Hoffa isn't dead...

— 2:50 AM on January 22, 2001

He's organizing technology workers everywhere. Ok, not really, but there's an interesting bit up on ZDNet that takes a look at unions and the technology industry. Not quite far enough into my labour relations course to comment on this one but here's a snip.

Although labor organizing efforts are nascent and active at only a handful of workplaces, companies and employees across the industry are following at least three test cases closely to measure prevailing attitudes throughout the rank and file. The most recent efforts are under way at Amazon.com, IBM and electronics retailer Etown.com.

While each organizing drive addresses issues specific to its company, workers are generally pushing for better wages and benefits, job security, and protection against seemingly arbitrary schedules and management decisions--familiar themes behind U.S. labor movements of a century ago. The reason they are occurring now, many believe, is the free-fall in stock prices that has brought hard times on people who may have never seen a recession in their adult lives.

I'm not sure the problems are going to get solved through unionization, at least not on a wide scale as technology companies are notorious for treating staff well (at least many are). Perhaps it's the fact that there's such a big difference between how the best and worst tech companies treat their staff that's at the heart of this. Some tech companies (Sun) give you meditation rooms, others (any flailing dot com) leave you with worthless assets.
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