The Cyberunions Podcast: Episode Nine

This one’s for the Tech Workers: Part One

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0:40 Updates

  • Walton’s updates: Climbing Buachaille Etive Mòr in the rain
  • Stephen complains to his boss with unfortunate consequences

3:00 Unions For the Win

  • We’re discussing Cory Doctorow’s book For the Win, and it’s implications for trade unions

4:30 This one’s for the tech workers

  • This time, we turn the show around, and talk about organising tech workers
  • Programmers, digital artisans, tech support workers, network engineers, Unite! You have nothing to lose but your ennui
  • Stephen has a background in tech support – no luck getting his boss to recognise a union

8:30 Labor 101

  • Some trade union basics for tech workers
  • Collective action works – especially if you have strategy
  • Even the IMF recognises (pdf) that income inequality was one of the reasons for the financial crisis – people didn’t have enough money to spend
  • Collective bargaining drives up wages and improves terms and conditions – true fact!
  • We want work to be fairer, more democratic and more cooperative
  • Those of us doing all the work are the real wealth creators in society
  • We are the economy – we can shut it down, and rebuild it in a way that is fair
11:13 The importance of Key Sectors
  • Workers in key sectors have disproportionate power
  • Powerful unions in key sectors include the RMT (UK), the ILWU (US) and SATAWU (South Africa)
  • Key sectors include transport, energy – and tech workers!
  • The workers who maintain the world’s information architecture would be immensely powerful if they organised
  • The current model of capitalism is unsustainable
19:30 The tech sector can be as exploitative as the dark Satanic mills
  • Blue collar versus white collar is a false dichotomy
  • Tech workers often work very long hours, on very insecure contracts
  • Tech workers are often on call – no down time
  • The industry is deliberately designed this way – and unions can change it
21:00 Building a fairer and more sustainable economy
  • The current system is unsustainable – even from a capitalist perspective
  • The current model is short termist – intelligent capitalists would support unions because they correct market failure
  • Sustainable capitalism is preferable to economic collapse, but we want to build a fairer, more democratic, peer to peer economy
  • We think capitalism is broken – the economy is not going to bounce back unless it is fundamentally reconfigured
  • Work has become less secure, we are all expected to be infinitely flexible, and to provide added emotional labour for free
  • Working people are being made to pay for the economic crisis – globally
Join us next week for Part Two – and remember to read For the Win in the meantime.
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