An interesting exploration at changing the way unions in the United States think about membership and organizing in general.
I am interested in gathering people on wiki who would be interested in a union wiki, maybe we can use this page to start the discussion. I would expect that this would be an international effort, as is wiki!
- As a union organizer in the United States, these are some of the things that I think about: as an AtWillEmployee?, TheyCanFireMe or you at any time; the FortyHourWeek ; Although the EconomicsOfWorkWeeks means that is not a standard that most of us enjoy any longer; To be extreme about it ManagersAreSlavemasters, because you are a WageSlave when you punch in. What kind of FreedomAtWork? do people have?; other thoughts to work on developing: CollectiveAction?
What is work like for other people in the world? How are your rights to organize?
(check out this interesting meeting/retreat design MeatBall:OpenSpaceTechnology
see also: http://www.techsunite.org/union/
a tech union?
I think more important than the work-week issue is the H-1B work visa program and similar work visas. They flood the IT market with docile lower-wage non-citizen tech workers, but not any other white-collar market (well, except maybe nurses). Why just tech? Because we have no trade unions nor political voice. Try to do the same with lawyers or doctors and watch congress get slapped. (The "docile" remark is not meant to be racists, it just reflects their situation of having fewer choices.)
I have thought a lot about the H-1B work visa program. It has amazing similarities to indentured servitude, the folks coming into the country should have union rights also.
As a former H1-B, the problem with the H1-B program is that it does not allow people to freely change employers while keeping their green card process active. In my experience, an unscrupulous employer can drag this process out for years while keeping the worker's wages artificially low. I think these abuses are the rule rather than the exception. IMHO, the solution is not to keep these highly skilled workers out, but to eliminate their indentured servitude by allowing them to freely sell their skills on the job market.
By the way, the US working class these days are to be found in China, the Philippines, Mexico, etc., often subject to Dickensian conditions. How about a movement to give these unfortunates access to the same unions available to US citizens.
-- I am not sure why US unions would be different than other unions in the world. Obviously for the strength of the union it should be working in an OrganizingModel? rather than a BusinessModel.
(Be aware of AmericanCulturalAssumption
in the above)
-- please point them out
I posted a quick thought on the possibilities of networked union activism here : http://www.nooranch.com/synaesmedia/wiki/wiki.cgi?WiredTradeUnionism
See also JustStopDoingIt