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(The American Prospect)   Major takeaway from the past week of Twitter: Even if you like your job and it's going well, you should unionize now. You never know when some dickweed billionaire is going to buy the company and send it all to hell   (prospect.org) divider line
    More: Obvious, Trade union, Employment, tech company workers, form unions, unionized worker, much worse product, Matt Yglesias, software engineer  
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1241 clicks; posted to Politics » on 07 Nov 2022 at 10:05 AM (12 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



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2022-11-07 7:45:37 AM  
We don't need unions anymore

We don't need feminism anymore

We don't need immigration anymore.

We don't need taxes anymore

We don't need affirmative action anymore

/or so we're told over and over
 
2022-11-07 8:17:49 AM  
TFA did a great job summarizing private 'investor' takeovers:

"The Wall Street bloodsucker scoops up the company using debt that is placed on the company's own balance sheet, its real estate and everything else that isn't nailed down is sold off, employee head count is slashed to conserve funds to service the debt, and prices are jacked up. The company dies, but in the meantime the private equity goons collect a quick profit before customers notice they are paying a lot more for a much worse product and go elsewhere."

As if that wasn't "American" enough, all the profit and bonuses paid to the bloodsuckers gets preferential treatment. These people aren't 'investors', they're raiders who rape, loot, pillage, and burn companies for a living.
 
2022-11-07 8:26:40 AM  
Union workers can still be fired, and they will. But at least you have some protections. If California did not have some of the toughest labor laws on the books, Elon would have just thrown them all out into the street with nothing.
 
2022-11-07 8:39:49 AM  
I've worked at 3 different companies that were bought or hostile takeover-ed

Every single time that a change of power was becoming likely I have said to my fellow employees "we need to unionize ASAP"

And every time they laughed and thought I was being funny.

And every time, hundreds or thousands of people lost their job shortly afterwards
 
2022-11-07 8:57:02 AM  

This Is Bold Text: I've worked at 3 different companies that were bought or hostile takeover-ed

Every single time that a change of power was becoming likely I have said to my fellow employees "we need to unionize ASAP"

And every time they laughed and thought I was being funny.

And every time, hundreds or thousands of people lost their job shortly afterwards


I'm pro union, but how do you imagine unionizing would change that? Forming a union doesn't automatically give you an employment contract with management. It doesn't protect you from losing your job.

As for Twitter, are we suddenly especially happy with how that company was functioning beforehand? They would shut down harsh critics of fascists but leave fascists alone. Perfectly innocent images would get hidden while fascist imagery were left alone. There were employees behind that. As I understand things, a huge part of their sales force was was laid off. Ho-hum. Tech people who supposedly were trying to detect and purge bots? Maybe they should stay at Twitter so they're incompetence isn't released on potentially good companies.
 
2022-11-07 9:48:49 AM  

wademh: 'm pro union, but how do you imagine unionizing would change that? Forming a union doesn't automatically give you an employment contract with management. It doesn't protect you from losing your job.


Maybe I'm missing something because I've never actually been in a union, but wouldn't the unionization of workers give.them bargaining power where previously they had none? An organized group saying "if you lay off a bunch of us, all of us will stop working"

Maybe this whole time I've just failed to understand how unions work
 
2022-11-07 9:59:16 AM  

This Is Bold Text: wademh: 'Im pro union, but how do you imagine unionizing would change that? Forming a union doesn't automatically give you an employment contract with management. It doesn't protect you from losing your job.

Maybe I'm missing something because I've never actually been in a union, but wouldn't the unionization of workers give.them bargaining power where previously they had none? An organized group saying "if you lay off a bunch of us, all of us will stop working"

Maybe this whole time I've just failed to understand how unions work


It would streamline such an action but no promises. For the twitter case, the company is losing, has been losing, lots of money. Changes of some type have to be made. If somebody buys a company, they get to decide those things. You could imagine that solidarity exists between twitter employees but I wonder. On the tech side, I expect they are full of Ayn Rand fans.
 
2022-11-07 10:12:04 AM  
Rumor has it that Twitter is trying to quickly and quietly rehire some of the people they fired.
 
2022-11-07 10:12:56 AM  

wademh: This Is Bold Text: wademh: 'Im pro union, but how do you imagine unionizing would change that? Forming a union doesn't automatically give you an employment contract with management. It doesn't protect you from losing your job.

Maybe I'm missing something because I've never actually been in a union, but wouldn't the unionization of workers give.them bargaining power where previously they had none? An organized group saying "if you lay off a bunch of us, all of us will stop working"

Maybe this whole time I've just failed to understand how unions work

It would streamline such an action but no promises. For the twitter case, the company is losing, has been losing, lots of money. Changes of some type have to be made. If somebody buys a company, they get to decide those things. You could imagine that solidarity exists between twitter employees but I wonder. On the tech side, I expect they are full of Ayn Rand fans.


The vote to form a union is indeed a promise - that the union's members will abide by decisions made by the union (including a strike). Although I think you're right that workers can't be legally compelled to stay home, there are other contractual obligations (and union law, separate from labor law in general) that are far more than pinky-swears.

Speaking of, the CBAs signed by the unions and management are also somewhat stronger than "promises".

// at any rate, you'd be surprised at how many techies are actually (closet) socialists, and I'm betting many more are a single capitalist hellstory away from getting there
 
2022-11-07 10:14:17 AM  
Tech workers don't need to unionize.  They have in demand skills.

They are not assembly line technicians.
 
2022-11-07 10:14:35 AM  

Private_Citizen: "the private equity goons collect a quick profit before customers notice they are paying a lot more for a much worse product and go elsewhere."


In this case the public seem to have caught on much much quicker than usual.
 
2022-11-07 10:15:22 AM  

edmo: We don't need unions anymore

We don't need feminism anymore

We don't need immigration anymore.

We don't need taxes anymore

We don't need affirmative action anymore

/or so we're told over and over


But if you say we don't need cops anymore you're a socialist ANTIFA gay trans illegal messican who lies and hates god.
 
2022-11-07 10:16:58 AM  

hereinNC: Tech workers don't need to unionize.  They have in demand skills.

They are not assembly line technicians.


I'm a tech worker....yeah, we really need a union.
 
2022-11-07 10:18:43 AM  
Yes, you should absolutely punish the owner/boss who's doing his very best for you right now because the company might someday get bought buy a billionaire dick.

Not every owner is an asshole.  Some of them actually give a damn about their peeps' welfare.
 
2022-11-07 10:21:33 AM  

hereinNC: Tech workers don't need to unionize.  They have in demand skills.

They are not assembly line technicians.


Wage theft is wage theft, no matter the salary or demand for skills. My current company got in a lot of trouble with the state for requiring 10-12 hour days from its sysadmins and network folks without compensating them.
 
2022-11-07 10:21:56 AM  

HugsAndPuppies: Yes, you should absolutely punish the owner/boss who's doing his very best for you right now because the company might someday get bought buy a billionaire dick.

Not every owner is an asshole.  Some of them actually give a damn about their peeps' welfare.


Good, then if he's a good owner who cares about his employees, he'll negotiate with the union for a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Please feel free to piss off with this "unions are just bullying poor business owners" attitude. It's bootlicky as hell.
 
2022-11-07 10:23:18 AM  

edmo: We don't need immigration anymore.


This one always makes me laugh... successful countries have net positive immigration and a population that is growing.
 
2022-11-07 10:23:30 AM  
Can unions co-exist with "at will employment" aka we can fire you at anytime for any or no reason?
 
2022-11-07 10:26:25 AM  

HugsAndPuppies: Yes, you should absolutely punish the owner/boss who's doing his very best for you right now because the company might someday get bought buy a billionaire dick.

Not every owner is an asshole.  Some of them actually give a damn about their peeps' welfare.


the fact that you think unionizing is "punishing the owner" shows how well you've bought into the propaganda against unions.
 
2022-11-07 10:26:43 AM  
Work for a privately held company without a history of mass layoffs. Stay keen to examples of re-tooling their people during tough times rather than slashing them out of the budget. Even better, work for a privately held company with no history of mass layoffs and offers employee ownership with a low barrier to entry. Family-owned businesses are full of nepotism, so unless you accept kissing the ring to some extent, look for a place that somewhat fairly, frequently, and consistently shares profits through more than just a salary.
 
2022-11-07 10:28:38 AM  

Private_Citizen: TFA did a great job summarizing private 'investor' takeovers:

"The Wall Street bloodsucker scoops up the company using debt that is placed on the company's own balance sheet, its real estate and everything else that isn't nailed down is sold off, employee head count is slashed to conserve funds to service the debt, and prices are jacked up. The company dies, but in the meantime the private equity goons collect a quick profit before customers notice they are paying a lot more for a much worse product and go elsewhere."

As if that wasn't "American" enough, all the profit and bonuses paid to the bloodsuckers gets preferential treatment. These people aren't 'investors', they're raiders who rape, loot, pillage, and burn companies for a living.


Except Twitter is lacking in that kind of thing.
 
2022-11-07 10:28:43 AM  
Street Dogs ~ There is Power in a Union
Youtube WcU4YdJudYY
 
2022-11-07 10:29:51 AM  
We're gonna need more union songs.

Which Side Are You On - Dropkick Murphys
Youtube SKWfnO7fhQM
 
2022-11-07 10:31:29 AM  
While we're at it.

Dropkick Murphys - Worker's Song
Youtube 7N9miTsBpMc
 
2022-11-07 10:31:33 AM  

Wine Sipping Elitist: Can unions co-exist with "at will employment" aka we can fire you at anytime for any or no reason?


I suppose, if that is allowed in the union contract.  I hate when dead wood is protected by union contracts while the last hired are always the first to go.  Think back to all the school teachers you had or knew of that shouldn't be allowed to teach children (not because they were creepy, just bad teachers).
 
2022-11-07 10:31:42 AM  

HugsAndPuppies: Yes, you should absolutely punish the owner/boss who's doing his very best for you right now because the company might someday get bought buy a billionaire dick.

Not every owner is an asshole.  Some of them actually give a damn about their peeps' welfare.


Then they won't mind a unionized workforce.
 
2022-11-07 10:31:52 AM  

Weaver95: Rumor has it that Twitter is trying to quickly and quietly rehire some of the people they fired.


Yeah when you have no concept how a company works and you just randomly fire people you get screwed.
 
2022-11-07 10:33:00 AM  

Wine Sipping Elitist: Can unions co-exist with "at will employment" aka we can fire you at anytime for any or no reason?


Yes, but nobody will be happy with it. Which means it's probably a mostly fair process.
 
2022-11-07 10:33:21 AM  
I'm lucky that billionaires can't buy land grant state universities.

But I am very pro union, and if this place had ever tried to unionize, I would have been all for it.
 
2022-11-07 10:35:08 AM  
This is why most public companies have boards in charge. Most are too valuable to be left to the whims of a single individual, regardless of how "successful" and "brilliant" they are (citation needed).
 
2022-11-07 10:37:24 AM  
There's a reason why the IWW made union songs a focus. We need more of them.

The Interrupters - "Take Back The Power"
Youtube q7Ol-YDS4Jc
 
2022-11-07 10:37:34 AM  

cards fan by association: Work for a privately held company without a history of mass layoffs. Stay keen to examples of re-tooling their people during tough times rather than slashing them out of the budget. Even better, work for a privately held company with no history of mass layoffs and offers employee ownership with a low barrier to entry. Family-owned businesses are full of nepotism, so unless you accept kissing the ring to some extent, look for a place that somewhat fairly, frequently, and consistently shares profits through more than just a salary.

Even these companies are at risk of being bought by an asshole or absorbed by a larger competitor. Without a union you have no voice, no matter how caring the people who sign your check are.
 
2022-11-07 10:39:01 AM  

hereinNC: Tech workers don't need to unionize.  They have in demand skills.

They are not assembly line technicians.


Individually, we beg. Collectively, we bargain.

I'm a Linux admin with 15 years' experience. I would happily pay union dues.
 
2022-11-07 10:40:42 AM  

Weaver95: Rumor has it that Twitter is trying to quickly and quietly rehire some of the people they fired.


At a new and "improved" pay scale
 
2022-11-07 10:42:00 AM  
The Interrupters got a nice catalog of rebel songs. The right kind of rebellion, not fighting for the 'right' to just kick other people in the teeth.

Babylon
Youtube 0YJwzpJ5plM
 
2022-11-07 10:43:41 AM  

wademh: I'm pro union, but how do you imagine unionizing would change that? Forming a union doesn't automatically give you an employment contract with management. It doesn't protect you from losing your job.


My job is unionized, and the union contract includes a lot of language regarding layoffs...including that lower seniority workers get layed off first, any future job openings are filled from the pool of people layed off, health insurance continues for a certain period into the layoff, etc.  One of the things it does is it makes laying off a bunch of people much less attractive to management, so they generally don't.

Also, if management says, "We need to lay a bunch of people off," the union will step in and say, "Do you, though?  Lets see all the financial data that says that's necessary."  Management: "Never mind."

As a union employee for the past 23 years, I get good wages, an annual longevity bonus, up to 280 hours of paid time off a year, holidays off with pay, full medical/dental/vision insurance for about $150 a month, a pension, lots of protections and plenty of job security.  Unions are a good thing.
 
2022-11-07 10:45:42 AM  

cards fan by association: Work for a privately held company without a history of mass layoffs. Stay keen to examples of re-tooling their people during tough times rather than slashing them out of the budget. Even better, work for a privately held company with no history of mass layoffs and offers employee ownership with a low barrier to entry. Family-owned businesses are full of nepotism, so unless you accept kissing the ring to some extent, look for a place that somewhat fairly, frequently, and consistently shares profits through more than just a salary.


About 5 years ago, I joined a company owned by one guy (with a silent partner, but I don't think I ever knew their name, let alone saw their face) - the VP I interviewed with, and later the President himself, said the company prided itself on never having taken "a dime of" VC money in 20 years of existence*. I'd had a lot of bad experience with VCs, so that was nice to hear.

Fast forward to winter of 2020 (and supposedly some unfavorable tax circumstances with the upcoming calendar changeover) and all of a sudden he sold the whole damn company in 6 weeks and pulled stumps for Florida.

So, you know, best laid plans of mice-wielders and man-children.

* He also bragged he'd been approached with offers before and had turned them down, but braggadocio is just that.
 
2022-11-07 10:47:41 AM  
Look for the Union Label 1978 ILGWU ad
Youtube 7Lg4gGk53iY
 
2022-11-07 10:48:39 AM  

70xlrt: Weaver95: Rumor has it that Twitter is trying to quickly and quietly rehire some of the people they fired.

At a new and "improved" pay scale


comb.ioView Full Size
 
2022-11-07 10:49:23 AM  

hereinNC: Tech workers don't need to unionize.  They have in demand skills.

They are not assembly line technicians.


You do know that the remaining tech workers at Twitter will be told to work more hours for the same pay to cover the deficit of laying off half their workforce. If that doesn't scream they need a union, then what does?
 
2022-11-07 10:52:03 AM  
Major takeaway from the last 40 years of the American economy you mean, subby.
 
2022-11-07 10:55:36 AM  

Wine Sipping Elitist: Can unions co-exist with "at will employment" aka we can fire you at anytime for any or no reason?


Yes. You have it in the contract that union employees (usually after a probationary period) can only be terminated for cause after steps have been followed.

hereinNC: Tech workers don't need to unionize.  They have in demand skills.

They are not assembly line technicians.


I love hearing tech workers say they don't need unions in one breath, and later tell you how much more productive they are because they work 60 hour weeks (or 84 during a push or rollout) and all for no overtime. Yeah, you've sure showed everyone else.

/Union shop steward
//Rest of company is at-will
///Also not an assembly line technician
 
2022-11-07 10:56:32 AM  

Moroning: hereinNC: Tech workers don't need to unionize.  They have in demand skills.

They are not assembly line technicians.

You do know that the remaining tech workers at Twitter will be told to work more hours for the same pay to cover the deficit of laying off half their workforce. If that doesn't scream they need a union, then what does?


Unpaid overtime is theft. A full time salary and a hourly worker making $20 and hour both make just under 42k. If they are both asked to work 80hrs a week, the salary worker makes just under 42k. The hourly worker makes 104k.
That's not "40 extra hours for the good of the company", that's theft of labor to the tune of 62k per worker.
 
2022-11-07 10:58:04 AM  

wademh: I'm pro union, but how do you imagine unionizing would change that? Forming a union doesn't automatically give you an employment contract with management. It doesn't protect you from losing your job.


True enough. No more so than joining the Chamber or Commerce ensures your business' success, but workers doing what they can to protect themselves is rarely a bad idea.

We have allowed businesses and politicians to run a coordinated campaign to advance their own agenda, that unions are bad. Bad for workers, bad for business. Workers looking out for their interests are just selfish. Selfish and ingrates for the largess that their employers have graced them with.

Unions are only as good as the effort put into them. And they won't protect against a turn in the market, or the bad decisions that can tank their place of employment, but they can mitigate and give workers some cushion for that blow, and enforced by contract.

Ultimately, that is the crux of the issue. Companies don't want to be legally liable for anything, and certainly not peones whose labor they require. The idea of being held legally accountable to even MOAR entities than banks and regulators does put the fear into boards, fear that they might have to part with money, that is. They argue that it cuts into profits, and it does. Same as compliance with regulations cost them money. Same as servicing loans that they've taken out cuts into profits. Same as industry organization dues that they pay cut into profits. But they accept those as the cost of doing business. It's not a huge step to negotiate with a union as a cost of doing business either. But they are loathe to do it, because those are folks that they can't always finesse with a bottle of something and some banter on the golf course to mitigate.
 
2022-11-07 10:58:33 AM  

edmo: We don't need unions anymore

We don't need feminism anymore

We don't need immigration anymore.

We don't need taxes anymore

We don't need affirmative action anymore

/or so we're told over and over


We don't need no education
 
2022-11-07 10:59:16 AM  

Private_Citizen: TFA did a great job summarizing private 'investor' takeovers:

"The Wall Street bloodsucker scoops up the company using debt that is placed on the company's own balance sheet, its real estate and everything else that isn't nailed down is sold off, employee head count is slashed to conserve funds to service the debt, and prices are jacked up. The company dies, but in the meantime the private equity goons collect a quick profit before customers notice they are paying a lot more for a much worse product and go elsewhere."

As if that wasn't "American" enough, all the profit and bonuses paid to the bloodsuckers gets preferential treatment. These people aren't 'investors', they're raiders who rape, loot, pillage, and burn companies for a living.


Wasn't this the B plot of "Pretty Woman"?
 
2022-11-07 11:00:38 AM  

Gonz: hereinNC: Tech workers don't need to unionize.  They have in demand skills.

They are not assembly line technicians.

Individually, we beg. Collectively, we bargain.

I'm a Linux admin with 15 years' experience. I would happily pay union dues.


Nah, I have worked in telecom for 20 years.  you just have to know your value and assert it, and not be afraid to walk away.    Union dues don't get you much other than headaches.
 
2022-11-07 11:02:31 AM  

Wine Sipping Elitist: Can unions co-exist with "at will employment" aka we can fire you at anytime for any or no reason?


Sigh.

It's literally RIGHT THERE in your link.

Fark user image

Unions collectively bargain for an employment contract to stipulate wages, benefits & protections. That's the whole point to a union.

What did you think, it was a social club with just a secret handshake & some free coffee?
 
2022-11-07 11:03:47 AM  

Private_Citizen: Moroning: hereinNC: Tech workers don't need to unionize.  They have in demand skills.

They are not assembly line technicians.

You do know that the remaining tech workers at Twitter will be told to work more hours for the same pay to cover the deficit of laying off half their workforce. If that doesn't scream they need a union, then what does?

Unpaid overtime is theft. A full time salary and a hourly worker making $20 and hour both make just under 42k. If they are both asked to work 80hrs a week, the salary worker makes just under 42k. The hourly worker makes 104k.
That's not "40 extra hours for the good of the company", that's theft of labor to the tune of 62k per worker.


People need to educate themselves about work life balance.      If you are in a job that demands 80+ hours a week and does not compensate for it with higher salary. you walk,
 
2022-11-07 11:08:06 AM  

Wine Sipping Elitist: Can unions co-exist with "at will employment" aka we can fire you at anytime for any or no reason?


Yes. "At will" is simply the default provision absent a contact.  Unions are given contacts. So ipso facto subby's mom is a whore. Thanks for coming to my Ted talk.
 
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