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posted by Fnord666 on Sunday July 02 2017, @06:33AM   Printer-friendly
from the unionize-now dept.

Computing is notorious for not having a worthwhile professional association. Some practitioners join the IEEE, the IET or the ACM. However, membership typically costs hundreds of dollars per year and offers little practical help to computer professionals working in small companies. If you're working for government or a large corporation or you're a super programmer in a well funded start-up then you probably have a union or you don't need a union. However, if you're the sole techie in a small business, appreciation for your dedication is just the start. What happens when you're asked to do something unethical or illegal? Where do you turn when a job goes sour? How do you avoid the problem? How can you avoid really toxic employers?

Rather than paying hundreds of dollars per year for talks and conferences, you require local experts who have first-hand experience of local employers and local employment problems. How can this be achieved reliably and cost-effectively? This is where our expertise should shine. Firstly, union entry should be at least as stringent as the conceirge union. Secondly, there should be a web-of-trust within each metropolitan region (and ideally between regions). In the best case, the network distance between all members should be four or less. Thirdly, an obligatory website should incur less hits than SoylentNews and therefore an upper bound for costs can be established for a volunteer effort. Essentially, it should be possible to run a union from donations of US$3000 per year or significantly less. Indeed, the major cost to members would be food and drink expenses when informally meeting other members.

So who wants to join a computer professional union with sensible fees and obligations?


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  • (Score: 2) by a-zA-Z0-9$_.+!*'(),- on Sunday July 02 2017, @09:40PM (7 children)

    by a-zA-Z0-9$_.+!*'(),- (3868) on Sunday July 02 2017, @09:40PM (#534259)

    First start with existing unions and identify what options are available. The Communications Workers of America have unionized some of the IT people in Seattle (iirc), but not in other cities, like San Francisco. Why not?

    What about more militant unions who are not in IT but are looking to expand?

    Identifying what existing unions provide, their strengths and weaknesses and how they might be leveraged would be a good start.

    Coming up with a new union out of whole cloth may be necessary - it's obvious the current model is in decline at least here in the US - but that's not a good starting point.

    The be effective a union must strike. To have effective strikes the union must be recognized by other unions and so must in turn recognize other unions strikes & boycotts.

    The cost of running a website is absolutely irrelevant to unionizing. What is more critical the is the quality of leadership. Or better still, come up with an app-based membership model, with an AI run bot leadership that makes pre-programmed decisions. The programming logic can be democratically decided by members (what triggers the robo-overlord to call for a strike?).

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    https://newrepublic.com/article/114112/anonymouth-linguistic-tool-might-have-helped-jk-rowling
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  • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Sunday July 02 2017, @11:58PM (6 children)

    by cafebabe (894) on Sunday July 02 2017, @11:58PM (#534290) Journal

    I expect techies in large companies to belong to an amalgamated union. This is for someone who is "the computer person" in a 10 person company. There is no collective bargaining for many of the computer professionals in this situation because the remainder of the company (secrataries, sales representatives) are oblivious to the situation.

    It isn't about strikes and strong leadership. It is about good people getting worthwhile jobs. Equally, we should ensure that union scabs only get hired by scumbag employers. I hope all of this is decentralized and can be achieved off-line by people who really know each other.

    However, for an isolated techie, an introverted techie, a tele-working techie, a disabled techie, a collective memory of untrustworthy employers would be useful. It would have to be resistant to infiltration and false information. For that reason, every piece of information should be vouched by mutliple active members.

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    1702845791×2
    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03 2017, @02:28AM (1 child)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 03 2017, @02:28AM (#534312)

      AC #534190 and aristarchus have said that the word "union" has folks off on a tangent.

      Some terms that occur to me:
      Professional association
      Guild
      Fraternity
      Athenaeum
      Society
      Collective
      Cooperative

      -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 04 2017, @03:38AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 04 2017, @03:38AM (#534672)

        Doesn't matter what you call it in its title. Is it a union under US law? Is it functionally a union with respect to things like collective bargaining and dues and rules and all that stuff?

        If it is, you might as well call it a union. At least two thirds of techies are smart enough to be able to figure out what it is.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 04 2017, @03:47AM (3 children)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 04 2017, @03:47AM (#534676)

      "Equally, we should ensure that union scabs only get hired by scumbag employers."

      See that? That right there? That's precisely why a lot of us don't care for unions (read: fucking despise unions). They want to dictate the goodies for themselves, and interfere in working relationships between parties utterly unconnected with themselves. It's a power play.

      Anyone in tech is pretty used to getting dicked over by power-hungry investors, reality-averse project managers, lying vendors and utopian idiots with fat boilerplate CoCs. Now someone comes along and says, in effect: "Let's make them all dance to our tune, and fuck them over REALLY HARD if they don't!"

      Or are you just that unaware that you really think that techies who've seen companies screw customers, vendors screw companies, politicians screw everyone in reach and then have all of the above screw the techies, would really cry out for one more savage cornholing?

      • (Score: 2) by cafebabe on Tuesday July 04 2017, @03:30PM (2 children)

        by cafebabe (894) on Tuesday July 04 2017, @03:30PM (#534812) Journal

        If you regularly under-pay people for services rendered then I have a right to not associate with you. I also have the right to tell others why I do not associate with you and I would like to do so in a manner which is understood by a court of law.

        If you infringe privacy then I have a right to not associate with you. I also have the right to tell others why I do not associate with you and I would like to do so in a manner which is understood by a court of law.

        If you spam people then I have a right to not associate with you. I also have the right to tell others why I do not associate with you and I would like to do so in a manner which is understood by a court of law.

        If you sell a product which is dangerously defective then I have a right to not associate with you. I also have the right to tell others why I do not associate with you and I would like to do so in a manner which is understood by a court of law.

        If you wish to associate with such people then I have a right to not associate with you. I also have the right to tell others why I do not associate with you and I would like to do so in a manner which is understood by a court of law.

        If information is power then I wish accurate and pertinent information to be propagated more widely. If that raises standards and eases my conscience then I would do it whether it raised or lowered my salary.

        --
        1702845791×2
        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 04 2017, @06:43PM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday July 04 2017, @06:43PM (#534877)

          Ok, great. Freedom of speech. The first amendment provides all of the above.

          What does this have to do with "union scabs" only being hired by "scumbag employers"? What if a fantastic employer wants to hire someone who doesn't happen to be in a union? Do you want to wring your hands on a picket line because oh noes, teh scabosaurus rex is taking yer jerbs? If that's as far as it goes, more power to you. Picket all you like.

          But if you try to interfere in the contracts of third parties unconnected to you, you're just one more damned powerplayer trying to dictate to the rest of the world, and you'll get all the love and respect as such that you deserve, like other would-be tyrants.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 05 2017, @06:43AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 05 2017, @06:43AM (#535066)

            Gawd, you are stupid.

            The first amendment says the THE GOVERNMENT can't lock you up for e.g. calling Trump a worthless piece of shit.

            if you try to interfere in the contracts of third parties unconnected to you

            Since you didn't provide a real-world example of something that actually happened which illustrates your "point", I'm going to call you stupid once again.

            It's sad that 11 year olds get to post their ignorance here.

            -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]