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BART Strike Provides Stark Contrast To Tech's Non-Union World 467

Posted by Soulskill
from the bofh-union-is-terrible-to-contemplate dept.
dcblogs writes "The strike by San Francisco Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) workers this week is a clear and naked display of union power, something that's probably completely alien to tech professionals. Tech workers aren't organized in any significant way except through professional associations. They don't strike. But the tech industry is highly organized, and getting more so. Industry lobbying spending has been steadily rising, reaching $135 million last year, almost as much as the oil and gas industry. But in just one day of striking, BART workers have cost the local economy about $73 million in lost productivity due to delays in traffic and commuting. Software developers aren't likely to unionize. As with a lot of professionals, they view themselves as people with special skills, capable of individually bargaining for themselves, and believe they have enough power in the industry to get what they want, said Victor Devinatz, a professor of management and quantitative methods at Illinois State University College of Business. For unions to get off the ground with software workers, Devinatz said, 'They have to believe that collective action would be possible vehicle to get the kinds of things that they want and that they deserve.'"
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BART Strike Provides Stark Contrast To Tech's Non-Union World

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  • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <mojoNO@SPAMworld3.net> on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:01PM (#44182557) Homepage

    Unions seem to be blamed for everything wrong in the world of work on Slashdot but, even though I'm not a member because there isn't one at my company, I really appreciate the rights they have got for workers over the decades.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm not a member because I'm a developer and employers practically will suck my dick to work for them. There should almost be a union to protect companies that are hiring tech workers.

    • by ebubna (765457) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:21PM (#44182815)
      Yup. The amount of anti-union disinformation being spread here (I live in the East Bay) is insane. Blaming the unions while ignoring the boot of the upper class on your throat isn't going to help anything, folks.
      • by jamesh (87723) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:29PM (#44182897)

        Yup. The amount of anti-union disinformation being spread here (I live in the East Bay) is insane. Blaming the unions while ignoring the boot of the upper class on your throat isn't going to help anything, folks.

        The thing is it's _so_ easy. There are countless examples of unions making the world a better place, and plenty of examples of union corruption making the world a worse place, so it's easy to back up any argument you care to make.

        • by hedwards (940851) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:48PM (#44183117)

          Sort of, but ultimately overall you have to look at the big picture. Compare what things were like before and after unions and what things were like now as opposed to when unions were at their peak in the 60s and 70s.

          You can always find individual anecdotes and examples, but the questions should be whether we're better off with or without unions and why is that the case.

          • This argument is nonsense. It is like saying "Coal power made the world a better place, compare what things were like in 1860 to today", and using that to advocate ramping up coal production. It's a nonsense argument.

            Whatever benefit something had IN THE PAST does not have bearing on TODAY. What is the benefit a union provides society TODAY. Rights of the worker are now codified in legislation; we're not returning to sweatshops. Meanwhile unions are silent on most of the most pressing social issues in socie

        • by jcr (53032) <jcr@@@mac...com> on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @07:24PM (#44183489) Journal

          There are countless examples of unions making the world a better place

          Yeah, like Detroit.

          Oh, wait.

          -jcr

      • Yup. The amount of anti-union disinformation being spread here (I live in the East Bay) is insane. Blaming the unions while ignoring the boot of the upper class on your throat isn't going to help anything, folks.

        Actually, it's going to help the upper class.

        (I.e., the people who least need it.)

      • by schnell (163007) <meNO@SPAMschnell.net> on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @09:57PM (#44184743) Homepage

        ignoring the boot of the upper class on your throat

        Please, PLEASE do unionize. Once that happens, I can be done once and for all with the Slashbot complaints that IT workers need to unionize... once the first downsizing comes and they realize that they're getting laid off because part of being in a union means that whoever has been there the longest will keep their jobs, regardless of whether they are any good at their jobs or not.

        Unions are for people in professions in which any worker cannot be differentiated from the next based on skill, so they have no individual bargaining power and need to band together. Then they reward seniority and loyalty to the union, since skill or job performance is unimportant. If you think you work in an industry where employees have differentiated skills and have some leverage to bargain with employers, you do NOT want a union.

    • by TrekkieGod (627867) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:52PM (#44183167) Homepage Journal

      Unions seem to be blamed for everything wrong in the world of work on Slashdot but, even though I'm not a member because there isn't one at my company, I really appreciate the rights they have got for workers over the decades.

      I appreciate the rights they earned for workers myself, but I'm not in an union because unlike the rail workers of the 19th century, a software developer's job is pretty damn nice. If your job earns you enough money that you can support your family and put a little bit away for retirement, you can individually negotiate for more, but figuratively putting a gun to your employers' head by saying, "either pay me what I think I deserve or not only will I stop working, but every one of your other employees will as well" is unethical.

      I think unions do have a place in our modern society today, but not in professional circles. They should be reserved for professions where you have no bargaining position. If you have to take a job that doesn't pay enough for you to live on, but the employer is taking advantage of the fact you have to eat in order to cause you to accept his offer, you may need to strengthen your position with group bargaining. If you earn $50k a year, then either accept that this is what you're worth, negotiate for a raise, or find another job. You're not at a disadvantage at the bargaining table if you don't have to wonder how you're going to pay for your next meal.

  • Past their time (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Jay Maynard (54798)

    Unions were good in the 1920s and 1930s. Now, they've priced the American worker out of the global labor market.

    There's a reason that union membership is down to historic lows: all they do is take money out of workers' pockets to line the bosses' nests and send money to Democrat politicians.

    • Source?
      • Re:Past their time (Score:5, Informative)

        by Jay Maynard (54798) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:18PM (#44182783) Homepage

        Not hard to find. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in 2012 that private sector union membership was down to 6.6%, and overall membership was 11.3%, compared to 20.1% as recently as 1983. The 6.6% was the lowest since 1932.

        There are plenty of sources cited all over the net. A good place to start is this Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org].

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          In general union membership rises when companies start rolling over workers. Which is what happened during the early 20th, things got progressively better. And we'll probably see an increase again in the next decade especially as companies push for "more work for less pay" that's becoming the norm. Unions themselves though especially public sector unions have a serious credibility gap though.

    • Re:Past their time (Score:5, Insightful)

      by couchslug (175151) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:15PM (#44182745)

      "Now, they've priced the American worker out of the global labor market."

      The American worker isn't priced out of the market. For example, we export BMWs to mainland China. We don't need many meat puppets and nut turners to do that.

      The American worker is less NECESSARY because efficient businesses need fewer workers. Workers are an expensive burden, which is why even Foxconn is turning to robotics.

      • The X5 is exported from US to China, because BMW tend to set up production lines for most of its models in just one factory, they are also prohibitively expensive in China (cheapest model is US $95K) (baidu search here [baidu.com]). You will also notice the Axis powers tend to set up their factories in "right to work" states, so no unions to speak of.

        Interestingly, I have been in a Chinese sensor factory and chatted with the managers about what make them different from the other supplier of that part, a company in Germ

    • Re:Past their time (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mirix (1649853) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:21PM (#44182811)

      The American worker will always be 'priced out of the global labor market', unless you want to work for a dollar a day.

      Luckily there are tools to correct for this, like tariffs. We just don't use them properly because business owns the govn't.

      • The American worker will always be 'priced out of the global labor market', unless you want to work for a dollar a day.

        Luckily there are tools to correct for this, like tariffs. We just don't use them properly because business owns the govn't.

        Best Post.

    • by JDG1980 (2438906)

      Now, they've priced the American worker out of the global labor market.

      Don't be naive. Just about anything that can be feasibly offshored to low-cost jurisdictions already has been. Those jobs that are still in the U.S. are here for a reason, and marginal changes in the costs of labor won't affect that. And many jobs in modern America are service jobs, which can't be offshored. You can't have your plumbing fixed by a guy from India.

      People like to blame the unions for the decline of the U.S. Big Three auto

    • Re:Past their time (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Black Parrot (19622) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:38PM (#44183001)

      Now, they've priced the American worker out of the global labor market.

      From what I read about Germany, I don't think unions are the problem.

    • by sjames (1099)

      They have not priced Americans out of the global market. Much larger economic and political forces have done that. Unless, of course, you can explain how anyone in America could possibly afford to work for $5/day even if permitted to.

    • by hedwards (940851)

      It's not the unions, it's the free trade agreements and short sighted corporate greed that caused that. Unions are at lows in large part because of union busting that the GOP has engaged in over the last 30 years. Unions aren't perfect, but at least they represent labor, and they're by and large the only people that will do it. The Democrats regularly cave to the GOP over workers rights issues.

      The union membership numbers are more reflective of the increased difficulty of organizing and the efforts by corpo

  • by adturner (6453) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:06PM (#44182631) Homepage

    You want to destroy innovation in the tech sector? I guarantee you the fastest way to do that is unionize the tech field.

    • Not True (Score:5, Interesting)

      by mjwalshe (1680392) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:11PM (#44182691)
      One of the reasons the Unionized Uk telephone system was modernized (well ahead on the US i might add) with no labour disputes was that all the M&P grades who developed the new technology where union members.
      The CEO of one of the smaller uk telcos was even an activist in his younger days and I know that a CTO of one of the global telecoms companys was a member of my branch :-)
      • You mean when BT was privatized? What are "M&P grades" for those of us not from the UK?

        • by mjwalshe (1680392)
          Sorry BT speak M&P managerial and professional ie all the technical staff other than the "engineers" or Linemen in US terms
        • by hguorbray (967940)
          Managerial and Professional:
          http://www.yale.edu/hronline/careers/salary_mp.html

          ie. like salaried and not hourly in the US -most IT in the US being salaried

          -I'm just sayin'
    • by lgw (121541) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:17PM (#44182773) Journal

      I dunno - unions can drive innovation. The primary reason AT&T funded the development of Unix was to break the hold the union had on applying firmware upgrades to telecom components. "Hey, all these boxes already connect to our network, maybe we could use that in some way". Ken claims Unix was "a weak pun on Multics", but it works just as well as Union-X, the union-busting OS.

      • by jamesh (87723) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:32PM (#44182941)

        I dunno - unions can drive innovation. The primary reason AT&T funded the development of Unix was to break the hold the union had on applying firmware upgrades to telecom components. "Hey, all these boxes already connect to our network, maybe we could use that in some way". Ken claims Unix was "a weak pun on Multics", but it works just as well as Union-X, the union-busting OS.

        So unions drive innovation by creating a situation where they are an obstacle that needs to be overcome? The sarcasm is strong with this one.

    • by gandhi_2 (1108023)

      Hey! Unions are what made the US education system so effective!
      http://usc-mat.s3-website-us-east-1.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/us-schools-vs-international3.jpg [amazonaws.com]

    • by MAXOMENOS (9802) <maxomai@nOSPAm.gmail.com> on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:38PM (#44183007) Homepage
      So, I'm a sysadmin in a union shop. The upside to being in a union is that it's harder to get fired for speaking out when management is doing something stupid. The downside is that people get complacent about their jobs. For example, when management wanted our VB programmers to learn VB.NET because we're phasing out VB6, they all said "no." In practical terms, that means that management is either going to have to find something else for them to do (such as application administration) or figure out how to let them go (which is going to be very painful indeed, for everyone).
    • by nbauman (624611)

      Like backward, poverty-stricken Germany, where employees who are laid off during downturns are sent to vocational schools to learn the latest technology.

  • US vs World (Score:5, Informative)

    by 0100010001010011 (652467) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:07PM (#44182641)

    You know that this is pretty much US only? In Germany where I worked all of the engineers were unionized.

    Granted the unions seem to be quite a bit different. The UAW is quite a bit different than most of the German unions I worked with.

    • Granted the unions seem to be quite a bit different.

      This is usually the key point both sides need to understand when a European and American discuss unions. Otherwise it will just devolve into pointless arguing because neither side understands the other.

  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:12PM (#44182705)
    The problem with unions is they view a worker as a clone of every other worker.

    For example, a young worker is unlikely to really need lots of health insurance when compared to an aging worker. Similarly an unmarried man most likely couldn't care less about maternity leave. But yet with collective bargaining, that young worker could get useless (for him) insurance in exchange for something that would be useful for him (vacation days, higher pay, etc.) and that unmarried man might get great maternity leave but at the expense of something that could be useful for him.

    Instead, contracts should be dealt with at the individual level, allowing for the best for both the employer and the individual employee.
    • Instead, contracts should be dealt with at the individual level, allowing for the best for both the employer and the individual employee.

      Even better would be a contract that allowed each employee a certain amount of choice, rather like the menu in a Chinese restaurant: you can have maternity leave or extra vacation days, but not both and so on. Best of all would be if you were allowed, under certain circumstances, to change your selection, such as if/when you get married.
    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      This does not work "personal" contracts have all the power with the employers
    • by JDG1980 (2438906) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:48PM (#44183119)

      The problem with unions is they view a worker as a clone of every other worker.

      Well, obviously no one told the Major League Baseball Player's Association, or the Screen Actor's Guild.

      Unions do not necessarily mean strict seniority pay or rigid and inflexible job descriptions. Many workers in manufacturing industries choose to push for these kind of terms in their contracts, because productivity from worker to worker isn't that different, and because having someone do a task they're not familiar with in an industrial setting can be very dangerous. But this isn't how things work in MLB or Hollywood; they certainly don't pay baseball stars or actors on strict seniority, and they don't have to get into a fight every time they want to shift someone from shortstop to third base or whatever.

      Remember, union leaders are elected by the workers, and are supposed to represent what the workers want. Since IT workers generally don't like rigid job descriptions or inflexible pay scales, IT unions would not advocate for such things. Instead, as in the MLBPA and SAG, they would probably focus on setting minimum standards, to prevent people with less individual negotiating leverage from being exploited.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:13PM (#44182735)

    The state of CA has a debt of what? $127,000,000,000 was the last I heard. Much of the tax base is leaving the state. Govt. employee unions are largely responsible for the utterly unsustainable financial situation of the U.S. state which has the most natural economic advantages.

    BART workers don't work in sweat shops and never have. They are overpaid and underworked like most govt. workers. Govt. employee unions should be illegal since they screw the taxpayer, the people who actually pay the bills.

    • by Rockoon (1252108) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:19PM (#44182797)

      Govt. employee unions should be illegal since they screw the taxpayer, the people who actually pay the bills.

      The worst of it is that when the screwing happens, those tax payers that get screwed werent even old enough to pay taxes (and many not even born yet.)

      "Sure, we'll give you union guys a great pension 30 years from now when you retire -- no problem! hell, my constituents wont even feel it"

  • by Midnight_Falcon (2432802) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:15PM (#44182751)
    First, let me say I don't take BART (I drive, living and working within San Francisco) and am not really affected by the strike. However, I do believe in unions and their ability, in certain industries, to force employers to maintain standards of living wages and decent working conditions. We'd all hate to return to the days of the Robber Barons and the photos of Jacob Riis -- an era that unions helped bring an end to.

    However, in California tech jobs are not regulated very well by the state. Since salaries are so high, most tech workers are exempt from overtime -- and companies like Google, Zynga, Netflix etc are well-known to demand long hours from their employees without paying overtime (albeit paying decent salaries instead). One of the main reasons California and Silicon Valley is appealing to them is this, and also, at-will employment. Meaning, if an employee doesn't work out, it is very easy to fire them and replace them with someone else.

    The talent you have at a start-up is critical -- when your core team is ten people, having one or two free-riders or non-stellar characters in the mix can be a big drain on productivity. So, California makes it relatively easy for these companies to replace their staff, and both hire and fire new workers.

    If this wasn't the case, very likely the startup I work for wouldn't exist here, and would be located somewhere else. Dealing with union workers is the last thing a busy CEO wants for his start-up, they're busy drumming up business, promoting the product, getting funding, etc etc. My company rarely fires anyone -- but the talent is very good and stays motivated with little management. But if we do hire someone who needs to be managed all day, we do want to get rid of them without having to go through a union and a few HR lawyers. Startups simply don't have the resources for that, nor to spend money on someone's salary who is not ideal.

    In conclusion, there's a reason why things are the way they are.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Note that "exempt" is often treated as a good thing by some workers because they think it means they're exempt from time card hassles. What it really means is that the company is exempt from following a lot of labor laws. It's a loss to the employee in a lot of ways.

      For instance the lack of regulation about how many hours the exempt employee can be required to put in. The employers play around with this subtly. They don't come right out and say "you must work 60 hours", instead they say "we just expect

  • Bad P/R (Score:5, Informative)

    by Tablizer (95088) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:15PM (#44182755) Homepage Journal

    Unions simply have a poor reputation and haven't worked very hard on improving it.

    For one, they've failed the address the perception that unions protect lazy workers at the expense of the productive ones. They should actively encourage bonuses, for example, and allow some degree of "demerit" pay cuts. (They don't have to be biting cuts such that a worker has to suddenly sell their house, but allow small gradual demerits.)

    Second, they've often negotiated contracts with local governments that end up appearing one-sided during downturns, making the unions look unwilling to scale back in hard times. The problem is that local governments often think short-term because of election cycles, and unions take advantage of this stance in negotiations. While not directly the union's "fault", it does damage their reputation. Unions should ensure they scale back a bit more during down-times to match everybody else's experience. Sharing the pain makes you more popular.

    Third, they need to make their case in the media. Corporations trash unions left and right in the media, and unions have done a poor job of putting out their side of the story.

    • For one, they've failed the address the perception that unions protect lazy workers at the expense of the productive ones.

      I wonder how many of the people blaming all the country's problems on unions have ever been in one.

    • The problem you describe about the election cycle is actually inherent not just in regards to unions -- but in democracies in general. It is difficult in a democratic system to make long term economic changes (such as ten-year plans, or raising taxes/lowering entitlements) that are unpopular or perceived as a step backwards. During an election cycle, politicians are decried for any budgetary cutbacks and blamed personally for their effects (e.g. Police department funding was cut, all the new crime is X po
    • by jlar (584848)
      "For one, they've failed the address the perception that unions protect lazy workers at the expense of the productive ones."

      That is not a perception but a fact. And at least in my old union they did it openly. I was employed at a public institution where part of the salary was fixed (based on seniority) and a minor part was individual. The individual part is however not negotiated between the employee and the employer but between a union representative and the employer (also for employees not in a union - e
  • Not organized ? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by vikingpower (768921) <exercitussolus&gmail,com> on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:16PM (#44182761) Homepage Journal
    That may be true. Yet, recently, I got into a conflict with my employer over wages ( not getting what had been promised ). Not being an affiliate of any worker's union, I threatened with a one-man strike. Of course, I took care to also inform the client to whom I was dedicating most of my hours at that moment. The result was impressive: the client wanted an explanation from my employer about what was going on, and wanted assurance that they would further be able to count with my work. My employer gave in, prolly because of fear for losing his reputation. Divide et impera, said the Romans. I can assure you that it was one of the most entertaining episodes in my professional life hitherto.
  • Inefficiencies (Score:5, Interesting)

    by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:21PM (#44182825)

    Of course, the flip side is that the union can add inefficiencies to the business and prevent them from meeting changing market conditions. It becomes much harder (or nearly impossible) to remove underperforming employees, and leads to siloed skillsets "I can't change that lightbulb, you need an electrician for that job" or "I can't unload that truck, it's not in my job description, but once someone brings the box into the building, then they can't take it to the store room, I have to do that". And I imagine that developers would get like that too "Well, it would be trivial to take care of that with a bash script, it would take me 2 minutes to do it. But since I'm a classified as a J2EE developer, I would have to architect a 3 tier enterprise architecture to do it, the team and I could have it ready to go 6 weeks after the business analyst finishes the requirements analysis. Unless, of course, you want to post a job for a Bash developer (and leave it posted for internal-only applications for 16 weeks)" I'm only half way joking after some of the BS I've run into at union shops.

    Which may be why my train can be 10 minutes late or even 10 minutes early yet BART still says "all trains are on time".

    • by JDG1980 (2438906)

      Unions are about collective bargaining. There's nothing that forces the unions to bargain for rigid job descriptions or strict seniority pay. Since most IT workers don't want these things, why would they elect union leaders who favor them, or agree to a contract that included them?

    • by sjames (1099)

      For each of those apparently inflexible and over the top union rules, there is a corresponding over the top and underhanded attempt by management to slip something past them, usually to under-cut them with non-union and often under-qualified people.

  • What problems could unionization of the tech industry solve?

    Step 1: Unionize! Workers unite!
    Step 2: Elect union overlords.
    Step 3: Pay dues.
    Step 4: ???
    Step 5: Rejoice!

  • by Hadlock (143607) on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:25PM (#44182867) Homepage Journal

    I work 40 hrs a week, get to work flex hours if I have to deviate from my regular schedule, work from home on Wednesdays, work in an air conditioned office kept between 74 and 76 degrees year-round, and the heaviest thing I've had to lift* in 5 years was a pot of coffee. My biggest occupational hazard is heart disease from lack of activity. I have enough business knowledge that it would take two years to train someone with a college degree for my job.
     
    Contrast that with a dock worker or auto manufacturing job where OSHA compliance is something to worry about, on the job injuries, back and foot injuries, fire hazards etc etc. The most training many of these people get is how to drive a fork lift and can be replaced with a temp worker in a day or two. Unions do a great job of protecting mostly unskilled workers.
     
    *not counting activities outside of work

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by painandgreed (692585)

      I work 40 hrs a week, get to work flex hours if I have to deviate from my regular schedule, work from home on Wednesdays, work in an air conditioned office kept between 74 and 76 degrees year-round, and the heaviest thing I've had to lift* in 5 years was a pot of coffee. My biggest occupational hazard is heart disease from lack of activity. I have enough business knowledge that it would take two years to train someone with a college degree for my job.

      Wait till you get a manager that kills your flex time and working from home because they doesn't like it. Then starts demanding extra hours to be put in with no compensation (even if it goes against state law). Then he decides you can just not go on your planned and approved vacation at the last minute because of some fire he wants fixed. Then you get to take call a another week after getting off call because their pet employee has decided to take a surprise vacation. All this while not only micromanaging y

  • I don't see why software developers, generally, would want to unionize. On the other hand it seems like I hear a lot of horror stories from video game developers, which makes sense since it's such a small market and so many developers want make games. So I could see why game developers might want to. Although it might be easier to just switch to a more profitable market like databases, since the real problem is a surplus of developers willing to take abuse to work in games.

    • by mjwalshe (1680392)
      classically there are 3 reasons why professionals join unions Rights Representation and Reassurance
  • It's all about power.

    Our notions of right and wrong tend to adapt to fit our notions of what we want.

    Someday, users will use software to create the software they want. When that happens, 95 percent of software developers will be redundant and they will belatedly learn that unions multiply their individual power.

    • by JDG1980 (2438906)

      Someday, users will use software to create the software they want.

      I'll believe that when I see it. People have been saying the same thing for over 20 years, that some kind of automated code generation or "expert system" would make programmers obsolete. Still hasn't happened.

      Of course things will change once we have full-fledged sentient AI, but that changes everything – virtually all human workers become obsolete, and capitalism no longer functions.

  • CS is collgle is very hit or miss and lot's of trades schools people get passed over even when they don't have the skills gaps. Also tech needs apprenticeships as well.

    And an hiring hall system can be much better then all the clue less staffing firms.

  • by Eristone (146133) * <slashdot@casaichiban.com> on Wednesday July 03, 2013 @06:38PM (#44182997) Homepage

    My fellow slashdotters keep forgetting that Doctors, Lawyers, Writers (in Hollywood) and Actors are all members of unions as well. The Bar, the Medical Association, the Screen Actor's Guild - all are unions no matter the name given. There is a way to make it work so that it benefits all involved - but then again we as techies have no problems when the networks are good enough to where once something is plugged in an engineer in the Philippines can take care of the rest of it...

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