Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit; STC position

Subject: Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit; STC position
From: "Gene Kim-Eng" <techwr -at- genek -dot- com>
To: "Donald H. White" <dwhite -at- jrtcllc -dot- com>, "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 09:27:02 -0700

There are two separate issues at hand.

One is the actual pending lawsuit. STC is correct to not take a position on
this matter when its details have not been argued and all there is to go on is a
plaintiff's claims and the company's press statement in response. Without full
details it is impossible to determine if this is a case of an underperforming
writer who couldn't adapt to a new employer's company culture or a company that
violated the labor code even for a properly classified exempt employee.

The other is whether technical writers are exempt profesionals who do work of an
"intellectual and varied" nature that requires "advanced and specialized
knowledge" and who regularly exercise "discretion and independent judgement," or
are nonexempt hourly workers with "general education" who perform work that is
"routine, repetitive, or manual" under "direct supervison and guidance." The
"National Writers Union," a group with some 1600 nationwide members that do not
appear to be predominantly technical writers, has not been bashful at all about
arguing that we are the latter *and* about getting their point of view codified
into California labor codes, at least for "computer software writers." For an
organization that is supposedly *devoted* to technical specialists, whether
they're called writers, communicators or something else, to not at least poll
its members to determine the preference of the majority as to what status the
prefer to hold and what they believe constitutes "protecting" them and advocate
corresponding positions on laws related to this, "gutless" seems to me to be a
perfect description.

Gene Kim-Eng

----- Original Message -----
From: "Donald H. White" <dwhite -at- jrtcllc -dot- com>
To: "'TECHWR-L'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Sent: Wednesday, May 21, 2008 6:41 AM
Subject: RE: Tech Writer Lawsuit; STC position

> It doesn't surprise me that the attorney for STC advised the Society leaders
> to be completely silent on the matter, up to and including refusal to
> provide names of Society members as potential interviewees.
> Still, overall, it's gutless.
> It's gutless to not make a decision, instead holding to the reason that
> someone else advised them not to say anything. The Society is not a party to
> the suit and shouldn't become one, I guess.
> Why would a professional association research an issue that could affect
> practitioners of that profession? If a law that protects a significant
> number of professionals is not followed by employers, why would the Society
> go out on a limb to support the law?


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RE: Tech Writer Lawsuit; STC position: From: Donald H. White

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