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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 Gaaark on Monday March 12 2018, @04:57PM (1 child)

    by Gaaark (41) Subscriber Badge on Monday March 12 2018, @04:57PM (#651420) Journal

    Unions need to be intelligent and work with management (and management needs to be intelligent and work with its employees so they DON'T need a union, or work WITH the union if there is one).

    My story is of a Jamaican man in a union, delivering products (I heard this from one of his disgusted co-workers). He did some of his deliveries, then stopped at his girlfriend's (on company time) for some shtupping.
    This delayed his deliveries until he was in overtime.
    The company had someone follow him and take note of why he was consistently getting overtime and BAM, got caught and was fired.

    The union fought it because it was 'racism' and he was reinstated.

    What the union SHOULD have said was "Yup! He's GONE...but someone has to be hired to replace him." And then they should reinforce to the union members that STUPIDITY will not be tolerated.

    Unions WERE VERY important in the past, but STUPIDITY has made them a joke (reminds me of that BBC show On the Buses.)
    Unions need to go back to intelligence and relevance.

    --- Please remind me if I haven't been civil to you: I'm channeling MDC. ---Gaaark 2.0 ---
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  • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12 2018, @05:51PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 12 2018, @05:51PM (#651444)

    Protip: unions have been on the side of the capitalist ruling elite for some time now. The function they serve to the ruling elite is to intimidate workers to prevent them from striking and to force workers to accept shit deals. [] has been covering this for a few weeks now.

    This is the reason for all those union horror stories above. The unions are trying to give unions a bad name, because the ruling elite knows that workers organizing is very bad for their sociopathic bottom line. These "unions" do not represent workers.

    The workers need to organize independently of these so-called "unions." The price of not having the ruling elite's boot stamping on your face forever is eternal vigilance.