The Digital Working Class

from the digital-factory-floor dept

Whenever there's talk about how new technologies are costing jobs, people tend to ignore how those technologies often create new and different jobs as well. Business Week is examining the rise of the digital working class. These are the people who are helping to put all of that information online. Obviously, a good portion of those jobs are offshore, but it appears plenty are local as well. It's a reminder that not all online jobs are really "tech" jobs. While we still don't think unions make sense for tech workers, it does seem like these types of "rote" work jobs may be much more inclined to look to unionize. In fact, towards the end of the article, one of the workers talks about how she had to quit her job because of the "factory-type atmosphere" with a boss who would yell at her to type faster. It's not hard to see large groups of these types of workers eventually deciding to organize.

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  1. identicon
    dorpus, May 17th, 2006 @ 7:27pm


    So the working class has the courage to organize, where techie nerds were too chicken to do it? They believed whatever their bosses told them about "global competitiveness", and their college educations didn't let them see the basic deception.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 17th, 2006 @ 7:54pm

    I want to be a Techie Teamster

    I want to be a Techie Teamster....
    Not only would we be able to hack from the inside we can double our profits and be able to strick from our living room .....

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  3. identicon
    EdB, May 17th, 2006 @ 8:28pm

    Re: I want to be a Techie Teamster

    You would be able to STRICK from your living room? Hey I got an idea for you. LEARN TO SPELL FROM YOUR LIVING ROOM. Loser.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  4. identicon
    |333173|3|_||3, May 17th, 2006 @ 8:35pm

    Re: Re: I want to be a Techie Teamster

    Be nice, you should know its bad manners to criticise someones typing unless it is completely undecypherable.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  5. identicon
    Darknet, May 17th, 2006 @ 9:18pm

    Well someone has to do the monkey coding and data entry, it's certainly not classified as an executive position..

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  6. identicon
    Sarojin, May 17th, 2006 @ 9:48pm

    Re: Solidarnosc

    Seems like it more that "tech" workers don't see themselved as exploited labor, but rather more closely aligned with management. Tech careers can also be very comfortable financially, leaving no motivation to pusure organizing.

    One of the bigger and older companies is also very anti-union (my opinion, contrary to the official company line) and prohibits any sort of solicitation on company property (as in one is not allowed to bring in candy from a child's school event or brochures for a spouses small business) only because they would then have to let, gasp, Unions distribute information or post flyers on the cork board in the lunch room.

    Not mentioning the name as they are also lawsuit loopy (though serial numbers on Jewish arms is a clue).

    So any attempt to unionize would immediately result in hostile action leading to firing. If one doesn't feel terribly victimized, lives in a nice house, drives a nice car, and has some spending money left over, what's he need a union for?

    Probably figure that one out too late to matter...

    Times are changing though. People are getting fed up with the stagnant wages and outsourcing of jobs overseas. It will be interesting to see if that will only actually create enough fear to prevent speaking up and organizing.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  7. identicon
    Taskmaster, May 18th, 2006 @ 6:21am


    I want more comments! I want more stories! Get to work my slaves! Don't bother looking behind you, I am here!

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  8. identicon
    Ninja, May 18th, 2006 @ 6:42am

    Tech workers don't *need* unions

    Unions give their members additional power over management by restricting hiring and firing practices (closed shops.) By not allowing so many workers to be hired, each individual workers becomes that much more powerful. While others are out of jobs, the united workers have more negotiating room than they would otherwise.

    This is unnecessary for tech workers. They have a bargaining position from skills, college educations, and experience that unskilled labor doesn't have. It is *much* harder to replace a head programmer or network administration, for example, than a guy at Ford who puts the passenger-side door on an SUV.

    Tech workers don't need to unionize - it would cost them some jobs for bargaining power they already have.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  9. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2006 @ 7:26am

    Re: Re: I want to be a Techie Teamster

    Type faster, bitch.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  10. identicon
    Anononut, May 18th, 2006 @ 8:21am

    Re: Tech workers don't *need* unions

    I think your way of thought is focused on actual IT staff, such as programmers, network admins, etc.

    The article is talking about a High School drop out who is willing to do a job a monkey can do. Better luck next time.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  11. identicon
    Brian A., May 18th, 2006 @ 9:40am

    Somebody has to do it...

    And it's not me. Data entry and content transcription is the 21st century equivalent of the typing pool. You can make money with a just a few skills but no one expects to make a real career out of it. At some point you’re going to get bored and either get more education or training and move on. If you don't then shame on you. Don't come bellyaching to me because you hate your dull, thankless job. No ammount of unionization is going to fix that.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  12. identicon
    EH, May 18th, 2006 @ 1:10pm


    "...working class has the courage to organize, where techie nerds were too chicken to do it?"

    Since when is it courageous to get some goon to fight your battles for you? When did it become courageous to have such a low estimation of one's self-worth that it seems like a good idea to remove the possibility of differentiating oneself in any way? Courageous to intentionally try to destroy companies and economies? I think not.

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

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