1) All of my experiences related to unions have been negative. Things become more bureaucratic and inefficient ("oh no, you can't move that box, we need to wait for the union person whose job description is to move the box"), people are promoted because of seniority and not because of merit, bad performers up to and including flagrant criminals can't be fired because the union would rally to support them no matter how in the wrong they are, etc.
2) FAANG-type jobs have to be the cushiest jobs around. I mean, look at http://levels.fyi. Who else gets paid that kind of money right out of college, for doing a very comfortable office job, with a ton of perks on top?
I get that unions might be necessary in industries where workers are actually exploited, to protect said workers. But FAANG engineers are pretty much in the opposite situation. I don't like people creating an us-vs-them situation that doesn't exist, just so they can promote their own politics. As I commented recently, if you don't like it, quit (https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=21636860), and let the people who go to work to, you know, do work, do it in peace.
The optimistic view is that they believe that Google is a great place, capable of doing great things, but hamstrung by their current environment, and that giving labour a stronger voice will let Google do the great things they believe that Google can and should do. For example, they might see that management is not listening (enough) to rank and file feedback about the viability or need of different options leading to Google's endless parade of chat applications. Or they might think that Google is moving into a realm where their internal politics and decisions will begin to become ever more under public scrutiny, and that cleaning it up will lead to greater public acceptance of Google's goals.
The cynical view is that cushyness can always be removed. It's always labour's interest to lock in the benefits they have. And if you could lock it in, you should.
You cannot lock in future benefits short of shutting down a company, you can assume future benefits from diligent planning and business operations but it is never guaranteed.
The us-vs-them situation has always existed and it's always been political. It's been the monolith of management vs an individual worker. If you can't imagine anyone but blue collar workers having a union I'd point you to the various unions of Hollywood. If FAANG is as cushy as you say, there's not going to be any contentious labor disputes between management and workers. But unions would balance the power between them.
Second, consider that Google, Apple, and "dozens more" effectively stole billions of dollars from their own devs?
Their jobs are cushy, yes, but they were actually exploited.
For some anecdata, my dad’s a musician and a guy he plays with is a janitor for his full time job, and he is diehard anti-union out of life experience.
After asking a few questions I got the sense that they were both convinced of the evils of unions by the employers propaganda. They would show them videos and have occasional anti-organizing events were the company basically said “you organize and everyone will lose their jobs”.
One year I remember that organization was talked about by my dad around Christmas time. They shutdown the factory for a couple of weeks (to really hurt the workers during the holidays)and sent out letters saying that unions were responsible for the shutdown and this would only continue if they organized.
Another time when asking my grandpa about unions he told me that the owner of the factory took good care of employees and didn’t need a union. That his boss would throw a big Annual party with raffles and a $1000 grand prize. But if anyone ever thought about a union, all parties would be canceled and lots of people laid off. It was part of his speech almost every year.
Of course my blue collar immigrant family would be scared of unions, their employers basically held their jobs over their heads.
For #2, AFAIK http://levels.fyi is a collection of self-reported anecdotes, and probably skews way high. Nobody's going to go e-brag on the Internet how much they make if they feel their salary is low, but you'll definitely get self-reports from those handful of guys making $500K. Take that site with a grain of salt.
The IWW page on this is hilariously forthright.
> First of all, it is a myth that organized crime, including the infamous MAFIA, controls all or even most North American labor unions. (It is true that the Teamsters, International Longshore Association (ILA), Hotel, Bar and Restaurant Workers Union (HERE), Seafarers International Union (SIU), and various Building Trades unions have had to deal with MAFIA corruption). Many AFL-CIO rank & filers have fought long and hard to purge any and all forms of corruption (MAFIA and otherwise) from their unions; it's an ongoing struggle.
Why not detail some of those experiences? It would lend credibility to your post; because it otherwise reads to me like you’re repeating what you’ve heard about unions.
Had some bullshit waste of time while setting up a booth at GDC because we weren't allowed to unload the boxes with our stuff, or something like that.
I was born and raised in Uruguay, and cases of people openly stealing from their workplace that couldn't be fired because the union would strike until they were reinstated were commonplace, both in the public and private sector.
Someone close to me who owns a factory, again in Uruguay, was for some time under threat from the unions, who openly tried to bankrupt the company, so that they could take ownership, due to a law that entitles them to do that.
I've seen unions impede technological progress in every sector because it threatens their jobs. Who cares if it improves the experience for the customers / citizens? They take the whole company / city hostage to get away with what they want, and/or damage the premises (https://www.elobservador.com.uy/nota/asi-quedo-la-planta-de-...). That's also why in Montevideo every bus has two people, one to drive, the other sitting next to the automatic ticket selling machine, to put your money in, and hand you the ticket it prints. Who pays for having twice the people needed in that bus? The people.
I've seen the unions used to destabilize governments of parties who weren't ideologically affiliated with the people running the unions (the extreme left).
Except the 8 hour work-day and weekends, I guess? https://www.politifact.com/truth-o-meter/statements/2015/sep...
I think that's one of the most relevant needs that would drive tech workers to form a union.
It still applies, and the status quo can get worse as soon as worker's power wanes.
As a society, employers were trending towards 40-hr workweeks and weekends. That was already where society was going voluntarily, so the fact that unions got legislation near the end of the trend (when voting it through would've been so much easier) isn't that much of a victory. It was unnecessary and just a play to take credit.
You write as if this happened on its own, 'voluntarily', by 'society' as a whole, when in fact it was driven mainly by one part of society - workers:
> "Demands for the five-day week began to proliferate in 1919, a year in which 4 million American workers went out on strike," said Priscilla Murolo, a professor of history at Sarah Lawrence College. "That was about 20 percent of the industrial labor force."
It's not that I got into software development because of money, but I want to point out that I made a ton of sacrifices in order to get educated, worked hard to secure the jobs I did with the quality I did them at, and continue to sacrifice to stay current with technology so as to remain employed into my 40s.
In this business, if you are young, you don't know what you don't know--the longer you are in, the harder it is to stay in. It's great in your 20s and 30s with all the disposable income and then all of a sudden you've got a wife and two kids and bills to pay and things start to falter right when you need them to be stable--and that is why we need representation of some kind. We need bargaining, or some kind of tenure, or something, so that when you're mid-career and late career you aren't just a throwaway non-person. Because I just watched it happen at my own company: My firm laid off 3000 people, mostly men in their 50s. Of course some "dead wood" got let go, too, but any fool can see what is going on when they lay off the older workers while still hiring the H1Bs and growing the "offshore" teams and what I keep wondering is "why are foreigners involved in AMERICAN health care at all?"