Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit

Subject: Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit
From: Ned Bedinger <doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com>
To: Janice Gelb <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 15 May 2008 17:37:39 -0700

Janice Gelb wrote:

>
> On a side note, I think that this type of suit directly
> contradicts the desire of most technical communicators
> to be considered professionals on a level with programmers
> and engineers.
>


The California bar is set at $36/hr. Washington has had a similar law
simnce shortly after the Contractors-at-Microsoft lawsuit. I understand
that dollar value to mean that if you make less than that amount, you're
not a professional. But you are entitled to overtime pay.

That law, in effect, informs employers that we're not professionals.
We're that class of worker who collects overtime pay: laborers and
tradesmen, in effect. I think that is damaging, that this impression of
us that employers have is reinforced every time they hire a contractor.
Overcoming that, to recapturing our professional status, seems like a
task of mythic proportions to me. It is easier to change the laws than
our standing in the workplace.

Sun may be being fair and reasonable, for all I know, but in general the
trend has been that employers shaped the laws, didn't want to pay tech
writers overtime but couldn't prevent that provision from becoming part
of the law, and they have since waffled with willfulness on the OT
provisions ever since.

It may all be a wash in the final analysis, just a drama for the bored.
But if you ask me, appearances matter in the workplace, and we've been
letting ours go for well over a decade. I find it refreshing to see a
tech writer bristle at the indignity of it all. In my book, that's worth
10,000 goodwill visits to employers to talk up the communicator's role.

The sense that my trade is cornered and being shaken down is really
pretty damned stressful.I keep hoping to see that I have this all wrong
and it isn't as bad as it seems. Maybe some kind soul will hit my
spacebar and wake me if I'm dreaming this.

Ned Bedinger
doc -at- edwordsmith -dot- com


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Follow-Ups:

References:
Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Eric J. Ray
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Rob Hudson
RE: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Jodie Gilmore
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Janice Gelb

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