RE: Layoff logistics and etiquette/At-will legislation

Subject: RE: Layoff logistics and etiquette/At-will legislation
From: Gwyneth Runnings <gwyneth -at- look -dot- ca>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 Oct 2001 09:40:27 -0700

Oregon is an "at will" state also. And yeah, they can kick you out with no
notice, no nuthin'"

I thought the labor laws in BC were bad. Last year they abolished the necessity of employers paying overtime in the tech sector because it was "bad for attracting business." The rationnal? everyone in the tech sector was working unpaid overtime anyway so why not just put it into law? I had been working for a company that was reasonably conscientious and we had been working a lot of overtime 10-16 hour days and they had been paying us time and a half in pay or double time for time. However, after the legislation, nothing. My manager tried to put in a bonus structure to compensate us, but it never got off the ground.

If you signed such an agreement, then you are bound by it.

Only if it doesn't transgress any labor legislation. You cannot sign away rights, as someone else pointed out. Of course, if there is no legislation, you have no rights.

And if you were there and can still remember it,
consider Seattle in the late 60's and early 70's when Boeing killed many of its >development projects
because nobody was buying airplanes

I do remember it, and the controversy over "Will the last person leaving Seattle please turn out the lights." And I fully understand that employers have responsibilities to their investors and to their bottom line. I just don't believe that the interests of both are in weighting legislation on the side of those who already hold a disproportionate amount of power. When employers feel they don't have to look after their employees interests, employees are unlikely to look out for those of the employer. It's a two way street. Good labor relations come from both side feeling that they are being treated fairly. A fair contract is the best way to go with this, but if employers aren't prodded with a legislated stick they aren't as willing to sign contracts fair to the contractee.

I do have a question. Is Washington an "at-will" state? I am looking for work in Seattle and I had no idea that I should be concerned about changes in labor legislation. Contracts are fine for protecting your interests when the client/employer cannot get your services anywhere else, but not much good if the market provides plenty of competition for services and the labor legislation provides employees or independent contractors with no protection.


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