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  1. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by gundato View Post
    Don't get me wrong, I definitely agree it can and should be tweaked, but a lot of that isn't so much "We need unions to protect us" and more "We need advocacy groups to push legislature". And while that is a function of a Union, it isn't the primary purpose and the legacy of Unions may do more harm than good in some cases (it makes for an easy target, at the very least).

    But there is also the issue of the culture. For the most part, the US is a culture full of people who, on some level, believe in "The American Dream" of "If I work my ass off, good things will happen". Now, that is CLEARLY a load of crap for the vast majority of people, but it is something that gets drilled into us from an early age. Whereas Europe (or at least France) has a culture of "I want my vacation days and I deserve to take a break". A few french graduate students I know basically take month long vacations 2-3 times per year (I poop you not). And while I suspect (hope) that is considered excessive by French culture, I also acknwoeldge that it IS a cultural thing. I look at that and say "Holy crap, do you ever do any work?". They look at me and say "Sacre bleu, do you ever take a break?"

    Like I said, there are definitely still a lot of problems, but for the vast majority of workers: The days of "I am not in a Union, my employer is going to rape and sodomize me" are gone. Not all, but a significant percentage. Mainly because Unions HAVE pushed legislature and fought in the past to get us where we are now.
    I'm sorry but the majority of jobs in America are not like this. Maybe professional jobs and the traditionally union jobs of the past, but mostly no. In a country where multiple industries have a fire on day 89 policy to avoid giving benefits, only the super privileged or upper class can say the kinds of things you are saying.

    I understand, you have a good job that you enjoy, but you are in the minority. There are more people below the poverty line than there are in your position, and those only a few thousand above the line are even more numerous.

  2. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoLAoS View Post
    I'm sorry but the majority of jobs in America are not like this. Maybe professional jobs and the traditionally union jobs of the past, but mostly no. In a country where multiple industries have a fire on day 89 policy to avoid giving benefits, only the super privileged or upper class can say the kinds of things you are saying.

    I understand, you have a good job that you enjoy, but you are in the minority. There are more people below the poverty line than there are in your position, and those only a few thousand above the line are even more numerous.
    Pretty much this. America is a country with "right to work" states, which means that a company can fire you any time they want, without cause.

  3. #63
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MoLAoS View Post
    I'm sorry but the majority of jobs in America are not like this. Maybe professional jobs and the traditionally union jobs of the past, but mostly no. In a country where multiple industries have a fire on day 89 policy to avoid giving benefits, only the super privileged or upper class can say the kinds of things you are saying.

    I understand, you have a good job that you enjoy, but you are in the minority. There are more people below the poverty line than there are in your position, and those only a few thousand above the line are even more numerous.
    I am super priveleged? Awesome! :p

    Looking at these statistics
    http://www.bls.gov/emp/ep_table_201.htm

    10.1% in Retail. Retail is definitely an industry where people get screwed over
    11.7% as "Professional and business services" are basically your paper pushers and the like. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Professional_services
    11.5% as "Health care and social assistance" which are generally the thankless jobs where you are worked to the bone and I definitely agree that it sucks to be them, although that ALSO tends to fall into the category of people who do the job because they want to/believe in it
    13.6% are State and local government which tend to be the holy grail of job security


    If you have links to articles about the 89-day policy, please link them. I would be interested in reading a good study on the subject. But my understanding is that those are primarily the retail jobs and other industries with high turnover (hmm, perhaps one causes the other :p). Just by taking the top sectors of 2010 it looks like approximately 10% are actively screwing people over in that regard.

    I am not trying to say that it is all peachy-keen for everyone. It isn't. But the issues facing employees today are (mostly) more general ones, not industry or occupation specific. So having a specific group lobbying for the 12th Street Dock Workers isn't going to really help. What we need are people lobbying for employee rights as a whole.
    Last edited by gundato; 17-04-2013 at 08:29 PM.
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  4. #64
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus gundato's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Internet View Post
    Pretty much this. America is a country with "right to work" states, which means that a company can fire you any time they want, without cause.
    Right to work laws are actually pretty funny.

    In the US, they originated because Unions were demanding that non-union workers be fired and it basically amounted to "You don't gotta represent them, but you do gotta give the Union your money".
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right_to_work

    Of course, it was then twisted from its logical meaning (but still fulfilled the purpose of screwing over employees :p) to effectively be a set of laws designed to hurt Unions under the guise of protecting employees (it does both, but it probably hurts Unions more than it helps employees).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Right-to-work_law

    Also: You made a common mistake. The Right To Work law is not the one that allows employers to fire anyone. You are thinking of "At-will Employment"
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/At-will_employment


    Right-To-Work is a much more complicated subject, whereas I feel confident saying that "most" people find At-Will Employment to be pretty shady.
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  5. #65
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Lambchops's Avatar
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    Whenever I see articles such as these I recognise the parallels with my own field. I also assume that, just like in my own field, not every boss is a fucking nutcase who expects everyone to be working all hours of the day (failing to realise that while some people thrive in that environment, it's not always how they'll get the best out of someone). Not sure whether games design is the same way in that your first boss holds (or is perceived to hold) a vast deal of power over your future career (or at least it does in the US, I think here in the UK this is slightly less of a problem).

    I think this is probably the most relevant (and a very excellent piece of journalism) piece about this problem in the chemical sciences - draw from it whatever parallels to game design you will - http://www.nytimes.com/1998/11/29/ma...ted=all&src=pm

  6. #66
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    I currently work for a software company where the turnover is high, we get a constant influx of bright-eyed naifs from local technical institutes, and the last time the senior techs tried unionizing, everybody got fired. I spoke with the current veterans, and they report that this sort of purge has happened about three times in the last twelve years - in fact, a healthy income is a good sign that you're not going to be employed for very much longer here.
    This is the kind of reason I want a union or some form of collective bargaining. As this happens in the Games Industry a lot, or at least where I am. It also means anyone who has been around is clinging on like a fucking barnacle in management. They're incompetent and risk averse in case they start firing everyone again. It's an insane atmosphere at times, though I can't say if it's better in any other sector.

  7. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by Xercies View Post
    We live in a world now where most jobs i've seen need 1 year experience and to get that experience you need to whore yourself out for free and even then there might be someone out there better then you...
    It depends a lot on the field. The more practical stuff employers do prefer experience, because being taught how something should be done often bears little to no relation on how it's actually done when you have things like budgets and deadlines to worry about :)

    Although it also depends on the level of the job you're looking at. Generally in any industry inexperienced recruits are usually taken in at the coal face, with the more senior positions recruiting internally from there. We have a legal requirement to advertise vacancies outside the company, but unless there's exceptional circumstances we're always going to prefer internal promotion over accepting external candidates, unless of course there's no lower tier to recruit from.

  8. #68
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Zephro's Avatar
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    There is a problem with that, at least here in the UK. Less companies expect to train their own staff, they expect the state to provide them engineers/whatever straight out of uni so only advertise for X years experience jobs rather than training internally. It seems to be getting worse but it is utter madness.

  9. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    There is a problem with that, at least here in the UK. Less companies expect to train their own staff, they expect the state to provide them engineers/whatever straight out of uni so only advertise for X years experience jobs rather than training internally. It seems to be getting worse but it is utter madness.
    I'd say it's not just limited to the UK. Here in Australia I've seen job postings for a tradie's apprentice (for the uninitiated: someone who hands over a screwdriver, holds up a plank of wood, follows absolutely basic instructions from a builder or plumber or whatever) requiring 'prior experience' despite the fact that these are entry level positions which were always supposed to be gateways into the industry. In nursing there's a massive problem right now where graduate placements have been significantly reduced to save money, leaving a lot of graduates without an opportunity to gain 12 months experience which they need before they can ever get a proper RN posting. It's insane, and it's going to cripple the workforce when the impending mass retirement wave eventuates (at least here in Australia).
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  10. #70
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    Business focusing on short term profit at the expense of long term existence? Shocking.

  11. #71
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    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    I'd say it's not just limited to the UK. Here in Australia I've seen job postings for a tradie's apprentice (for the uninitiated: someone who hands over a screwdriver, holds up a plank of wood, follows absolutely basic instructions from a builder or plumber or whatever) requiring 'prior experience' despite the fact that these are entry level positions which were always supposed to be gateways into the industry. In nursing there's a massive problem right now where graduate placements have been significantly reduced to save money, leaving a lot of graduates without an opportunity to gain 12 months experience which they need before they can ever get a proper RN posting. It's insane, and it's going to cripple the workforce when the impending mass retirement wave eventuates (at least here in Australia).
    Well at least your jobs don't require higher education for cashier position...
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  12. #72
    Quote Originally Posted by Berzee View Post
    I prefer to be affiliated with the smallest possible number of official organizations in my life. =P

    I can understand the uses of labor representation in lots of situations, but for my particular situation, I've already independently secured what I feel are quite fair wages and benefits. Joining up with an organization to try and get more than that, when I have struck a satisfactory bargain already, would be needless discontent. I'm uncomfortable with the implication that I should always try to get more than I have without stopping to ask if I'm being treated fairly already.

    That said, unions could be handy if you work for someone terrible and corrupt (like, say, the bad guy in Stacking). I don't mind the existence of unions per se, as long as I'm allowed to not be in one. =)

    [Nalano, let me know if you want me to come back and edit this post so it just says "rawr pinko grbl muh" so as to improve the flow of conversation.]

    Addendum: I also prefer playing MMOs guildless though, just chatting with people who happen to be hunting in the same area, grouping with random strangers according to my whimsy. Such idiosyncrasies no doubt influence my predelictions, beyond where I would end up by principles alone.
    Great post - well said.

    I think there has to be some consideration for what is "fair" in collective bargaining for better wages/benefits via unionisation, however subjective it may be. There was a strike here in the UK by headteachers and medical consultants last year, who are paid between 50k and 100k, because their pensions were being made slightly worse - even after the changes, they are still getting a better deal than almost everyone in the private sector. The only argument offered by these people during TV interviews/press conferences for why they were striking seemed to be: they're making our pensions worse. There was no consideration of whether the previous deal had been too generous/was affordable, or whether the new deal was "fair", their contention was simply that it was unacceptable to make any changes at all which wouldn't constitute an improvement.

    Fair is probably a difficult calculation though, that said. In lieu of unionisation, the labour market decides your wages and benefits. When the applicants outnumber the jobs, wages are driven down, hours are driven up, and the churn is high. This is particularly bad in "rock star" industries (lol) like games development. That all seems unfair to the people in the jobs, being asked to sacrifice more than they consider reasonable in order to keep them, but how would the unemployed person waiting in the wings feel about the situation? They might argue if they're prepared to do the same job for less pay and more hours, it's fair enough that they replace someone who isn't. I don't particularly share that view, but I think it demonstrates that fairness is simply about perspective and judgement.
    Last edited by RandomTangent; 18-04-2013 at 11:34 AM.

  13. #73
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    Quote Originally Posted by Internet View Post
    Pretty much this. America is a country with "right to work" states, which means that a company can fire you any time they want, without cause.
    America, the only place they can take a word or saying, and make it mean the opposite to what it does.

    The best jobs are those asking for 5 years experience in a field that only existed for 6 to 12 months. Like "5 years PS4 programming experience". ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by Bankrotas View Post
    Well at least your jobs don't require higher education for cashier position...
    Yeah, most the people I worked with had degrees in business studies, sociology/criminology (too much CSI) etc. I had a simple college degree in Graphic Design, and was usually on equal pay.
    Last edited by TechnicalBen; 18-04-2013 at 10:25 AM.

  14. #74
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Xercies's Avatar
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    I'd say it's not just limited to the UK. Here in Australia I've seen job postings for a tradie's apprentice (for the uninitiated: someone who hands over a screwdriver, holds up a plank of wood, follows absolutely basic instructions from a builder or plumber or whatever) requiring 'prior experience' despite the fact that these are entry level positions which were always supposed to be gateways into the industry. In nursing there's a massive problem right now where graduate placements have been significantly reduced to save money, leaving a lot of graduates without an opportunity to gain 12 months experience which they needbefore they can ever get a proper RN posting. It's insane, and it's going to cripple the workforce when the impending mass retirement wave eventuates (at least here in Australia).


    Yes the 1 year experience I was talking about thats for junior levels on anything I've seen I always thought junior level was supposed to be the gateway...if the gateway needs 1 year experience of being in the industry how else are you supposed to go into it. Oh yes the special internships that they give out to the special people where they don't pay you anything.

  15. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    No it doesn't. There is crunch time close to a release and only if the schedule was badly project managed and it seems like project management is getting steadily better.
    Well I've been clean of professional software development for a decade now - but the last 5 projects I worked all had 'crunch' of some sort and my bro-in-law still does this and his work-week is 70 hours and will be for at least the next 8 months (money's good but his daughter has no idea who he is).

    The one which made me walk away I worked for 6 months. The project was overdue when I arrived, 6 months later the deadline arrived and we were half done and 120% over budget!

    I and 12 others on that accepted redundancy from our base office at that point - it was really the only sensible option - despite the fact the project needed all of use for at least another year. The whole thing imploded the week after I got my cheque and legged-it.

    I now live in seclusion in North East England where I work for good causes only - no superhero costume - definately no crunch...

    p.s. the important thing to learn is that despite the collapse, the company we worked for and the client both sold the whole thing as a success - understanding how and why that happened is key to understanding why the world is so fucked...

  16. #76
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zephro View Post
    This is the kind of reason I want a union or some form of collective bargaining. As this happens in the Games Industry a lot, or at least where I am. It also means anyone who has been around is clinging on like a fucking barnacle in management. They're incompetent and risk averse in case they start firing everyone again. It's an insane atmosphere at times, though I can't say if it's better in any other sector.
    yesplzkthx: The best skill you can learn in situations like this is how to brown-nose, throw your coworkers under the bus, and avoid all responsibility. The anti-unionists will argue that they don't want to have unfireable folks eating from iron rice bowls, but instead they're just regularly purging qualified, competent and experienced personnel and ultimately shooting themselves in the foot.

    As for the brown-nosers, I can tell you that there is at least one guy who, should I see him again, day or night, in public or private, he will walk away with a broken nose.

    Quote Originally Posted by soldant View Post
    I'd say it's not just limited to the UK. Here in Australia I've seen job postings for a tradie's apprentice (for the uninitiated: someone who hands over a screwdriver, holds up a plank of wood, follows absolutely basic instructions from a builder or plumber or whatever) requiring 'prior experience' despite the fact that these are entry level positions which were always supposed to be gateways into the industry. In nursing there's a massive problem right now where graduate placements have been significantly reduced to save money, leaving a lot of graduates without an opportunity to gain 12 months experience which they need before they can ever get a proper RN posting. It's insane, and it's going to cripple the workforce when the impending mass retirement wave eventuates (at least here in Australia).
    Here, entry-level positions have effectively been replaced by stipend-driven or unpaid internships, essentially turning entire industries into the realm of the rich (ie: those who can afford to send their kids to school AND cover living expenses for years afterwards while they work for free) or old-school indentured servitude.

    The funny thing about it is that so many non-union people have it so bad - job security is non-existent, on-the-job training is a pipe dream from a bygone era, wages have been depressed for so long that you're expected to double up jobs and collect roommates like Pez well through your thirties - that when union workers do strike over important disputes, they get excoriated in the populist press because, comparatively speaking, they have it so much better than the average working stiff. Talk about the poor turning on each other.
    Last edited by Nalano; 18-04-2013 at 02:48 PM.
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  17. #77
    Quote Originally Posted by RandomTangent View Post
    There was a strike here in the UK by headteachers and medical consultants last year, who are paid between 50k and 100k, because their pensions were being made slightly worse - even after the changes, they are still getting a better deal than almost everyone in the private sector.
    Everyone in the private sector should bloody well organize, then - and meanwhile be thankful that others already have, because the thing about those strikes is that they help keep wages and benefits higher for everyone else. Employers realize they need to give a little to keep unions unattractive.

    Wanting things to be worse for other people isn't the same as making things better for ourselves. In the end it makes things worse for everyone, including ourselves. Jealousy and bitterness are not useful motivations for a society.

    but how would the unemployed person waiting in the wings feel about the situation?
    Having been the unemployed person waiting in the wings at one point in my life, I can tell you I felt very keenly how ridiculously expensive everything is getting just to keep funneling money from the people who work to the people who own, and how insulting it is to be offered low-paying short-term contracts by organizations who can and should offer better. I refuse to join the race to the bottom, and resent the fact that when I was unemployed, my situation was used as justification to keep other people's wages down. There's more wealth in society than there's ever been before. The problem is distribution, not production.

  18. #78
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    Quote Originally Posted by RandomTangent View Post
    I think there has to be some consideration for what is "fair" in collective bargaining for better wages/benefits via unionisation, however subjective it may be. There was a strike here in the UK by headteachers and medical consultants last year, who are paid between 50k and 100k, because their pensions were being made slightly worse - even after the changes, they are still getting a better deal than almost everyone in the private sector. The only argument offered by these people during TV interviews/press conferences for why they were striking seemed to be: they're making our pensions worse. There was no consideration of whether the previous deal had been too generous/was affordable, or whether the new deal was "fair", their contention was simply that it was unacceptable to make any changes at all which wouldn't constitute an improvement.
    I don't know the specifics of your case, but in the US when teachers pensions are "adjusted", it generally means they decrease they pension payouts to all teachers. Which means if you're a 59-year-old teacher, not only did you just have your future pay cut, but you just had a portion of your compensation package for the entire time you've worked essentially stolen. Imagine if a pay cut meant you had to pay back your employer for the entire time you'd been there. It would be illegal in every case if the government wasn't the one doing it.

    Teachers pensions are a personal sore point with me because they're getting extremely unpopular in the US. Somehow the wealthy and powerful have managed to pit the middle class against each other to tear down wages and unions. Pensions have existed since the 40's here and somehow now it's terrible if someone can retire comfortably as they originally negotiated? It's one thing to renegotiate future earnings, but to take what people have already earned is despicable.

  19. #79
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus Nalano's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by arccos View Post
    Teachers pensions are a personal sore point with me because they're getting extremely unpopular in the US. Somehow the wealthy and powerful have managed to pit the middle class against each other to tear down wages and unions. Pensions have existed since the 40's here and somehow now it's terrible if someone can retire comfortably as they originally negotiated? It's one thing to renegotiate future earnings, but to take what people have already earned is despicable.
    Here in the city, the teachers' union's more or less sold out the younger staff when it came to pensions. Tier 1 teachers get the 25/55 system; new entries... not so much.
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  20. #80
    Secondary Hivemind Nexus soldant's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nalano View Post
    The funny thing about it is that so many non-union people have it so bad - job security is non-existent, on-the-job training is a pipe dream from a bygone era, wages have been depressed for so long that you're expected to double up jobs and collect roommates like Pez well through your thirties - that when union workers do strike over important disputes, they get excoriated in the populist press because, comparatively speaking, they have it so much better than the average working stiff. Talk about the poor turning on each other.
    Perhaps, though over here unions are slightly different in that they're playing political kingmaker more often than actually doing anything. I've been a part of two unions - one was a combined union representing emergency dispatches, the liquor industry, and some other random industry (I was the dispatcher for clarification), and a nursing union.

    While I was a dispatcher the union ranted and raved in the streets and did what it could to fight over issues that were cropping up in the ambulance service - regular mandatory overtime where shifts ran into 16 hours, failure to ensure crews were fed properly, trying to privatise a particular part of the service (sub-acute routine transport), and some other stuff. The state government in power was Labor, who have strong links with unions. The government sort of backed down in some areas. It was a good union (I think they disbanded into separate unions, don't remember).

    While I was a student nurse the state health service had a massive payroll crisis which saw nurses getting paid next to nothing or getting massive overpayments because they deployed a new computer system which was fucking useless and glitched to all hell. I saw several cases of nurses getting paid $300 for a fortnight's worth of night shifts, and $300 won't buy you much over here for a fortnight. The government in power was Labor. The nursing union effectively did nothing - they shot the government a disapproving look, said they were "working with them on the problem" and sort of dodged around. Why? Because the nursing union is a massive supporter of the Australian Labor Party, and during the state election they regularly ran articles in their nursing journal advising people not to vote for the Liberal National Party because they're not Labor, despite the fact that the ALP fucked up the payroll system something shocking. They only staged a rally after the media caught hold of the situation and it got too big to contain. Now the LNP are in power, and every single misstep is crucified by the nursing union. Some of it is justified, the rest of it is a political storm in a teacup. The ALP were lowering graduate placements but the union said nothing. The LNP didn't increase placements, so the union flips out like they started it.

    This is why I'm not a universal supporter of unions or of giving them too much power. Are they important? Definitely. They may be significantly more important where you are. But over here a lot of them are out to play politics, and couldn't really care less about the people they represent unless it aligns with the ALP getting into power and keeping it.
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