RE: Tech Writer Lawsuit

Subject: RE: Tech Writer Lawsuit
From: "Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: "'Gene Kim-Eng'" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>, "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sun, 18 May 2008 15:09:39 -0700

When the big mess began to exempt hourly computer software employees from OT
laws, technical writers got upset and formed a union in the Bay Area to
explicitly keep technical writers out of the exemption. I read about this
around 1998 or 1999, I think, before the law was enacted in 2000. 515.5 was
being enacted, at the behest of recruiters who did not want to pay overtime,
and nothing would change that, so the NWU fought for 515.5(b), the
exception. That's how I understand it, but here's more from this guy, who
was noisy then,
http://www.andreas.com/faq-overtime.html

There has not been an interpretation yet on the extent of the exception.
Does it mean that technical writers are computer software employees who are
not exempt so they cannot be professional employees who are exempt? Or does
it mean that technical writers are not computer software employees?

Gene, I think that there is another possibility to the outcomes that you
mentioned in another post. The court could rule in favor of Sun and rule
that the overtime was acceptable for Hoenemier's job. This interpretation
would mean that technical writers are covered under the professional
exemption and that they are not computer software employees. Employers
could interpret this to mean that technical writers, as professional
employees, can earn less than half of what computer software employees do
(based on the $16 and $36 per hour minimums). So salaries can go down and
unpaid OT can go up for technical writers.

Lauren

> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+lauren=writeco -dot- net -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lauren=writeco -dot- net -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> ] On Behalf Of Gene Kim-Eng
> Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2008 12:28 PM
> To: 'TECHWR-L'
> Subject: Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit
>
> It sounds to me as if the "National Writers Union" that
> pushed to get this provision into the CA labor codes
> has a lot of low-wage software and web writers in its
> ranks and not very many technical writers from other
> fields. I never heard of them before this labor code
> provision was enacted, and nobody ever asked
> writers in any industry I've worked in (all non-software)
> whether they wanted to join a union or be hourly workers.
> A quick surf over to their website reveals that they have
> a total nationwide membership of 1600 people. How
> an organization like this managed to get anything
> enacted into law in CA is probably one of the great
> mysteries of the decade.
>
> Gene Kim-Eng

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References:
Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Gene Kim-Eng

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