Discussion on: Should we form a labor union?

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Dian Fay

Organizing software developers seems to be more or less an exercise in herding cats, except that senior cats are able to negotiate for themselves at least as well independently as they could collectively. This won't hold true forever, of course. But the only way I can think of for labor unions to get a real foothold in this industry is for a significant fraction of workers at a major concern -- on the level of a Microsoft, an Alphabet, or an Alibaba -- to organize.

So far workers at some of these companies have been able to exert some degree of collective pressure on their employers. Google dropped out of the JEDI contract competition; Microsoft's PAC, which had been donating to some of the worst people in the US government, has just recently been put on ice. I'm hoping that these and other collective actions can eventually grow into something which gives workers at those & other companies a more persistent voice in the uses to which their labor is put, but I suppose time will tell.