How We Could Make Coder's Union Successful

Last week I wrote an article on how I thought software industry was flawed for its lack of liability. In one week things changed: a coder is sentenced to 40 months in jail for having written a software.

Time has come to protect our asses from decision we were imposed.

Boring part what is it about having a profession (beruf)?

- having responsibility that fits your authority; 
- being paid for every hours spent to produce, including commuting for your work; 
- having hygienic work conditions that wont harm you (fuck crunches, open-spaces, poor chairs/lighting); 
- having standards in cleaning (yes cleaning is important, stuff like nice PR, documentations...); 
- LIABILITY we have to accept we are liable for things in exchange for authority; 
- ETHIC, we must have the right to refuse to code programs that in our knowledge opposes the common laws (like privacy, embezzlement, fiscal fraud, consumers rights to be informed...); 
- the respect of IP laws, I am bored of seeing people STEAL free/open source software and claim it is theirs, it we take part in doing so we are negating the value our very own work...

At my opinion this is the minimal package a coder's union should grant.

Once you have a well defined perimeter, you defend it. And here comes the how

It is easy. I know IT generation  is supposed to not be able to read book, but it is a lie. 

All unions are based on the same patterns:

fight for your right

to party... (beasty boys' joke). No actually unions are actually base on fighting for your rights.

Imagine you are like how do I start a union?

Literature is extensive on the topic: pick your fight and stick with it. And begin with the easiest one.

I would go for the LIABILITY part. 

I would create an legal association that can accept money and fund lawsuit for any topic where there is an easy win when a coder is held  responsible for a decision he was not having having authority.

Why? Because authority on a topic define a proficiency. 

If you are held responsible for decision, then it is your job. If you don't have the authority and the wages going with it you are being fucked. And the rest comes with it.

So a union basic mission is to fight for the recognition of a profession: the alignment between authority and responsiblity.

Hence, it turns into wages.

Nowadays, most managers that are paid more than you and know nothing about coding are going to force feed you dependencies in your project. Probably because their 16 yo kids just took their first computer out of its card-box. I like the idea of innovation. As long as risks are in sync with earnings.

A manager of a coder never get responsible of his choices, but since DieselGate we know we can go in jail for someone's else choice.

Are we paid as much as the managers? Hell no. Do we risk more than them? Hell yes.

What the fuck?!

Prove yourself useful


Coders do not live as a separate entity from the society.

A lot of topics where their knowledge can be useful exists: consumer's rights, legal expertise, education.

A union should also break the asymmetry of information between most common people and the other part of the society. However most of us have got these infamous Non Disclosure Agreement floating on our heads that are unethical.

Maybe a product is violating your civil rights, your consumers' rights and because we are individuals against big corporations we can do nothing.

Unions could be a way to protect whistle blowers and their rights to exists.

Unions could also tell students the real expected wages in regard to their tuition. Avoiding people to live as slaves of useless student loans.

Maybe a union could help citizens that are off the grid of "usable" internet connection have access to better connections?

Leveraging Internet

I recognize that FSF, OSI and CC have some «knowledge» on IP laws that are thanks to international conventions: global. I also do acknowledge the importance of Intellectual Property laws

However, I don't like any of the aforementioned organizations.

I don't know for you, but I know for myself I do accept disagreement as a fruitful form of evolution. I do not know anything about the future of any coder's union, however I am certain IP laws are central to this.

At my opinion, future unions should no be ashamed to begin locally and challenge global organization such WIPO, FSF, CC, WTO...

Where do I sign?

You don't sign: either you tell me of coder's union I am not aware of (0 so far), or you think of starting one yourself. My own location is probably far away for your own thus I am useless to you: a lot differ especially the costs of lawsuits, their odds of success, the cost of funding a union, and funding a strike.

Sometimes your future is up to you.

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