Presently in Ontario the Conservative governemnt has used “the nuclear option” to take away rights from workers. Not going to lie: it’s really bad, like Canadian Charter of Rights are no longer relveant bad.
The union the government is picking on is primarily made up of women and many of them aren’t even earning a living wage. The Conservatives want to pay them less and are fining them more than a month’s wage everyday they’re on strike.
Where’s the good news?
Histrorically labour actions make the working world better for everyone. Given how much damage the Conservatives have done to the averaging working person in the province we have nowhere to go but up. Just like back in 1981. One union’s strike brought the entire country of Canada maternity leave.
With negotiations going nowhere, CUPW went out on strike. Their demands were multifaceted, but maternity leave was singled out by capital, media, government, and the public.In turn, maternity leave was deemed egregious, unnecessary, and even greedy. Risking it all, postal workers and their allies fought for forty-two days and won. Their victory reverberated across Canadian society. Other unions quickly followed suit and, before long, the government institutionalized and expanded maternity leave to equalize the playing field. What started out as a gain for postal workers quickly turned into a gain for all Canadian women.
In creative industries labour exploitation can happen because employers can get away with leaning into the passion creative workers bring to their field. The video game industry may be a young industry, but the tricks of getting free labour from workers are old ones. As a result, movements like Game Workers Unite have popped up to help video game workers get the respect they deserve.
Yesterday a wonderful little bot made a big splash during International Women’s Day (IWD). The Gender Pay Gap Bot on Twitter called out deceptive companies which “celebrated” IWD and advertised how much they care. The bot retweeted each corporate IWD tweet with a simple message revealing the median pay gap between male and female workers.
The bot is possible because the British government requires companies to publicly disclose average pay; you can see the data here. The more workers talk about pay the more likely they are to get paid better.
Managers who care more about time than results will have to change thanks to better approaches to work. The idea of having to sit at physical location all day regardless of how busy you are is no longer acceptable. A new attitude to work is a postive thing about the pandemic; ongoing flexible hours, a four day work week, and results driven work are all being considered.
Workers aren’t asking for more money, they are asking for respect.
“It is a lot more feasible, possible, imaginable, accessible because we’ve practised so much working from home,” said Ezzedeen, who holds a PhD in organizational behaviour and development.
“And people have developed ways of working from home — setting up their home office, figuring out how they’re going to talk with a team, investing in the technology to support it. So there’s no going back.”
Thompson said a results-only work environment requires a shift in thinking about what it means to manage.
“The manager is not managing ‘me’ anymore. The manager is managing work. Not me. I don’t have to ask permission to go to the dentist. I don’t have to say, ‘Oh, I’m coming in at nine this morning instead of eight. Is it OK If I go to my child’s play?’ All of that crap disappears.”
Unions are a reaction to poor working conditions, and it’s clear that some Silicon Valley companies have created the need for unions. Google, which has been actively suppressing workers who stand up against injustices are now seeing their workers unionize. This is a symbolic victory for the labour movement in the tech world and a clear success for the people working at Google.
From afar it looks like the tech unions in the States are going to be modelling themselves more like the Screen Actors Guild than the more popular conception of unions like those at auto plants.
â€œThis is historicâ€”the first union at a major tech company by and for all tech workers,â€ Dylan Baker, a Google software engineer, said in a statement.
â€œWe will elect representatives, we will make decisions democratically, we will pay dues, and we will hire skilled organizers to ensure all workers at Google know they can work with us if they actually want to see their company reflect their values.â€
Google workers have some history of collective action. In 2018, thousands of the workers signed a petition protesting Project Maven, a contract to help the Department of Defense track individuals in video footage captured by drones. That pressure campaign was ultimately successful, as the contract was terminated.