5
stackodev
12d

I could never quite picture a reason for dev professionals to unionize. Is there one?

https://vice.com/en/article/...

Comments
  • 11
    Companies nationwide and bodyshops are reducing or eliminating benefits and trying to reduce us all to hourly workers. In some cases forcing us to train our outsourced replacements who were hired purely on cost in a continuous race to the bottom where we become the most disposable units at a given company because we exist in an every person for themselves employment scenario that only benefits said companies. Not to mention salaries in tech are now negative vs the cost of living/inflation since the 90s, despite impossible demand and higher than ever graduation levels.

    But no, no reason. πŸ˜‹
  • 0
    If you're bad at finding a good job or walking away from a bad one, sure.
  • 6
    Pretty much most bigger companies here in Germany are bound to a union, on top of our fairly protective worker's rights (by law).

    And honestly I'm kinda glad we got that going for us.

    I kinda like getting stable work contracts and better working conditions.

    Edit: most dev positions I know of are in companies bound to the IG Metall (IGM), which iirc is the biggest union in the world.
  • 9
    *sigh* americansπŸ™„πŸ˜†
  • 8
    @heyheni Americans also think it's normal to have only two weeks of paid holidays per year and no paid sick leave.
  • 1
    I was merely asking the question. But I’ve observed that it’s entirely possible in America for people who are good at their skill set to negotiate a great employment experience for themselves without the necessity of a union. Those interpersonal and negotiation skills are sorely lacking in younger workers who have been conditioned out of them by everyone getting a trophy just for showing up. But if you know what you want, what you’ll settle for, what you won’t settle for, how to talk to management, and when to walk away from a bad deal (sometimes triggering capitulation by management because they don’t want to lose you) you can still get really good compensation. It’s a question of attitude and savvy.
  • 0
    It’s just strange to me when white collar work gets unionized. Watching my son’s blue collar union screw up so much and generally being clumsy about training apprentices (actually endangering them on the job site) doesn’t give me hope that white collar unions are going to do any better.
  • 1
    The problem is when they start telling you what jobs you are allowed to do. I straddle the line of different disciplines. I don't want a union pigeon holing me.
  • 1
    @stackodev
    The problem is the opportunities are dwindling, and strongly preferring cheaper foreign labor. The numbers are not in our favor; in the article you were reading, the aggrieved parties were working for HCL, a massive indian bodyshop, doing work for Google and getting nowhere. That is the majority of tech jobs now.

    If you don't account for the broader market, you'll be sitting here 15 years from now wondering what happened.
  • 4
    @stackodev and it's a very American way of looking at things by saying that everything shall be earned with very hard experience
  • 1
    @iiii Why is earning through experience a bad thing? Seems quite honorable and enhancing to me. I’d hate to look back on my life and see a bunch of jobs handed to me just for existing. I like autonomy and being self-made. I like not being part of a faceless crew represented by people who may not actually have my best interests in mind.
  • 2
    @stackodev
    "Self-made" is an interesting term. What does that mean to you?
  • 0
  • 1
    @stackodev
    It's a heavily overloaded term, depending on who you talk to. So using it tends to be baitey, yes.
  • 0
    @SortOfTested What does it mean to you?
  • 2
    @stackodev
    It has no meaning to me, it's not a term I use. I'll say I'm accomplished, credentialed, published, successful. I can look up a dictionary definition, obviously.

    So maybe the better question is, who isn't self-made? What action or circumstance strips that honorific?
  • 1
    You don’t get to be any of those things without personal effort and a résumé to back it up. And if you have become accomplished, why cast your fate at the feet of union organizations to bargain for you? How do you know you’re truly getting the best for yourself? How do you control your destiny? I guess the “protection in numbers” thing applies, but what if they strike and you still need to feed yourself and your family? People have been threatened, harassed, injured, and even killed for crossing the picket line.

    Not for me, thanks. The most successful people I know keep the control over their career path close to the vest. I want to be successful, not part of a mob.
  • 4
    If it weren't for the achievements of the unions you would still work 16+ day for cents.

    And for the "negotiating" part you're so proud of. Do you've got lobbyiests and law makers that do good on your behalf? No? Too bad, companies have and billions of dollars they saved by paying you way bellow what the real wage is. To lobby and launch pr union busting campaigns making america believe that they should work even harder just to be able to survive.
    Union Busting begann with Ronald Regean and Neo Liberalism.

    The result is that younger americans today own significant less wealth because employer have lobbied every worker protection away and pay lower wages. While Inflation skyrockets and making living expenses raise by the year. This is a problem. A economic and a political one. And paves the road for civil unrest.

    I'm telling you as a smug European if everybody would be in a union, life becomes more comfortable and the whole society gets more relaxed and equitable.
  • 2
    @heyheni i have a hard time to believe unions are all flowers and shit. Worker unions might have been useful for some period but don’t expect me to believe you just because you posted a flimsy chart with your imagined causality.
  • 2
    @heyheni unions are also easy to corruptable and politicized entities, which is a giant NO from me.
  • 3
    @stackodev
    That's FUD, legitimately.

    Boeing engineers with 10-25 years were laid off and replaced with Infosys employees. Boeing just shipped even more work to North Carolina so they could get access to more cheap H1B labor. Same for the engineers at Kaiser, Disney, et al. Without any protections, they became the victims of bean counters.

    As for the argument that you don't make enough working for a union: an officer with the police union here made $440k in the last year alone, so there's definitely not an argument for salary limitation in union jobs. If there was, Will Smith would be working for scale; professional unions are different animals from blue collar. The median in SPD was 160k for a job where most of them had a high school diploma.

    Conversely, I never pulled down more than 260k TC with a Masters from an excellent school and a stellar resume working as an SDEIII for Amazon because there were no PE openings and salary negotiation didn't exist. I got more at google, but you have to be executive level before you exceed 400. Corporations have salary scales and abide by them.

    The core problem is everyone getting theirs and doing absolutely fuck all to address the gutting of our industry. They all sit around talk about being islands unto themselves while the job market collapses around them. The problem is the fixation on just themselves, and ignoring the shit going on around them.

    The stance you're taking is going to guarantee unions, you're leaving people with no alternative. The government isn't doing anything about the job loss and importation of cheap labor for anything other than lettuce pickers. They're just a bunch of entitled geriatric fucks living in the past and enabling companies to gut benefits, fire for cost savings reasons and selling our jobs and industries to contract labor firms and foreign entities.

    Protecting jobs in this country isn't just a slogan to me. We need more than libertarian fan fiction to fix this.
  • 0
    @SortOfTested Your argument is, essentially, “I hate old rich people” and “Wahhh! I want communism and a million dollars and I want to be part of a mob to strong arm other people to give it to me!”

    You do realize there are more tech companies than just Amazon and Google and that they have great wages and benefits, right? Right now I can do a quick LinkedIn search and find two dozen companies offering remote or paid relocation and unlimited vacation time plus vision/health/dental/401(k). Recruiters are constantly hitting me up with jobs like this on LinkedIn but I’ve got a plum job 3 years running and all I did was fill out a random application on Indeed and they begged me to join them. The American employers are not all Google and Amazon and they DON’T want H1-B devs from India and Pakistan.

    I have more to say in rebuttal, but it’s late and I need sleep.
  • 2
    How very... 'murican. While unions are sometimes doing a very shitty job and there's a lot of politicks taking the focus away from what's important, in most civilized countries they exist to protect the workers' rights from the more morally questionable tendencies of greedy employers who'd shit on their workers' rights the moment they could. And in here you don't actually need to be a member in the union to benefit from them. While unions are a remnant from the past, when they had to fight for getting us a 5-day working week and 7.5h working days, their time is not over. I've seen enough of the world to appreciate working in a country with strong unions - less fucking stress to just exist.
  • 3
    @stackodev you've been brainwashed, dude. Live does not have to be on insanely hard difficulty to be fulfilling.
  • 0
    @heyheni so you want socialism?
    *Hearing Soviet Union anthem far away"
  • 3
    It sometimes amazes me how some Americans believe in the "self-made man".

    It's crazy how the survivor bias works on you!

    "I made it ONLY by my work! If you didn't make it, you didn't work enough!"...
    Astonishing.

    Now, on the subject. Unions should do 2 different things:
    1. represent employees on a more equal term on company negotiations.
    2. represent " industry workers" in a more effective way in front of governments.

    Subject 2 is more simple. Why do you think there "industry organizations/unions"? Like the NRA? Consumers unions?
  • 2
    Subject 1 is more complex. First, yes you should think about others and not only you. If the survivor bias is a core to you... Don't bother...
    But you should see history as a systemic realization. What happened to the automobile industry in the states? How was this industry in the '40s, '50s? And how is it today?
    Companies only care for money and growth. And it's normal, in our neoliberal globalized economy.

    Now a real question would be: how can we make a good union who will protect their constituents and not its direction?

    But you have the right to ask stupid questions. Like " why put laws around food safety"...
  • 1
    @SortOfTested well I found this,

    Mr Ambani is self made. What do you think?

    https://linkedin.com/feed/update/...

    πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚πŸ˜‚
  • 1
    @F1973
    Absolutely, just like Donald Trump and Elizabeth Holmes. Real rags to riches story. πŸ˜‹
  • 1
    Sure, it’s fun to poke holes in the aberrations and excesses of America. What Eurosocialist elitist doesn’t enjoy dunking on the yankee rubes across the pond?

    Just know that there are so many more people than the BBC or CNN will report about who do just fine here without unions and they genuinely enjoy being captains of their own life’s ship.

    Meanwhile, my son has been laid off from his union because they had crap safety and training measures that caused him to be injured twice in his first four weeks on the job. And when he did the right thing by calling in sick and quarantining when he thought he might have COVID, that also was counted against him. But the union operatives blamed him so the name of their precious mobocracy wouldn’t be at risk. Totally working for the workers there.
  • 0
    @stackodev that's not how unions generally work... sorry to hear about you son. That would never be possible here, though.
  • 0
    @SortOfTested if you're getting replaced by cheaper labor, your skills are obviously not as valuable as you think they are.

    I definitely wouldn't support measures that force American companies to hire American workers. You aren't entitled to a good job, or even a job at all. What right do I have to use the law to force a company to hire me over someone else just because I live inside some imaginary line?

    Besides, cheap labor's gotta eat, too.
  • 1
    @spongessuck This depends upon the sector and the potential risk of trade secrets and government secrets being stolen. Foreign nationals are becoming a significant risk from some countries. There is also communication issues as well. Time lag is another. In some cases code quality is a big factor.
  • 1
    @Demolishun I'm not saying it's good, and I would think companies are thinking about those things when they hire foreign labor.

    And if their bad hiring sends their products and quality down the tubes and they fail, so be it. Let it be a lesson for the others.
  • 1
    @spongessuck
    If that's what you got out of what I wrote, there's no point in further discussion.
  • 0
    @SortOfTested it sounded like you think some sort of legal intervention is necessary to help prevent job loss in our industry, and if that doesn't happen, then unions are inevitable.
  • 1
    @spongessuck
    The point was that unions will happen because the law to date has resulted in the stripping of worker protections and a general violation of the established social contract. That's why unions always happen, and why unions inevitably become toxic (they are bred from toxicity).

    Under the new social contract, the worker has been reprioritized underneath the corporate person and the investor, as a distant third. It has also resulted in a more significant portion of the tax burden being realigned from the corporate person onto the individual. This isn't good for a stable economy, especially as the income of the individual plummets.

    The law as written requires an equality (skill) and a need (scarcity) be established before a visa worker may be obtained. In a system with scarcity, prices naturally inflate. If that does not happen, it's evidence of market manipulation. I defined specifically how the market is being manipulated.

    The derivative equality is, even ignoring scarcity and its impact on pricing, if you can devalue labor, equivalent labor that is available in the market should be hired at the new market threshold for that asset. This isn't true, due to a separate labor standard exists for imported labor where they cannot:

    - receive cost of living/inflation adjustment
    - leave the company (indentured servitude)

    Imported labor is paid equivalent to market in many cases, but over the course of six years fixed salaries can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings, driving down the prevailing wage. This is used as a mechanism for companies to kill their pensions and benefit liability, pushing workers off to contracting companies where the benefit burden is shifted to the worker almost totally. MNCs collude on this worker abuse, guaranteeing their H1bs aren't revoked or transferred with promises of green card sponsorship, which increases the degree of manipulation.

    Tl;dr: Yes, hiring slave labor is cheaper. No, we should not aspire to it.
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