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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: 2) by hoeferbe on Monday March 12 2018, @04:33PM

    by hoeferbe (4715) on Monday March 12 2018, @04:33PM (#651407)
    fyngyrz [soylentnews.org] wrote [soylentnews.org]:

    As I was reaching up to unscrew the bad bulb, a fellow approached from the floor and told me to stop what I was doing. He then informed me that as replacing the bulb was an "electrical task", one of the union electricians would have to do it, and the fee would be a one-hour minimum, which was $75 at the time. I gave him some argument, because (obviously) this didn't require an electrician, but he insisted, and in fact said that if we would not comply, we would be removed from the show.

    A similar thing happened to me at a Detroit trade show back in the late 1990s.  We were not allowed to plug our 3 desktop/workstation computers into the power outlets provided by the convention center since we were not electricians.

    If I recall correctly, we had to note how much power we'd need in the booth & what kind of equipment we were bringing when we rented the space from the convention center.  We had to sit around twiddling our thumbs for about an hour while waiting for a `qualified` union member to come by and plug our computers in for us.  Did he check to make sure the computers would draw only the power we had requested?  Nope.  Just reached down, plugged our powerstrips into the wall and collected his fee.

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