Yes. Unless your job requires physical presence, then there is zero cost for a corporation to move it from a union area to a non-union area, or completely offshore, as long as they can find sufficient talent that their cost per unit work is cheaper whereveer they relocate it to. Without a physical presence requirement, there is zero leverage for a strike.
Creativity? Are you fucking kidding me?
No, I'm not. I was part of the 1987 DOL study that resulted in the classification of Software Engineering/Programming as a primarily creative endeavor. Until a skilled practitioner A and skilled practitioner B will tend to come up with the same solution to a given problem more often than not, it is an art as much as it requires a high degree of training and skill.
Why do screen writers maintain their unions? Screen writing is highly creative & it requires even less physical presence than software engineering work.
Predominantly? To keep the available talent pool limited in order to inflate their price through artificial scarcity. Try joining WGAw or WGAe with less than 24 units of writing credit, and try getting employed as a screen writer without being a member of WGAw or WGAe.
But here are some potential benefits to all parties, since you need to be spoon fed:
- Professional trade certifications; most of the certification courses in the past 15 years are completely meaningless or too geared towards specific technologies.
These are useless. They are like an acting degree from a prestigious university: they are worthless compared to a track record as an actor/actress. You can have the best certifications in the industry, but you aren't going to find work if you can't act - or if you do find work, you aren't going to keep it very long, since it was a mistake.
This should include technical management & lead skills for those that are thinking of it.
I'm pretty sure the first is is spelled "M B A", and the second is something you get on merit, rather than because some idiot certified you as having had training in being tech lead. Unless you can do the work, again, the certifications are all BS. Technical fields are all meritocracies, and have zero to do with "time in grade" or other things that typically matter for career tracks in unions.
- Carving out a genuine, non-management professional career track. I'm a reasonably good developer; yet I know I'd be a terrible manager & team lead.
This already exists at successful technical companies; Novell, Apple, IBM, Google, all have this. From personal experience, IBM has had it since the at least the late 1990's. The companies which don't have it are out of business because no one good wants to work there, or they are stagnant in their growth because no one of a higher skill level wants to work there, and they get people who can "get by".
- Genuine, best-of-breed continuing education to keep good software developers *relevant* while filtering out the fads & buzzwords.
I'm going to call BS on this. "Relevant" is recruiter code for "has a resume containing the buzzwords we are looking for this week". You should also be aware that most software engineering reduces to language calculus, and there are only a couple of these that are in common use, and once you've learned the underlying principles devoid of a language binding, the language bindings really don't matter to anyone other than recruiters. A good engineer can pick up enough of a new language to be productive, as long as it matches one of the calculus with which they are already familiar, in a week or less. I don't need some stupid MSCE certification or other BS certification from a certifying authority to make me able to do the job.
OK let me point out something that tends to bug the hell out of me about this particular "benefit": the typical behaviour of a union would be to limit the number of such certifications issued in a given time period to keep the number of people certified for such work smaller than the demand count.
The only thing I can see resulting from this would be increased outsourcing, since there's no leverage for a strike... your entire team goes on strike? Fine, outsource all of the, It's ot like the existing active web pages on your eCommerce site are going to suddenly stop working if the idiots go out on strike, and you can limp along without a revamp to marketings idea of a "new look and feel" until you can get replacements (outsourced or outside union jurisdiction; either works).
- *Encouraging* the idea to employees that the fads & buzzwords are really the least important qualities, compared to the fundamentals. Employers really are overpaying.
I'm going to assume that the first "employees" was intended to be "employers", since employees already know this. Frankly, an employer who doesn't already know this can put up as many billboards as they want on 101 between San Francisco and San Jose, and while they might have people interview with them, especially if they offer over-market benefits and/or salary, they aren't going to get a lot of people working for them. It's pretty easy to see in an interview when the people interviewing you are clueless, and when they are, that's going to be a terrible place to work long term.
Interviews are not unidirectional, as they are in most union shops: they are about the technical employee interviewing the company as much as they are about the company interviewing the technical employee. In a good company, the company is asking if you lied on your resume, and if you have a track record, and if you would be a good team fit, and if you and your prospective manager take an instant dislike to one another or not. In a good employee, the employee is asking if it'd be a good work environment, if they would be a good team fit, if they and their prospective manager take an instant dislike to one another or not, and if the work will be meaningful/fulfilling or bullshit like "we want to build another Zynga!".
- Enforcing maximum working hours to keep good software developers from burning out. Asking developers to work 60-80 hour weeks consistently is a great sign of burn & churn; such places should be called out for it.
This is typically only applicable to startups, where it translates to sweat equity. After that, it's only typical where the work environment is preferable to home anyway, or where the problem set is so compelling you lose track of time. Other than Facebook, where they light a neon sign when they expect their employees to "burn the midnight oil", there's not much in the way of forced hours. At Apple, you'd occasionally get it to meet a product deadline, and mostly if you were the person who broke whatever it was that was in the way of the deadline. At Facebook, it's peer pressure if the light is on; maybe they should be called on it. At Google, it was almost always compelling work. At IBM, it pretty much didn't happen, except with contractors.
I'm still not seeing a benefit, as a technology worker, to joining a union.
The biggest draw I've seen so far is that you could start a Programmers Union and put "P.U." after your name on your business cards, but most places, you can do what you want, within reason, on your business cards anyway (I listed my job title on my Apple business cards as "Conspiracy Theorist" for a couple of years, as an example).