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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 Grishnakh on Tuesday March 13 2018, @03:57AM (1 child)

    by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday March 13 2018, @03:57AM (#651673)

    This statement is wrong, and easily disproved, as the UK currently has 8 parties in their Parliament, under first past the post voting.

    You're going to have to explain yourself on this one, especially in light of the other responder's post which seems to be saying that your party system doesn't really work the way ours does. I've read mathematical analyses claiming that, with our party system, FPTP necessarily leads to having two dominant parties, and that it's basically impossible to have more than 2: you just end up with what we have, which is "third parties" that people don't want to vote for because it's basically like not voting at all, and can effectively help the party/candidate you hate the most. I can't imagine how any other country's system can get around this if you have a slate of candidates to choose from.

    You are correct, proportional voting is how you wind up getting proper representation

    Yeah, we don't have that. Our election systems make no allowance for that.

    We actually do have other voting systems, but only at local levels. In Tempe, AZ, for instance, they use runoff voting (not the instant kind) for electing city council members and the mayor. They also disallow any party affiliation to be advertised; you just get a ballot with people's names on it. If there's 3 or more names, and no one candidate gets at least 50% of the vote, then they toss out the candidate with the fewest votes, and then hold a follow-up election with the remaining candidates. This way, you can vote for whomever you want without "wasting" a vote, but if your favorite pick is the least popular, you get another chance to pick between the more popular candidates, so you can keep the wrong lizard out.

    You are correct, proportional voting is how you wind up getting proper representation, but every time I argue this point on the internet, I get some American telling me it's "impossible" and that no matter how the electoral system gets reformed, it will just wind up with two dominant parties.

    It IS impossible, I've already explained why. It's the whole "wasted vote" thing, which is very real: if you voted for Ralph Nader in Florida in the 2000 election, you were missing a chance to keep George W Bush out of office. Those Americans are absolutely right; maybe you shouldn't assume that you know more than all the people who live here under this system. However, if the electoral system were reformed with a better voting system like IRV, Condorcet, etc., then no, it would not necessarily wind up with 2 dominant parties (and even if it did, it would be *much* easier and more frequent for different parties to get into those 2 dominant positions), so anyone who says that is wrong and doesn't understand voting systems and math.

    They sometimes even argue that that's how things ought to be, which brings me right back to propaganda.

    No, it's not propaganda; we don't have any propaganda telling us that first-past-the-post is sacrosanct. Americans, by and large, really aren't even aware that there are other voting systems in existence. And any that argue that "things ought to be this way" are just stupid. Possibly, they're people who believe the Constitution is some kind of holy document passed down by the all-wise Founding Fathers, and that we must never deviate from it, when in fact the Constitution does not specify a particular voting system (the whole Electoral College thing is silly, but it does not require FPTP; states can have whatever kind of election they want to choose their Electors, however the election that those Electors vote in at the Electoral College is a FPTP election. Also, Maine and Nebraska do use a different system to allocate electors proportionately). But mostly it's because of sheer ignorance.

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  • (Score: 2) by PartTimeZombie on Tuesday March 13 2018, @09:15PM

    by PartTimeZombie (4827) on Tuesday March 13 2018, @09:15PM (#652007)

    I think you've missed the point.

    The UK has first past the post voting, exactly the same as congressional districts and they have managed to elect 8 parties in their current parliament. This is not unusual for them and disproves the "mathematically impossible" bit.

    I am well aware that you don't have proportional voting, and I am also aware of how the US system works.

    I would be prepared to bet a whole dollar that I know a whole lot more about the US system of government than the average US voter (probably not you however).