RE: Tech Writer Lawsuit

Subject: RE: Tech Writer Lawsuit
From: "McLauchlan, Kevin" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
To: "Tim Mantyla" <tim -dot- mantyla -at- gmail -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 21 May 2008 15:51:17 -0400

Tim Mantyla argued:

> It's sad to see list members slam the needs or rights of workers to be
> represented by unions. Your success is great for you...but what about
> average $44K salary in Utah? This is an argument by one individual who
> success and believes everyone, no matter their community's economic
> conditions, can achieve the same.

The argument is misplaced. The writer in Utah is facing different
conditions compared to the writer in (say) Silicon Valley or New York
city. So, for that matter, is the employer. Costs are different,
industry distribution is different, and so on. There's a reason that
call centers tend to be located in certain states and not in others.

> What is it some smart person said? "Data is not the plural of
> What applies to you does not necessarily apply to others.
> If the computer programmers salaries were as low as tech writers'
> salaries, they would likely turn to unions for help as well.
> In a social climate in which those with power and money determine
> salaries,
> trampling on those not in power, workers have to band together to gain
> parity and be treated fairly.

By getting laws passed so that the state stomps all over employers and
all over workers who don't fall into the category of the workers who
banded together? When I was in a unionized job (way back when), I
couldn't wait to get out and into a salaried position. It has-and-would
never occur to me to go back.

> I applaud the writers' success in protecting themselves against
> robber barons who use the economics of supply and demand to bring
wages of
> highly skilled people down to a level of "glorified secretaries," all
> while undervaluing their services. (I'm not saying profit is bad, but
> unrestricted profiteering tramples on the rights of others.
> profit-making while profit-sharing benefits all.)

Again, totally misplaced argument. It's the argument of entitlement. "I
have a certain standard of living that I want, but I'm not willing to
move to where it's economically viable. Instead, I'll force people to
give me what I want where I happen to be... until they either roll up
their job-making businesses and move elsewhere, or figure out how to
circumvent what I've imposed." You've already seen the assessments of
what'll happen if writers are forced into the hourly niche. Wages will
go down. The only people who will be happy about that are the
third-raters who were already making the low end, and didn't like that
other people with more energy and competence had found better,
higher-paying positions for themselves.

We've also seen in the news coverage of the lawsuit that Sun writers
don't want to be tied to that lawsuit. Most of them prefer a job with
some respect and a future. Most of them would not thank you for helping
push them into the hourly ghetto.

> Consider the economics of the U.S. in the past and present. Without
> wages paid to union members--wages leaders had to fight for, and still
> fight
> to maintain--our economic engine would not be as strong as it is. (Of
> course
> we have to expect cyclical rising and falling.) The people who build
> must be able to afford them to keep the production machine rolling. If
> pay your workers McDonald's wages, they can't afford Buicks and
> or any new car, for that matter.

Then, if the skills required of those particular workers are no more
complex or difficult to learn than the skills of McBurgerflippers,
perhaps they aren't entitled to Buicks and Lincolns, or any new car, for
that matter.
The long-unionized big-three automakers have become:
a) no longer the big three
b) the ones who are closing plants and very highly paid unionize line
workers out of their jobs.

Your beloved union leaders are making plenty of money and perks, but the
rank-and-file is becoming a smaller club. Even that smaller membership
is conceding pay rates and assignability.

Don't even bother asserting that the greedy corporate bosses are just
moving jobs overseas where they are cheaper and profits are higher. GM
is doing far better in the rest of the world than in North America but
STILL they're losing enough money every year to run a medium-sized

> By the same token, off-shoring call centers and other work to save a
> company
> money hurts our economy overall when many companies do it when U.S.
> workers
> are available. If you put people them out of work, it takes away the
> number
> of people able to buy your products. Duh!

If you can get skilled labor for less, you can charge less for your
products, and thereby remain competitive and in business... Duh!

> If you make a product in the U.S., a combination of fairness and
> supply/demand for your workers drives what you pay people. Some, but
> all, make a decent salary while the company owners often pig out at
> trough. (Think American Axle and its current problems.) The problems
> this: it helps create a two-tier, have/have-not society that drags
> down with the crime, poor health, increase in substance abuse, need
> welfare and other ills unemployment creates.
> This is part of the current state of interplay between government,
> business and nonprofits. Companies work to reduce costs and make
> but
> often trample on the rights of people and the environment along the

If that's your actual concern, then lobby to ensure that no entity may
be permitted to externalize its costs.

Instead, you (and/or people you say you support) are just shifting the
costs around a bit so that you can get a piece of a pie at the expense -
in this case - of writers who have the gumption to make careers for
themselves as salaried "professionals", or to pick up and go where the
good jobs are.
Using force to make jobs conform to your preferences just alienates
people who don't share your preferences (like all those Sun writers who
don't want any part of the lawsuit)... and eventually moves the jobs


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Re: Tech Writer Lawsuit: From: Tim Mantyla

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