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Re: Should Programmers Unionize?

by samizdat (Vicar)
on Jan 16, 2008 at 14:49 UTC ( #662681=note: print w/ replies, xml ) Need Help??


in reply to Should Programmers Unionize?

After reading the commentary in this thread, I have to write a follow-up to my first: Re: Programmers Blue Collar?

I see here some of the reasons why unions aren't a good idea:

  • populist misrepresentation -- W is not an economic Darwinist, he's a _political_ power manipulator, an entirely different thing
  • talk about destroying a company's productivity if you're not happy

Whew! I won't deny that companies do impose demands, sometimes unreasonable and usually uncompensated, on 'exempt' (salaried) workers. I just went through a six month overtime drubbing to complete a project. However, I'm also getting well over $20K more than I used to when I had the luxury of forty hour weeks. It is definitely my choice to stay, as it is anyone's.

Populist slickos like John Edwards to the contrary, corporations are on the whole a good thing. {note: the corporate exec compensation issue is an entirely separate problem not addressed here.} They provide millions of steady jobs for people who are unwilling to create jobs themselves by being entrepreneurs. The truth of the matter is that a "job" includes a measure of serfdom, by its very nature. You trade some freedom for a mostly-guaranteed paycheck and an array of 'benefits'. Part of that freedom you give up is the ability to set your own wage scale. I have a good friend who I visited yesterday who owns his own embedded computing business. He can keep as much as he has left over at the end of the month, and sometimes that's a killer lot of money. However, it's feast and famine, because surely as the Sun rises and sets, he'll be scrambling again in a few months. Most average people, especially with families, can't or won't accept the risk or stress of entrepreneurial insecurity.

I dislike giving any power to either the W's of the political world or the Lenins of the socialist "worker's paradise" stripe. DrHyde's commentary is a good example of why union power can be a bad thing. He considers his personal powerlessness to be sufficient reason to disrupt a smoothly functioning system that provides paychecks and security for hundreds if not thousands of his fellow human beings, not to mention products we all value and need. He reminds me of the nasties from Earth First or the Weathermen, who believed it is perfectly legitimate to murder to make a point. Murdering a corporation is very little different than murdering a human being, except that you affect hundreds or thousands.

I think people (including programmers) should be allowed to form unions. I also think that corporations should be allowed to toss them out and hire replacements, whether from another union, guild, or non-attached. That's the one most egregiously evil abomination that has come about: union tenure. It comes from the evil that is the corruption of the American political system: political party power. I think that the day that Caterpillar told its union workers to get stuffed and kicked them out was one of the best days in economic history. Unfortunately, most unions have gotten <quote>legal</quote> protection for their tenure, and that is an absolute Bad Thing. There should be a ZMA to hold the AMA to the fire. The LA Harbor Authority should be able to tell the longshoremen to get lost without needing shotguns to keep ships and cargos from being vandalized. Etc., etc., etc.

Most of all, the Democrats and Republicans need to be stripped of all the special perks and built-ins they've awarded themselves. Until we take back our government, we will all continue to be screwed, whether from the "left" or from the "right".

Don Wilde
"There's more than one level to any answer."


Comment on Re: Should Programmers Unionize?
Re^2: Should Programmers Unionize?
by apl (Monsignor) on Jan 16, 2008 at 17:36 UTC
    I agree with most of what you posted, and understand where you're coming from when I don't. However (you saw that coming):

    I think people (including programmers) should be allowed to form unions. I also think that corporations should be allowed to toss them out and hire replacements, whether from another union, guild, or non-attached.

    Which means a union has zero power. Which means a union is useless. Which implies unions shouldn't exist.

    Most of all, the Democrats and Republicans need to be stripped of all the special perks and built-ins they've awarded themselves.

    The original Bill of Rights included an amendment that required a Congressional pay increase et al be granted not to themselves, not to their successor Congress, but to the successor Congress after that. I wonder how different things would be today if it had been accepted...

    I agree it would be nice if Congress would be bound by its own laws, but Conservatives would never stand for it.

    Until we take back our government, we will all continue to be screwed, whether from the "left" or from the "right".

    That's called an election. Otherwise, you're talking about eliminating the current Constitution.
      apl: Which means a union has zero power. Which means a union is useless. Which implies unions shouldn't exist.

      Not at all. They should have as much power as they can maintain by being better and more worthwhile than other groups (organized or not) of workers.

      samizdat: Until we take back our government, we will all continue to be screwed, whether from the "left" or from the "right".

      apl: That's called an election. Otherwise, you're talking about eliminating the current Constitution.


      While I agree that it may never happen without revolution, I'm not advocating one. I'm just saying that the Dems and GOPs have stacked the deck to favor themselves in many and varied and sometimes evil ways. I also acknowledge that they do it with the complacency (read: ignorant acceptance) of the possibility-challenged in our society.

      My answer isn't politics. Politics in America is mostly a lost cause, in the present world, for the reason I've just stated. I work to help kids grow up smarter and more self-responsible, in the hopes that they will be able to set aside the mindless drivel they are 'taught' by all the high-powered one-way media and 'education' of our culture.

      Don Wilde
      "There's more than one level to any answer."
        I'm just saying that the Dems and GOPs have stacked the deck to favor themselves in many and varied and sometimes evil ways.

        On that I can agree whole-heartedly. The Constitution does not authorize or empower political parties. While they used to be more organic (parties did come into existence, die, etc.) the current Big Two seem to taken steps to guarantee that they will remain in power.

        I work to help kids grow up smarter and more self-responsible

        I did that as a father to my son. 8-) How do you do this?
Re^2: Should Programmers Unionize?
by DrHyde (Prior) on Jan 17, 2008 at 11:57 UTC
    DrHyde's commentary is a good example of why union power can be a bad thing. He considers his personal powerlessness to be sufficient reason to disrupt a smoothly functioning system
    Did you lie deliberately there, or are you just stupid and incapable of reading?
    He reminds me of the nasties from Earth First or the Weathermen, who believed it is perfectly legitimate to murder to make a point.
    Ah, there's the answer to my question. You're a moron. Thanks for letting us know.
      Whew! You are correect (the first assumption, anyway). I remembered your nasty, vitriolic tone and read more into it than what you actually said. It was actually apl who discussed disrupting the means of production.

      As to the second point (?), I occasionally do make errors of fact and I usually apologize for them. Whether that makes me a "moron" is up to the perceiver and his system of semantic distinctions. In my perception of reality, somebody who drips verbal poison to the extent that you do isn't likely to live long enough to leave a positive legacy or very intelligent children, so in the bigger picture, I don't think I score so badly.

      Don Wilde
      "There's more than one level to any answer."

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