People use the threat of legal fees to extort business owners all the time because all it takes is one bored attorney who's willing to take the case on contingency while the business is looking at $150-500 / hr fees to defend itself. Happens to doctors constantly.
If you are a business that employees thousands of people the amount of potential legal costs could put you under entirely, because attorneys have to respond to every single claim that opposing attorneys make. These techniques exist almost solely to drive up legal costs.
When your potential cost for an employee is far higher than the actual compensation you can afford to pay, it significantly increases your risk for every job you can create.
This is usually a two way street as well.
In nearly every contractor agreement I've read, the liability for the hired contractor is limited to at most the amount of compensation they receive from the business for the job they were performing.
I have suspicions about the incentives and stances of the arbitrators vs the law, but I'm not well-versed enough to state those with confidence.
Almost everything you said about arbitration is true...but you left out the other side. My employer already has a lot more leverage over me than I do over them. When that scale is further tilted, across all their employees, many of the cost-benefit analyses about treating your employees fairly go into their benefit, further making things worse (and arguably more expensive for me).
> People use the threat of legal fees to extort business owners all the time because all it takes is one bored attorney who's willing to take the case on contingency while the business is looking at $150-500 / hr fees to defend itself.
I'm willing to discuss the benefits of good anti-SLAPP legislation all day, but "threats" aren't the same as suing, and "bored attorney willing to take the case on contingency" aren't actually all that easy to find - there's a reason a lot of crap goes unpunished until a group large enough for a class-action lawsuit comes along - the payout isn't worth it, at least not for the lawyers who would win.
Companies LIKEWISE use the threat of legal fees all the time - the solution is not that employees need to sacrifice their legal rights.
Maybe then companies would focus their lobbying efforts on muting the effects of patent trolls and shady lawsuits. I do feel for the business owner, but taking away the rights of employees is worse for society.
The main argument of your parent comment is that it's better for both employees and employers due to generally lower costs all around. You simply made an assertion to the contrary. Do you have any evidence to support your position?
I'm definitely for making it easier to run a business and afford to be able to hire people, but not at the expense of the employee. I didn't get into it much because it risks an argument on economic outlooks which I didn't feel was as important as the main point.
The reason it favours the one party is that the cost of action is prohibitively high. As a customer/employee, suing your vendor/employer or taking them to arbitration requires you to dedicate much of your life to that cause. To them, it’s a small cost of doing business that has already been budgeted for.
The solution that was invented is class-action lawsuits. If an employer steals $1000 from every employee, it’s not worthwhile for them to sue. If market collusion raises the price of a RAM module by 10%, it’s not worthwhile for most customers to sue.
Forced arbitration removes that option. It is not possible to have class-action arbitration in any agreement I’ve read.
Another way of removing the option of class actions is class-action waivers, which are problematic for the same reason in my opinion.
(Note: federal agency judges are different. While they are technically employees of the agency, they are protected by federal laws/union rules that apply broadly, and those job protections are incredibly strong. This is why agency judges like immigration judges are so willing to buck their employers.)
And that "protection" is one of important reasons why it is so hard for a potential immigrant to find a job in the US.
Similarly, removing "forced arbitration" will make getting job at Google even harder.
Thus it works between two small guys that will not likely encounter the arbiter again. However, when there are big fish involved there's a strong bias towards ruling for the big fish, the guy who rules for the small fish too much finds himself unemployed.
When it's between two big fish the decisions will take the middle of the road. This causes big troubles with union vs government arbitration--the union simply doubles it's demands and will end up on average getting what it asked for. Right or wrong doesn't really enter into it.
For practical purposes for the little guy vs big guy arbitration means don't bother unless you have a slam dunk smoking gun.
Then fix that problem! In Germany, for example, in labor court even if losing a case all parties get to foot their own bills. This also disincentivizes companies from hiring uber expensive lawyers.
> People use the threat of legal fees to extort business owners
And business owners have insurance here that covers them. As for the fees of the court system, they're low. People expect the state to provide an affordable justice/police system and not one that has to fund itself through "civil forfeiture"...
Those two facts tend to naturally exacerbate the natural advantages the company has due to the fact that they are well organized and able to amortize their work over multiple cases but individual opponents become less able to be similarly organized.
1. Government regulation
2. Union representation
3. The threat of public exposure and resulting public opinion fallout
4. The potential downside of very large damage awards
If the clause was "In the case of a dispute, we win.", it'd be deemed invalid by the courts. But since it's "In the case of a dispute, we have an overwhelming advantage in a private court.", that makes it valid?
Wasn't there an article recently about some predatory lending practice where the lender made you sign a clause essentially letting them win in any dispute? And it got enforced a bunch?
In theory, arbitration firms are supposed to be independent and unbiased. I'd love to see some statistics backing that up. If there were a case for arbitration firms heavily backing companies over individuals, then that'd be a much stronger case.
2. It makes the weird underlying assumption that the people in court should be winning as much as they do. The fact that a difference in numbers exists is interesting but doesn't tell you whether it is fair or not.
So i guess i would ask. Imagine someone does a completely objective analysis of the gap and determines federal courts are in fact, the problem, and people are winning meritless lawsuits in court but not arbitration.
Would you be supportive of doing something about that?
3. Here is a more academic paper for you:
This is in fact, the original source for the 21.4% number EPI quotes.
EPI conveniently (in their own policy paper) leaves out the paragraph starting with :
"This employee win rate is substantially lower than that found in previous employment arbitration studies, which tended to use selective samples. It is also lower than employee win rates in litigation. However, it should be noted that we may be
comparing apples and oranges here in that the characteristics of cases in arbitration may differ systematically from those in litigation.
The task for future research is then to analyze what factors may explain
this gap and whether or not it is problematic from a public policy perspective
EPI does not do that.
Here's a more recent analysis:
An interesting note:
"In fact, in a variety of settings, no variable affects win rates as dramatically as whether a plaintiff hires attorneys with arbitration experience."
It is entirely possible the difference in win rates is due to the fact that in court employees are using experienced employment lawyers and in arbitration they are not using lawyers experienced in arbitration (meanwhile, the corporations do because they are sued so often).
Or because more of the claims are meritless in federal court
or a ton of completely fine things.
I'm curious why I haven't seen any signs of people going after the arbitration firms and their impartiality, rather than going after the companies using those firms.
I think the reasoning people have is the alignement of incentives is messed up:
Big companies will use arbitration if it provides them a cheaper alternative than going to actual courts.
The arbitration firm that is more employer friendly will save more money to a company than a firm that is less employer friendly, therefore the company is more likely to hire the first one. And arbitration firms are more likely to be employer friendly since their financial success is impacted.
Ending arbitration isn't necessarily the right solution, since courts could be too crowded, but maybe authorizing it, only if the case is handle in a timely fashion, and the employee has a right to "appeal" to a regular court , could make it more fair and more economical to both sides?
I posted some studies from SSRN, etc in my other comment here, but: Most studies that try to objectively evaluate the data (and there are plenty that don't on both sides!) don't come up with obvious "the arbitrators are unfair" or "court is right more of the time" answers. This is why you see the policy folks go after the win rates.
It is definitely true that large scale studies agree that the win rate is less in arbitration (There are some smaller scale studies cherry picking data that find otherwise).
The large scale studies though don't have enough data to say whether that win rate makes sense or not.
I posted the most recent one (not yet published) which tries to understand the variables affecting win rate.
Trying to objectively take 1000 cases in court/arbitration and say "what should have happened" has not occurred.
Without something like that, it is hard for folks to make a meaningful case that there is a real problem.
Despite what the prevailing viewpoint here seems to be, the truth is if someone did that study, in as unbiased a way as possible, it would likely be significantly more convincing to the judiciary than what they see now (trying to convince the populace/politicians is much harder :P)
For example, right now if you ask federal judges (no matter what their politics) whether they think all the winning employment legal cases before them deserve to be winning, their answer is a resounding no.
If it was a resounding yes, or the data showed the opposite effect in arbitration (IE people were losing cases they shouldn't), you'd have an easier time getting courts to buy that arbitration was actually harming people.
But we can't seem to get past the policy positions and "people should always be in court" mentality.
It's really quite sad.
(I'd also be interested in knowing why the comparison was with "federal court" and not "any court".)
Even if you believe that arbitrators attempt to be fair and correctly apply the law, there are numerous public policy issues with them, for some examples:
- The well known principle that it's not enough for the system to seem fair, it must appear to be fair.
- The lack of an appeals system. Real courts screw up all the time and there is 0 evidence to believe that arbitrators are better.
- The lack of case law developed, leading to re litigating issues and no clarity for future controversies.
- The lack of checks and balances, regardless of how fair arbitrators are today there is no way to stop them from becoming corrupt in the future.
The problem is the balance of power is overwhelmingly with employers, so if you don't agree, you don't get a job... anywhere.
Aribtration seems fine if it's business-to-business, and both sides have full-time counsel on staff, a contracts department in accounting, etc. etc.
This makes it a first amendment issue, but it’s more than that. We as a society lose out when cases are settled behind closed doors with no public record. We cannot make informed decisions about employment if we don’t know who the bad actors are.
People respond to incentives and there are lawyers specialized in trying to grab huge payoffs from companies. They are not allowed in arbitration.
This is a sensitive issue and the last time I posted, some innocent bystander got banned.
You can review my post history, which is serious. Yes, people respond to incentives, and yes, massive payoffs by companies when a seedy lawyer is one of these incetives is one of these. Why people here don't understand this is beyond me. People understand that giving equity in a company produces great labor from early employees. It should be equally obvious that allowing massive, inflated, and ungrounded lawsuits encourages the opposite result.
If done well, there is nothing wrong with forced arbitration.
I can only repeat: I myself will sign a forced arbitration clause, if I expect it to be vaguely fair, even if it deprives me of the chance to file a huge golddigger lawsuit.
I prefer to play on the winning team, not sue them. Forced arbitration, done well, helps this.
Why would I sign if it's so evil?
If you think arbitrators are compromised then it would be no different with a civil court, which probably has even worse objectivity.
If you're talking about the only factory in town with jobs available to feed your family, then it would be an understandable situation but high-paying white-collar positions with these benefits and flexibility are an unimaginable luxury for most and do not qualify as any sort of forced scenario.
You seem to be suggesting that employees put, at the top of their priorities list for where to work and how to support their families, a practice that is widespread in the industry, poorly understood by laypeople, and not predictably encountered by any particular individual, in order to live up to your standard of being 'accountable'. That is not reasonable.
In your own link, the only relevant detail is that over half of the Fortune 100 use forced arbitration without a meaningful choice. That's bad, and I already said that it should change, but it means the other half don't have it. Also talking about companies is not the same as your entire industry, so it's not as simple as you make it sound.
It's always easier to blame the victim than to change the system that made them a victim. The Google Employees are not just speaking for themselves:
>“2019 must be the year to end a system of privatized justice that impacts over 60 million workers in the US alone.”
In fact, those who are speaking out are probably the least likely to effected by forced arbitration, because arbitration is optional for FTEs @ Google
But please, let's not limit this to the tech industry. Forced arbitration should be made illegal as a condition of employment in the U.S. And if it's not something that can be legislated nationwide (the Supreme Court rejected Susan Fowler's appeal), let's do it state by state.
I am not unhappy to see this start in the tech industry, white collar workers have much more power to effect change in their workplace than blue collar workers... But I am similarly concerned that this might not be carried to other industries (or for it to be limited to a small number of companies that slowly reverse their policy due to "competitive issues")
Some advancements that have been made state-by-state and then finally nationwide, rather than nationwide all at once, include the abolition of slavery, gay marriage, and currently in process, marijuana decriminalization.
I think workers are really starting to see through the wool and demand that their companies act as ethically as they claim.
This is too dismissive. The fact is that unions are politically engaged. Being concerned about lobbying and political advocacy isn't silly.
If you were an employee for/against software patents, how would you feel if the union actively campaigned and donated in the opposite direction? Even worse, what if the union tended to support candidates on the opposite side of issues you cared more about, like public schools, gay rights, or abortion?
Meanwhile, as pointed out by sibling comments: most large tech employers already overtly and vigorously "lobby" in the opposite direction.
Besides, all the replies here are ignoring one of the major points... that lobbying as a when can be detrimental. Software patent policy isn't on the ballot and is maybe the 30th most important issue for voters, so it isn't all that relevant when picking a candidate to support. Gun issues, immigration, abortion, health care, and other issues are way more important to most. Donating based on right to repair ignoring the other issues is very atypical.
looser IPR rules more favorable to rank-and-file developers seems like such a basic, shared concern that it's likely to be a plank of any organized labor in software development.
For SV specifically, I have a hard time seeing this as a major issue let alone an organizing one - mostly on the basis of personal impressions but also historically - there would be no SV at all if this was some serious impediment at a time when patents mattered a lot more than current software patents do. Why do you think it's such a big deal? It does pop up a lot on forums but lots of things do and more often than not, it's people being surprised and shocked (not entirely unreasonably) at the first AoI they get when they start working around here. But in practice, these (among halfway decent actors) are almost never used in a coercive or draconian fashion.
And if your employer lobbied in the opposite direction? For example pro software patents, pro anti-circumvention laws, anti labor protections? Is it better if the only lobbying is from corporate?
Furthermore, there isn't anything that's preventing those employees from voicing their opinions without a union. The story linked in the OP is exactly that. Unless tech companies are firing thier employers for their political views, employees can make their views known regardless of union status. While we have seen a few instances of that, most were views that I doubt the average pro software developer union person wants to see defended (then again a lot of people proposing unionizing developers want to limit H1Bs so you never know).
Contrast this with people who are against what the union is doing. The only way to avoid this is to leave the union. In some states (including California) this may mean leaving the entire field of work. Right to work states guarantee the ability to work without union membership, but many (most?) tech jobs are not in those States.
Being able to quit a job over a moral objection is a painted as a luxury to most employees (whether it actually is a luxury or not... I think is less relevant than all the media we're fed reinforcing the fact that having a job is a privilege we're lucky to be allowed)
Thus to depict union membership as protecting workers' ability to avoid taking part in the endorsement of views is nonsensical. It is strictly harder to quit a union than to quit one's job. Because the latter not only involves quitting one's job, but also finding new employment in a different field.
(Did you mean "former"?)
I think you're being more than a little hyperbolic. Unions can't force employers to not hire you if you're not a member (in fact most employers probably would prefer non-union employees because the employees have less negotiating strength).
Not to mention that historically unions have been the catalyst for workers rights legislation (like the 5-day work week, and 9-5 hours, overtime pay, and so on). So even if you aren't a member there are obvious benefits to employees who aren't members of a union (in the long run).
This is not the case. At least, it is allowed in States that have not passed legislation to that effect. Many (usually liberal) States have not done so, as it would weaken the power of unions.
And do you know why it is so? The popular adage is "gun lobby throws money at representatives", but it's actually not true.
The reason why gun control doesn't get traction despite popular support is because those polls that measure support or opposition don't measure the dedication of people expressing it. The majority, when asked about gun control, support it, yes - but most don't feel particularly strong about it, and extremely few consider it a make-or-break single issue. So when it comes to voting, politicians know that they can get those people's votes even if they don't go for gun control, riding on other issues.
OTOH, NRA (and other gun rights orgs) have a very effective resource, and that isn't money - it's membership. Specifically, it's the subset of its members that is laser focused on gun legislation, and the majority of whom consider it their single most important issue. Because of that, they're likely to turn out in the primaries, and vote based solely on that one thing, ignoring everything else. Furthermore, NRA (or rather NRA-PVF specifically) facilitates it by compiling dossiers on various candidates in all races across the country, and publishing them together with voting guides. So what this all means is that any Republican who openly supports gun control will find it hard to get through the primary. And, conversely, not supporting it is not a big downside in the general (D voters will vote against you anyway, and R voters will vote for you anyway).
This is changing lately with the rise of left-wing, ideologically motivated groups that target primaries in a similar way, like Indivisibles, which means that Dems these days are a bit more likely to pick it up. But it's still a litmus test for Republicans, and for as long as that remains the case, you're not going to see 70% popular support translate to 70% legislature votes.
By the way, we had a very good demonstration of this recently. Remember the whole bump stock kerfuffle? When ATF announced that it's reviewing its categorization of them, there was a public comment period. Here's how it went:
"Of the more than 17,000 public comments received so far by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), a review by Reuters of 4,200 turned up only 10 favoring the bump stock ban. Almost all the rest criticized the proposal as heavy-handed, unnecessary or unconstitutional."
Funnier still, most comments expressing support for the ban were form letters, while most comments expressing opposition were not. This despite the fact that over 80% of the population support the ban, according to the polls - just not enough to bother leaving a public comment on the Internet expressing that opinion, much less prioritize it in their voting choices.
Same deal with unions in tech. Say you're in favor of immigration for high skilled workers. Most unions are against immigration when it has the potential to increase the supply of labor in their field (because increased supply = lower costs of labor).
There are certainly unions with bad politics. The ideal is a union that is embedded as part of a broader pro-worker movement that supports migrants, women, other minorities, the unemployed, etc.
In Australia, high schools are ranked based on final exam scores and that's something teachers already hate. But to tie it to pay would lead to an even larger conflict of interest and attempts to cheat the performance indicators. When I was graduating high school, I noticed that all of our raw marks were reduced right before our final exams (they were reduced because the metric takes into account whether the school was "harder" on students than the national exam or "easier" on them, and rewarded "harder" schools).
If this was just done to change a ranking, imagine what would happen if teacher's pay was linked to performance. Hell, what about rural or "bad neighbourhood" areas? Should we always and forever doom them to have bad teachers because all the good ones go somewhere with better pay? This is already happening (because working for a higher-ranked school is better for your career) and is pretty bad -- having performance-based pay would be a disaster.
I think that's a good point -- unions are not perfect and may support the interests of their members over the interests of other workers or society at large. However, in my view they are far preferable to any corporate board of directors, which represents only the interests of the owners of the company. Politics is struggle, it isn't just opting out of things you don't like, or else you'll end up a hermit. it's organizing for representation and power, and unions are one example of that kind of organization. An imperfect one, yes, but far preferable in my view to none at all
The corporations you work for the the exact same thing (lobby for things they want) and it's rarely for your own benefit. The difference between a union and a corporation is that unions are democratic organizations. Good luck voting your boss out of their job. All you can do now is quit and find a new job, which for a lot of workers isn't easy to do.
This is the argument used in the recent Janus ruling of the SCOTUS. It's part of the last 40 years of anti-union propaganda shoved into our faces by corporations.
I already have quite enough entities "democratically" deciding how to represent me or spend my money in ways I oppose, and I don't want another. Do not presume to speak for me or count me among a number of "supporters" of any cause without my explicit consent. The right way to handle any kind of lobbying is "we're thinking of supporting this cause, here's an easy link if you'd like to support that cause, and we'll only speak for those who agree"; that would still allow a union to facilitate collective action without presuming to speak for everyone.
There's a huge difference between (for instance) "let's collectively demand better working conditions, better benefits, and equitable treatment" and "let's lobby the government to make it illegal to work on software without being a union member". I don't care if 53% of a union favors the latter or not. Unions can and do engage in regulatory capture.
Like any concentration of power, unions can be used for good or for ill. Propaganda would have you believe they're always bad, and pro-union folks would have you believe they're always good.
Both can be true:
- A union lobbies better for me than my employer.
- No lobbying represents my views better than either employer or union lobbying.
A union lobbies better for me than my employer.
Those interests may or may not coincide with yours.
Because you may not perfectly agree with union lobbying, it's better to leave corporate lobbying unopposed, which will almost certainly leave you (and the entire working class) worse off?
But I do agree that there is no way companies would chose to refrain from lobbying if the option was available.
This also has a number of other benefits to democracy, notably that social science has shown that our allegiance is to those who we are in closest proximity daily with (i.e. representatives might actually represent their constituents instead of the political class) and it disincentivizes gerrymandering (if you're gonna shove all the black people in one district, you're gonna be living with them).
There are concerns with logistics and security when it comes to electronically submitted votes for elections (i.e. e-voting) but this sort of a solution side steps any concerns like that, heck it could be voting by show of hands over a video chat.
I do disagree with the gerrymandering portion though, I think the US really needs to adopt a proportional representation system (I'm partial to MMP) which would just make any attempt at gerrymandering irrelevant, sure you can win a particular seat if you gerrymander, but the amount you can effect overall representation would be quite minimal.
While this is not true for all Europe, excessive "collective" (quotes intended) bargaining in my country has ensured indeed a sort of equality... an equality where everyone is put at the bottom with regards to wages. That's because everything is decided at national level (there are contracts for workers, teachers, engineers...) with close to zero local flexibility. New professions are kind of shoehorned into previous contract types (heck, I'm a researcher, and my contract applies to the "retail industry").
Major national unions (which have mostly retirees in their ranks) prefer it like this because they can have political power. That's why they are vehemently opposing any kind of local negotiation between employees and local unions, because that would strip them off their power.
tl;dr: Implementations differ, some might even yield worse results than before.
"I'm sorry, the union is opposed to postgres. You can either roll your own DB or use Oracle. Oh, and you're not allowed to store more than half a million rows without a Union Approved database administrator."
Think of all the job descriptions that have become irrelevant, for most startups, in the last decade: "DBA", "sysadmin", "IT". Even in the past year or two, thanks to docker, there's less need for "devops".
Unions exist to protect the interests of today's--not tomorrow's--workforce.
So yes, I certainly believe that a union would say "companies that use docker hire 90% fewer sysadmins than those that do not. We have 70,000 members with that job description. The next collective bargaining agreement will forbid it.
Labor unions have historically been anti automation. If you think software unions are somehow different then the burden of proof is on you.
Imagine that 10 years from now someone invents an AI that can magically take a set of plain english specifications and output a working, high-quality CRUD web app, making a single engineer as efficient as 10. Do you think the software engineers union at BigEnterpriseCo would let them use it?
Do you have actual examples of irrelevant jobs in software engineering that have been kept on because of unions? How about unions advocating for proprietary software in order to keep out open source software?
Given that many software unions already exist, the burden of proof is on you to prove that such things are actually happening. It's unreasonable to expect someone to prove the negative here.
If union members benefited from automation, they'd be all for it. Why should someone be for a change that makes them jobless? Corporations certainly don't lobby for changes that decrease their profits.
This is like when the Luddites were labeled anti progress, when in reality they we're anti being replaced and left to starve in the streets, with the industrial automation being the linchpin in a set of events that caused said starvation.
Share the wealth or don't be surprised when people will fight you over it.
When you form an organized labor bloc, it's not like the Teamsters come in and manage your field for you. The people deciding what workplace changes to push for are the developers themselves.
Besides, unions would most certainly be more pro-open source than any corporate entity. Open source gives everyone the opportunity to be heard and have their feelings and thoughts actually affect outcomes; this is more or less the same goal of a workers union.
Unions, like all organizations, have institutional inertia. And they do good things and bad things.
If unions REALLY wanted everyone to have the opportunity to be heard and respected feelings, there would be no violence and intimidation when people move to cross a picket line.
It happens. It's ugly. And it shows unions are NOT about respect for anyone's feelings that don't align with the 'endorsed' way of thinking.
Crossing a picket line doesn't elicit an ugly response because people are upset about how others are thinking.
It elicits a response because scabs directly undermine the union's main leverage with which they bargain collectively.
It's about power, not thought control.
The comment I replied to states unions are violent and don't care about feelings that aren't part of an 'endorsed' way of thinking. I stated another more direct reason why they would have the same reaction which has nothing to do with attempts at thought policing, but rather with their reason for existing.
Maybe the difference feels subtle, but it's an important one.
I've got a feeling you aren't interested in discussing the actual argument that unions aren't primarily attempting thought control, and that 'thoughts' aren't the reason for violence in the event that people cross the picket line. It's the fact that the act is taking bread out of people's mouths.
If the term 'scab' upsets you a great amount, please note that in the majority of the western world, the use of scabs is restricted or illegal. Accordingly, their use is often in the context of illegal attempts to undermine labour's negotiating leverage during strikes. The US is the notable exception to this trend, largely due to judicial interpretation, rather than direct legislative efforts.
I'm quite sure tech unions would end up being heavily pro-open source, with the result of more code being open sourced throughout the industry.
I say this as the TL of a team at Google that fought (and won) to open source our project. It wouldn't have happened were it not for me and a few other engineers pushing for it to happen.
I can easily see a union boss say "Our Oracle employees' wages will be undercut by these unauthorized developers using FLOSS alternatives. This is unacceptable. It is our job as union representatives to insist on the highest standard of professional software, and demand that all unionized software houses use Oracle."
Much of the opportunity in the software industry comes from software developers undercutting other software developers. You & I like it when we're the beneficiaries, and not the dinosaurs being undercut. There's no guarantee (and actually a pretty strong selection incentive against) the innovative developers being the ones with political power.
ETA: more seriously, unions can push for or against bad practices, just as management also can. Broad generalizations almost always represent ideological campaigns more than an objective appraisal of the on-the-ground landscape.
24-7 isn't required if your org only depends on system between working hours.
Another big thing anti-union propaganda pushes is that it's a vocal minority making a lot of noise. Usually it's the opposite.
Unions are typically democratic organizations
Unions want "card check" votes that let the leadership see whom they need to intimidate.
Is a union not just a collection of employees who have entered into a contract together which requires that they do certain things as part of collective bargaining actions.
I don't see why that would inherently require a majority of the employees, or even a majority of the employees in a certain occupation.
Is the 50% requirement due to some enshrinement of unions in law?
Why are unions treated differently than other contracts?
I'm assuming this is because of some historical accident that came about with a struggle between people who wanted to prevent all such contracts and people who wanted unions to have special privileges over other sorts of contracts?
Some union supporters worry that allowing minority unions would weaken established unions. Union opponents have focused on passing "right to work" laws, which require majority unions to represent non-members for free. The status quo probably makes unions stronger in pro-union states and weaker in anti-union states.
Bernie Sanders used publicity and shame to force Amazon to pay fulfillment center workers a higher minimum wage, and he’s only one person (albeit a person with a platform).
So find the leverage. Everyone has pain points.
It doesn't mean much, but should I someday need legal assistance they've got my back. I don't use them for negotiation, etc, few engineers do.
But they run a decent news paper, and highlight topics like this.
It seems to me like any minority form of employee representation on a board (e.g. requiring 1 seat) would just be paying lip service to employees since the majority of the board would still make decisions based on what drives future profits.
Alternative is it’s a mascot/figurehead appointed or “voted in”.
Are we not technologists and engineers?
A defeatist attitude just slows down the problem solving process.
Are we not technologists and engineers? Don't we know enough about the pitfalls of trying to fix a system that isn't broken?
But is it among the best ratios of compensation to value provided to the company? That's the more interesting number.
The system isn't broken for _you_. You're not in a position to speak on behalf of me.
So, extremely? "no more bureaucratic than the corporations they live in" is not a hard standard to meet while still being incredibly bureaucratic.
Unionization itself though has had mixed effects in the US. From workers having their conditions and lives improved to city governments driven to bankruptcy. So it isn't all good or all bad.
Perhaps technology workers have reached critical mass at this point.
Me too. I expect some people to be fired, but in some subtle way. "One out, all out". (Few today know what that means. Find out.)
If you want to see an effective union of creative and technical employees, see The Animation Guild, IATSE Local 839. They represent the major studio animators and some CGI people in Hollywood. They have about 2500 members.
A big advantage of being represented by IATSE is "crunch time = big overtime pay". Films do have scheduling crunches, and they come out of the production budget and the producer's cut. This is why film scheduling is a real thing and software scheduling is a joke.
Could you link something, for the curious of us? I googled but the vast majority of results are scientific papers about the Water Framework Directive for assessing the health of bodies of water, plus a Wikipedia link to the "One in, one out policy" (not the same thing), plus a Guardian article that alluded to something about union-busting but never explained the history of the term.
As far as I can tell, the point is solidarity - if one worker strikes, all workers must strike. Any scabs who go back to work will be ostracized by the loyal strikers.
Like the 40-hour work week: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eight-hour_day
And there's very recent precedent on this front within the tech industry, too. Just look at what happened with Lanetix, which fired all of its software engineers after they started organizing, then lost the resultant NLRB case and now owe a substantial amount of money.
Maybe a tragedy of the commons? "Well, it's not my money being spent, why not give the unions a bigger pension"? Whereas in a private company there is always someone who wants the company to continue to be profitable.
* Lots of construction employees are mandated by unions to stay around (crane greasers I believe are an example) even though these employees do no work, and then managers have to be hired to manage more employees, etc.
* Sometimes employees are hired to do no work at all
* Highly experienced employees will be given menial jobs like coffee-fetcher sort of deal, but get paid very highly for it due to their experience.
* The MTA has no negotiating power, the unions and the construction contractors agree on a price and then give it to the MTA
That said, responsible city management which is unable to arbitrarily change the tax rate by law (the fabled CA requirement of 2/3 majority vote) would not enter into contracts that would put the city's solvency at risk, and yet they still do.
 The factors contributing to a local government's decision to file for relief under Chapter 9 typically are varied and complex. From the information that has been made available to date, it appears that Stockton and San Bernardino's bankruptcy filings were driven by some similar factors including: long–term imbalances in revenues and spending, reduced tax revenues associated with the downturn in the economy, some constraints to reducing expenditures in the short term, and increasing costs to provide retiree benefits. Additionally, substantial borrowing appears to be a factor in Stockton's filing, and prior budgeting practices, such as borrowing from internal funds, appears to be a contributing factor in San Bernardino's case. By contrast, the bankruptcy filing by Mammoth Lakes appears to be driven by a single significant event—a recent legal judgment that required it to pay an amount more than twice its annual General Fund budget. -- https://lao.ca.gov/reports/2012/localgov/local-government-ba...
I know of these cases in the US, but that wouldn't fly in a German union. They only stand up for you when the employer acts out of reason, but not if you're fired with a valid reason (e.g. sexual misconduct). Maybe a look at the German system could be of help here, though I sympathize more with the French model as their unions sometimes go the extra way for the employees.
I suspect that Mr Danmore (x googler) did not get fired fairly as google did not I suspect follow its internal procedures to the letter.
The fact is that engineers create an increasing amount of value, and their compensation hasn't increased sufficiently to reflect that.
In fact, Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Pixar and eBay were found guilty of colluding to keep engineer pay artificially low through anti-poaching agreements.
 Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe will pay $415 million in anti-poach deal - http://fortune.com/2015/09/03/koh-anti-poach-order/
Most software developers are not on HN, or making anywhere near Valley salaries.
I like it this way better because it gives you the ability to have more control over the organization as a normal worker. All that scary "union dues going to big bad bosses" rhetoric goes out the window when you know the union leadership as your co-workers.
You do need better democratic oversight than you have in the USA cough in my opinion.
So have multiple independent unions that have each other on speed dial for when they need to amplify influence. And lobbying should be opt-in by individual members on a cause by cause basis.
2 Again in the UK there are very heavy restrictions placed on union lobbying and I suspect in the USA to.
I am sorry balloting members individually on every policy is madness that's what conference is for.
We have technology for this, and it's not hard to take a vote. I will never be a part of any union that presumes to speak for me on individual issues without my individual consent. And if the union is doing so many things that the number of votes are too much for individual members to deal with, it's doing too much.
(By contrast, it does seem entirely reasonable to give broad parameters to people doing negotiation, rather than doing negotiation ballot by ballot; the members should then vote on the resulting negotiated proposal, though, before it gets finalized.)
Nope. For the simple reason that unions have borders, tech jobs don't.
That's going to be a huge surprise to the people, both tech workers and otherwise, who live in one of the major tech hubs where all the tech workers congregate.
US unions rely largely on holding a monopoly on the supply of labor. When that monopoly disappears, they lose all power.
You know that unionized jobs are _not_ drastically different over those that aren't, right?
You're really so naive to think that unions don't change productivity?
The problem with US isn't with the unions, it's with the corporations' complete vitriol against them.
there are international unions and federations of unions actually
Not really, that's just naming and marketing.
No only that, unions actually compete with each other across countries. An union in the US is fighting for US workers, and to keep jobs in the US, and might be competing with an union in Mexico for those same jobs.
But curiously when it comes to labor suddenly collective action becomes anathema? This is not logical. Isn't it high time anti-union propaganda and demonizing unions on the flawed logic of 'bad unions make all unions bad' ie some banks are corrupt so banking as a concept is bad is jettisoned for informed discussion.
The key word in this case is 'forced'. If you prefer company managed arbitration then you should be able to 'choose' it. Similarly those who see it as fundamentally flawed should have the freedom to choose due process in a court of law as is the right of every citizen.
For the presentation of the article: anyone from Techcrunch reading? The site looks like shit on tablets. In a webview after 500ms the site goes blank, only the footer remains. In Chrome, the article is 40% of the screen, the right side is some ad. What the fuck?
In many states it is unlawful to negotiate Union favored closed shops. Not to mention arbitrary bans on alcohol sales and nude beaches and intermittent restrictions on teaching natural selection or climate change.
In much of the county, language around liberty is not remotely about individuals but is used disingenuously to drive voters to act against their own interest.
unlawful to negotiate Union favored closed shops
This is actually a pretty good summary of micro-political science in a nutshell.
With 95% confidence.
People who are lying.
And journalists having an agenda isn't a bad thing, they just need to stop listening to modern journalist "fair and balanced" lessons from college. When ever you're writing an article make it clear what your general opinion on the subject is so that people can incorporate it into their understanding of your statements.
I'd much rather just have transparency of opinion than today's "fair and balanced". Today's news is (generally) written to avoid authors expressing their opinion openly, but sources and statistics will be cherry picked to reinforce their opinion. If that opinion was openly stated it'd be easier to confirm whether the statistics are reasonable neutral or misleading.
Not talking honestly about agendas actually does everyone a lot of harm.
This group, today? They're just asking for their employer not to engage in unethical legal practices.
Ironic, given the topic of seeking the afforded freedoms...even if it's idiotic.
> Not even remotely comparable situations.
Pretty close, especially since what you have successfully done. I mean it's not the end of the career for anyone Google fires, so that's hyperbole, granted. It's comparable because you baked it down to a phrase in both cases, which describes behavior that runs contrary to Google's interests (in one way or another).
Further, the deck seems pretty stacked in favour of the company in court anyways. They have a team of lawyers each way more expensive than any lawyer I'll be able to afford. Not to mention the time and effort that would spent suing a company when I'd really rather be moving on with my life.
So its not at clear to me that I'm worse off with forced arbitration. Without it, I'd have a lower salary and only slighter better chance of winning a suit against my employer.
court is unfavorable but it's less unfavorable if you do a class action lawsuit, which is the whole point.
Perhaps I've got a better chance of winning a class action suit, but it probably returns me as an individual a tiny amount of money. Still not a winning proposition.
I'm sure you can figure this out if you think about it.
If you'd review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and use this site as intended, we'd be grateful.
Look for big tech to push for more H1B Visas to shift things in their favor by saying there's a "talent shortage". The H1Bs don't have the luxury of protesting stuff like this because they can be deported if they get out of line plus it drives down wages
I am quite sure you are not aware of the issue here. We're talking about binding, or forced arbitration. Often times, people are unaware that they are being forced into arbitration, and when they are, it severely limits their legal recourse. There's little reason to support it, unless you're a huge company with liability concerns.
Here's a good source on the matter: