me, any time programming comes up: this reminds me that we should unionize

@garbados Heeeellllllllllllll no. 1.) There are way too many management types in the world who want to treat programmers as factory workers, this would only exacerbate that problem. 2.) Too many programmers harbour ideas of being on the other side of the table at some point in there career that they wouldn't join for fear of damaging their future prospects (e.g. VCs won't fund companies founded by former union members). Better idea: programmers need to form more worker's co-operatives.


> VCs won’t fund companies founded by former union members

sounds like you need a union

> more workers co-operatives

diversity of fronts, comrade

@garbados You've missed my point somewhat. It's not the motivations of VCs, it's the programmers that I'm citing as the problem in your plan. Many of them (for whatever reason) see themselves as on the side of capital. Because of this I don't think you can get the critical mass for a union to work. That is unless you're planning on going down the "join the union or we'll break your legs" route.


> I don't think you can get the critical mass for a union to work

you aren't the only one to bring up this point but, regarding software, think about the number of maintainers most common infrastructure has: between zero and three. more than that takes full-time resources and funding, which can be cooperatively obtained, but "a critical mass" is in most cases closer to two programmers than a thousand


> You've missed my point somewhat

sorry for the flippancy, it's just "union" can refer to so many different kinds of trade and labor organizations while your critique aimed squarely at a very specific form. this happens once or twice whenever i bring up unions so i'm not always inclined to engage the critique.

@garbados That's fine. Not sure about where you are from, but here in the UK the union movement at large have done a good job of promoting that specific form as what a union is (not to mention that specific form is what a union is defined as legally). If what you are saying is that programmers need to collectively negotiate with their employers, yeah sure, I could see that as useful. There is just a lot of baggage that comes from that form of unionisation that I would not welcome.

@garbados For example: in factories unionisation tends to come with a lot of standardisation of job role. As I am the kind of programmer that likes to move outside that role a bit (be it sysadmin work, light hardware prototyping or something else) I would loath that kind of restriction.


re: tech unions 


> programmers need to collectively negotiate with their employers

that is the general idea. critiquing specific forms and then concluding "collective bargaining is bad" only helps your boss exploit you.

i'm in the US where even saying "union" can get you fired. being that our craft is international, we will ultimately need international forms of collectivization in order to demand and establish the high technical and ethical standards that public infrastructure requires.

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