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posted by cmn32480 on Monday March 12 2018, @09:08AM   Printer-friendly
from the violating-federal-law dept.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports

A San Francisco technology company laid off a group of software engineers as they were trying to join a labor union, according to a complaint filed with the National Labor Relations Board.

The Communications Workers of America [CWA] claims Lanetix, which makes cloud-based software for transportation and logistics companies, violated federal labor laws by cutting 14 software engineers in January in San Francisco and Arlington, Va.

Most of the engineers were fired [January 26], about 10 days after they filed a petition seeking union representation, according to the complaint filed by the CWA's Washington-Baltimore Newspaper Guild. A hearing to determine a date to hold the union vote was scheduled for [February 1].

[...] While unions have made inroads in representing Silicon Valley bus drivers, security officers, food service workers, and custodians, the Lanetix case could break new ground because union activity is still unusual for software engineers, who are generally highly paid and in short supply, labor lawyers said.

[...] there are [reasons other than gripes about pay, whereby] unions can attract higher-paid tech workers, including "if you feel mistreated by the company or if you feel there's favoritism going on or lack of job security", said labor law attorney Steve Hirschfeld, founding partner of Hirschfeld Kraemer of San Francisco.

"There's a myth that if you're a highly paid employee, you either can't join a union or wouldn't be interested", Hirschfeld said.

The Lanetix case is "significant because it is a tech company and they're well-paid engineers", he said. "That's still a rarity today for that group of employees to be organized. (But) the feeling among many tech workers is that they're viewed as being expendable."

[...] The Lanetix engineers signed union cards to join the CWA's Washington-Baltimore News Guild. (The Pacific Media Workers Guild, which represents some San Francisco Chronicle employees, is also affiliated with the CWA.) According to the complaint filed with the board, the union said Lanetix began "threatening and coercing employees" for engaging in union activities starting in November. The complaint said one engineer was fired for participating in group discussions on Slack, an internal messaging service.

The union filed a petition with the board on Jan. 16 to represent the workers. The company terminated "all engineers and senior engineers in retaliation for demanding recognition", the complaint said.

The engineers were called into a meeting and told of layoffs due to the company's lackluster fourth quarter performance, CWA organizer Melinda Fiedler told Bloomberg Law.

"By the time they left that meeting, their computers were gone", Fiedler said.

Cet Parks, executive director of the Washington-Baltimore News Guild, said the workers were told the company was moving engineering offices to Europe.

Previous: The CPU [Computer Professional Union]
Public University Lays Off 79 IT Workers After They Train Outsourced Replacements
Swedish Worker Cooperative Software Development Company Has No Boss


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  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday March 12 2018, @10:01AM (4 children)

    by c0lo (156) on Monday March 12 2018, @10:01AM (#651276) Journal

    Gamasutra on a 2004-2014 study (PDF) [squarespace.com]

    As we indicated in a previous article for Gamasutra [gamasutra.com], a significant number of game developers are dissatisfied with their working conditions. We have documented many challenges such as: long hours, overtime compensation, arbitrary treatment, workforce diversity, restrictive NCAs and NDAs, recognition of intellectual property, job insecurity and lack of protection against employment risks.

    A developer we interviewed summarized working in the game industry this way:

    Yeah... Everybody’s like : “Hey! videogames, cool!” but the psychological profile to get into and remain in this is very mean, honestly. Many are leaving, I’d say 20 folks per week, have to leave just like: “I can’t stand it, it’s over”. Many seniors move to teaching, management, things like that. Many just can’t stand it. It’s human, I think. Everybody gets a sense of “Hey! videogames are gonna be cool, as in the movies!” then you reach in and reality is totally different. It’s not that jolly. It’s very cheerful but there’s as much bad as good, it’s quite even. When they step in, there’s plenty of: awesome but then there’s the bad, they can’t endure.
    ...
    When asked whether they would like to see the developers in their studio unionized, following the trade union model dominant in North America, game developers support for this form of unionization rose from 35% in 2009 to 48% in 2014. As well, in 2014, a third of respondents (33%) thought that a union certification vote wouldn’t carry (due to a lack of perceived support of their co-workers); while close to another third (29%) thought it would—nearly twice as many as in 2009.
    ...
    Developers seem aware of this distinction as a sector-based model won the support of a clear majority (64%) of developers in 2014. That is 16 percentage points greater than the support for a union that would represent the VGDs from a given workplace (local union). With this point of view, two-thirds of developers suffer a representation gap because they wish to be part of a union without being so.

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    Starting Score:    1  point
    Karma-Bonus Modifier   +1  

    Total Score:   2  
  • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Monday March 12 2018, @10:10AM (3 children)

    by c0lo (156) on Monday March 12 2018, @10:10AM (#651279) Journal

    2016–17 video game voice actor strike [wikipedia.org]

    The 2016–17 video game voice actor strike was a strike started in October 2016 by the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) union against 11 American video game developers and publishers (Activision, Blindlight, Corps of Discovery Films, Disney Character Voices, Electronic Arts, Formosa Interactive, Insomniac Games, Interactive Associates, Take-Two Interactive, VoiceWorks Productions, and WB Games) over failed contract renegotiation terms that had been in discussion since February 2015. Principally, the union sought to have actors and voice and motion capture artists that contribute to video games be better compensated with residuals based on video game sales atop their existing recording payments, while the industry companies asserted that the industry as a whole eschews the use of residuals, and by giving the actors these, they would trivialize the efforts of the programmers and artists that are most responsible for the development of the games. In exchange, the companies had offered a fixed increase in rates and a sliding-scale upfront bonus for multiple recording sessions, which the union had rejected. Other issues highlighted by the strike action include better transparency in what roles and conditions actors would perform, more safety precautions and oversight to avoid vocal stress for certain roles, and better safety assurances for actors while on set.
    ...
    On September 23, 2017, SAG-AFTRA and the video game companies came to an agreement, effectively ending the strike.[36] The agreement crafted a new three-year contract with the companies to start after ratification by SAG-AFTRA's board of directors, expected to occur within a few weeks from the agreement. The agreement does not include residuals as SAG-AFTRA sought for, but does include a sliding-scale bonus payment for each recording session a voice actor participates in, starting at $75 for the first session, up to $2,100 for ten or more sessions. Keythe Farley, the chair of the SAG-AFTRA negotiations committee, said that these payments "are significantly larger now than what we had 11 months ago" and praised the new structure.[37] Video game companies must provide additional transparencies for roles voice actors are to perform under the new terms; while they do not need to name the game or character to maintain confidentiality when offering roles, companies must provide actors with project code names, gameplay genre, if the work is based on an existing franchise or character, and whether the work will include profanity, racial slurs, obscure technology terms, sexual or violent overtures, or physical stunts.[37] The agreement also will have SAG-AFTRA and the video game companies continue to work on addressing issues related to vocal stress within recording sessions

    --
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aoFiw2jMy-0
    • (Score: 2) by Gaaark on Monday March 12 2018, @05:06PM (2 children)

      by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 12 2018, @05:06PM (#651426) Journal

      I've NEVER gotten that: why pay big names to voice your game or animated movie?

      I really don't give a damn if Sir John Gielgud is the voice of Naruto, or Fonzie voices Maddox in Supreme Commander (running on wine, spank you).

      Why should anyone give a shit: if the game sucks, I don't care who does the voices, and if it's good I don't care who does the voices!

      Do kids care if Ray Romano is doing the voice of a mastodon?

      I say get a no name with an odd voice if you want an odd voice and save the fecking cash and pass on the savings!

      Ridiculous nonsense.

      --
      --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12 2018, @08:05PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12 2018, @08:05PM (#651496)

        get a no name with an odd voice

        I was just listening to The Frazer Smith Show last night.
        He's been a radio personality (on and off) and a standup comic since the 1970s.
        He has big shot Hollywood agent Barry Katz on every week.
        Barry repeatedly notes that the folks who succeed are the ones who keep plugging away at it.

        Fraz also has successful performers on who tell about all the wannabes who come up to them and ask how to make it in show biz.
        Every one of them has the same response: There are no shortcuts; get out there and WORK.

        So, after a bunch of years demonstrating that you will show up on time, hit your marks, and know your lines, you get a reputation as a reliable talent.
        THAT is why they don't hire just anybody:
        By the time the successes are successes, all the unreliable flakes have been weeded out out of the lot.

        -- OriginalOwner_ [soylentnews.org]

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @12:18AM

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @12:18AM (#651593)

        Not entirely. Christopher Lee as Lucan Delere in Everquest 2 was really good. People made evil characters just so they could speak to The Overlord of Freeport.