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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.

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  • (Score: 5, Insightful) by c0lo on Monday March 12 2018, @11:59AM (9 children)

    by c0lo (156) on Monday March 12 2018, @11:59AM (#651301) Journal

    But what have they done for me lately? It usually tuns out that I can't really think about anything. Now they are just collecting their fee every month. If they do something it's usually some shit I don't care about or that really benefits me. So I'm constantly torn about being a member or not.

    Now you got me thinking:
    - my house never caught fire, why am I paying those taxes for the firefighters salaries?
    - yes, the army protected the country against Japanese invasion in WWII. But that was quite a while ago, what has the army done for me lately?
    I'm sure the more I think, the more such cases I can discover. (like: what the hell those insurance parasites are actually doing for me?)

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  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by looorg on Monday March 12 2018, @02:02PM (3 children)

    by looorg (578) on Monday March 12 2018, @02:02PM (#651330)

    The point was that they have stagnated. They have done all this great things generations ago. But these days they don't seem to do anything worthwhile so they are in essence just collecting money for something already completed a long time ago. They are not pushing for anything new or improving things. Now they just want to collect.

    • (Score: 4, Insightful) by IndigoFreak on Monday March 12 2018, @05:01PM (2 children)

      by IndigoFreak (3415) on Monday March 12 2018, @05:01PM (#651422)

      This is false though. The union protects rights. They enforce the policy that they put in place years ago. Just because they aren't writing new policies doesn't mean they don't do any good. Now if they stopped enforcing policy in place, that would be an issue. But you are acting like the only use unions have is to make new policy. If the union fell apart, the policy that was put in place would most likely no longer be followed. It's not some sort of federal law or human right once a union policy goes in place. When/If a company fails to follow through, the union will be there to make them. And just because I company follows union policy and the union does not need to make them, doesn't mean without that union there, the company will still follow those practices. The mere presence of the union is most likely enough to make companies comply with their past agreements. And from past examples, once a union goes away, worker conditions/benefits drastically change.

      • (Score: 1) by Sulla on Tuesday March 13 2018, @03:28AM (1 child)

        by Sulla (5173) on Tuesday March 13 2018, @03:28AM (#651661) Journal

        When I worked for state government I got to really dislike the union. When it came to striking and getting themselves raises and fighting for position like kids on student government they were top knotch, as soon as something actually important came up they side with management. A coworker and I were in a race one day to get a record on number of invoices processed when when we were behind due to am employee being out. We managed to pull off 500-600/day with 100% accuracy over the period of a week. One of our coworkers was not in on the race because they sat at the other end of the hall, this was just a friendly race between me an another guy to make catching up fun. We got written up because the third coworker couldnt beat 40 on her best day with 80% accuracy. This wasnt management getting us in trouble, this was the union having us written up for creating a unsafe work environment.

        I am generally for any union that is a legitimate trade or where you can get hurt/broken on the job in the short or long run, but when the biggest workplace danger your union wants you to be aware of is black lung from toner (not joking) then things are pretty bs.

        Ceterum censeo Sinae esse delendam
        • (Score: 2) by darnkitten on Wednesday March 14 2018, @03:44AM

          by darnkitten (1912) on Wednesday March 14 2018, @03:44AM (#652141)

          I am generally for any union that is a legitimate trade or where you can get hurt/broken on the job in the short or long run,

          Also, maybe in a place or industry where cost of living routinely outstrips pay;
          or a job or industry where work requirements don't allow for quality of life, or any reasonable life outside of work;
          or in an industry rife with exploitation.

          I'm sure we can all think of examples of each of these, without much effort.

          but when the biggest workplace danger your union wants you to be aware of is black lung from toner (not joking) then things are pretty bs.

          agreed, but usually, those unions were originally intended to address other issues.

          Oft-times unions struggle to seem relevant in a world where no one remembers what they were originally intended to do and what they eventually gained through their work, and that their primary function now is to prevent the company/organization from reversing those gains and reverting to what went before...

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12 2018, @08:23PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12 2018, @08:23PM (#651506)

    For USAians, its army's aggression has gotten a good portion of the global population pissed off at you enough to want you dead.

    15 of the 19 on 9/11 were Saudi nationals who didn't want foreign military forces in their country.
    N.B. USA has ~1000 military outposts in 135 countries.
    How would you feel if another country had military bases in -your- country?

    -- OriginalOwner_ []

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @03:13AM (3 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @03:13AM (#651653)

    All of this is available and actually used in the USA today...

    Exterior walls: concrete block or poured concrete, covered in stucco
    Interior walls: metal studs, plus drywall or cementboard
    Insulation: fiberglass
    Roof: Metal
    Floor: concrete slab with ceramic tile
    Pipes: copper and cast iron
    Wires: copper, in galvanized conduit
    Doors: glass and steel
    Doorframes: steel
    Cabinets: stainless steel
    Counters: quartzite, granite, or marble

    For the furnishings and more...

    Bed: waterbed with wool blankets
    Clothing: wool
    Table: glass top on steel legs
    Window treatment: steel miniblinds
    Kids toys: erector set, aquarium, steel/aluminum framed bicycle or unicycle, steel slinky, glass marbles
    Garden: ice plant, jade plant, aloe vera
    Food: canned, glass bottles, unwrapped fruit/vegetable
    Hair: removed (don't forget to shave pets)

    That should keep you safe. You won't need fire alarms at all. There is enough safety margin to add a propane turkey fryer.

    • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday March 13 2018, @03:28AM (2 children)

      by c0lo (156) on Tuesday March 13 2018, @03:28AM (#651660) Journal

      Bushfire in Australia: understanding ‘hell on Earth’ []

      The noise of an approaching fire, generated by the rapid cellular decomposition of vegetative matter and shockwaves associated with the gas phase combustion of the released volatiles, can be most frightening, particularly when the fire itself cannot be seen due to smoke and topography. It is often compared to the sound of a steam train at full tilt or the roar of a jet engine.

      If a cold front arrives during a bushfire, it generally brings with it gusty winds that change the direction of the prevailing winds and can turn the long downwind flank of a bushfire into a raging head fire. In most cases, the area burnt by a bushfire after the arrival of a cold front is much greater than the area burnt before the wind change.

      Inside the turbulent diffusion flames of a bushfire, the temperature of the reaction zone, where the volatile gases released from the thermally degrading vegetation mix with oxygen in the air and combust, can be in the order of 1600°C. The temperature of the flames themselves, however, is less than this adiabatic value, with the maximum temperature at the base of tall flames reaching approximately 1100°C due to mixing with ambient temperature air. The tips of flames are around 600°C.

      The radiant heat flux from a thick bushfire flame can reach 100 kW/m2. By comparison, the average radiant heat flux from the sun at midday on a summer’s day is about 1 kW/m2. The pain threshold for most people is about 2 kW/m2 and at this rate bare skin will undergo a partial thickness (2nd degree) burn in about 40 seconds. In the midst of a high-intensity head fire, radiant heat fluxes in excess of 150 kW/m2 have been measured.

      The convective energy released by a major bushfire provides enough buoyancy to lift the smoke many thousands of metres above the fire (sometimes greater than 10 km), often breaking through the tropopause and into the stratosphere, carrying the smoke around the world. The condensation of water from the combustion products can form pyro-cumulus clouds that can form rain and lightning, starting new fires downwind of the main fire.

      For comparison purposes: most of the steel melt at and below 1450C [].

      In spite of that, I'm not going to relocate in US.

      • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @06:30AM (1 child)

        by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday March 13 2018, @06:30AM (#651708)

        All 3 plants I listed feature thick and juicy leaves. They are a bit like cactus, but without the sharp parts.

        The bush fire stops when it hits your garden. Make your garden as large as required. If you have neighbors, enlist them in your garden project. Other options include concrete, pools, and ponds.

        • (Score: 2) by c0lo on Tuesday March 13 2018, @06:45AM

          by c0lo (156) on Tuesday March 13 2018, @06:45AM (#651709) Journal

          Australia - gotta love it, be it only for the sheer number of way it tries to kill you.
          Among them - flash flooding []; can happen in the same areas as bush fires** - you imagine what a flood will do to your succulents garden or concrete or ponds.

          ** well, sometime it doesn't; but if there's noone to live through a bushfire or a flash flood, does it really happen?