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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 VLM on Sunday July 02 2017, @11:24PM

    by VLM (445) on Sunday July 02 2017, @11:24PM (#534283)

    Rather than paying hundreds of dollars per year for talks and conferences

    What if that isn't a lot of money to you, and you like socializing like that?

    I'm just saying, looking at the costs of attending cons and trade shows and certification costs someoone asking a kilobuck for a union would be a rounding error and I wouldn't care as long as the buffet line is decent and the bar is open for awhile and the talks don't put me to sleep.

    I went to the HOPE conference in NYC one year, figure in total expenses and lost income it cost me about $3K, it was fun but I don't think I got $3K out of it.

    I guess I'm saying something like I make enough money that if the union is doing anything worthwhile its worth a hell of a lot more than say $5K/yr to me, so billing me $1K/yr would be met with shrugs. If they bill me less than a ARRL radio club membership about $50/yr then I'd guess I wouldn't get more than 10 to 100 times that value back, which frankly is a fraction of my salary and therefore not worth my time to participate.

    Or rephrased if they can go "good" at $20/yr because its a big deal to me why wouldn't I join a group that does 10x good at $200/yr?

    offers little practical help to computer professionals working in small companies.

    In my experience you can leave off everything after "help". I've never bothered with those groups. I was in IEEE when at uni, some student deal, pretty worthless. Its value wasn't negative, at least.

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