[biztech-discussion] Re: Prioritiization - Privacy

  • From: Bruce Hartford <bruceh@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • To: biztech-discussion@xxxxxxxxxxxxx,biztech-discussion@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Tue, 01 Jun 2004 13:46:55 -0700

At 08:43 AM 06/01/2004 -0700, Ann Thryft wrote:

>Last Thursday, I read news stories saying that SBC had struck a deal with 
>the striking CWA
>workers (who were striking in part because of SBC's offshoring activities). 
>According to the
>CWA website press release, "the settlement...calls for the rehiring of 
>several hundred workers
>who had been laid off at SBC Southwest and SBC Midwest..." and "CWA and SBC 
>agreed to work
>together to bring back tech support jobs from overseas when the current 
>outsourcing agreement
>with Accenture expires." SBC-generated news, of course, does not even 
>mention the repatriation
>of offshored jobs.
>This appears to be a historic first--or at least one of only a few such 
>victories--in the
>recent history of offshoring in the U.S. Workers struck and won their jobs 
>back! Awesome!
>Isn't this what we are trying to achieve? Get those offshored jobs back?
>If so, isn't there something we can gain from this victory? Wouldn't it be 
>more productive to
>start working in solidarity with CWA and other unions, either in supporting 
>them or trying to
>learn from them?

I'm not sure what you mean by "Wouldn't it be more productive to start
working in solidarity with CWA .." We have always supported other unions in
the past, and I assume that we will continue to do so. But in practical
terms, the actual support we can give to others unions is limited. We can
pass resolutions of support, publicize their issues to our members, and try
to mobilize our members for solidarity rallies and so forth. But the kind
of material support that employee-unions can give rarely applies to
freelance writers, -- we can't go out on sympathy strike with them, or
refuse to cross their picket lines. 

Of course we can learn from other unions, but the situation of the CWA vs
SBC is very different from ours. They have a national union of employees
who can go on strike against a single employer. We are a union of
individual freelance writers who have a thousand different clients and are
frequently moving from one client to the next. A strike, or threatened
strike, is not feasible for us. There are also serious legal obstacles to
us adopting some of the tactics that employee unions have used. So we need
to develop strategies and tactics that are applicable to the freelance
writer situation. 

The strategy that I and some others are advocating of trying to eliminate
the tax and other government incentives that encourage off-shoring, and to
begin trying to establish government restriction & regulation of
off-shoring by starting with the personal security, privacy, and national
infrastructure security aspects is not in opposition to what other unions
are doing. In fact, many other unions are also working in those areas and
we would certainly be working jointly with them. For example, I understand
that Senator Clinton (D-NY) recently introduced legislation restricting (or
at least minimally regulating) the off-shoring of private personal data. I
am sure that many NY unions are supporting that effort. We should be too. 


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