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Escapist Calls For Industry Unionization

Zonk posted more than 8 years ago | from the fight-for-the-right- dept.

Businesses 100

amitlu writes "In the Friday edition of the Escapist, Joe Blancato challenges the industry to compare itself to skilled labor of the past, and says it's time to organize. From the article: 'If we continue at the rate we're going, we're either going to be worrying about a bunch of college-aged kids with computer science degrees working at McDonald's, too disillusioned to continue in their chosen field or worse, the position they previously held was moved overseas to a more bottom line-friendly locale. For the sake of trying to save money on production costs, why not ship off art production to Romania? Or customer service to India? But to paraphrase the old cliché: First they came for the artists, and I said nothing...'"

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too bad it won't work... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794374)

It's going to be cheaper to outsource to india then to hire union labor...

Re:too bad it won't work... (1)

tempest69 (572798) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794948)

Maybe the article was intended for those Indian cogs in the wheel. or rather maybe it should be. The age where location has meaning is eroding. Just because were losing jobs to people overseas doesnt mean that we assume that they should work a sweatshop either.

Re:too bad it won't work... (1)

dbrutus (71639) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795792)

There's wage inflation in Indian outsourcing. There's too much work and not enough labor so companies are bidding up salaries for the really good talent. Heck, there's wage inflation in PRC factories lately. When you lower the price of something, you increase demand. That tends to suck up supply. It's as true of Romanian C programmers as it is of soap. Their wages are going to rise in a very nice arbitrage deal for them.

Re:too bad it won't work... (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795614)

I believe the idea is to orgainize vertically forcing companies to outsource all of their employees or none at all. A union would also have the ability to give outsources bad PR.

Re:too bad it won't work... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13796845)

I'd like to see the kind of games that come out of Indian outsource shops. I know the IT work they do is shit already. And we all know IT is so complex. Jesus, a high schooler should be able to do that kind of development work.

Re:too bad it won't work... (2, Interesting)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 8 years ago | (#13798548)

Simple rule of economics. You can price yourself out of a market. Todays software engineers are the autoworkers of yesteryear. Some old coder will look up one day and realize he doesn't have a field to work in anymore. Pay attention to the world around you and ALWAYS continue education and expansion of your experience. Look out coders, someone's moving your cheese.

Re:too bad it won't work... (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 8 years ago | (#13801188)

Very true.

Further, software jobs shifting overseas are transitioning into not existing anymore for anyone but will be automated.

The future of human endeavor is in three fields - science, engineering, and art - all fields that lend themselves to entreprenurialism and international markets.

crackerjack journalists (1)

MBraynard (653724) | more than 8 years ago | (#13806684)

Why doesn't the 'Escapist', who can't manage to get enough funding to make a print edition yet seems to think they know the best business practices for a $10 billion industry, try to unionize it's own writers and then let us know how splendidly that improved things.

Yea (4, Insightful)

ClownsScareMe (840001) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794427)

To curb outsourcing?

Right, because union workers are much more attractive hires.

Re:Yea (2, Informative)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794509)

You really don't understand how unions work do you?

You first get a whole group of similar laborers together to stand together against employers.

Then, when the employers threaten to not hire them, the union goes to the politicians and tells them that their union has enough votes to make or break their election. At this point the union muscles the politician into creating laws prohibiting the outsourcing of this type of labor, or the hiring of non-union labor.

If the union does not have enough votes to change the election itself, it generally does have enough resources to campaign against said politican and create a real problem. How would you like to be labeled as a politician that did nothing to prevent the outsourcing of jobs, and could be argued was pro-outsourcing? Thats all it would take.

For the employer, non-union labor is almost always more attractive, but they can't use them. Check out construction workers and Taxi drivers in New York. Or perhaps you should take a look at Bell South.

Re:Yea (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794668)

it generally does have enough resources to campaign against said politican and create a real problem

But only if said polictician is a Republican.

Re:Yea (2, Insightful)

TykeClone (668449) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794765)

For the employer, non-union labor is almost always more attractive, but they can't use them. Check out construction workers and Taxi drivers in New York. Or perhaps you should take a look at Bell South.

That's the difference between right to work states and non-right to work states. Places like New York and Illinois can force you to join a union if you want to work in a union shop.

Unions in right-to-work states (2, Interesting)

kingsmedley (796795) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795144)


That's the difference between right to work states and non-right to work states.


Yes, that's true. But even though right-to-work legislation makes it harder to form a union, it does not by default mean a union cannot be successful. I work in a union shop in a right-to-work state, and the union is still capable of successfully negotiating a new contract. The majority of workers here are members of the union, and the beauty of it is that they were not forced to join. It demonstrates to management just how strong the resolve of the workers is on a given issue.

My point is, a union can still have clout in a right-to-work state. New hires have a choice to join or not, but they are still working under the union contract, and therefore still entitled to its protections and benefits.

Re:Yea (1)

Joe Blancato (923009) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794828)

Hi there. Wrote the article and thought I'd hop in. What Irish Samurai is saying is correct. The union itself provides a simple means through which skilled workers can lobby legislators, which sadly is the only way to effect change anymore. I briefly alluded to it in the article, but the chunk where I spoke further about how such action could curb outsourcing ended up being cut for use in another article. I realize a lot of the negative connotations unions can take on, but in industries where unions have _never_ existed, many corporations (like EA, et al) are able to treat their employees however they like. See ea_spouse's commentary on that. Quite simply, programmers are treated poorly in many situations because they're viewed as expendable. They need fair representation, and since folk heroes don't really catch on like they used to, collective bargaining is in order.

Re:Yea (1)

drakaan (688386) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795007)

Quite simply, programmers are treated poorly in many situations because they're viewed as expendable.

So, unionizing changes that how, exactly?

The reality is that they *are* expendable, to a point. Many outsourced programming jobs have come right back to the states after the companies that thought they were going to be saving tons of money realized the overhead associated with having a remote development team that was not easily supervisable, and might not have been able to communicate effectively with the PHBs in the US that hired them.

There are several factors conspiring to decrease the attractiveness of overseas programmers getting jobs from US companies: rising wages in said countries (especially India), communications problems, logistics issues, quality assurance, project management...

You are attempting to make the argument that when directed by an organization that they must belong to, the programmers (who tend to be wired into the decision-making process already) will be demanding more from their prospective employers. How would you convince these prospective members that they would have better employment opportunities by creating a situation that actually tips the balance of attractiveness *back* towards outsourcing?

Unions are useful to workers in situations where the workers involved cannot speak effectively for themselves, but programmers are not one of those groups.

Re:Yea (1)

Hast (24833) | more than 8 years ago | (#13807651)

Quite simply, programmers are treated poorly in many situations because they're viewed as expendable.

So, unionizing changes that how, exactly?

By grouping together people it becomes easier (or even possible) to make the situation better for all programmers.

Now I realise that the idea of thinking of a group of poeple goes against the American "ME ME ME!" thinking; but by being to egoistic you are making things worse for yourself in the long run. Becuase when it comes down to it you can always find someone that is willing to work for less than you are. And guess what, that means you lose.

Furthermore I don't think you'll see as much extreme unionising in the developer community as with other more "blue collar" workplaces. Even in Sweden (the land of rabid communists and islamic fundamentalist according to Fox) there are a lot of non-unionised developers. Just as you state most people in those occupations have more education and are in general less likely to take some crap than others. But even those that don't get some benefits from unions.

Basically you get someone that is trying to help you when the shit hits the fan. If you get in legal problems with an employer they can help you. If you want help with getting a job (how to act on interviews etc) they can help you. They also help you organise for unemployment pay and pension.

Now you can do all that yourself, but it can also be worth not dealing with it.

Besides, if a company uses the "It's too expensive here, feel sorry for us!" excuse to outsource they are going to outsource anyways. For some reason outsourcing seems most popular in the US which is not the most expensive place to employ people in. Companies in Europe seem to understand that the bottom line on the paper is not necessarily the best way to measure productivity.

I guess it's the "Me me me!" thing again.

Re:Yea (1)

drakaan (688386) | more than 8 years ago | (#13811532)

By grouping together people it becomes easier (or even possible) to make the situation better for all programmers.

Ideally, yes. In theory, there's no difference between theory and reality. In reality, there is...

Now I realise that the idea of thinking of a group of poeple goes against the American "ME ME ME!" thinking; but by being to egoistic you are making things worse for yourself in the long run. Becuase when it comes down to it you can always find someone that is willing to work for less than you are. And guess what, that means you lose.

Right. So, all we have to do is get all of those programmers to suspend their ego and submit to the decisions of an overriding authority.

Voluntarily.

I sense a divergence between theory and reality...

Besides, if a company uses the "It's too expensive here, feel sorry for us!" excuse to outsource they are going to outsource anyways.

True, but those aren't the ones that matter. They'll outsource, miss deadlines, make shoddy products, have lag in fixin bugs, trouble with QA, and either die a slow death, or reverse their stance on outsourcing. Over time, those offshore wages are rising, too. If they're saying "feel sorry for us", they're not going to be around long.

The company will pay what the market dictates. When programmers are in demand (or ditch-diggers, or pilots, or tire assembly-line workers), they get more money...this is pushing wages up overseas, and reducing the comparative attractiveness of price there. That *plus* the benefits of language, location, and oversight end up killing the practice of outsourcing programming jobs.

Unions force software companies with global competitors into charging higher prices for the same goods (assuming the union works for more compensation or benefits for the programmers). That either causes some programmers to get fired, or forces the company out of business. You can't make a copy of a car and sell it easily. With software, you can. There's much less room for overhead.

For some reason outsourcing seems most popular in the US which is not the most expensive place to employ people in. Companies in Europe seem to understand that the bottom line on the paper is not necessarily the best way to measure productivity.

Well, we're talking specifically about software, and beyond that, we're talking about being able to keep paying employees who write software, not just making massive profit (Microsoft aside...but then, they pay programmers fairly well).

If you want massive consolidation and mergers, higher priced software, and less choice, then yes, unions make sense. I'd rather be free to choose my employer, and have them pay me what I think I'm worth than get to pick between "the big three" and make whatever the union says I should be making.

Re:Yea (1)

Rayonic (462789) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795028)

Check out construction workers and Taxi drivers in New York. Or perhaps you should take a look at Bell South.

Construction workers! Taxi drivers! Infrastructure maintainers!

What do they all have in common? None of them can be done by a guy 1000 miles away. New York cab drivers have to work in New York. This is the labor equivalent of a captive audience. So congratulations, unions can make companies that have no other choice pay through the nose. Meanwhile most other businesses will give you the finger and move operations overseas.

Re:Yea (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795143)

Construction workers! Taxi drivers! Infrastructure maintainers!

What do they all have in common? None of them can be done by a guy 1000 miles away. New York cab drivers have to work in New York. This is the labor equivalent of a captive audience. So congratulations, unions can make companies that have no other choice pay through the nose.


Leveraging your position to make more money is a mainstay of ANY business, deal with it. why should we feel sorry for the business when it gets put into a compromising position in relation to who it has to employ, but we can't call them on it for doing the very same thing by being the sole licensee of a franchise? (EA and NFL).

Come on man, if an incorporated entity can unify with other incorporated identities to form a conglomerate for the purpose of exerting leverage, then the damn workers who support that whole pyramid on the bottom can do it too.

The argument that corporations and companies being forced to pay certain wages and fulfill workplace standards by their workers as unfair is crap. These same entities have no problem leveraging licenses, outlet placements, marketing space, and LOBBYISTS to do the same thing - get more money for themselves. Is it because the leverage is being exerted ultimately by the government on the business, is that the where the OK/NOT OK line is drawn?

Don't respond with some crazy "you're just a pro-union lefty who's ignorant about business" response, because I'm not. The bottom line is that this is about money. The entity being forced to pony up is always going to bitch, and that is expected. Just don't expect me to buy into this "we're victims" mentality.

If anyone wants to play in the business arena, be prepared to cope with others forcing your hand to increase thier profit.

Re:Yea (1)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 8 years ago | (#13796930)

Just don't expect me to buy into this "we're victims" mentality.

The whole American economy is a victim of this shakedown bullshit. Thankfully the recent Delphi bankruptcy is going to break the back of the Auto Workers Union and bring some sense into the world. The AFL/CIO splitoff earlier this year was also a good development.

Not because it is anti-Union (the AFL/CIO controversey was actually pro-worker since the thrust of it was that the International was fucking around with electoral politics instead of working on the workers' behalf so some of the member unions broke off to focus on real labor concerns) but because there need to be 'corrections' from time to time that pitch 'top down operators' off their high horse.

Re:Yea (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#13796457)

Depends on who the politicans are. If you've got someone like Thatcher in, unions are just going to speed the downfall.

Other industries have large unions, yet jobs are being outsourced there. You can't unionise against economic reality. Just ask the miners.

Re:Yea (1)

pudge (3605) | more than 8 years ago | (#13809647)

Right. Unions hurt the economy. They are anti-capitalist. They are a terrible idea for everyone involved except for the workers who get to be overpaid and the politicians they've bought.

If there is a serious problem with workers being taken advantage of, then it may be worth it. But that's certainly not the case here.

Sorry, I believe in capitalism too much, and I am not selfish enough, to believe in unionizing programmers. And there's no way in hell I would ever join. And that's the great thing about our industry: I'm not nearly alone. Too many of us are too independent for this to work, because there will always be plenty of us scabs around.

Re:Yea (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13810488)

Nice to see that you are able to ignore facts and reality enough to "believe" in Capitalism as if it were a religion.

Re:Yea (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 8 years ago | (#13816462)

That is a very real and interesting social point against unionizing developers. I think in this case though, the author of the article was only speaking about video game developers - who get treated like shit at EA.

Now, to reinforce your point, there are probably plenty of kids with programming skils who will cross the line just to say they program video games. This social group is very fanatical, to the point that it is their only goal to work in games regardless of the environment.

My origininal post is not in favor nor against unionizing labor. I think it is a case by case basis. On the side of bad we have the pilots unions at Delta that are about to fuck the tax payers out of a whole bunch of cash that they forced their employer to offer in their benefits - they went too far and now we have to foot the bill. On the other side of the coin, there are the labor unions for places like Kroger and WalMart making sure the quite often young and undereducated workers don't get treated like slaves.

The major difference being the labor pool to draw from. Pilots are not a dime a dozen, so a union for them seems kind of like overkill. But the foot soldiers at most large scale retailors can be replaced in a day, so their leverage is not so strong - plus they wield considerably less economic power when compared to pilots.

At the end of the day though, it is still about money, and I do not subscribe to any argument that says unions are anti-capitalistic. Capitalism is an economic system based on private ownership of capital, in the case of unions that capital is the labor. Instead of calling it a union call it a labor conglomerate. This is no different than companies forming their own conglomerates to exert leverage on the free market. SOme of these conglomerates force too much leverage and break the system and some find just the right amount to increase gains yet keep the system viable.

Not likley to take quite yet... (1)

LordZardoz (155141) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794497)

Many development studios are in a somewhat tenuous position. If they suddenly have no projects, they will implode. While there are some developers that will basically ream their employees to turn a quick buck, most developers dont try to deliberatly schedule a death march. But if the cash reserves are low, the dev studio is in a corner. At the end of any contract negotiation between a developer and a publisher, you basically hit a point where you have X amount of Dollars, or Y amount of Time to make a game of Z content.

Scenario A:
The Developer can try to do a death march, and heap on the uncompensated over time. The project has a shot at being done on time. This makes the publishers happy, and the employees homicidal. The resulting game usually sucks.

Scenario B:
The Developer can instead try to let everyone stick to reasonable hours, and do the best they can in the time alloted. If the scope of the game is too large, at some point, a mile stone is missed. The employees are content, and the publisher is furious. So the publisher withholds payment, and the Developer cannot make payroll. The game is aborted, and the developer cannot find new projects because they have no credibility.

The only thing I see a union accomplishing is making Scenario B happen more often.

END COMMUNICATION

Re:Not likley to take quite yet... (1)

kingsmedley (796795) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795272)


The only thing I see a union accomplishing is making Scenario B happen more often.


People too often assume that a union by nature is contrary to the goals of management. Even when workers are upset with their employers over an issue, they rarely want the employer to perform badly in the marketplace. Over the last 20 years or so, we have seen more frequently unions and mangement working toward common goals successfully. Where I work, the union recognizes that management will at times need more hours from it's workers. So there are provisions in our contract for us to work extra hours, and in return for this sacrifice of time the company agrees to pay us extra. This way the company has that extra labor on tap if needed, but there is a mechanism in place (the additional pay) that will discourage the company from abusing this resource.

If a union should form in this industry, it will have to be sensitive to the needs of management as well as the workers in order to be successful. Because if the restrictions of a union-negotiated contract kills off a developer, the workers at other companies WILL NOT form another local.

Re:Not likley to take quite yet... (1)

PhoenixOne (674466) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795601)

If Scenario B happen more often maybe the project managers would learn to write a feasible schedule.

My experience has been that too many project managers take the fact that they can always fall back on Scenario A (death march). In fact, some special a-holes actually schedule the death march from the beginning.

Missing the point (2, Interesting)

mugnyte (203225) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794515)


This topic comes around now and then. Sadly, skilled labor is more apt to follow the metaphor that "information wants to be free" than nonskilled labor solidarity slogans.

The knowledge to write good code isn't a secret. If you can get it better elsewhere ("better" being a very subjective and detailed term) then do it!

If programming comes outsourced and completely shuffled around to the lowest labor market, I'd be delighted to see requirements/process achieve this capability. And of course, I'd start to look for a newer industry to keep my standard of living. But in the end, there's no bullying a global market into not trying to get the cheapest price. It's doing it now and examining the quality - with mixed results.

Unions (1)

Mark_MF-WN (678030) | more than 8 years ago | (#13796170)

Unions don't make sense for a lot of types of skilled labour. Professional associations are often superior (although they have their own problems -- check out the chronic shortage of nurses in Canada).

It's a shame that no one has come up with a way to do better, combining the best aspects of a free labour market with worker empowerment.

What about the political donations (4, Insightful)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794526)

Joining a union is pretty much pledging a portion of your salary to the DNC. I don't need that mess.

Re:What about the political donations (2, Informative)

kingsmedley (796795) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795316)


Joining a union is pretty much pledging a portion of your salary to the DNC. I don't need that mess


Sigh. I agree, the use of dues for political contributions is a big problem. But we are seeing more often states passing laws that prohibit unions from using member's dues in this manner without their written consent. I hope to see this continue - simply because they are union members does not mean they are all behind any particular party, and therefore their money should be used to fund causes they don't believe in.

Re:What about the political donations (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13806280)

But we are seeing more often states passing laws that prohibit unions from using member's dues in this manner without their written consent.

Funny those laws don't apply to businesses that donate to political parties.

Re:What about the political donations (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795643)

What if your wages were higher than they are now even after you had to pay union dues? And then there's less-tangible benefits like job security and knowing you'll get 150% after 40 hours.

Re:What about the political donations (2, Insightful)

dbrutus (71639) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795831)

Can I have a pony with that scenario?

The truth is that pathologically dysfunctional governments have created a huge labor market imbalance. Every time some country starts getting decent governance, that labor market imbalance is going to get unwound with lower 1st world wages (or lower increases than otherwise if we work our tails off increasing productivity) and better 3rd world wages until the imbalance is normalized for the skills/experience gap.

A union doesn't help your skills or your experience. It just cranks up that gap so that the balance point is going to be more jobs over there instead of here. The balance is going to happen one way or another. I'd rather not artificially rase the unemployment rate here by promoting unionization.

Re:What about the political donations (1)

Guppy06 (410832) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795913)

"Every time some country starts getting decent governance,"

Which government? If by "decent government" you mean "turns a blind eye to businesses forcibly putting down organized labor," you have a point. After all, the mighty China is where it is today by converting elementary schools into fireworks factories and coal mines that seem to blow up and/or collapse based on a weekly schedule.

India may be a democracy, but they still have enforcement problems as Union Carbide was kind enough to point out.

These businesses aren't moving away solely because the foreign governments are improving but because there's still exploitable holes in the system. The general improvement is simply useful to get the federal government to normalize trade relations.

Lower first-world wages is one thing, but no wages, thanks to unemployment, is something else. At least some examples of organized labor have consented to pay cuts in order to save a business or an industry (such as what we're seeing in airlines, but whether or not that's helped any is debatable.

"A union doesn't help your skills or your experience."

That's not the point of unionization. The point of unionization is to establish a balance of power, using the laws of supply and demand to get concessions from employers that they would not otherwise get. Job training and the like are just perks.

Were the EA employers suing because they weren't getting "skills" or "experience," or because they were disposable and too disorganized to even seek enforcement of existing labor laws?

"The balance is going to happen one way or another."

Then it's a question of on whose terms this change is going to happen. We can have the status quo, with outsourcing coupled with skyrocketing executive salaries, or unorganized workers can establish new unions to make sure that, though paid less, at least have an income.

Re:What about the political donations (1)

dbrutus (71639) | more than 8 years ago | (#13824412)

Decent governance is that you can't be expropriated from your property without just compensation because you actually own it instead of just squatting for decades without any security or inheritability. That's a huge problem in Latin America. Decent governance means that if you have an idea and start up a business to make that idea into a product or service nobody comes up to you and blows your brains out or sends you to prison which was a huge problem all over the communist world. Decent governance means that you don't have to pass out bribes like candy to get anything done. There are other things but this should do.

Nothing on my list should twig the sensibilities of anybody who isn't a communist wanna be. All of them are or have been sources of huge destruction or locking up of real wealth. All of them are on the wane for various reasons which means that a lot of people are coming into the world market and they're going to arbitrage out our economic advantage.

We're in the unenviable position of Alice in Wonderland's Red Queen. We too will have to run as fast as we can merely to stay in place. To get ahead, we'll have to run twice as fast as that. That's going to continue to happen so long as these labor imbalances continue to unwind. And unwinding those imbalances is a very good thing. All the messy future scenarios people dream up in national security planning assume that we don't unwind those imbalances and the stresses lead to war, plague, and a host of other very bad things.

I look forward to the day when the general PRC labor price starts to rise. In spots, it's already happening. They're starting to run out of the most exploitable labor resources, young, unattached farm girls moving in to the big city. I suspect we're in the last decade when the "China price" is going to strike fear into the hearts of manufacturers all over the world. The PRC and India are the last big chunks. Everything else from here on in is a smaller pill to swallow.

Re:What about the political donations (2, Insightful)

Halfbaked Plan (769830) | more than 8 years ago | (#13796943)

What if your wages were higher than they are now even after you had to pay union dues?

No matter HOW much more I then make, I object to a slice of my earnings going to a particular 'wing' of politics that I might not agree with.

It's a moot point though. The AFL/CIO now knows what the outcome was of fucking around with electoral politics instead of sticking to workers' issues. Hopefully the split-off unions will now focus more on what matters to their dues paying membership.

Re:What about the political donations (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13806254)

No matter HOW much more I then make, I object to a slice of my earnings going to a particular 'wing' of politics that I might not agree with.

So you must be self employed then, or work for a small company...because the vast majority of companies ARE politically active at the local, state or federal level.

It's a moot point though. The AFL/CIO now knows what the outcome was of fucking around with electoral politics instead of sticking to workers' issues. Hopefully the split-off unions will now focus more on what matters to their dues paying membership.

Hmm, the Republican party generally opposes anything that gets in the way of businesses making money, and thus are opposed to things like workers rights, saftey regulations and the minimum wage. Whereas the Democratic party is generally for all those things. So let me guess: you flunked math, didn't you?

Re:What about the political donations (0, Troll)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13806264)

So you must be self employed then, or work for a small company...because the vast majority of companies ARE politically active at the local, state or federal level.

Oh, and I was going to add: at least with a union, you can democratically vote on where this money goes. Good luck having a say in where corporate donations go, unless you are a major shareholder.

and this is different from big business...how? (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13806204)

Working for any sizeable business pretty much guarantees that the work you do will fund lobbying for one or both parties. So do you refuse to work for any company that does political lobbying, or was that just another retarded, boiler plate anti-union argument that doesn't stand up to a few seconds of scruitiny?

Re:and this is different from big business...how? (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#13806356)

Actually, I work for myself, and I do no lobbying or political donating at all. The last time I worked for a large company, I was also in a union, so I guess that balanced out.

I see your point, but I don't agree - mainly because when a corporation uses its own money to do political activity. After all, I don't believe people are in the practice of paying a company for the privilege of working there. You may want to turn your scorn toward customers - they seem to fit the parallel much better.

Incidentally, using the word 'retarded' to make your point goes a long way toward robbing you of your credibility. If your position cannot be expressed without disparaging the opposition, you might be just a little too emotionally invested to be making arguments in a public forum.

Re:and this is different from big business...how? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13806476)

Well, maybe if you weren't a retard that guy would not have needed to call you one.

Re:and this is different from big business...how? (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13877657)

I see your point, but I don't agree - mainly because when a corporation uses its own money to do political activity.

The only difference between a copororate donation and a union donation is the first is direct while the latter is indirect. Either way, the money still comes from your efforts as a worker. And as I added later, at least with a union you get a say in where that money goes.

Incidentally, using the word 'retarded' to make your point goes a long way toward robbing you of your credibility. If your position cannot be expressed without disparaging the opposition, you might be just a little too emotionally invested to be making arguments in a public forum.

LOL. You should go to England sometime, and take note of how people can be incredibly nasty to eachother while being perfectly polite at the same time. I will at least call you a retard to your face, and there *are* a lot of retarded, boilerplate, anti-union arugments out there.

Re:and this is different from big business...how? (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#13877915)

I see the problem here - there's a fundamental difference in our thinking. You think anyone that doesn't agree with your opinion about the way the world works is retarded. That's all well and good, I guess.

I still contend you're wrong - the money a corporation has is not the money of its workers. You can try to put forth your opinion, but opinion doesn't influence fact, and what I've stated is a fact in a capitalist economy. In any case, I'm self-consistent, because I work for me.

I will at least call you a retard to your face

As much as you want to believe this is a virtue, it isn't.

and there *are* a lot of retarded, boilerplate, anti-union arugments out there.

That holds for pro-union arguments, as well. This particular pro-union argument used the perfect solution fallacy [wikipedia.org] in an attempt to invalidate what I put forth.

Re:and this is different from big business...how? (1)

Scudsucker (17617) | more than 8 years ago | (#13878039)

You think anyone that doesn't agree with your opinion about the way the world works is retarded.

Ah yes, putting words in my mouth. Even the English have straw men, I guess. Of course, your attempt to be clever goes down in flames given the fact that I never actually called you a retard. Only a retard would have missed that.

I still contend you're wrong - the money a corporation has is not the money of its workers. You can try to put forth your opinion, but opinion doesn't influence fact,

The "fact" is that I covered this already. One is direct while the other is indirect. A union will take it's chunk straight out of check, whereas lobbying means a company has less money to pay you, pay out in profit sharing, or pay out in dividends.

And besides, the fact that you keep ignoring is that with a union, you get a say in where that money goes. And if you still don't like it, there's the option advocated by pro-buisness people: quit and find a different job.

As much as you want to believe this is a virtue, it isn't.

It's better than being a hypocritical snob.

This particular pro-union argument used the perfect solution fallacy in an attempt to invalidate what I put forth.

Find where someone said unions were perfect, or that was a perfect waste of time.

Re:and this is different from big business...how? (1)

heinousjay (683506) | more than 8 years ago | (#13878100)

Ah yes, putting words in my mouth. Even the English have straw men, I guess. Of course, your attempt to be clever goes down in flames given the fact that I never actually called you a retard. Only a retard would have missed that.

Cute rhetoric. Doesn't really get you any points, but cute.

Again, you're arguing to some point that I never made. My original post simply stated that joining a union meant that you were making a defacto donation to the DNC. You haven't refuted that at all, you've just tried to side step it with politician-style debating techniques.

For example, had you read the link I provided regarding the 'perfect solution fallacy,' you'd understand that what I meant is that it is a logical fallacy to say "Working for any sizeable business pretty much guarantees that the work you do will fund lobbying for one or both parties," as a refutation of the fact that union money will overwhelmingly fund democrats. It's the same fallacy behind saying "Seat belts are useless because they aren't 100% effective." Just because a solution isn't optimal doesn't make it ineffective.

It's better than being a hypocritical snob.

When did that happen? Are you redefining things to match your worldview again?

Worst possible idea (4, Interesting)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794561)

Assume that the workers should own the means of production. Unions promote the status quo, without actually reaching that ideal. The good news is that the cost of starting up your own company and making games can be incredibly low. Every year several people leave EA and all the other big players to start their own company. This form of socialization I think works much better in the end than a union, who's interests are promoting their own existance and resisting changes to industry practices. What the industry needs more of is cheaper, faster and more equal access to consumers. Coming from a fairly socialist/communistic viewpoint, capitalism and entrepeneurship appear to maximize the social value.

Companies like EA have become large through vertical integration; they have developed retail channels to sell their products in, and it's not easy to get shelf space without EA or someone like EA. The internet helps solve the problem, as Valve is discovering. Whether we end up with a surplus of internet distribution methods for games or whether we get one or two is up to Valve, gamers, and the employees out there with the motivation to do what they want to do for THEMSELVES.

Re:Worst possible idea (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805006)

Once again, I put forth the idea of worker-owned companies that make it their business to treat their workers well rather than making a good bottom line for shareholders, who in this situation are the workers anyway. Worker ownership solves the labor/capital dispute by placing labor and capital into the same hands.

U.S. Federation of Worker Cooperatives [usworkercoop.org]

For those in Europe, see Mondragon Corporacion Cooperativa [mondragon.mcc.es] .

Re:Worst possible idea (1)

xenocide2 (231786) | more than 8 years ago | (#13806274)

You're acting as though shareholders never squabble amongst themselves. The worker coop idea is interesting within the knowledge worker domain, but there's always the battle between returning profits and investing them for the future. If anything, it simply magnifies this shareholder dispute between growth and returns on investment.

Furthermore, how do you divide up ownership of the profits? Are those not allowed? Do we simply allocate by hours spent on the job, or must we engage in a squabble about who's time is more valuable, who's smarter, who contributed more to paying startup costs, who has seniority, and who's more efficient? How do you organize and lead that cooperative? Do the workers have the right to leave the company and liscence the work they contributed to?

So? (2, Interesting)

Kaenneth (82978) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794562)

Do Americans have an innate right to a better financial situation than others in the world?

China, Brazil and many other governments are encouraging local software development for their own culture. Pretty soon those cheap tech-support guys in India will be supporting Indians using software written in India. Then the cost of hiring them might rise enough that it will once again be more economical to do things locally. Heck, if you think trying to understand what the Indian guy is saying is hard for you, think how hard your english is for them, all day, every day, for a fraction of your pay.

I already think it's more economical to use local support people in the long run, what with language barriars, and better accountability. Saving $2 on a support call won't matter when you lose too many paying customers. The bottom line of Outsourcing is that the providing companies make a profit, so that instead of paying $20 to an employee for $40 worth of work (if an employee isn't worth more to your company than you are paying, then you are losing money), you're paying $15, minus $5 for the Outsourcer, minus $5 for long distance, so $5 left for the worker for $10 worth of work. So you just lost money. (YMMV)

I also think it's our duty to help other cultures to progress in better ways, think of China, then think of the gas-hogging cars of the 60's/70's. If the worlds oil reserves, and the earths atmosphere is going to last for all of us, we had best help them skip over the Gasoline powered cars in every home phase, and go directly to electric/fuel cell automobiles, and the needed infrastructure.

To me, it boils down to that most americans think america is the best country in the world. I agree, but, I don't think that our Geography, our Genetics, our Religion, or our Language is ideal. What makes us the best is our Ideas, and an Idea costs us nothing to share, except our compedative advantage in other areas. But once they subscribe to our ideas, we win. Like McDonalds in Moscow.

Re:So? (1)

Cadallin (863437) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794687)

Zuh? Automobiles were a step backwards to begin with. They're mechanical horses. Progress is in mass transit. Trains, supported by Aircraft. In this respect, China is ALREADY more advanced than we are (having let our mass transit systems fall into decay and disrepair.) Americans have got to get over automobiles, they are a pointless luxury. I suspect when gasoline prices per gallon exceed the average hourly wage of many employees this fact will catch on rather quickly. Think about it this way, a gallon of gasoline in most places in the U.S. already costs more than half of the hourly minimum wage. I'd argue that cars are only sustainable as long a gallon of gas costs less than 25% of the hourly minimum wage.

Re:So? (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794911)

Cars allow for very dynamic changes in labor allocation because each day, each person can go directly to the place of employment of his/her choice. Harder to do with train/buses. This enables the economy to more rapidly shift labor resources when economic conditions change. This is an advantage. You notice that the chinese are buying cars as fast as they can afford them. Why don't they use their "most advanced" public transportation system instead of cars? And the chinese don't strike me as wasteful.

The reason why America has 1/27th of the world's population and produces about 1/4 of the world's GPD is that Americans know how to be efficient on a large scale. Cars are a very big part of that.

Back to the point: Unions are good when there is a monopoly of talent. Look at SAG (Screen Actor's Guild). They can only command high rates because the very best actors belong to the union. They are a huge problem for independent actors and independent filmmakers. A lot of work goes overseas (Can you say Canada, New Zealand) because the rules make operating in the US very expensive. Unions are a way to create a monopoly. Programmers, nay, Geeks, are fiercely independent, and eschew monopolies like the plague.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794990)

I wish I could be a lying sack of shit like you and be able to make up statistics whenever I felt like. To bad I am honest and a decent human being, unlike you!

Re:So? (1)

chris_mahan (256577) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795147)

GDP: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ranko rder/2001rank.html [cia.gov] . Ok, It's about 1/5th.

Population: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ranko rder/2119rank.html [cia.gov] Ok. It's about 1/22nd.

per capita: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/ranko rder/2004rank.html [cia.gov] We're highest with $40,100 per capita among countries with more than 50 million population, 1/3 higher than the next >50M pop. country, the UK, which has $29,600.

The US is second in GDP/capita only to Luxembourg, which has a population of 468,571. That's less than the San Fernando Valley (at 1.1 million). You tell me.

Re:So? (1)

drsquare (530038) | more than 8 years ago | (#13796481)

Automobiles are a step forwards. Mass transit is a poor compromise. It assumes everyone lives in exactly the same places and always wants to go to exactly the same places at exactly the same times, taking minimum baggage and no large or awkward objects.

Planes are not more efficient than cars except for very long distances. Trains are not a full transport solution as they require transportation to get there in the first place.

Busses are of little use. They are no use for instance to shift workers, or people who don't live on bus routes and only travel to places on the same bus route. They are no use for old fragile pensioners would who have to wait in the rain at bus stops occupied by criminals.

I'd argue that cars are only sustainable as long a gallon of gas costs less than 25% of the hourly minimum wage.

In the UK the cost of petrol is £4.54 per gallon, whereas the minimum wage is £5.05. This is 90%. And yet cars are sustainable.

So?-Idealism. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13795903)

"Do Americans have an innate right to a better financial situation than others in the world?"

For the answer to that question. Look at the policies of other countries. If the US don't have a right to a better situation? Then other countries policies likewise should reflect that philosophy towards other countries (how about India giving it up for China). I'll leave it to you to figure out why there's a discrepency between your idealism and reality.

Re:So? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13798421)

The bottom line of Outsourcing is that the providing companies make a profit, so that instead of paying $20 to an employee for $40 worth of work

You lost me. How can it be $40 worth of work if the employee is only asking for $20? Work does not have an inherent worth; it is determined by the borderless power of supply and demand.

Unionizing = MORE outsourcing (1, Redundant)

Momoru (837801) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794618)

So companies are shipping jobs overseas and willing to accept inferior work to save a few bucks, and you want to band together and start demanding better wages, job security and benefits? There is a reason GM, Delphi and Ford are in massive debt, and its mainly because unions ensure people screwing a screw into an armrest on your minivan get $28 an hour. If we unionized, more of the work would simply be shipped off. Why would I as an employer bother negotiating a collective bargaining agreement with my programmers when i can just have 100 more pakistanis or non unionized programmers do it?

Re:Unionizing = MORE outsourcing (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13796931)

If outsourcing was as good as the FUD claims there'd be very few jobs outside the retail and transportation sectors in most industrial nations. But there seem to be a lot of jobs available in the USA.

Unions are evil, Conservatards say so! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794730)

Conservatards claiming that Unions are the sole source of evil in the world (because they have one track minds and can only focus on one 'evil' at a time) in 3.2.1... Oh wait they are already here in force, just like always, but they'll still kvetch about /.'s 'liberul bias'.

Unions (2, Insightful)

Usquebaugh (230216) | more than 8 years ago | (#13794739)

There is no way I'll ever join a union.

I was forced into a closed shop when I was a teenager, never will I be a part of that again.

I'm all for a more equitable share of money but you don't get that with a union. All union does if give my money to somebody else who in return tells me I have to stop work!

I think the world needs a radical shake up in the labour market but it will not happen because people unionise. I doubt it will happen in the next fifty years. It will only happen when people grasp the idea of us all being one.

Re:Unions (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13794811)

Mod Parent down, -1 Dirty Commie!

USA! usa! USA! GOP! USA! usa! USA!

Re:Unions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13795133)

How dare you librul scum mod the parent down! The grand parent was spouting Marxist rhetoric, he should be reported to the Department of Homeland Security!

Re:Unions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13797132)

Please tell me, why would you like to see money shared more fairly? What's in it for you? What I want is more money to me and less money to everyone else. Guess what, most people agree with that and that's why capitalism kicks communisms' ass.

Re:Unions (1)

ivan256 (17499) | more than 8 years ago | (#13797276)

You've got it wrong. Everybody wants to see the wealth spread more fairly. They just have their own definition of 'fair'.

Re:Unions (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13798094)

Dear Not So Bright AC,

Communism is singular not plural and you have one hell of a comma fetish. Now, given that you are a capitalist shitbag, this is understandable, but those of us in the civilised world still think you are stupid.

Yours Faithfully,
Not A Hatemonger (like you are)

Cool, because we need... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13795290)

More games based on the Indian Mythology!

Fury of Vishnu 3!

Delphi (1)

Chemisor (97276) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795380)

Don't they read the news? Last week Delphi declared bankrupcy specifically to get rid of union laborers. All those union workers will now be forced to take pay cuts down to $10. It's a sure bet that other companies will follow suit with similar measures, just as they are now dumping pension benefits in emulation of the airlines. The days of the unions are clearly numbered, and only a fool would join one now.

Great Idea! (2, Insightful)

stevew (4845) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795811)

I think this is a marvelous idea, especially since it has worked so well in the past.

Look at how successful the Steal Workers (Unionized) were at saving their jobs!

Whoops - that didn't work did it?

They priced themselves right out of a globally competitive market. The same thing is happening in engineering, IT, and programming now-adays. There are well trained individuals willing to take less money that can do the job.

Uhm - it's called supply and demand. Capital goes to where the lowest cost of production is - simple economics....

Unionization is merely a method for one to stick one's head in the sand and say Hmmm..Hmmm...Hmmm...I can't hear you...

Sheesh!

Re:Great Idea! (1)

dafoomie (521507) | more than 8 years ago | (#13800275)

The death of American Steel had nothing to do with Unions. The steel industry failed to invest in modernization when the rest of the world did. They completely screwed themselves over in the long term, for better short term gains, and then they lobbied the government for protection against foreign steel, which they got, for a while. The blame here rests squarely on the shoulders of the people running the companies.

It doesn't matter if you're paying your workers 5 times more, when the other guy can produce more and better steel with a fraction of the workforce because your equipment and methods are decades behind.

Grow up, Americans. (1)

Snafoo (38566) | more than 8 years ago | (#13795874)

Look, you supposedly free-market-fond ninnies. The guys in Romania have just as much to compete for the custom of your employer as you do. Give the rest of the world a chance. How *dare* you compare downsizing with the incineration of millions of Jews? Shame on you, *and* your new SUVs.

Re:Grow up, Americans. (1)

samjam (256347) | more than 8 years ago | (#13796062)

I don't know if I am pro-union these days or not, but I do know they were sorely needed in their founding days;

however, the fact that Romanians (hi, guys) CAN compete for jobs, doesn't mean anyone else has to stand back and give them up.

So are you giving up your job to a Romanian, or are you asking someone else to?
Or are you asking people not to help eachother collectively keep their individual jobs?

It's not a case of: don't let the Romanians get any of our candy, #
it's a case of: lets all see if we can keep our jobs

each person only wants to keep 1 job they need, not particularly *A* job to anyone else.

Sam

Re:Grow up, Americans. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13800386)

I agree that they are being overly dramatic. But in your reply, referencing the Holocaust (due to the "first they came for..." statement I guess), you have neglected to realise that one third to one half of the people who died in Nazi concentration camps were not Jewish. They were Romani(Gypsy), Slavs, Poles, German dissidents, opposition party members, homosexuals, mental and physical "defectives" and POWs.

When you want people to remember the Holocaust, please do the memory of all who suffered the benefit of remembering everyone and not just one segment of the civilians who lost their lives.

Re:Grow up, Americans. (1)

Eli Gottlieb (917758) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805041)

Just who exactly compared downsizing to the incineration of a million Jews? Why does it seem like you're just playing the Anti-Semitism card to get your way?

Eli Gottlieb

Outsourcing America (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13795884)


Outsourcing America
What's behind our national crisis and
how we can reclaim american jobs.
by
Ron Hira and Anil Hira


Unions, page 79.

The propaganda is working (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13797028)

Looking through the comments there seems to be this constant notion that unionizing or other attempts to gain worker's rights will lead to outsourcing. So what? Are we all supposed to lay low and obey our masters because we're at their whim and could be replaced at any time? Is that the world you people want to live in? The people at EA and other dev houses are being abused beyond what the law permits and you guys are only afraid of outsourcing? They aren't even getting what the law grants them and they aren't complaining because of the fear of being replaced.

The point of a union in that sector would be to make sure EA and others can't prey upon the bright-eyed inexperienced newcomers that don't know that you don't have to take every shit management throws at you. Telling them individually not to blindly obey their superiors is impossible but a union could reach enough ears to shorten the supply enough that the company no longer thinks "Man, that guy insists on his rights. Let's fire him and get some obedient cattle fresh out of school.".

And I'm not buying the whole outsourcing FUD, either. If outsourcing was really that easy and profitable, everybody would do it. That's obviously not the case. Outsourcing seems to be mere FUD like that whole "War on Terrorism" thing to keep people in line so they won't go and complain to the authorities when they're being treated unfairly. If the workers weren't constantly thinking they're easily replaceable, would they put up with that incompetent scheduling that leads to those idiotic and futile "death marches"?

Yes, I feel like I'm just reiterating the article but the whole attitude of "give them everything, just don't make them outsource you!" is getting on my nerves.

Re:The propaganda is working (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 8 years ago | (#13798267)

Looking through the comments there seems to be this constant notion that unionizing or other attempts to gain worker's rights will lead to outsourcing. So what?

Because it defeats the purpose of unionizing. Unless you can organize the entire labor pool of the world, there is no point to unionizing, since it puts you at a competitive disadvantage.

Are we all supposed to lay low and obey our masters because we're at their whim and could be replaced at any time?

It's sad that you view companies as our "masters." They are employers, exchanging money for our services. Rather than unionizing the workforce for leverage in negotiating with employers, organize the workforce to compete against them. Start your own company. Too often we look at unionizing to negotiate with "the man" let's start our own companies and do away with him altogether!

Re:The propaganda is working (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13798677)

Damn, is everyone on /. a dirty commie!? You just managed to paraphrase Capital v.1 and the Manifesto of the Communist Party.

Re:The propaganda is working (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13798929)

I used the term "masters" because I get the feeling that some people really put themselves into the position of the slave. Fair competition is one thing, people too afraid of outsourcing to report infringements upon their rights is a whole different thing. That's witnesses being essentially blackmailed. And it works only because many people already have that "I'm replaceable" mentality set in their heads. Most people in the games industry aren't nearly as expendable as they believe but the belief is stronger than any chain. I don't see what competition would do there. Death marches aren't a competitive advantage or disadvantage but few have the money to bring a game to completion these days. To compete in the retail market you are looking at multimillion dollar budgets, not just four people in a basement.

Besides, people forming their own companies because of the treatment in the big sweatshops happens all the time, it's just that fresh meat arrives much faster than the industry can eat it. Because of the high barrier of entry you don't see many of those upstarts live longer than a year, mostly because they have no reputation or franchise associated with them and no publisher is willing to touch them. Self funding is possible but too hard to do if you're going for an "AAA" title. Sure, you don't have to go for "AAA" but that means you can't compete with EA et al, either.

Re:The propaganda is working (1)

servognome (738846) | more than 8 years ago | (#13800457)

Besides, people forming their own companies because of the treatment in the big sweatshops happens all the time, it's just that fresh meat arrives much faster than the industry can eat it.

That begs the question, even if you could organize a union, the attraction of the industry to new talent (what young programmer dreams of writing word processor software for a living), means it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain the lock on labor to have widespread industry leverage.
Essentially you will end up with a union that is a loose affiliation, with limited power like the Screen Actors Guild rather than one that has much more influence in the industry like UAW.

Re:The propaganda is working (1)

KDR_11k (778916) | more than 8 years ago | (#13801918)

The advantage of a union over a competing company is that the union doesn't have to pay the sallaries for all its members so it can reach many more people. Though I think the mere feeling of being not as helpless as before will do a lot already because I believe the workers aren't nearly as replaceable as they think. Additionally, the union would most likely contain all of the senior talent in a company.

Having the number of experienced workers fall too low WILL impact productivity. EA doesn't abuse its lead workers nearly as much as the grunts (or at least the leads have figured out how to avoid most of the abusive practices). The leads are less inclined to act against EA than a grunt but a union could get them to join an organized protest along with the grunts. Even if you could just restock on grunts overnight (and ignoring the adaption period they'd need to get accustomed to your existing material, tools and pipeline), without the leads they wouldn't work as effectively as the old group and less efficiency == less cash.

First they came for... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13800059)

The original quote from Niemöller is far more relevant that the submitters bit about artists...

Als die Nazis die Kommunisten holten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Kommunist.
Als sie die Sozialdemokraten einsperrten, habe ich geschwiegen; ich war ja kein Sozialdemokrat.
Als sie die Gewerkschafter holten, habe ich nicht protestiert; ich war ja kein Gewerkschafter.
Als sie die Juden holten, habe ich nicht protestiert; ich war ja kein Jude.
Als sie mich holten, gab es keinen mehr, der protestierte.

Unions are BAD (1)

thebdj (768618) | more than 8 years ago | (#13800066)

There is one simple fact about human nature that makes unions inherently bad. The fact in question is that power corrupts people and there is just as much (if not more) corruption at the upper levels of unions as there are in corporations. In the end, union leaders become more concerned about their own ambitions and care more about what is good for them, then what is good for the union as a whole.

Now, unionizing in a field that is already moving to out-sourcing and off-shoring is going to only make the move go quicker, and possibly force the hand of some companies already leaning in that direction to go ahead with the move. Unions were more important many years ago before labor laws emerged into what they are today, but they are also unneeded in a highly competitive field.

You see why would you go work for company A, if company B has better benefits to offer then company A. This is the current system and it works fairly well, because people almost always look at the benefit of a certain job along with the salary and location (and whatever else at which you may look).

I have never been a big fan of unions. In most situations they do nothing but interfere with businesses, and in some cases new unions actually create rising costs for businesses since they force their policies or refuse to work. The most wonderfully stupid thing I once saw was pizza delivery drivers trying to unionize. There is also a long list of union incidents that have resulted in inconveniences for thousands of individuals and hurt companies. (Airline employees and UPS come to mind)

While I do not like the fact I work at a place with a union, I am not required to pay dues, and since I have a federal government job we cannot strike anyway. The bulk of the unions power is being counsel for employees in grievances, and this role should be the extent of most unions "help."

When I was taking my ethics course for engineering in college (Electrical Engineering), there was talk among students and the professor teaching the course about rumors around EE workers unionizing. The thought really bothered me, and the same though about CS bothers me too. I hope that workers don't start to seriously consider this, unless of course they like the idea of working at McDonald's....because that is where they will wind up if they form a union. No software company is going to give them a chance to unionize and make a union with the type of power the UAW has.

Re:Unions are BAD (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13800190)

Not our fault you are stupid. Please go bitch to someone else. Thank you.

Re:Unions are BAD (1)

kingsmedley (796795) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805152)


I hope that workers don't start to seriously consider this, unless of course they like the idea of working at McDonald's....because that is where they will wind up if they form a union. No software company is going to give them a chance to unionize and make a union with the type of power the UAW has.


This is an excellent example. The UAW was formed in response to employers using strong arm tactics against their workers. The whole reason this country (the USA) has things like OSHA or a minimum wage law is the direct result of the political influence of unions. Even people who work in non-union shops owe a great deal to unions when it comes to pay, benefits, and safe working environments.

I will concede that many unions over the years have abused their power. And too often union leaders have taken the position that the ends justify the means. This is why unions have been on the decline since the 1970's.

But when you have situations such as we are seeing now with the "death march" mentality, then employees will begin to respond adversely. The notion of unionizing may come slowly to these workers, many think of unions as something only for factory workers. But eventually there will have to be a change - either management will treat their employees fairly and with respect, OR the shop will move to a culture where such abuses are more readily accepted by the workers. Considering corporate attitudes these days, I expect the latter.
 

They came for the programmers first, actually (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#13800399)

I find it ironic that the guy writing the article claims they'll come for the artists first. They already came for the engine programmers with middleware, which is essentially just outsourcing anyway. Unfortunately, with bigger, more monolithic companies, it doesn't matter whether you can do it better, faster, cheaper, or more tailored for your application -- all that matters is that Unreal is the flavor of the month, so publishers and CEOs know what it is, which to them means less risk.

Herding Cats (1)

Doctor Cat (676482) | more than 8 years ago | (#13805777)

I've managed a number of game development projects over the last 23 years. It's not compared to herding cats for nothing.

Now somebody wants to organize thousands upon thousands of game developers, some of the most independent thinking, strong willed, stubborn, quirky individualists out there into a single organzation? I'm not sure if that's even doable.

Union won't work (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 8 years ago | (#13809088)

Unions arose historically when there was an oversupply of labor, similar to what we're seeing today. But unionization today, for this industry, just doesn't make sense.

Why were unions so effective? Because they had their employers by the short hairs. Industries dependent on local labor forces had to give in to the unions, or they'd have no labor at all... and be forced out of business.

Instant communications has rendered this labor model (for the tech industries, anyway) obsolete. Can't get cheap labor because of a local union? Go elsewhere. The cost of moving production is so cheap that it makes sense to do so, rather than pay higher wages. There will always be someone who needs to put food on their table who will take a low-paying job with miserable working conditions.

Plus, who is going to keep workers from 'crossing the picket line'? Do you think that a tech union will have the clout, and the strongarm ability, to get all the ducks in line? I doubt it.

Unions serve their purpose, and I believe were absolutely necessary to bring up the standard of living in the 19th and 20th centuries in the US. But unfortunately, the union model doesn't work for industries that are not geographically limited... so we'll have to figure out a different way force employers to redistribute their profits.

Unionize (1)

Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) | more than 8 years ago | (#13809349)

> For the sake of trying to save money on production costs,
> why not ship off art production to Romania?

And unionization will slow this instead of actually accelerate it because why again?

We shouldn't Unionize - They should! (1)

NateTech (50881) | more than 8 years ago | (#13812629)

The best thing that could happen for the U.S. IT economy would be if Romania and India Unionize, not us.
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