Coworker: I'm tired of being micromanaged.
Me: Let's unionize.
Coworker: I'm tired of working 50 hours a week and being on-call every weekend.
Me: Let's unionize.
Coworker: Our managers are doing some really shady things.
Me: Let's unionize.
Coworker: Why doesn't anybody keep the remote team in the loop?
Me: Let's unionize.
Coworker: Talking to HR isn't fixing anything.
Me: Let's unionize.
Coworker: But I'm scared of getting fired without cause.
Me: Then... Let's unionize.

@gdorn Even in Norway, a highly unionised country, tech unions aren't common.

@thor The myth of meritocracy runs deep in tech.

@gdorn @thor Start-up culture and celebrating "great men" has indoctrinated a lot of people.


ButButButButButButButBut the technolibertarian utiopia we're building won't NEED unions!!!!!

And more importantly, when I'M the boss I don't to be limited by those things.

@Nezchan If I ever start a company, I'll insist on unionization from day 1. If only to get more people exposed to what a union actually does.

@gdorn It's a scary topic. In right to work states it's really easy to be fired for even just talking about them.

@mnw The Situation is bad enough that we're starting to lose people by attrition. At some point, it's either try to make the situation better as a group, or crumble and flee as individuals.

When everybody leaving says "I like the company and wish I could stay" it's a lost opportunity to make something great.

@gdorn each individual case can be unique, but when we talk about tech unionization it’s a huge industry and this is definitely not the situation industry wide. For your situation it seems like it’s ripe for the workers to buy out the owners and form a cooperative. :) coops are awesome.

Living in Texas all my previous employers have been opposed to a unionized workforce.


The problem of unionization is that it's a long-term win for the workers, both collectively and individually, but on the short-term can bring hardships to the early adopters...
So one need trust and hope to make the bet that the first hardships will be compensated by a better future, and those are scarce nowadays.

@gdorn Even as a libertarian, I'm actually not reflexively opposed to some voluntary organization or at least sharing of information. Why are salaries kept secret??
The problem I can't wrap my head around is how to prevent some members from breaking with the group for their own benefit. It's the same game theory type problem faced by cartels. How do you keep one member from cutting prices to gain the upper hand?

@fWw4qtGi You don't need 100% of employees to join the union initially. You need enough people that it is worse to fire the employees than to agree to their demands.

Then demand #1 is that the company no longer hire employees who don't join the union. After that, there's no option for one employee to break from the group.

Yes, that sounds harsh. That's what it takes to fix the power imbalance.

@gdorn That's all good if the employees choose to boycott the company in response to not meeting the union's demand. That's only fair because nobody should be compelled to work. The company should likewise be free to hire replacements, though I'm sure most companies would rather avoid this and would rather give in to some demands from the union.

@fWw4qtGi the company is always free to hire scabs. The employees are also free to all walk out simultaneously and destroy the company's ability to function and possibly exist.

@gdorn I work in a call center, and boy do I recognize myself! We have 3/4 unions at work (even CGT), but will people join. Nah. Better to complain.

@gdorn at least you can. Unions are forbidden to me as I fall under the hobbit law, and the vfx industry is network-based, so you won't find a job elsewhere if labelled as a troublemaker. Unions should be required by law really, as you can really be singled out quickly otherwise.

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