Re: Technical Writing Union

Subject: Re: Technical Writing Union
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 31 Oct 2001 19:30:20 -0800

Iggy wrote:

You don't need a union to prove to your employer
you're worth a damn. If you do, you probably aren't.

This isn't the only time this argument has been expressed, just the time I decided to answer it.

This viewpoint has some validity, but it also has some problems.

First of all, it's an argument for prosperous times, when jobs are easily available. The last few years have been extremely propserous in high-tech, which is probably one reason why unions don't have a foothold in high-tech. However, it's when times are harder that you need more protection than one person can provide. For example, some of those who complained about how recent layoffs were handled might have found the situation handled, and themselves slightly better off with a union. If times don't improve again, I suspect that unionism may get a grip in high-tech.

Second, this approach is limited by the need for personal contact. You may have a good relation with your supervisor, and have proven our worth many times over. But what happens if that supervisor leaves, or if a decision is made by someone who doesn't know your virtues or understand them? The advantage of a union contract is that it sets out appropriate behavior, instead of relying on goodwill.

Third, no matter how friendly your bosses are - and, incidentally, I have always got on well with mine - their interests aren't yours. As an employee, your interests are a living wage, interesting work, and perhaps the chance for career advancement. Your supervisors have some of the same interests, but they are also interested in profit and the company's survival and growth. This difference means that, sometimes, no matter how much they like or value you, they're going to make decisions that aren't in your personal interest. Sometimes, they are right to do so, but, at other times, they are arbitary and unfair - and it's at these times that a union comes in useful.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

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RE: Technical Writing Union: From: Iggy

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