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Should IT be unionized?
By Patrick Gray
May 30, 2012, 4:48 AM PDT
Takeaway: Patrick Gray thinks unionization is exactly the wrong answer for IT, and the dynamic career IT he has been given would not be possible in a unionized environment.
Today we have a guest post from TechRepublic contributing writer Patrick Gray.
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Despite all this high-minded talk of knowledge and merit-driven success, are IT workers “exploited”? That might be a loaded and overly dramatic word when considering the plight of far more difficult circumstances, but there are certainly people in IT who put in more effort than the corresponding reward they receive.
While a union might offer some protection, an alternative solution is to manage your career as if you were a tiny corporation. Many workers complain about a lack of employer loyalty, but this is a two-way street. You’re always free to say “no” to yet another working weekend, turn off the mobile device during dinner, or ultimately take your skills elsewhere. It may strike some as selfish and perhaps conniving, but your employer will likely consider replacing you when the need arises, so there’s no harm in considering replacing them on similar terms.
After long hours and over a frosty beverage, a worker’s revolt of sorts in the IT industry may sound like a good idea. Defined hours and benefits, and an overarching organization designed to keep your employer in line, certainly has its positive aspects. However, that stability comes with a trade-off, one that I find too heavy a price to bear. At its best, IT offers young and old a dynamic career where merit and skill trump seniority, pricey academic credentials, and even deep pockets.
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Perhaps there is a middle ground?
Employment at will worked in the IT workers’ favor in the old days.
Not so much any more.
H1B, off-shoring, out-sourcing, downsizing, rightsizing, layoffs, firings, nit picking, bankruptcy, political shenanigans (i.e., GM union got paid off; GM’s non-union workers, suppliers, bondholder, and stockholders got the shaft), “crazy” management, “do more with less”, fad de jour, “human resource management”, … just to name a few.
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