I can't believe, this day in age, unions still have so much power. Are there any industries out there that are heavily unionized which are actually succeeding in the US? Airlines, automobile, steel... they all seem to be failing. How do companies like Arcelor-Mittal deal with labor unions? Anybody know?

Another random question: Are there any recent industries which are unionized? I know almost no profession in the tech industry is unionized... I wonder why this is ...

Posted by roy on May 15, 2007 at 06:09 PM in Ramblings | 8 Comments

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Comment posted on May 17th, 2007 at 09:07 AM
The tech industry is too smart to unionize. I don't like unions.

BrianR (guest)

Comment posted on May 17th, 2007 at 06:27 AM
Even though North Carolina, and much of the South East US, is "right to work" (read collective bargaining is illegal) there are still Unions here. They do much more than run pension funds and act like gangsters. Here in NC there are unions working with hog plant workers, food packing/processing workers, migrant workers, house keepers at Universities, grounds keepers, electricians, etc., etc.

I think we'll see more programmers and other web workers unionize in the future. Mainly because our services are becoming commoditized. Also when you can hire a programmer from another country and pay them a third less than the person in your city.... workers tend to resent that.

Employers can work to create better working conditions for programmers by giving them flex time, letting them work at home, feeding them, providing good health care, etc. (Basically what Google is doing.) Now start ups and small companies have to find ways to do the same.

I think much of our negative impression of unions is due to a concerted effort by big business to demonize organizing. Unions as you may know them are only part of the picture. We have media to thank for the negative and ignorant picture of unions.
Comment posted on May 16th, 2007 at 03:05 PM
re: tech professionals and unions; the leaders in the industry create good working conditions negating the purpose of unionization.
Comment posted on May 16th, 2007 at 10:45 AM
boeing is a union =)

stock is doing well =)
Comment posted on May 16th, 2007 at 10:18 AM
The Screen Actors Guild is a union isn't it? But that profession is much older than tech.

I've heard that at some point in the 90s, people wanted to unionize Msft... :P I don't know how well that would work. My friends are unionized programmers (they work in a privatized ex-gov't org) and they think its cumbersome for career growth.
Comment posted on May 16th, 2007 at 10:51 AM
Interesting, I have never heard of unionized programmers. Is there any benefit to this?

Matt (guest)

Comment posted on May 16th, 2007 at 06:13 AM
Comment posted on May 15th, 2007 at 06:39 PM
my made up answer to your last question: the labor market for tech professionals is not as saturated. i think as long as the demand is higher than the supply in a labor market, there's really no use for unions since the benefits are such that it needs to attract the employees.

i don't know the history of unions and how they emerged. but i'm guessing they started when the employer could cut pays and benefits because there was always another guy who'd do the job for cheaper: supply > demand.