I think these types of debates are bellwether for programmer/IT professional unionization. These are the exact types of lawsuits brought against organized labor as it was trying to get organized to prevent exploitative behavior.
It's disturbing to see these same anti-organization arguments rehashed simply for a new industry.
“Entitled” is a term used by elites to describe their lessers seeking to be above their rightful station. It's only ever used to punch down.
Other terms are used for the already powerful seeking to retain power including some that reflect the speaker's perception that it is unjust power involved, but “entitled” just isn't generally used in that direction.
With that in mind, I think the word may have a general-purpose use to describe people grabbing for things the speaker things they should not have.
Edit: This is the passage I was thinking of
"We rarely hear ... of the combinations of masters, though frequently of those of workmen. But whoever imagines ... that masters rarely combine, is as ignorant of the world as of the subject. Masters are always and everywhere in a sort of tacit, but constant and uniform, combination, not to raise the wages of labour above their actual rate.... Masters, too, sometimes enter into particular combinations to sink the wages of labour even below this rate. These are always conducted with the utmost silence and secrecy till the moment of execution; and when the workmen yield, as they sometimes do without resistance, though severely felt by them, they are never heard of by other people. Such combinations, however, are frequently resisted by a contrary defensive combination of the workmen, who sometimes, too, without any provocation of this kind, combine, of their own accord, to raise the price of their labour.... But whether their combinations be offensive or defensive, they are always abundantly heard of. In order to bring the point to a speedy decision, they have always recourse to the loudest clamour, and sometimes to the most shocking violence and outrage. They are desperate, and act with the folly and extravagance of desperate men, who must either starve, or frighten their masters into an immediate compliance with their demands. The masters, upon these occasions, are just as clamorous upon the other side, and never cease to call aloud for the assistance of the civil magistrate, and the rigorous execution of those laws which have been enacted with so much severity against the combination of servants, labourers, and journeymen. The workmen, accordingly, very seldom derive any advantage from the violence of those tumultuous combinations, which ... generally end in nothing but the punishment or ruin of the ringleaders."
I have worked immediately next to a former South African military officer that now works as a senior software engineer at one of the most profitable companies in the world. This person has also seen and experienced unimaginable poverty first hand and its amazing how quickly these experiences bring people into a common understanding or appreciation.
I think the world entitled is completely appropriate in this context. To reaffirm that when employees walk out of Google for a protest it isn't the contractors or employees in the various support jobs who walk out. It is the entitled software engineers whose jobs are more mobile and face less income insecurity. Ask any Googler that walked out about that stratification.
As for management demanding more for less that is far more complex than it sounds. Does that imply pay reductions, improvements to efficiency, increased labor education, automation, something else, or a mix of various factors? Demanding more for less is perhaps one of the most solid ways a small shop can compete and take share from a giant titan.
It does depend why they are walking out. If a software engineer walks out in support of a cleaner then this is the opposite of entitled behaviour. Unfortunately e.g. the UK has made this illegal.
The problems happen when the government interferes in this process. For example, recently Washington State removed the exemption mentally disabled workers have from minimum wage laws. This was hailed as a victory for justice and fairness. The result is those workers can't get a job anymore.
Your claim that it must be perfect to be considered a free market is argumentative, not substantive.
What’s your definition of free market, then?
Protectionism isn't free market, either.
Market doesn't do any of these. Prices or wages do not set themselves "because market wills it". They are set because people will not accept a different outcome. If the employer is stubborn and there are few other options, nobody can really drive the wages up.
Taking anot market is like talking about evolution. It is not even a force, just a label for emergent behavior.
So the market is as free as people are, and the main damper are actually mobility and debt.
People who cannot move are limited to local market which can have a very different equilibrium. People who are in debt are forced to take immediately available offers.
And finally, a typical person cannot outwit or outwait a corporation, much less government.
Information asymmetry and availability of various instruments of pressure is vastly different.
By the way, corporate law and setting wages is also use of force. You do not get to really negotiate any of it from equal position. Likewise you are very limited in negotiating credit.
The difference is, law is at least slightly transparent and corporate law is not.
So, where it's this "free" in the market?
Not Force: do this or I won't give you something of mine
But they want to feel valued and do worthwhile things. By pricing them out of a job, they are denied that opportunity.
Meanwhile, are you expecting that the relatives (if they exist at all) shoulder all the burden and costs of caring themselves?
Only because someone does not live alone doesn't mean they don't have a cost of living. Indeed, a disabled person's cost of living is likely higher than an able-bodied one. Nevertheless, they should be expected to compensate this with a lower income than everyone else?
>Googlers just come off as entitled
then "entitled" does seem to be the same concept you refer to as "self-entitled" ...
I don't mind people proposing different uses of language, but the person you are responding to literally quoted "entitled" which in original context meant exactly what you refer to as "self-entitled"
so I really see no value in your "correction" or was that a "self-correction" ?
The former is a superset of the latter and the former term is often used for the latter, as here, where the specific subset being referenced is clear from context.
> so many people abuse the word.
Not particularly; natural language is just subject to more contextual nuance in meaning than most computer code.
Or only every time you hear about it?
Yes, employees are fighting for their wills. What's wrong with that? If you don't fight you don't get anything
Being employed by Google should not give you special political or social privilege. For someone to have the privilege of deciding what one of the worlds largest companies does, they should stump up the resources to become a shareholder.
You do not want corporations becoming political. Grocers should not choose their customers based on their political leanings. That would be bad. The principles are the same.
- tech support,
- childcare providers,
- all kind of office support folk,
- data entry, hmmm, technicians?
- probably many more I can't think of.
Not all of them can have it as nice as we do.
For what it's worth, I don't agree with the implication of the comment--it isn't fair to say software engineers can't have any reason to organize or protest against things that their company does.
As nice as we do right now for a subset.
You know who companies spend a lot of time and resources trying to replace (even when it doesn't make sense)...their highest paid employees (that aren't executives, they earn their money! /s).
We get away with what we do because the number of (competent) programmers has lagged the demand for programmers since I was a kid back in the 80's.
It won't last.
"This thing sucks, so let's just do business as usual." If they are truly talented disruptors, their mentality would be "this thing sucks, we can make it better and bring it into the 21st century."
According to Keith Rabois:
"In addition, after Google became successful, the type of candidate who applied and was hired shifted from the entrepreneurial to the smart yet homogeneous type. (Shift was pronounced by 2005.) As I have observed previously, only disruptive people create disruptive companies. (Stated differently, great entrepreneurs do not tolerate rules and constraints very well). Google has screened out personalities of this sort since at least 2004 and maybe since 2002."
search H1b applications for google and other companies. you will see google hires with 60-100k salaries.
being stuck for 10yrs on the lowest end of our category pay is very far from "high social mobility"
Most actual H1B abuse happens in companies like Tata and Infosys, that are structured around it.
Well over $100K, but that won’t go as far in San Jose as it would in Sacramento :-)
I can only really talk about my own experience, but I think the paysa total comp numbers are close enough to throw rocks at the truth.
Yes that is the law. And companies break that law all of the time.
My prediction - time will pass and the idea of a labor organization will become the norm in IT world as well. Perhaps even a requirement to be certified by some kind of professional organization to be hired at all. But this will hurt newcomers.
Classic retcon argument, which sums up why we can't have nice things any more. Don't unionize it might hurt foreigners or minorities!
Almost as good as Hillary Clinton's observation that breaking up the big banks won't end sexism or racism. So like ... why bother I guess? We can all be serfs who strive towards antiracism and antisexism while under the oligarch heel?
To put it another way - being able to allow being exploited allowed me to secure a better future. Without this ability, I would unlikely to have a life as good as I have it now.
Today I am in the position where labor union, some mandatory certification, would be a benefit to me. But I do remember where I started and would hate the idea of having barriers to get into this job. But my kids, or grandkids, if they will be in IT, probably forget these hurdles and will happily vote for regulation/laborisation/certification/etc.
High labor costs are why people want to live in the US in the first place; it sure ain't the food or the beautiful architecture.
False. China wouldn’t have grown to be such a powerful economy if their labor costs were high. The average Chinese is better off than they were 30 years ago.
As far as why people want to live in America? That one is easy: opportunity. Try to start a business in India. Now, try to start that same business in the US. That diff is why people want to be in America. A narrow example, but very illustrative. France has higher labor costs than the US as a percentage of revenues, but the US consulate in Gaungzhou had lines around the block for immigrant visas while the French consulate does not. Switzerland has higher labor costs than the US, but their consulate in Bogota is practically empty, while the US consulate is swamped. It isn’t the labor costs, it’s the opportunity.
> The average Chinese is better off than they were 30 years ago.
You were trying to highlight how China has become a much more powerful economy - but you forgot some crucial steps there. As recently as 20 years ago "Made in China" was printed on every cheap thing in America and the populace of China was no better for it, the economy was entirely geared toward export and there was very little international purchasing power available. In the past two decades wages and internal consumption have shot up in China and this has allowed the ascent of the economy, all of the Chinese ports in Africa and Asia and infrastructure investment is being driven by internally generated wealth - that economic power isn't derived from American pocket books.
An export focused economy is very vulnerable to international pressures and it's quite hard for nations or regions in this state to actually fund internal education and business development, it's much more likely that every spare inch of profit margin is held hostage by the importer's majority status and extracted from the county.
There is like Zero reliable data to base this observation on. Also you want the modal income because average and median are misleading when it comes to ignoring the most miserable.
China, as an entity, has grown its economy. Big whoop for mankind /s.
Your examples are basically saying "the US is giving away residency too cheaply and those other countries are not." If it had something to do with prosperity through cheap labor; everyone would move to China, wouldn't they?
Here's a recent example of unionized workers exhibiting racism:
It's why a lot of leftists decry identity politics while still recognizing intersectionality and fighting for the rights of various groups.
I don't understand your point at all. Unions explicitly fight to support all of these people. The standard argument against unions (esp. in the tech sector) is that they harm high-skilled overperforming workers by capping the maximum benefits they can receive.
Unions fight to support newcomers? Common union tactics such as closed shops and seniority-based pay agreements are deliberately and severely hostile to newcomers.
> overperforming workers
Only a union supporter could argue that a worker can 'overperform'! Tell them to stop doing so well they're making everyone else look bad!
Edit: I must say I don't think most people here get it. Unions negotiate with employers. The idea that a tech union would agree with tech companies to set salaries is ridiculous. If that is what tech companies wanted they could have already done it. What white collar unions do is to negotiate for the things most people don't consider. They don't negotiate salaries, they negotiate that you should have salary review every e.g. year and some framework for that. That doesn't make a difference for those who already have that, but it does for everyone else. And that is how it is for every area. I don't know if there is a white collar collective agreement available in English online, but if there is one could just read that to get an idea.
Edit2: I found one: "Collective Agreement between The Employers’ Association of the Swedish Banking Institutions and ~Swedish Confederation of Professional Associations" https://www.jusek.se/globalassets/pdf/avtal-privata/collecti...
Well it seems like there's some interest to take that on at least from a product perspective when you look at these HR, Payroll, Employee Relations platforms coming out that could be argued try to take a portion of the market away from HR giants like ADP.
And then you have the various interviewing services (interviewing.io is an example I often point to), developer bootcamps with (presumably, at least by some of the verbiage used by said bootcamps) deep connections and mentor programs that ostensibly exist to get people hired.
Then there are your ZipRecruiters and Indeeds that claim to have revolutionized online recruiting and staffing.
Maybe the question isn't "why would labor relations be any different" but "how can tech make more of an impact in labor relations than just getting people hired and automating payroll?"
I don't have that answer, just thinking through my keyboard here.
You must be very sure of yourself that you theoretically belong to these "over-performers", yet somehow very insecure and contingent about being recognised for it. Like you want to get paid well so you can point to that and claim it means you performed well, regardless of whether you did.
Coming up with a way to say someone who outworks you is somehow the bad guy because they make you look bad is exactly the kind of mentality that makes me want nothing to do with union membership.
So what is the problem? Well, now imagine there are multiple less smart employees. Even over three years it might then seem like those employees perform better since they are more and a few might succeed for the whole three years. So now the smart employee might get fired. Performance is therefor no longer about work, but who essentially is lucky enough to not burn out in e.g. three years. Soon enough all the smart employees also have to work similar hours, so now they burn out after a few years as well. All the less smart employees will love it because they feel they have a chance.
When you go to work for a company you are producing something and being paid money to do it, generally what you are reimbursed with is well below the value of what you're producing as a developer - your labour is building a product that needs to be marketed, it needs customer support, it needs a lot of things. There is a classical economic ideal that the market will quickly settle into an equilibrium where your labour will be about equivalent to your whole contribution to the revenue of the company - but that's a classicist economic view, more modern takes on the economy agree that a stagnant economy will settle into such a state but that innovation will constantly fight that effect and widen the profit margin, the end result is that most of the companies we techies work in should not be viewed as a zero sum game. Any money that is being reinvested into the company is part of the fruit of your labour and employees shouldn't be motivated internally or by management to see their salaries as a highly constrained resource that they need to compete against fellow employees for to earn.
This is a super unhealthy state for a company to be in for morale and for growth.
Only I truly have my own interests in mind - not the company and not the union.
Nonsense! 'Overperform', not 'overwork'. Someone could out-perform you in fewer hours than you work, by being more efficient, or just by being better at the job than you.
They really don't. Unions fight to protect the pay and job security of their existing members. They do not generally try to make it easy to join the profession.
In many cities, building trades were essentially white only into the 80s. (I've heard pretty awful stories about the carpenter's union in town into the 90s too. Explicit statements of no Blacks allowed.) This was on purpose. Automotive unions were nearly as bad.
So a baffled, "What? How can Unions be racist?" seems disingenuous.I don't think racism is inherent to unions, or that a tech workers union would even be likely to be racist against Indian people. But a blanket denial seems like trying to gaslight people.
There are example after example of unions trying to screw over new comers by putting over barriers to entry, to keep out competition.
Putting up barriers to entry, to keep wages up, is basically the entire purpose of many unions.
Trivialities like favorite technologies can be put aside when it comes to questions of values and fairness.
Try asking them how much they think programmers should be paid and I think you'll find they come to agreement pretty quickly.
I do notice some agitation in the direction of unionisation from some parts of the industry – particularly in game development, where conditions can often be worse.
And if it's not me, it might be my co worker, who I know is a new parent and cannot afford to stop working to care for their child. It might by my mentor, who is dealing with ageism making it difficult to find work. It might be my mentee, who is being discriminated against because of their H1B status. It might be my new hire, who accepted a lowball offer because they have no knowledge of price transparency. It might be a software developer I just met at a data science meetup, who is being worked to the bone at a startup but doesn't have enough experience to be hired anywhere else.
Life is not so easy. We're all struggling. We should be working to back each other up so that individual people are not being exploited and then have to fight by themselves against an entire corporation.
This is why I work the requested 40ish* hours per week that my employer purchases in bulk from me, and rarely more. It's not because I'm lazy or unmotivated. I work very hard while I am working and I do more than the baseline my employer requests of me. My management thinks highly of me and I am well-compensated for my efforts, so clearly my employer values the contributions I make.
I do the work hours I do and how I do them, pushing back on unreasonable on-calls and repeatedly staying late, because I am senior so I have the voice to be able to discourage management not staffing our group appropriately and not setting unreasonable deadlines. I make sure my juniors know, too, that the way to your personal success is a healthy work-life balance that works both for you and for the group of people in which we are ensconced. I also make sure I mentor my juniors and I do what I can to help others be more efficient and effective.
No one should have to burn the candle at both ends just to be able to be seen as doing a good job.
* There are exceptions, of course. I am not inflexible, because that's unreasonable, but my employer pays for approximately 40 hours per week of my valuable single life in this universe and 40 hours, roughly, is what it shall receive.
Plus, we're not a group generally known to like more layers of bureaucracy.
So even with a history of Silicon Valley playing tricks to suppress what developers get paid, the typical HN reader is humdrum about salary because it's "better than average?" I have a hard time believing that.
> Plus, we're not a group generally known to like more layers of bureaucracy.
I get that.
But doesn't this seem weird:
1. Devs apparently don't care for the bureaucracy of the taxi medallion service. So two companies build a nationwide service that does an end run around it.
2. Devs apparently don't care for the lack of salary transparency. So they create a cryptographic system that... oh wait, nope, there's no app for that.
Yes, because the "pay suppression's" effect was to knock people making six-figure salaries down to six-figure salaries, on average. It actually had very little observable negative effect.
(Note that if you go back to the original lawsuits, they were regarding gentlemen's agreements around headhunting. Given that SV's default attitude is "individuals are responsible for themselves," an agreement against headhunting isn't interesting---if an employee is dissatisfied, they know where the competition is and who to talk to about changing companies. If anything, there's a weak positive to an anti-headhunting agreement for employees at the companies in question: it was one fewer recruiter squads pumping spam into an employee's inbox).
You may be interested to learn that one of the corrupt agreements was that in the event that an employee does talk to the competition about changing companies and one of the other colluding companies makes an offer to the employee, that company will not counter-offer beyond the first offer.
So, "little observable negative effect" is not quite as dispositive (or even as visible) as you portray it would be.
(Hm... There's either an economics or sociology paper in the making there about the consequences in employment practices when the wealth inequality in a nation skews large).
Did the companies shrink or grow their workforce?
If they grew, wouldn't that suggest to you that the workers themselves aren't seeing the hostility you are?
If you don't want to offer counterpoints you are not obligated to, but it's rude to simply attach insulting adjectives to the message without trying to argue it.
And for 2 - there's app for that, but I don't think the statement is generally true.
In case you aren't familiar with the Steinbeck quote:
> Socialism never took root in America because the poor see themselves not as an exploited proletariat but as temporarily embarrassed millionaires.
I'm not sure the pro-union crowd are doing themselves any favor by constantly telling people they don't know what they want, insisting things could only be better, inventing straw-man arguments, and so on.
"Except for the field organizers of strikes, who were pretty tough monkeys and devoted, most of the so-called Communists I met were middle-class, middle-aged people playing a game of dreams. I remember a woman in easy circumstances saying to another even more affluent: 'After the revolution even we will have more, won't we, dear?' Then there was another lover of proletarians who used to raise hell with Sunday picknickers on her property.
"I guess the trouble was that we didn't have any self-admitted proletarians. Everyone was a temporarily embarrassed capitalist. Maybe the Communists so closely questioned by the investigation committees were a danger to America, but the ones I knew—at least they claimed to be Communists—couldn't have disrupted a Sunday-school picnic. Besides they were too busy fighting among themselves."
That hasn't happened yet to developers.
I know a fair number of developers who aren't doing that great, or at least not as well as they should. Life quality issues are very common. It is for instance very common to get screwed on salary, pension or vacation at some point of your career, be let go because a project was mismanaged, having a dysfunctional work environment or any number of issues were developers draw the last straw.
Edit: To add to this. I think people don't understand the "failure mode" of being unorganized. It isn't that it is going to be bad all the time. It is that since you don't have a voice other people don't have to consider you. Which means that the likelihood that you will be negatively affected by both small and large decisions of other people increases over time. And that isn't necessarily something you can correct after the fact. Getting unduly interrupted in your career, working in a bad environment or not getting credit is something seemingly small can really affect your life long term. And at least many people I know have these types of stories.
It wasn’t slavery by any stretch, but working in programming was akin to working in “IT” and thought of as a department full of weird nerds who cost the company money.
The reason they exist is because the organization values (or is subject to mandates for) documented requirements, and doesn't want programmers to have to bother with the tedious work of developing and maintaining them, focussing on actually developing the software.
Was this always the case though? Perhaps my position is colored by my experience working for a former IBM manager who thought of programmers as those who “just write the code” based on the requirements written by the “more senior” business analysts.
That particular experience reeked of superiority of managers, project managers, and the business analysts who worked directly for them. I admit that my experience could have been anecdotal, however I’ve asked several senior programmers who were active in the nineties who have confirmed the relationships were by and large toxic at the time.
The second generation of dot-coms that succeeded centered developers as domain experts and essential to company survival (broadly-speaking; there is certainly variance).
Here's a choice quote:
"But, the new documents added, employees had to waive the right to take their age cases to court. Instead, they had to pursue them through private arbitration. What’s more, they had to keep them confidential and pursue them alone. They couldn’t join with other workers to make a case."
I assume it's because there's always another batch of fresh-out-of-college young people willing to throw their bodies onto that grindstone that we haven't yet seen successful unionization in that space?
I worked 16 hours a day for a week, it was horrible, I don't think I can do 2 times more in 16 hours then in 8 and I gave up the money and just worked the 8 hours(now I am doing 4 hours a day , screw the money)
For illustration, SAG-AFTRA's current rate sheet for TV productions can be found here: https://www.sagaftra.org/files/2017%202020%20wages%20TV%2010...
I am aware only of actors getting protection from dangerous activities, exploitation, bad work condition.
The other side of the coin is that collective bargaining itself makes switching to a different employer or working as a consultant a lot more difficult than if the sector wasn't unionized. Sure, some people will have trouble doing these things anyway, especially at the low-end of the income distribution. But that's why we should support policies like Basic Income, or at the very least expanding things such as the EITC and getting rid of e.g. payroll taxes for low earned incomes. And I think that many people here on HN would agree, whether or not they self-identify as libertarians.
> ...particularly in game development, where conditions can often be worse.
Game development is the sort of industry that everyone thinks they'll want to work in, only to change their minds very quickly once they see how the sausage is made. Even just raising awareness about the work conditions in the industry - and making it clear that they're not representative of "tech" more generally - would help a lot.
That's before we even talk about collective bargaining. Getting a pay raise was completely out of the question, as raises were almost entirely based on seniority and how long your ass had been in the chair. It was highly punitive to younger people like myself. We also got crap shifts because shift preference was also awarded by seniority in the union. The non-unionized shop paid a shift differential, so people willing to work 2nd and 3rd shift got more money for their time. That was a great solution, as it increased the supply for shift work to approximately the levels of demand (basic economics).
So tl;dr: unions have and had a place, but the cure can sometimes be worse than the disease. Acting like unions are this amazing shining solution with no downsides is pure ignorance.
People are talking about the benefits of unionization in a specific industry in response to the near-automatic narrative that unions are bad.
You gave an example of an absurd regulation in a completely different industry. How does that tie into what collective bargaining in software dev would look like?
Currently at work, I'm more of a "devops" guy but I get into things all over the stack sometimes too. In previous places I've been a "backend" guy that occasionally got into the frontend, etc. I view this as the optimal arrangement: blurry lines of responsibility (so people aren't pigeon-holed), but you can still develop depth and expertise in an area of specialty.
Those seem like ludicrous thoughts based on where we are now. But I'm sure at one time the idea that a driver can't effect any repairs to the truck, no matter how small, probably seemed ludicrous as well. Yet here we are.
I know I probably sound very anti-union, but to clarify my position, I'm only anti-forced unions. So long as I can opt out of the union if and when I please, I have no qualms. Sadly that is not the case in many places in the United States.
P.S. If I could edit and re-word this line, I would. I think the language is unclear and unnecessarily harsh:
> Acting like unions are this amazing shining solution with no downsides is pure ignorance.
I would change that to: "Thinking of unions as all upside with no downside (or vice versa) is an argument from ideology, not one from experience."
Another objection I had to unions is, they tend to promote an "us vs them" mentality, when instead, everyone should be working together.
The destruction of the middle class shows that the balance of power is too extreme on the side of the employer, and something has to be done.
You're aware that several major US tech companies were colluding to keep employee wages lower than they otherwise would be, right? Once a company's size exceeds Dunbar's number (and often long before then), it's de-facto us vs. them from the executives' point of view.
Look up prior posts here about salary negotiation for developers. You'll find that most of the advice and the resulting comments are in the "fuck you, pay me" vein.
When doing day to day work, you and your employer are on the same team. When it comes to negotiating the conditions and compensation for that work, you are 100% on different teams.
No one WANTS unions. We would like to be dealt with individually in a fair manner. But when tithe business you want to employ you has an entire department intended to get you to sign on for the smallest cost possible... Well... Some union starts to look like a pretty good idea. Even if it does end up causing a lot of grinding since common sense goes out the window once lawyers and contracts come into the picture.
1) For a long time, there was no "institutional" left in the United States; so in the US - liberalism was seen as the "left". This is slowly changing now...
2) The tech crowd wants really to believe to be progressive (because they work on "progressive" technologies); but in fact, I never saw so many real life liberals like among tech workers.
It's an interesting combination that doesn't fit super-well into America's dominant left-right political axis.
Eg. Support gay rights and environmental causes, but don't really give a shit about poor people.
Liberals are often right wing parties in other countries. Basically you have a scale from socialism where everything in your life is dictated by social contracts to liberalism where almost nothing in your life is dictated by social contracts. The left in the US calling themselves liberals is kinda like the north korea calling themselves "democratic people's republicc". Their only liberal agenda is freedom from the Christian social contract.
My wife has worked the same job in and out of unions. She didn't want a union, it was a drawback for her. Her union job seems okay. Some things are better, some are worse. They've got some absolutely asinine policies that everyone hates that don't change and haven't changed for a decade or more despite the union "power".
Also, her job requires a masters, soon to be a Ph.D, and still pays less than most of tech (though it pays very well).
And of course because PART of the industry is unionized, it is impossible to say to what extent non-union jobs are free-riding on the "benefits" of a union.
That's an interesting assertion that you seem to be accepting as universally axiomatic.
(... or perhaps, a self-referential definition. Maybe a company isn't "massive" until one observes behaviors that suggest the company is purposefully acting counter to employee quality-of-life wishes?)
Those groups of people from a non-indigenous, non-minority, never-enslaved, non-female background have always been conservative, consisting largely of 1) white men, and 2) immigrant professionals (generally drawn from more privileged groups in their country of origin and statistically more conservative than the average for their country of origin.)
These same demographics, no matter what profession they're in, are conservative. Their world has generally treated them well, and changes in their world are dangerous for them. If the world were to change for the better (for them), they imagine themselves, or somebody who looks like them, making those changes.
I think spots on a left-right political spectrum is a sloppy way to represent people. There have got to be over 100 valid 'axes' to position a person on, 'projecting' everybody onto a single line forces people to 'sit next to' positions they do not appreciate.
That's the point.
If someone has an opinion you don't like but is hard to dismiss or prove "wrong" then you can dismiss it by association with a group of "wrong" opinions. An easy way to make this association is by attributing it to a group whose opinions are known to be "wrong" by whatever the local in-group is. Once you have associated the inconvenient opinion with a bunch of "wrong" opinions it is easy to dismiss.
For example I were to say "every implementation of gun control is inherently racist and classiest" (probably not a welcome opinion around here because most here like gun control) then people would use that to assume that I am anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-immigrant and all the other things that the HN user-base generally agrees is bad about the modern American republican party and dismiss my opinion.
I could say the same exact sentence in a context where the dominant group is ardently racist and classiest but not pro gun control they would use the bits about race and class to assume that I am some crazy leftist who wants the proletariat to seize the means of production and use the association to dismiss my opinion.
It's quite hard to dismiss a statement like "every implementation of gun control is inherently racist and classiest" when you have to fight it head on. By associating a statement like that with people who also have a bunch of views that are "known to be wrong" by the local majority or in-group the playing field is tilted and it's easier to dismiss.
And so far, software development hasn't been an industry that really needed unionisation. But that could always change in the future, of course.
Personally, I generally support unions, though I don't see the need for them in software development. Though as a self-employed freelancer, I do see the use for an organisation that argues on behalf of freelancers on the national level, and I'm member of an organisation that does that. It's not really the same thing as an actual union, but it fills one of the roles of a union.
The government's advantage is that it lets us directly align objectives in a way that markets often don't, but it's disadvantage is that it'll generally optimize much less efficiently for the objective it's targeting. This means that government action and markets are appropriate in different situations; I'm not crazy about the fact that we're the least competent at transit construction in the developed world, but I'm still a supporter of transit investment despite the eye-popping levels of waste.
Live in San Francisco long enough, and you get a really strong sense of how detached a government can get from reality, and how much its actions can reflect the selfishness and idiocy of part of its constituency instead of any pretense of benefiting society or achieving its goals. It's unsurprising that you'd see a portion of the population, especially one used to more well- functioning institutions, start to drift towards support of government policy that doesn't rely on individuals within govt making complex decisions. UBI and other such hands-off policies fit directly into this. They're not anti-govt spending, they're anti-centralized decision-making
That said, I do think American-style right-wing/capitalist libertarians are overrepresented among programmers compared to the average public, as are left-wing libertarian socialists/anarchist.
I would bet money that the most elite members of car manufacturing were also not particularly enthused about unionization, although I have no clue what specific job would qualify as elite.
> When a field unionized, the people near the top typically stand to lose the most,
> even if everyone as a whole are more enriched.
Developers (some) aren't super-conservative, they're libertarian.
I really can't say that my career is a result of my own hard work and passion as if my own hard work and passion is the primary thing that allowed my career to succeed. It doesn't matter how passionate and hard working I am if my environment wasn't condusive to computer science as a profession.
I'm also not speaking mentors and peers just in school. I mean literally I do not believe I could be self-taught with 0 outside mentorship or learning materials or community and be considered a highly successful developer. I needed learning materials and mentors to teach me best practices in software development. I needed programming languages that I didn't write myself. I needed a computer, whether paid for by myself, family, or the public taxes via libraries.
Not stopping to recognize that I program on the shoulders of giants would make me arrogant and foolish, I think.
... which requires access to time and computers to train on. Not everyone is quite in that state. And not everyone is an autodidact either, it's not the only valid route to programming.
> Your career is a direct result of your own hard work and passion
Not completely - it's a result of getting accepted by hiring managers, and then retained by internal performance processes, both of which are incredibly subjective and vulnerable to prejudice.
Moreover, some people care about things beyond themselves. A key component of unions is solidarity: caring about how your colleagues are treated. This may also extend to how your employer is treating the wider society.
If your code isn't using your own libraries compiled by your own compiler hosted on your own OS running on your self-built machine using a CPU you designed, no, it isn't. Sure, your own hard work and passion goes a long way but you rely heavily on the works of others and the privilege of being able to use them.
So, your career is a direct result of your own hard work and passion.
That assumes you're starting from the same place and head in the same direction. You have to know a library exists before you can use it. It has to be compatible with what you're using. There are many things out of your immediate control that can influence these things (imagine my next door neighbour only has an i3 and the fancy functions of the library which make it 100x faster require extensions of an i7. I immediately have an advantage. There are many subtler advantages that can come into play.)
That's not quite right, HN is full of anti-labor libertarians. And I think it has something to do with startup culture, which is a lot about working to get a golden ticket to join the capitalist class. That causes a lot of people to identify with that class and its interests, despite actually being laborers themselves.
So it seems that programmers were scared by some bad stories that everyone will have same salary.
I absolutely do not want everyone to be forced to get a degree, and a certification just to be allow to make a freaking web app.
Right now there is nothing preventing companies from hiring someone who just went to an 8 week bootcampers, and this is a good thing. I know many people who have done this route.
The companies unionization would affect are behemoths (FAANG but also HP, IBM, Oracle etc) that hire enormous numbers of people, few to none of whom would be a fresh bootcamp grad.
Even large companies are willing to hire people who have taken non-traditional paths, if you can get past the initial HR screening (typically by finding the right engineer or manager to talk to directly). Let's not break that.
You should go look up the companies that grads from places like hack reactor go to. There are many big names in there
(and grads that I know personally, that have gone to work for places like Uber, Airbnb, and LinkedIn).
Most bootcamps focus on commerce first; if you can pay, you can attend.
What I am instead saying is that I strongly oppose barriers to entry, that a union would implement, to keep out the highly qualified people from the top places like hack reactor.
It would not be possible for people like that to succeed if unions started throwing up barriers to entry, regardless of how good the bootcampers are.
And this applies to top tier self taught programmers too.
It is like you telling me that you heard that some police officers did some horrible things somewhere so it is better to not have police at all.
Unions are run by majority rule, not by me. It is perfectly possible for the majority to implement rules that I disagree with.
The history of almost every union in existence, proves implementing barriers to entry is extremely common.
The fundamental reason, as for why unions try to screw over new comers is obvious. The reason is become people who aren't already in the industry don't get a vote.
It makes perfect sense as for why people who already have a job might want to screw over people who don't have a job, to prevent them from competing.
And it turns out that a lot of people are horrible individuals who want to discriminate against newcomers because "F you, they got theirs!".
> It is like you telling me that you heard that some
It is not some unions that do this. It is instead most of them.
Screwing over new comers to protect the established members is almost the entire purpose of unions.
> I am under the impression that the programmers that are not having the CS education are not few
Those people would be grandfathered in, if they already have a job, likely. The people who would get screwed are the ones in college right now, who aren't allowed yet to vote on union rules.
The actors/aspiring actors I know are only eager to join the union because a) it gets them access to union-exclusive jobs (not a benefit that would exist if the union didn't exist) and b) it gets them access to better negotiated health insurance, which can be difficult with intermittent employment (which is the case for most people in the theater world, well-paid or not). B probably shouldn't be an issue for a thriving developed country, but we all know how that argument goes.
How I learn about them was from actors that were put in unhealthy conditions and they appealed to the unions to fix the working conditions.
You are right, there are lots of low-income shoppers who buy things at Walmart they couldn't otherwise afford.
To these shoppers, Walmart provides a better way of life. I don't think they'd rather be low-income shoppers buying from more expensive stores that offer fewer choices.
Walmart is beneficial for the shopper. If it wasn't so, Walmart wouldn't be successful.
They are and they have; see US v. Adobe Systems Inc., et al. From the wiki article:
"DOJ alleged in their Complaint that the companies had reached "facially anticompetitive" agreements that "eliminated a significant form of competition...to the detriment of the affected employees who were likely deprived of competitively important information and access to better job opportunities."
Unions organize in public, employers collude in secret. The fact that the companies proposed a settlement the day the suit was filed indicates they simply priced that into their cost-benefit analysis when they were colluding.
So what would this employers' union do exactly?
There are sufficient number of software and database companies to establish an employer organisation for software.
A union would have incentive for foreigners to e.g. come to the US, so the US get a larger slice of the market. On the other hand they don't have an interest in those workers e.g. having lesser rights or lower compensation. Because then foreigner workers become more attractive than their existing members, thereby preventing those members from having long term success. So it depends on how you view e.g. H1B.
It really isn't that complicated if you think about it.
Also it depends what you mean by pro immigration. No union is going to be pro liberal immigration rules, since they don't want to undermine their own members. For it make sense for a union it has to be employees who are lacking, either in numbers or skill, in the country and can therefor expand the country's share of the market.
Also, the issue focusing on using the company email system sounds to me like a bit of a strawman. Why in the world would you want to use a communication medium owned and controlled by your opponent for such a thing? And even if you wanted to, being not allowed to doesn't in anyway limit your ability to organize in any practical way. I mean seriously, these are presumably some of the smartest tech people on the planet. They can't figure out a way to commmunicate independently?
1) Legalizing retaliation in case you mention the union meeting to a coworker over a Slack private message.
2) Drastically reducing the visibility of union organization in the workplace. That makes it much harder to reach critical mass.