RE: Technical Writing Union

Subject: RE: Technical Writing Union
From: MMcCallister -at- ontrack -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 1 Nov 2001 11:06:05 -0600

Iggy said:

I don't think a union is in order just because the
tech market isn't doing so hot. I think that's a quick
rush to a poor solution. If you join a union during
rough times, what happens when times get better and
you are free to be your normal ambitious, risk-taking
self? You've screwed yourself. You are then held back
by the bylaws of the union, and should you leave the
union, good luck getting a job in any now unionized
company/tech writing department.

When I was in the Wisconsin State Employees Union (AFSCME), our local's bylaws were amended on a semi-regular basis, and those bylaws dealt almost always with how the union functioned (election deadlines, how financial audits were conducted, those sorts of things). Perhaps he actually means the contract between the employer and the employees (organized as a collective).

Well, contracts can be negotiated and structured almost any way the parties want the contract to be negotiated and structured. Take, for example, the contracts negotiated by a prominent union of professionals, the Major League Baseball Players Association. While many may argue that these contracts aren't in the best interests of that particular industry (and the people, like myself, who regularly observe that industry), they are an excellent examples of the union not getting in the way of the "normal, ambitious, risk-taking" professionals that are its members. The contracts establish a minimum salary, and standards for working conditions, and then let each player get the best deal he can.

As I said earlier, you want to protect your interests when the company has different ones? Unions are often the only way to do that successfully.

Now I have to get some work done!

Mike McCallister

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