I was very pleasantly surprised. This is something I am definitely behind, even though for me it isn't just a job. I love programming, but for years my programming at home has languished because my programming at work is a soul-sucking endeavor that leads me to have a sinking feeling every time I look at the Komodo icon on my home PC.
I think the core problem here is not about an us versus them when it comes to the guys who go home to their wife and kids and the guys that go home to their git and vim. It's more about the fact that both groups probably spend too much time away from their homes, and right now the programming scene is incredibly fractured. Programmers are certainly not a homogenous group. Off the top of my head, I can think of about a dozen different flavors of programmer, all with their own innate perceptions about things both programming related and not.
What we really need is a coming together of the programmers-by-trade and the programmers-at-heart to declare war on all of the silly little stereotypes that have created a workplace unfairness in IT in the last fifteen to twenty years. You need a communion of individuals to create a semi-fraternal organization that looks like a union on the outside but inside is a diverse collective of brilliant minds.
It wont be easy, but many smart people (and a very few ridiculously articulate people) have been passively advocating for it in the last ten years or so, and I think that as the post-dotcom generation starts to move into their 30s we'll see a drastic change in the employee relationship within the next five to ten years.
It's very sad that decades of right-wing propaganda has made "union" a dirty word.
This is especially true in the technology field, which is so infested with libertarians that you'd feel the need to qualify your suggestion for the formation of what is essentially a union by saying that it only "looks like a union on the outside".
Why not just come out and call it a union? Why couldn't a real union have "a diverse collective of brilliant minds" on the "inside"?
A union is just an organization of professionals who try to collectively improve their working conditions and compensation. There's absolutely nothing wrong with or shameful about this.
The time for a technology workers' union has been long overdue in the US. We shouldn't feel ashamed to suggest its formation or to call it what it is.