It’s Time To Unionize In Silicon Valley
Max Rothman

Union membership is down to a fraction of what it was in the 1940s and 1950s.

For decades there has been a propaganda campaign to convince people that unions are bad. The corruption of the Teamsters union and out of control union rules are trotted out as evidence that unions are a bad thing.

At the some time, the many abuses of corporations are ignored. Nor is the central issue of unions addressed: unions give workers a voice and a place in decision making.

I have been a member of a union that included scientists and engineers. The union managed to organize the skilled trades (machinists and the like). Organizing failed for professionals, especially software engineers.

Professionals all think that they don’t need unions. This is especially true of software engineers, who tend to think that they’re all fast gun lone rangers. There’s also the whole meritocracy myth (why do you need unions when the skilled receive the rewards they deserve).

All this has left me pretty cynical about any proposal to organize professionals, at least in the United States. Which is too bad, because all of the reasons that machinists need unions apply to software engineers.

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