hell no. (2, Insightful)

aggieben (620937) | about 6 years ago | (#24873593)

Totally right. EEs may (and most do) understand the technical issues perfectly well (lots of non EE people do too; it's not rocket science). What electricians do is tie that to standards, building codes, local ordinances, state law, platting requirements, zoning requirements, cost, materials availability, etc, etc, etc.

Re:Hell no. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873351)

You're a day late, I had mod points yesterday (on my account, which I'm not using...).

Re:Hell no. (5, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | about 6 years ago | (#24873359)

On top of that, it's just one more hierarchical power structure that inevitably becomes corrupt.

I happen to be listening to Lola Vs Powerman & the Money-Go-Round by The Kinks and there's some great lyrics on this in "Get Back in Line [lyricwiki.org] ":

'Cause that union man got such a hold over me
He's the man who decides if I live or I die, if I starve or I eat
Then he walks up to me and the sun begins to shine
Then he walks right past and I know that I've got to get back in the line
Get back, get back, get right back in the line

I also would be against IT Unions--on the mere basis that (like SatanicPuppy said) my connections would outweigh my skills. When I was a kid, my dad (an independent concrete pourer) was threatened by a Union. They would tell him that he's ruining the economy by pouring cement for barns much cheaper than the unionized companies and they would try to strong arm him into joining. They were telling him to pay more in Union dues than what he spent on food to feed our six member family.

Ridiculous.

Re:Hell no. (5, Insightful)

oldspewey (1303305) | about 6 years ago | (#24873519)

I also would be against IT Unions--on the mere basis that (like SatanicPuppy said) my connections would outweigh my skills.

Most times, union or non-union, connections outweigh skills anyhow. I can't count the number of people I've dealt with professionally who talk a good game, know all the right people, and fuck up 90% of the things they touch.

Guilds (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873395)

Your points are part of why I suggest the IT fields organize on a guild-style system. Provide apprenticeships, training, certification, and professional standards; also promote information sharing on employers/clients, their various HR policies, salary negotiations, etc.

(As a side benefit, IT guild events would be a good excuse for Renaissance fans in the IT field, and there's a lot of them, to dress in period garb. IT women in corsets FTW.)

Hell no.-expertise,experience. (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873397)

"Which is to say Joe Bob with his Master Electrician badge is more fit to wire your house than a guy with a PhD in electrical engineering who has 20 years experience in the field."

The only thing they have in common is electricity. Otherwise different fields. Just like a nurse isn't a doctor even though they both have the human body in common.

Re:Hell no. (1)

Lovedumplingx (245300) | about 6 years ago | (#24873415)

Holy Crap yes!!! I wish I had mod points.

Re:Hell no. (4, Insightful)

macshit (157376) | about 6 years ago | (#24873427)

Not to mention the idiocy of suggesting that everyone actually agrees on anything.

I'm an American, but I know a lot of very smart foreigners working in the U.S. on H1-B's who make normal U.S. wages, and who are as good or better than their U.S. "competition". Given what I've seen, the constant whining on slashdot about H1-Bs has always seemed petty.

Re:Hell no. (1)

VojakSvejk (315965) | about 6 years ago | (#24873603)

It is certainly true that there is neither inertia nor sloppy work in IT today. Also, nobody working there would ever read other employee's email or other files; neither would they under any circumstances keep a list of passwords, during or after employment.

I would definitely hire an EE PhD to rewire my house, too, tho physics would be even better. They really know how electrone work.

Fine by me but... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873199)

One thing that I feel compelled to mention about unionization is this:

If you unionize, your employers are enabled to expect a certain standard of worksmanship and professionalism. The rules run both way, which means that anyone who got their job w/o a college degree, and fit the stereotypes may get in trouble

Re:Fine by me but... (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 6 years ago | (#24873273)

If you unionize, your employer has far less rights regarding workmanship and professionalism than if he can simply fire someone who displays neither. He also has fewer options come hiring time.

By all means, lets restrict all IT work to people who have the piece of paper, rather than the actual ability. In my experience the people who want the former, are the people who lack the latter.

Re:Fine by me but... (4, Insightful)

Ostracus (1354233) | about 6 years ago | (#24873441)

"By all means, lets restrict all IT work to people who have the piece of paper, rather than the actual ability. In my experience the people who want the former, are the people who lack the latter."

So what are you saying? That people with the ability couldn't get the piece of paper?

Atlas Shrugged changed my life (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873203)

I'm not trying to defend my actions; but I honestly don't feel I was in the wrong here. After my mother posted bail ($35,000!) I have a few months before any more tough shit happens, and my public defender said I can talk about it as long as I change the names.

Anywho, I was driving down 495 to Providence when an Asian-American Woman driver cut me off. Now, I'm not racist, but my blood did boil a tad when I saw exactly what kind of person it was. Like fulfilling a stereotype that is obviously wrong, but I was angry that they fulfilled the stereotype. I wasn't seeing red or anything but I was deffinitely not happy.

I blame my father. He taught me the code of Massachusetts drivers: 1. Defend your honor. This means tailing those flip you off, act like an asshole, etc. 2. Drive fast. This is vital and ensures you get to your location quick. 3. NEVER let someone cut you off.

Naturally the way I was raised had an immediate affect on this greivous error by the Asian-American lady driver. I turned on Deffcon 3 and tailed them in the standard way; aka getting right on their ass and flashing my brights on-off for 30 or 45 seconds. This is where things go wrong.

The car SLAMMED ON IT'S BRAKES. I am not kidding. I swerved to the right and just barely avoided contact. The driver then sped off and THREW A COFFEE CUP OUT THE WINDOW. It didn't come near my car but I know the intent, and I'm pretty sure it will aid in my upcoming defense trial.

Anywho, I bring it up to Deffcon 5. I slam the gas and pass the woman, then cut her off. I then throw the car in neutral so I slow down without break lights, ensuring they have no warning. The lady hits the back of my car and her airbag deploys. Apparantly she broke both her wrists and fractured a rib, but her airbag naturally saved her life.

I keep driving because my car is fine and I was certain I did not have the obligation to stop. 10 or so miles later I'm pulled over by the Rhode Island state tropper and cuffed, and they tell me several other drivers witnessed the whole thing and I'm screwed. They take me to the station, mugshots, pictures, some bullshit reporter for some local daily even asked me a few questions and I basically told him to fuck off. They try to interrorgate me and I keep my mouth shut, even using that famous Goodfellas line and saying "what, you gonna bing bang boom me?" and moved my arms around, but they didn't laugh (lol). A few hours later my mom picks me up and says "you're moving with your aunti and uncle in bel air" I whistled for a cab and when it came near, the license plate said "fresh" and had dice in the mirror. If anything I could say that this cab was rare, but I thought now forget it, yo home to bel-air! I pulled up to a house about seven or eight, And I yelled to the cabby "yo home, smell ya later!". Looked at my kingdom I was finally there, to settle my throne as the prince of bel-air.

Ballmer (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873217)

Can he be our Jimmy Hoffa style chairman?

Re:Ballmer (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873377)

Can he be our Jimmy Hoffa style chairman?

Depends... How long would we have to wait before we get to make him disappear?

Sure, make outsourcing MORE likely (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873219)

Seems like a really bad idea - only because we wouldn't get a whole lot of buy-in from companies that "we are a union only shop". Might be OK really really short term - but long term it would be like asking to be outsourced.

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873223)

No

Should IT unionize? (4, Insightful)

qoncept (599709) | about 6 years ago | (#24873231)

This article answers it's own question. "... all for a job that could be outsourced tomorrow." What better way to ensure you don't have a job than to make yourself more expensive than a contractor?

no (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873237)

IT people tend to be of the political slant where "Unions = Bad". (Which they are.)

Re:no (5, Interesting)

eln (21727) | about 6 years ago | (#24873335)

I don't agree with that assertion at all. In my experience, IT people are scattered all over the political spectrum. Sure, the libertarian types tend to yell the loudest, but the libertarian types yell the loudest everywhere.

Personally, I think unions are a good thing for a lot of industries. However, I don't think they're good for IT. Management in many places already see IT as nothing more than an expensive but necessary burden, and putting a union on top of that just makes the perception worse. In places where IT is seen as a vital component to the overall health of the company, techs tend to be treated much better.

The bottom line is that for most positions within IT other than the low-level button pushers, demand and pay are still high. However, it always has been and still remains to a large extent a meritocracy, so all the people who got into the field in the late 90s because they heard it was easy money now find themselves working the grunt jobs at the bottom of the totem pole with no hope of advancement. Unions may give these people opportunity to advance based on seniority alone, but doing so would be bad for the industry as a whole.

Re:no (2, Insightful)

SQLGuru (980662) | about 6 years ago | (#24873405)

Unions themselves aren't "bad". They are just bad for all who aren't members.....

Business are hurt by unions because of higher pay demands, strikes, etc.
Other businesses are hurt when they rely on businesses subject to unions (manufacturers impacted by shipping industry unions that are on strike).
Customers are hurt by unions in that higher business costs are then transferred to them in terms of higher prices.
Employees who aren't members are hurt by exclusion of job potential.
The Union members benefit from higher pay, better benefits, etc. For them, Unions are good.

Layne

I'm Confused (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873247)

'Is it finally time for technology workers to form a union and demand better working conditions?'

I've never been in a Union so I'm not entirely sure how they work but won't that cause the companies to just switch to offshore labor instantly? Better for some of us to still have our jobs ...

learn from history (3, Insightful)

Lord Ender (156273) | about 6 years ago | (#24873265)

IT unions would turn Silicon Valley into the next Detroit.

Re:learn from history (5, Funny)

Roberticus (1237374) | about 6 years ago | (#24873611)

You mean that I'd finally be able to afford a house there?

shouldn't bother .. (0, Flamebait)

rs232 (849320) | about 6 years ago | (#24873269)

"the best bet for IT may be .. one that could give IT professionals a single voice for speaking out on issues that affects everyone -- such as H-1B visa limits or tax incentives to keep IT jobs onshore"

Sounds good except the Union will most probably end up being run for the sole benefit of the executive officers and keeping the staff compliant on behalf of management, just like they do here.

No! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873279)

No seriously, I hope they don't succeed. As soon as you unionize, forget about looking like a professional...

Having worked with IT people who were part of a union, I think it's about the worst thing that can happen to an IT org. People are lazy, or just incompetent, and you can't get rid of them. People try to milk OT pay all the time. It's just awful.

No, at least not in the "western" sense (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | about 6 years ago | (#24873285)

I used to do coding as an intern in a steel mill in Pittsburgh, and from that vantage point the union was an incredibly interesting monster. The Union and Management constantly had an adversarial "us versus them" attitude that caused very little to get accomplished on both sides. To management the union was a bunch of lazy greedy bastards, and to the union management was a bunch of lazy, greedy bastards. This created a very hostile environment and at the end of the day, this hostility costed both sides a lot more than they realized.

However, while traditional unions cause problems, going alone can cause issues to. IT workers really need to be able to sit down as a group with management and come up with a consensus about working conditions, pay etc. However, trying to "unionize" and speak with a single voice is pointless and stupid and will probably only cause management to become even more hostile towards the workers, and lets face it, more apt to just ship the work overseas.

ACM (1)

ljrittle (89026) | about 6 years ago | (#24873287)

We already have an association: ACM.org -Loren

Re:ACM (1)

doug (926) | about 6 years ago | (#24873409)

I like the ACM, and I've been a member for nearly 20 years. But they don't have anything like the kinda clout that a union has. A professional society isn't the same thing as a union, and this is a good thing. The ACM can talk (mostly to itself) about issues without having to get into hardcore politics.

Re:ACM (5, Interesting)

Just Some Guy (3352) | about 6 years ago | (#24873617)

We already have an association: ACM.org

I had to quit the ACM because I could not ethically comply with their Code of Ethics [acm.org] :

1.5 Honor property rights including copyrights and patent.

Violation of copyrights, patents, trade secrets and the terms of license agreements is prohibited by law in most circumstances. Even when software is not so protected, such violations are contrary to professional behavior. Copies of software should be made only with proper authorization. Unauthorized duplication of materials must not be condoned.

First, I do not feel morally obligated to agree with EULAs, nor will I ever. If the law eventually says that they're binding, then I'll go along grudgingly, but I certainly won't voluntarily submit to hidden contracts.

Second, it is impossible to write a modern program without violating patents. Even if I believed that software patents are legitimate - and I don't - there are simply too many to avoid stepping on a few in all but the most trivial of applications.

I like the ACM in general, but don't support their core values. As such, I can't be a member anymore.

Please no (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873301)

What better incentive for companies to push more jobs to offshore workers?

You Have 2 Choices... (2, Insightful)

rally2xs (1093023) | about 6 years ago | (#24873303)

1) Unionize or 2) Continue to be abused. Its that simple. BTW, our parents and grandparents were smarter, and formed unions.

Re:You Have 2 Choices... (4, Insightful)

JBMcB (73720) | about 6 years ago | (#24873429)

Let me fix that -

1) Unionize and loose your job to outsourcing or contractors in a few years

2) Continue to be abused, until you work with your employer to fix the situation, or quit and go work somewhere else

No (0, Troll)

Khorniszon (1188853) | about 6 years ago | (#24873313)

Unions are for pussies. Next thing would be demanding licenses, like lawyers do.

OTOH, imagine one day strike when all administrators down every machine they have access to.

Huh? (1)

kellyb9 (954229) | about 6 years ago | (#24873315)

all for a job that could be outsourced tomorrow.

Although I am admittedly ignorant over the whole concept, it didn't really seem to help real blue collared workers from having their jobs outsourced. How will it help us?

Re:Huh? (4, Insightful)

SatanicPuppy (611928) | about 6 years ago | (#24873529)

Ignorant you may be, but you hit the nail on the head.

Unions don't make any industry more efficient, and that loss of efficiency can mean the difference between a successful company and an unsuccessful company. If the work can be done more efficiently by non-union employees, it will be, and IT work is very portable...You can't do the old Union trick of changing the laws in a geographic area when someone across the world could be doing your job remotely.

It comes down to market issues. If you're top notch at what you do, and there is demand for that skill, you'll have work. If your skills are dated, if you're not qualified, you could have problems. Lot of people jumped into the industry in the 90's with extremely limited skillsets. If you can't roll with the changes, you're going to get pushed out.

The industry is really volatile right now, and that makes people crave the sort of stability that Unions seem to provide, but there is a difference between stability and stagnation.

Paying for another boss? (2, Interesting)

imag0 (605684) | about 6 years ago | (#24873319)

Isn't this really what is comes to? You're just paying money out of your check for someone else to tell you what to do.

No thanks. I'd rather stand on my two feet.

Imag0

One racket too many. (4, Insightful)

Lilith's Heart-shape (1224784) | about 6 years ago | (#24873393)

Isn't this really what is comes to? You're just paying money out of your check for someone else to tell you what to do.

I already give money to one protection racket: the government. Why should I give money to another, run eventually by the mafia?

Unions by definition are crap (4, Funny)

RogueWarrior65 (678876) | about 6 years ago | (#24873329)

The only way this would work is if it was implemented like the way effing lawyers do it.

"No I will not fix your computer for free."
"It's $1000 a hour and the clock starts ticking now."
"No I will not give you free computer advice."
"Oh, and we need to get that retainer agreement signed before we proceed further."

Now if we could figure out a way to make the IT equivalent of ambulance chasers, we'd be on to something. "Did you or any member of your third-cousin twice removed family get the Britney Spears virus? Call the IT offices of James Suck-A-Glove. And we only speak english, dammit."

Trouble is that it's way too late for this. There are too many people willing to prostitute their geekdom for free.

probably not, but we do (2, Informative)

nimbius (983462) | about 6 years ago | (#24873333)

need to become a bit more business savvy. contract workers tend to get tacitly screwed (speaking from experience) in that if management says "we dont do overtime," they tend to hope we believe them.

unpaid overtime for hourly workers is bad in IT, because youre usually on call when a blackberry even when youre not in the office.
or flat out asked to be on call in that "keep your phone on you/near you" sort of way.
blackberry during your off hours=billable hours for each call/page/message you check. no exceptions.
i was burned once by a fortune 500, but never again.

The Indian Government pre-empted it... (5, Interesting)

freedom_india (780002) | about 6 years ago | (#24873347)

The current Indian Government pre-empted such a move by classifying IT as a "Profession", meaning no fixed working hours, no overtime pay, no benefits, but, we do need to pay close to $50 a year as Profession Tax.
Plus major indian IT cos have gone on record stating that long hours are simply "fiction" and each employee works only 8 hours a day: The last time i checked my team was working 14 hours a day.

Re:The Indian Government pre-empted it... (0, Troll)

EveryNickIsTaken (1054794) | about 6 years ago | (#24873605)

Hey, at least you have jobs, so please stop whining.

No physical location leverage (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873349)

You've got no leverage of presence since IT is easily transferrable. Here, easy means some guy in a some other location can do the same job.

We all know where that will lead (2, Funny)

bgerlich (1035008) | about 6 years ago | (#24873357)

I understand. You found paradise in America, you had a good ping times, you made a good connections. The firewalls protected you. And you didn't need a friend like me. But uh, now you come to me and you say - 'Give me bandwidth.' But you don't ask with respect. You don't offer friendship. You don't even think to call me System Administrator. Instead, you come into my house on the day my daughter is to be married, and you, uh, ask me to take down some servers for money.

Re:We all know where that will lead (1)

bn557 (183935) | about 6 years ago | (#24873483)

great BOFH reference. 10KV across the nipples... those EMTs sure know how to party.

*clickity clickity*

YES! And I'll be your union boss! (2)

BitterOldGUy (1330491) | about 6 years ago | (#24873363)

That way, I can:
  1. Get paid big bucks to go to VIP parties.
  2. Fraternize with Congress - I HAVE to lobby!
  3. Go to the Playboy Mansion - that's where many politicians are.
  4. Have a HUGE expense account to entertain with the above.
  5. A Budget for a private jet. It will allow me to be more productive in representing YOU!
  6. A budget for body guards.
  7. A budget for residences around the country because it's faster than hotels. Also, my nieces who happen to be lawyers will be staying there full time to handle local politics and laws.
  8. A budget for gifts to corporate bosses and Congress.
  9. A budget for interns.
  10. And a 50% budget buffer for unforeseen petty cash expenses that are too small to track officially.
  11. A lifetime Democratic Party membership.

All the above will by deducted from your paychecks. You'll NEVER notice because I will be getting you BIG BUCKS!

The main problem with a professional organization (4, Insightful)

Omnifarious (11933) | about 6 years ago | (#24873365)

Is that one of its first tasks will be to lobby for a law requiring that membership in it become mandatory for anybody practicing in the field. No thank you.

Unions are broken for very similar reasons. Basically, any large organization that claims to 'represent' you actually represents itself and only has your interests as a peripheral matter because appearing to cater to them is how it gets political power.

Tempary Unions (3, Insightful)

olddotter (638430) | about 6 years ago | (#24873369)

I don't like political parties. I don't unions. I don't think either organization should have a long life span. They should create, fight for a cause and then disband. Standing unions I think become evil, like many large organizations.

Unions or bar associations would become money sucking parasites on the backs of the workers, as if the workers didn't have enough problems. Having said that, uniting against clueless management seems like a good idea, just don't call it a union, and don't charge dues.

Sixty-hour work weeks with no overtime... (5, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | about 6 years ago | (#24873373)

...or comp time sounds like it's time to change jobs, not unionize. Unions correct for errors in the free market, and are not effective in situations where the market already has checks and balances in place. And in any case, there are few companies with large enough IT workforces to make unionizing a viable idea.

I think what you need to look at is the fact that IT jobs are becoming a blue collar skill. Just about anyone with a computer can pick up enough training to do the majority of desktop and server support work that the market demands. On-Site support for mission critical machines are increasingly being moved to co-location centers who have highly trained staff available. What this means is that there is an overabundance of workers in the field, thus decreasing the value of the service.

If you want to get more respect in the IT field, I recommend that you move to large data center work rather than desktop or small server support. Another idea is to develop industry-standard certification programs (not MSCE) that show qualifications for work in sophisticated environments, thus further helping differentiate desktop support from high-end IT support. These certifications would work a bit like the Engineering or Electrician certifications that differentiate true professionals from the trade-school material entering the field.

That being said, let me turn this thing on its head. Has anyone thought of addressing the reasons behind why you work 60 hour work weeks? Is it truly because the field demands it or is it because your environment needs improvement? Whether it be greater automation, additional help, or better procedures, you need to be making an effort to help reshape your environment so that you can accomplish your job more effectively. Not only will it help reduce the hours you work each week, but shaping your environment displays the true mark of a professional.

Absolutely.... (1)

Em Emalb (452530) | about 6 years ago | (#24873389)

If you're a fan of being "surplussed", sure, it's a great thing.

Article is flamebait.

-10 stupid.

Professional organization? (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873391)

Not going to happen until IT actually becomes "professional".

When an architect is hired, he designs a building that does what his client wants. That's professional.

When you go to a doctor, there are actual standards of performance and consequences for being wrong. That's professional.

Labeling your toy PHP web site a "work of art"? Thinking you know better than your boss what your job is?

Not so professional.

Of Buggy Whips and Webmasters (1)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | about 6 years ago | (#24873399)

Back in The Day (early '90s) when I worked as a senior tech manager in a very forward-thinking company, I hired one of that industry's first "webmasters." We had to pay the dude six figures, cuz we had to be ahead of the curve, and we were bargaining that an early net presence would give us an edge. I hired this guy from a very small selection of very expensive candidates, all of whom had a sense they had the right skills at the right time.

That time, of course, has past.

"Web Mastery" skills, and to a lesser extent (but one on the same curve) IT skills have become almost a commodity in the HR market. Every kid with half a brain and PC Hobbyist's enthusiasm grabbed a CS degree at some Uni or another in the late 90's, and now I can walk out on the street corner on Broadway, swing a baseball bat over my head, and hit three of them, any time of the day or night.

Of course, the *good* sys admins are worth their weight in gold, they know it, and most likely their managers know it and take proper care of them. Sort of like good Executive Secretaries, whom I suspect would have as much luck as IT guys unionizing...

Re:Of Buggy Whips and Webmasters (1)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about 6 years ago | (#24873503)

We had to pay the dude six figures

What figures did you give him?
And maybe even more important, where they still in their original packaging?

unionization = siren song (5, Interesting)

davejenkins (99111) | about 6 years ago | (#24873403)

Ah, yes-- the siren song of unionization, born out of the early 20th century labor struggles where socialism was still an idyllic future utopia, and factory conditions were truly brutal.

Collective labor bargaining has a brinksmanship game at its very core: give us what we demand or we all quit. The problem is that this brinksmanship is all too easy to call bluff now: globalized workforce, wider literacy, part time contractors, etc. Beyond the obvious changes to the labor pool, the idea that IT work-- one of the most portable sectors in the economy-- could be unionized is laughable.

The AMA and ABA are possible because the inflow of labor is restricted from the beginning: one must graduate Med School or Law School from an accredited university. The AMA and ABA have very strict tests before one gets into these schools, and even harder tests at the end of them before they'll let you in the club. In that way, each association has monopolized the labor force by severely restricting membership. Would such a scheme be possible with IT?

An ITPA (IT Professionals Association) would require specific graduate schools and horrendous tests. The last thing IT needs is an officially ordained priesthood about what is IT and what is not IT. This would restrict the labor pool so tightly that businesses would freak out, the hopeful students would freak out, then the government, and the whole thing would fall apart before it got started.

I consider myself an IT professional, and I got my degree in Japanese Literature.

Hell yes. (5, Insightful)

SilentChris (452960) | about 6 years ago | (#24873411)

I'm going to take a purely myopic, personal stance on this. I got into IT because I was interested in technology. I have seen more burnout and sacrifices by coworkers in this industry than any other. I have seen people responding to Blackberry messages at 2 AM (when they work 9 to 5), spend their days freezing their bodies slowly in server rooms and watched IT managers lose their hair trying to explain that "technology" doesn't mean "magic all the time" to executives.

I always thought there were worse occupations out there. Surely the garbage man or coal miner has a less satisfying/harder job than me. However, at the end of the shift, these guys go home. The garbage man doesn't need to pick up heavy cans in his living room. The coal miner doesn't need to chip away at the walls in his bedroom. In no other industry is the disconnect between work and life non-existent like in IT. Hell, even doctors have calling services.

The joy of learning new things was quickly squashed by the nature of this industry. Even when I'm programming or building new hardware, I'm connected to the responsibility of maintaining 24/7 systems on a 24/7 schedule.

I know some are saying "You don't need to have a job like this. There are other jobs in the IT industry that don't demand this kind of schedule." Bullshit. We brought this unto ourselves. We were the ones arguing for telecommuting. We were the proponents of portable tech. And now we have to "eat the dog food". We sold people on it, we have to bow to it ourselves.

I was thinking about this the other day. I'm almost 30. The internet came about in my generation. IT has been going on much longer. How was it done before "always-on", "always-connected"? Surely it was less efficient. And yet, you hear about IT people from that time staying in their jobs for decades, loving what they do, etc. Nowadays you're surprised to see someone stick around 3 years in a "permanent" job.

What did we do to our industry? How bad have we fucked it up? Can we change it by unionizing? I'll do anything at this point.

And you need the union why? (1, Troll)

PadRacerExtreme (1006033) | about 6 years ago | (#24873413)

Sixty-hour work weeks with no overtime or comp time, a BlackBerry hitched to your belt 24/7

So if you don't like this, why didn't you negotiate this when you started? No one forced you to take the job. If you didn't like the requirements, go somewhere else.

Oh wait, we live an a culture of 'someone take care of me'. Don't take responsibility for you own choices, let someone else fix it for you.

<sigh>

Not a good idea. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873425)

Other than cost/benefit, I cannot think of another better reason for a company to outsource than a sudden unionization of its employees. go do your homework about unions and the manufacturing business in the united states and you'll see what I mean.

No, yet again... (1)

Capt James McCarthy (860294) | about 6 years ago | (#24873433)

This has been brought up since the late 90's and shot down for good reason. The other larger unions are the ones who would love to capture the IT 'hands.' But they can't, why? Too much education IMO. Track record of Unions suck. Corruption, etc.

Just because you job is going to be outsourced screaming "This is why we need a union" won't bring your job back. If there is no demand for your chosen profession, move to a location that has demand, or switch professions. And I hate to be harsh, but why the fuck are we so lazy and want to scream Union when our jobs are threatened? It's not the 1950's anymore. You adapt or you no longer work.

Define IT (4, Interesting)

El_Muerte_TDS (592157) | about 6 years ago | (#24873443)

Are we talking about sysadmins, application developers, support staff, programmers, testers, system analysts, etc.?

if Hollywood writers can organize effectively

That's because it's only a specific selection of writers. It's not like there's a union for all writers (fiction authors, non-fiction authors, columnists, manual authors, speech writers, journalists, etc.).

Of course not (4, Insightful)

goose-incarnated (1145029) | about 6 years ago | (#24873449)

All those posting here believe that they are of above average quality and that their job is not going to go away merely because they are so damn important. The only people who would lose their jobs are those incompetent anyway.

The fact that they have no bargaining power or that their skills are irrelevant when it comes to cutbacks ... just too inconvenient to consider ... so no unions or trade association. Only *losers* would need those things after all

No No No (1)

galdrin (230827) | about 6 years ago | (#24873453)

Unions do nothing but destroy. They are run by people who know nothing about businesses but insist on 'having a say'. Here in England, unions were responsible for destroying both the coal mining industry and the ship building industry (a lot of people will tell you it was the government but they lie; unions created rules wherein it was impossible for management to function then they blamed management when it all went tits up).

IT workers are, supposedly, more intelligent and do not need to be told what to think and how to vote.

Stay away from unions.

Isn't talent enough? (1)

MosesJones (55544) | about 6 years ago | (#24873463)

such as H-1B visa limits or tax incentives to keep IT jobs onshore.

Oh its a protectionist thing. The Bar and the AMA are because its a regulated industry with agree entry criteria. As long as you are happy for IT to be subject to the same criteria (hint of the day, more people in India probably have pure IT degrees as a percentage than people in the US) then that is great. If what you mean is some type of Union negotiation on wages then no thank-you I'd like to have my salary dictated by my abilities and ability to negotiate rather than via a Union group bargining.

What this reads as is "we want to be a like the Bar, but without the qualification requirements and we want to act like a Union for waiters in the way we negotiate".

The IEEE would be a good avenue, or the ACM. Unless you really do want the professional qualification bar at which point I'm all in for it and lets compete on a global basis for the best talent and let the less talented become the IT equivalents of Legal Clerks with their salary negotiating Union.

Be my guest. (2, Insightful)

Legion303 (97901) | about 6 years ago | (#24873465)

...just don't come crying to me when the union--after having gladly taken your money every two weeks in return for getting you a paltry night shift differential--tells you to fuck off when you ask about job placement options after the company lays off 60% of its workforce in an effort to bolster failing stock prices.

Hi, Lucent and Communications Workers of America! Not that I'm naming names or anything. At least, I'm pretty sure I didn't mention Carly Fiorina in there anywhere.

They make too much (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873471)

If I'm already paying my IT guys $100k then they have no right to unionize. They make twice the salary of a medical resident who works 1000 times harder. IT folks need a severe pay cut.

The ABA? (2, Insightful)

ChePibe (882378) | about 6 years ago | (#24873477)

An organization that gives "a single voice for speaking out on issues that affects everyone"?

Uh, what?

The ABA does play many important roles in the practice of law, but it is hardly the only body to which lawyers belong, and a great many attorneys are recoiling away from the ABA based on its continuing politicization of virtually everything it touches - everything from who law schools must admit to what recruiters should have open access to law students, etc.

If you're looking for an example, the ABA is probably not the best one.

Hell yes! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873481)

The only way workers can have any bargaining power is if they organize. Particularly when management sees employees as "fungible" where it doesn't matter if the work is done here or in Bangalore, unionization is the only way to protect workers. This is especially true for IT and support departments where techs are expected to provide 24x7 support for bargain basement wages, limited time off and laughable job security. Engineering jobs probably aren't there yet (for needing a union), but in a lot of places it's getting close.

Professional Org = yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873485)

I wouldn't mind a professional org like the Bar, but good Lord please don't make entry based on how many MS** certs you got ;p.

Union? No.

Yes - if you're in the UK (5, Interesting)

Tryfen (216209) | about 6 years ago | (#24873497)

The UK has some very strong employee rights - but I would still recommend that anyone join a union.

I'm a member of Connect [connectuk.org] which is a specialist union for professionals in the Telecoms sector.

The way I look at it is like this: my employer has several floors of lawyers - how many do I have? I hope never to have to fight my employer for my rights (sick leave, working time directive, disciplinary etc) but if I do - I want a team of lawyers on my side.

I realise that the situation in the USA is different - the corruption and ties to organised crime that you see doesn't seem to have affected unions over here.

It's important to draw a distinction between "You can't do that - it's not your job" unions and "You can't do that to me - it's illegal" unions. The former are usually found with low-paying, blue collar works who have a vested interest in protecting their job at the expense of all else - including the company. The latter are usually composed of professional members who own shares in their employer and who want reassurance that should the worst happen, they're legally protected.

I view my union dues (less than £10 per month) on the same level as life assurance, building insurance etc. I don't want to pay them - but I realise it's probably a good idea. In fact, as well as all the legal help, my union also provide me with sickness and death benefit as well as good deals on general insurance etc.

Basically, if you think your employer is perfect and would never shit on you from a great height - don't join a union. If you live in the real world - sign up.

T

Italy has it; are we talking salaried or hourly? (1)

davidwr (791652) | about 6 years ago | (#24873507)

In Italy, some IT workers are unionized.

Also, there is a logical split between workers who "manage their own time" like programmers and some network administrators, and those who are told what to do such as some lower-level help desk technicians.

The latter are much better candidates for unionization.

As a general rule of thumb, the more you get paid before the union comes to town, the less you need a union, everything else being equal.

I do like the idea of professional associations, as long as they don't do like the bar association or even barbers do and bar entry to those without specific training or other "you must do this to get a job in the field" criteria. Unless public safety or breach of public trust is an issue, there's no reason for that kind of thing: Let employers hire who they will, and let independent consultants fight for clients in the open market.

Nope. (4, Interesting)

AuralityKev (1356747) | about 6 years ago | (#24873509)

I've seen the way unions run in a scienc-ey type background. My gf is an immunohemotologist for a large non-profit organization. She's a lab scientist that tests blood for matches with specialized requests from hospitals.

Because the blood bank uses a manufacturing component to bag the blood and ship it to area hospitals, the lab workers are forced to be unionized. She can't earn a larger raise for doing better work than her peers because the union sets the pay increases during negotiation. She is the last in line for a day shift position since she was the last to join 2 years ago. Senior people have transferred departments at will, opening a day shift position up, yet she's unable to apply for the position since it's pretty much held open until the person who left decides to come back (which they usually do). That leaves them both short staffed on the day shift as well as relatively disgruntled on the second and evening shifts.

Pay is based on years in the union, not on merit. Vacation is not negotiable. Promotions grant increased responsibility without pay jumping along for the ride. Incompetent people within the lab are still continuing on just fine since the non-profit can't fire them. Union dues are about $60 a month, plus the union actively endorses (and this is a personal gripe, I know) political candidates that are the polar opposite of our personal politics.

Long ago unionizing helped workers and looked out for their best interests. I don't think it would be a fit at all for our industry.

Impracticalities for IT (2, Interesting)

Millennium (2451) | about 6 years ago | (#24873513)

The thing about unions is that they require basically 100% participation in order to function. The monopoly on labor is where a union's power comes from; without it, companies can simply look elsewhere for employees.

In the past, this has not been so much of a problem, because most jobs have required the worker to be physically present at the work site. This makes the process of maintaining a monopoly much easier, because you only have to focus on one region. The employer can't feasibly move elsewhere, and so if you have a lock on the region then you have a lock on the employer.

The problem with unionizing IT is that you can't do this. IT jobs, by their nature, no longer require the worker to be present at the work site, and in fact much IT effort has gone into making this a reality. This effectively expands "the region" out to the whole world, and so you would need a worldwide union that all IT workers are required to join. This is not going to happen; not now, not in the near-term future, and likely not ever.

None of this is to say that IT workers don't need better working conditions. We clearly do. But the nature of our field makes the union approach impractical: those who fear outsourcing are correct in that. What we need to do is find another way.

What's the answer? I don't know. But we need something that works for us, and something that requires a monopoly we can't obtain is not it.

Dear God NO!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873515)

The last bastion of union employment in the US is the government. We sure don't need things screwed up that badly!!!

Advancement in union shops is by seniority without regard for ability. People should have a chance to advance through hard work, and the be relieved of carrying those unwilling to do it.

Sweet Zombie Christ, No (5, Insightful)

StealthyRoid (1019620) | about 6 years ago | (#24873525)

I cannot think of a single thing that would make employers and customers abandon US IT more than if we unionized. We'd be signing our own death warrants. It's _already_ incredibly easy to fire up e-lance, and grab a Romanian and Indian developer, even if there are the quality and language issues. If we unionize, we'll only increase their incentive to do so by burdening them with all of the baggage that comes along with having unionized employees.

Unions rely on the ability to have a monopoly on labor (and violence, and backing from the government for their violence, but those aren't relevant to my point). With manufacturing jobs, where the physical presence of the employee is a requirement, their hold over an industry is far greater than it would be over IT services, since it's very very easy to utilize non-local labor that doesn't care about the fact that there's a union that went on strike.

Furthermore, I think that it'd be a straight up financially bad idea for almost everyone. In addition to making the barriers to entry for new developers and IT professionals higher, we'd all suffer in terms of the actual money we take home. Union contracts base pay around seniority, not productivity. In fact, most unions violently oppose productivity-based pay scales. That'd remove a lot of the incentive for new, young developers who are just _better_ than their older co-workers to excel at their jobs. They'd be locked into their pay level. It'd also make it MUCH harder to fire shitty employees.

I also reject the concept that there CAN be a single IT voice to represent us all. We're a fairly diverse group of people, from all backgrounds and with all goals in life. The incentives of, say, a sysadmin working for a NOC are not the same as a web developer working for a small business. They have different sets of priorities, both of which are completely valid to their particular situation. Say, for example, that the NOC guy is a little older, has some kids, and wants benefits, while the young kid doesn't care, and just wants as fat of a paycheck as he can get. How do you resolve those competing, equally valid desires? As it stands now, we negotiate our own contracts according to our desires. With unions, we'd be locked into the choices made by other people.

Another problem with unions, highlighted by this article, is that they're often ideological tools of the leadership. I don't have a problem with H1-B visas (except that I think they're too restrictive) or offshoring. I think both things are awesome. It's the market at work, and forces us all to be competitive at SOME level, whether that be on quality or price or reliability or whatever. Competing against a guy in India or a new Chinese H1-B immigrant is no different than competing against a college kid. The idea that we need political protection from that is absurd.

We also shouldn't ignore the negative impact that unionization of IT would have on the economy. You want to see the long-term effects of unionization? Take a look at the auto industry. Completely saddled with legacy labor costs imposed by union contracts, they're in many cases simply unable to compete on price. Unions are little more than mechanisms for imposing arbitrary minimums and caps on the costs of doing business, which decreases the flexibility of businesses when responding to changing market conditions. The only reason that Japanese automakers hire anyone over here is because we force them to by law.

There's nothing that a union can give you that you can't achieve for yourself by paying attention to your contract. Do you want a guarantee that you'll never be asked to work more than 40 hours in a week? Put it in your contract. Do you want cash instead of benefits? Put it in your contract. Do you want to get paid better? Don't work for less. You make the choices that you want to make, and don't impose them on the rest of us. We'll do likewise, and we'll all be happier.

Don't knock it, it worked for the US auto ind...oh (1)

jabithew (1340853) | about 6 years ago | (#24873531)

...all for a job that could be outsourced tomorrow. 'Is it finally time for technology workers to form a union[?]

You can do the latter if you desire to hasten the former.

It worked out well for IBM employees (1)

NullProg (70833) | about 6 years ago | (#24873539)

http://www.channelregister.co.uk/2008/01/23/ibm_techies_get_pay_cut_overtime/ [channelregister.co.uk]

No thanks.
Even though I occasionally work long hours, I enjoy the flex time I'm granted. I like being well paid based on the merits of my work and not the union pay scale.

Enjoy,

Get a job in public sector. (3, Informative)

MistrBlank (1183469) | about 6 years ago | (#24873541)

I'm in IT and in the public sector represented by the CWA. The pay is crap but I work 5 days a week seven hours a day (plus an hour lunch) and get paid OT or time and a half back for extra work hours. I make more than enough to live.

Union can be a bitch (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873549)

Union can be a bitch

Say programmer X gets a promotion because he is good @ his job. The Union may bitch about it and look into the matter closely even if there is no need to.

Be good @ what you do. Be updated and keep learning while working.

the field is too fluid (2, Insightful)

circletimessquare (444983) | about 6 years ago | (#24873555)

a teenager could be more knowledgable and do a better job at a certain technology than a guy in his 30s

meanwhile, if you are talking acting, or steelworking, fields that are unionized, your set of methods is pretty standard and unchanging

what this means is that barriers to entry can be established, means to control who gets in and out of the workforce, seniority can take hold, and unionization becomes effective

unionization is not effective when who you are hiring for what is still such a fluid skillset in IT work. today's buzzword technology is tomorrow's joke

comparisons to associations such as in law or medicine are not applicable either, because again, these fields are ossified into pretty rigid standardizations of education and certification

no one is going to lecture the guy on intellectual property law who works in the field, and certainly not a nonlawyer. but a teenager could very much lecture a thirty year old on the properties and methods of a new toolset library

therefore, without any rigid system of seniority, unionization is frutless

which is kind fo good i guess. IT, at least until (if ever) its technology skillset hardens, is a pure meritocracy. and that will be reflected in payscale as well, so there is no need to unionize, just get very good very quick at the next big thing

Yes, tech workers need unions (4, Insightful)

nysus (162232) | about 6 years ago | (#24873557)

Yes. It is the corporate DNA to pay workers as little as the can get away with and produce as much work from workers as possible. That's just the nature of capitalism. By joining a union, workers can push back against being treated as nothing more than a disposable tool.

Are unions perfect? Of course not. But neither is anything institution run by mortals. But like anything, you have to weigh all the advantages and disadvantages.

There's no question unions have brought more balance to laissez faire capitalism. Unfortunately, they have become victims of their own success. Health care, vacation pay, pensions, 40 hour work weeks, overttime, health and safet regs, etc. All of these were the result of workers pooling their money and getting themselves political muscle. Believe me, it wasn't given to them. Ask you grandfather or great grandfather who got his head cracked open with a club for participating in a strike.

Unfortunately, it's in most people's nature to be sheep and be complacent to try to protect what they have. Why risk your job by going against the company's wishes to remain union free. It won't be until workers really feel the sting of boots on their necks grinding them into the pavement will workers actually get pissed off enough to fight back.

So, look for your hours to get even longer, your paychecks to shrink even more, and lose more benefits before unions can become a reality.

But ff they were smart, and could learn to stick together (get over that rugged individualism bullshit they like to believe), techs could do a lot for themselves here and now.

I should know. I'm a union guy working in the tech industry.

not really needed (1)

papabob (1211684) | about 6 years ago | (#24873567)

You only have to make yourself responsible of your work, as its done in every other career. I don't see medics, architects or civil engeeners working with highly mutable specifications, changing departament every two weeks or excusing a bug because "it's impossible to make a program bug-free". And they are respected and suffer near zero intrusion in their work (until something goes terrible wrong, of course)

Until somebody took responsabilities for an IT work, bussineses will not have any reason to not outsourcing or hire just-left-college guys to get the work done. It's simply cheaper and they get the same chances that nobody will make responsible of failures.

PS: obviously there are experienced workers that could make a difference in a project, but they are highly outnumbered by those who couldn't, and unions only give advantages for the later ones.

Find another job! (1)

taskiss (94652) | about 6 years ago | (#24873573)

The only way you can be taken advantage of, is if you allow it. Keep your skills current and your resume brushed up and put the crap behind you. Just sure you you identify the reason you are leaving so the industry as a whole wises up.

Perspective, please (0, Redundant)

stewbacca (1033764) | about 6 years ago | (#24873585)

Woe is me, the IT professional tethered to a BlackBerry 24/7. Seriously, have some perspective.

New Idea: *Skill* union (1)

TheGrapeApe (833505) | about 6 years ago | (#24873587)

Personally, I believe that *trade* unions, as such, are often misunderstood and trash-talked in the U.S. Everyone seems to have a story about the "lazy cousin/uncle" they knew that collected a fat check every month for doing nothing because of a "big bad union"; And they use that anecdote to justify their idea that unions should be abolished - conveninetly forgetting that were it not for other Americans that literally gave their lives for the right to organize as workers - *they* would have started working in a sweat shop at the age of 9, probably not had the opportunity to go attend college, and been subjected to dangerous and long hours to eek out a living in abject poverty.

I want to make it abundantly clear that I am not a member of that intelectually myopic camp. That being said, however, I don't believe that the model of the trade union really fits I.T. that well. I think we would be better served by a professional organization...let's call it a *skill* union; It would primarily exist so that I.T. workers could share information about employers...We would be so much more respected if employers knew that when they pulled the "We're going to replace you with offshoring" crap that others in the I.T. field would learn about it - that they would not be able to do this with impunity with regards to the opinions of other I.T. professionals without whom their operations would ground to a halt.

nonono (4, Informative)

thermian (1267986) | about 6 years ago | (#24873599)

Unions aren't a good idea any more. When they first started up, employee's had very few rights. Now the rights unions fought for are enshrined in law.

A union won't save your job, and to be frank, if you're job is at a high risk of being outsourced, or management is being retarded then you need to get a new job, because just as you have the 'right' to walk out in protest, an employee has the right to save their business by dropping you as an employee for any reason and going elsewhere.

Unfair dismissal doesn't work if you put their business at risk by striking, even if you have a union telling you to do it, not any more.

There is also the fact that employers need not employ anyone who is in a union. Join/form one if you like, but after the first time you 'punish' a company, I'd bet actual English pounds that none of your members will work in the IT industry again.

I was a member of a union when I was a teenager. The damn thing nearly fucked me by saying we had to go on strike. I didn't want to, I had rent and a bike to pay for, and the last thing I needed was no pay for a week, or even a few days.

Luckily the strike was averted because the management pretty much said 'sure, go ahead and leave, but you won't get the pay rise anyway, and you put your jobs at risk if the factory closes for long'. Seemed fair to me.

Union = Monopoly (3, Insightful)

alyosha1 (581809) | about 6 years ago | (#24873601)

Given that the whole point of a union is to create a monopoly on one form of labour, I'd have to say the idea is laughable.

I think most slashdotters agree that monopolies=bad, and in a field as fluid and as locationally independent as IT, I'd add that monopoly of labour = impossible, as well. This isn't coal mining or manufacturing, where it might be feasible to completely control the labour supply in a city.

As a provider of IT services, I'm quite content to sell my services to the highest bidder, and I've had no problems funding a comfortable lifestyle doing so.

As a consumer of IT services, I glad when I have the freedom to choose the best individual or company for the services I want. It's bad enough when there's only a single provider of, say, operating systems or cable internet available. Restricting the supply of labour further would not improve things.

Remember Weekends? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873615)

Does anyone here remember weekends? Do you remember not having to work on the weekends? That's the sort of this unions can achieve. Just because some people have abused power in the past doesn't mean that giving workers a say in how they are treated is a bad thing. On the other hand it does take a willingness to stand up for yourself and take risks, both of which are qualities that I've not seen in abundance in this industry.

Unions over my dead body... (1, Insightful)

tjstork (137384) | about 6 years ago | (#24873621)

I'm a white, Republican American and I'm in favor of H1-B immigration as it raises the overall American experience.

My experience with unions is that they culturally favor the least capable workers at the expense of the most... unions are about, people who "put in the most time" are the ones that should get the most pay... even when they are honestly run, and I think they aren't. I just unions as a stupid and useless voice for collective action in IT and we are being babies.

You know, those of us who complain about working conditions need to take a look at those around us who don't sit in an air conditioned office and type stuff into a box. Go walk into a car plant or a coal mine, and you'll see what jobs do suck.

We're spoiled, and we're lazy, and that's why people are finding people that can do our jobs cheaper than we can, and our jobs are -easy-, which is why everyone in the world with half a brain wants one.

Ability to fire (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873623)

If I have a coworker who is not pulling their load I want them to be fired in a timely manner. A union would inhibit this.

Really? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#24873629)

Hmmm, people are worried that IT jobs are about to be outsourced and they still want to create an IT union?

Are you kidding?

Do you know why jobs are outsourced?

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>