RE: Technical Writing Union

Subject: RE: Technical Writing Union
From: "Pete Sanborn" <psanborn2 -at- earthlink -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 19:10:46 -0500

Here's a thought about unions and such - if you don't like the work, the
working conditions and/or the pay, go find another job. If enough tech
writers vote with their feet, sooner or later, a lousy employer gets the
hint and improves whatever is deficient or he never gets his documentation
completed so he never gets to ship his product(s) to market. If he can't
ship, he can't sell, if he can't sell, he can't stay in business.

That's the simple law of supply and demand that unions don't want you to
know. Granted, things are tough for all of us right now, but the basic rule
still applies - if you don't like the work, the pay and/or the working
conditions, go elsewhere. That isn't the only job in town and you don't have
to work there.

Isn't freedom wonderful?

Pete Sanborn

-----Original Message-----
From: bounce-techwr-l-81537 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
[mailto:bounce-techwr-l-81537 -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com]On Behalf Of
MMcCallister -at- ontrack -dot- com
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 1:54 PM
Subject: RE: Technical Writing Union

Bruce is largely correct on the reasons for the anti-union sentiment here on
the list. Meg Ehr asked about what unions can do, specifically, for tech

First, in general terms, when you are organized, you have what the AFL-CIO
calls "A Voice at Work." The old song asks the question "But what force on
earth is weaker than the feeble strength of one? But the union makes us
strong." I could wax rhapsodic about a democratic workplace and such, but I

I do have a concrete example, though. One that may apply to many of you.
(Caveat: I may not have all the details perfect here, but someone can
correct me) California strengthened its anti-forced-overtime, 40-hour week
law earlier this year. The high-tech industry association went into high
gear to get an exemption for itself. The National Writers Union BITE group
worked to stop the exemption (some of us actually believe the 8-hour day is
something we'd already won!). Legislators argued that the only people they
were hearing from were industry leaders and tech writers! Professional
organizations representing engineers, etc., couldn't be persuaded to defend
their members in this way. So guess what: the industry got their
exemption--except they couldn't force overtime on their technical writers!

Unions are neither a business, nor a "job insurance" company (much less a
criminal organization). The benefits are not automatic (except for the
dignity that you can often get for free), but depend on what you're willing
to fight for.

Guess I've de-lurked. I was gone for a long while from this list, but I've
been back for a week now. Good to be here.

Mike McCallister
Member-at-large, National Writers Union

-----Original Message-----
From: Bruce Byfield [mailto:bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com]

I think it has more to do with people who have had little contact with
unions, view themselves as professionals, have a pro-business attitude, or
all three.

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RE: Technical Writing Union: From: MMcCallister

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