Tech Workers Coalition profile image Tech Workers Coalition

What is stopping you from joining a union?

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If you search for union on this site, you will find mostly articles about SQL join queries, but more and more programmers are interested in joining one.

Kickstarter is the latest tech company to go public in their unionizing campaign, and they have asked people to support them in getting management to recognize them

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What's stopping me? Well, I tried. Turns out real attempts at unionizing are met with (illegal) use of force, figurative or otherwise.

What's stopping me at $newjob is mostly, well. It's a very large company and I'm not sure I'm interested in leading that effort myself, but they'd have my vote and I'm not afraid to say so!

 

This is always the paradox to me, with large vs smaller companies. In larger companies it takes time to meet people, and find what are the important issues for different individuals, yet it's also more work.

I struggled at smaller companies for sure, because people were always afraid of management or HR.

 

I am actually a dues-paying member of the IWW, if more in a "support the mission" way. I'm not actively involved in organizing; the company I'm currently working for is small enough that there's not much of anything to organize.

 

What's stopping me? Lack of a good reason. Maybe I'm lucky or have been in too small of markets, but so far I have not encountered a dev job where I thought a union was needed to fix it. Granted, I have intentionally avoided jobs where I have heard bad things about their working cultures, such as games and finance. I worked for mostly small organizations. The largest one (~1000 local employees, magnitude more worldwide) was the most diverse, inclusive place I worked.

I am sure if I had some particularly bad experiences or people close to me with horror stories, I would have motivation for it. And having grown up doing blue collar work, by comparison I struggle to understand the need for it. But I recognize I can't see from all perspectives, so if it is something that you need to do, don't let me stop you.

 

What kind of issues do you think a union would fix?

 

Traditionally they have been a vehicle to push back against unsafe working conditions and exploitation. Especially when we do not yet have laws that make those things illegal.

 

I used to be a member of the UFT before I changed careers. I want to join the IWW but I can't figure out when the Austin local meets.

 

Austin has a new Tech Workers Coalition chapter you could join including an event this Saturday! techworkerscoalition.org/austin/

 

I am a Meetup host for the TWC Austin local! (Although I won't be there this weekend because I'm traveling)

 

I don't know how, and to be honest the idea of leading the effort is scary to me.

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