Tuesday, March 11, 2003

Software Developer Union

This may have been brought up before, but what the hell, lets bring it up again. First off this includes everyone that works in the industry, programmers, quality control, tech writers, managers, IS, support reps etc.

How many times have you, or someone you know, been stuck working for long hours, evenings and weekends. Without any compensation, or even so much of a thank you?

Sometimes it is unavoidable, but the rare instances are not what I am talking about. I am talking about when some sales guy in butt fuck no-where that promises a feature to a client tomorrow just so they can collect the commission. Should the software developer not get part of that commission? Do they not deserve it? I mean if they didn't put in the extra time then the sales guy wouldn't get the commission.

I am also talking about the unrealistic deadlines that are always imposed on us without any sort of consultation. In what other industry are delivery dates given without asking the people doing the work, how long they think it is going to take?

Do others feel that the industry takes our willingness to work long hours for granted? Or is that expectation automatically placed on us when we take a job in this industry? Is the fact that we take pride in our work, to the point that we are willing to go the extra mile, expected?

Generally the pay is pretty good, but it is not always about the money? Or are you one of those people that for an extra $1000 a year you are willing to put in 60-hour weeks. No wait you don’t just get money, you get stock options. We have all had the “golden handcuffs” on at one point or another, but the realization of any large amount of money from options is very rare.

How much would this industry change if a Union were formed? Would the quality suffer from the institution of a Software Developers Union? Generally the people that work in this industry are smart people, why do we continually stand for the mistreatment? Or are stupid people the only ones that will stand up for them-selves?

I posed a lot of questions, but the main point is, do you think there should be a Software Developer union, and if there were a union would you join it? Do you agree with what I have said here, or not. What is your opinion on the subject?

8 comments:

Derrick said...

I think an union would be beneficial both to developers and to corporations, especially if it were a professional union that voluntarily enforced ethical standards. I have an explanation as to why on my own blog:

http://derrickswengmgmnt.blogspot.com/

Joe said...

I've been developing software for over 30 years. In my early years, I worked with John Draper, the famous Captain Crunch (google him). In the early days, developers were were scarce and largely freelance, forming agreements with companies to market our efforts. Copyright laws protected what we did, and even many programmer employees entered into agreements to determine copyright ownership, and the fair share the developer should receive. Draper went into a bloody war over EasyWriter, with the company I worked for, IUS. EasyWriter was one of the first popular word processors. He was able to prove he deserved royalties through his copyright, but unfortunately, provided his source code to IUS, and they simply reverse engineered a new product, and somehow won in court. This event, and several like it (Microsoft VS Digital Research, etc.) marked the beginning of developer slavery in this country. Just a little history. There are answers to our plight, if we stuck together.

Joe said...

I've been developing software for over 30 years. In my early years, I worked with John Draper, the famous Captain Crunch (google him). In the early days, developers were were scarce and largely freelance, forming agreements with companies to market our efforts. Copyright laws protected what we did, and even many programmer employees entered into agreements to determine copyright ownership, and the fair share the developer should receive. Draper went into a bloody war over EasyWriter, with the company I worked for, IUS. EasyWriter was one of the first popular word processors. He was able to prove he deserved royalties through his copyright, but unfortunately, provided his source code to IUS, and they simply reverse engineered a new product, and somehow won in court. This event, and several like it (Microsoft VS Digital Research, etc.) marked the beginning of developer slavery in this country. Just a little history. There are answers to our plight, if we stuck together.

Chip said...

I have been developing software for almost 15 years and I believe we could all benefit from a union. We need a union, not only for the long hours and many lost weekends, but for job security.

Over the past 5 years I've steadily watched contract rates go from $125/hr to $75/hr as a direct result of outsourcing and insourcing using the H1 visa program here in the states. The market is completely flooded and I don't believe our government will be making any changes to address this issue.

I am curious if you are seeing this same trend in Canada. I would not only join your union, but I would also help you form a union if you're serious about it.

Chip said...

I have been developing software for almost 15 years and I believe we could all benefit from a union. We need a union, not only for the long hours and many lost weekends, but for job security.

Over the past 5 years I've steadily watched contract rates go from $125/hr to $75/hr as a direct result of outsourcing and insourcing using the H1 visa program here in the states. The market is completely flooded and I don't believe our government will be making any changes to address this issue.

I am curious if you are seeing this same trend in Canada. I would not only join your union, but I would also help you form a union if you're serious about it.

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sarge-by said...

There had to be, and now there is:
http://www.linkedin.com/groups/Professional-Union-Software-Engineers-4332054
http://www.linkedin.com/groups?about=&gid=4332054

volcano@toronto said...

yes we definitely need a software developers union!

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