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Lower Wages Is The Solution

The solution to stopping off-shoring is for programmers to accept lower wages.

This may seem obvious but nonetheless no programmer that I know believes they are worth "less."  I remember during the dot com boom when an "HTML Programmer" from California was making $120,000 a year and he rather haughtily said, "I will not accept less."  I wonder what that - then recent high school graduate - is making now, if in fact he is employed as a programmer of sorts.

On the news today, I saw Haitian people eating clay from a river bed because they did not have anything else to eat.  Even the clay patty cost them 2.5 cents which some did not have so they went hungry.  This is not meant to invoke apathy for anyone or anything, but it does help put a perspective on how good we have it.

If you used to make $80,000 a year and now can "only" find a programming position for $40,000 a year... then why not take it.  I'm sure raises would follow.  I have personally never been able to obtain a full time job that pays more than about $27k per year (w/ benefits).

When I send out a resume, I always think that I shouldn't undersell myself, but it seems that I am overselling myself by asking for $14/hr. in my area of the country.  Now it seems that I have to accept full time programming positions at $10-$12 per hour or perhaps $11 - $13/hr w/ benefits .  This seems to be more normal where I live.

I think the reality of things sinks into management faster that it does into us programmers.  I'm not saying set your sights low, but I am saying be reasonable when negotiating your salary.

Anon
Thursday, March 11, 2004

"I saw Haitian people eating clay from a river bed because they did not have anything else to eat.  Even the clay patty cost them 2.5 cents"


Why did they have to pay for clay from the river bed?

Did somebody truck the clay from the river to someplace where people couldn't get edible clay?

BTW, one other solution is : create value commensurate with your salary.  If you want to make $80k a year, generate that much revenue (plus the overhead the company incurs hiring you).

If you create that value uniquely, then you don't have to worry about offshoring.  One option is to start your own business.  It's a lot easier than programming, but requires a lot more flexibility.  And, of course, you have to actually deliver value, not just convince someone with a big budge that they need video conferencing ATM machines.

The real Entrepreneur
Thursday, March 11, 2004

I bet if we all accept 50 cents a day off shoring will stop.

good idea
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Accepting less pay for the same job won't solve the problem presented by off-shoring.  It may save your job, but the problem remains.  There are talented people in the world accepting less money for the same job. 

You can either accept less money or become better at your job.  I know which one I prefer. 

Lou
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Two comments

1) 'acceptable salary' is totally dependent on where you are in the world.  I work currently in Hong Kong at a salary 6 times higher than my 'base' in New Zealand.  However both rates are fairly good in their home territory.

2) When people, sorry but mainly Americans, bitch about outsourcing do they ever stop to think that every time one of the 5.75 BILLION other people in the world buy an American product they are doing themselves out of a job.  One recent poster wrote of doing work for a company in South American.  I didn't see any complaints from South Americans about this.  Why is that?

David

David Freeman
Thursday, March 11, 2004

$10-$12 per hour or perhaps $11 - $13/hr w/ benefits is a wage given to university students and sometimes to people with little or no experience.

Granted, many programmers probably are over paid, however, can't the same thing be said about most white collar jobs? Don't you think the management class in our society is overpaid?

 
Thursday, March 11, 2004

The reason is that the US has long had a massive trade deficit, i.e. we buy much more from y'all than we sell ye.  Of course, if outsourcing keeps up, at a certain point we won't be able to keep importing like we have.  Hmm, maybe we better start lining up now for them WPA jobs.


Thursday, March 11, 2004

Bwahaha. Priceless. Is this a manager that's pissed that the locals aren't lining up to work for $13 an hour? Here's a clue -- there are a lot of software developers/architects (yes, mostly senior, experienced people) who are demanding, _and_getting_, six figure salaries as we speak: The fact that you're whoring for $11 an hour says more about you than about anyone else (as a sidenote-many offshoring firms charge from $20-35/hr for their work, and that's not even including the additional expense of collaborating with an outsourced company). It really makes me laugh that you mentioned that "managers get it" given that most executive levels pay well more than 6 figures for a commodity that is basically commonplace (your average MBA grad with good networking skills).

I love when bitter, spiteful people point back at the .COM boom, always mentioning the "only high school" kid as their sample, caustically dreaming that they're now filling the unemployment lines. The funny thing is that there's a lot of those .COM people who knew how to optimize the situation who are now running their own company (often nothing to do with IT), or sitting on a beach somewhere. This dream that they all made the big bucks and then lost is all is every envious wankers one wish, but it wasn't always the case. I didn't capitalize on the .COM boom, but I've kicked myself many times that I didn't.

.
Thursday, March 11, 2004

Your wage isn't even a living wage where I live. There's no way I would even consider programming as an occupation for that little money. There are far easier ways to earn more money than that, occupations that are less stressful and that will leave me with enough energy when I get home to do programming as a hobby or as a side business.

If you really are making that little as a programmer you must live in the middle of nowhere, or have no skills. Sorry, but I can't think of another explanation. No decent programmer should have to accept such a low salary. Even part time jobs working for the university when I was a student paid as much as what you're making.

sid6581
Friday, March 12, 2004

Anon, I think you could benefit from what Joel said on the Ask Joel board about pricing:

"Pricing sends messages. Expensive products..."seem" like higher-quality products than cheap ones...even if they aren't. People believe that 'you get what you pay for.' A new high price may INCREASE your unit sales if the old price sent a message of 'Cheap!'"

You are pricing yourself too low, and I bet it's as common a mistake for beginning programmers as pricing your product too low is for beginning companies.  You have to research salaries, set a limit ("I will not work for less than X/hour"), and stick to it, even if it means passing up some jobs and seeing your savings seep away for a while.  If you don't, you're sending the message that you're a rotten programmer.

I made the same mistake back when I lived in Romania; $100 a month is quoted as the average salary, so for English lessons with a native speaker (me) I charged just over $1 per hour, which I thought reasonable.  In fact it was way too low; a friend of mine joked that I'd spoiled the market.  In return for my affordable prices I trekked to students' homes to give lessons only to have them not show up and not have the courtesy to tell me beforehand.

That taught me something.  In future offers of lessons I raised my prices and fared much better; I had more respectful students who didn't cancel all the time.  To me it seems unfair in a country with such a low average salary to charge so much; but I had to come to terms with the fact that I was offering a premium service, and not everyone can afford it.

Whether I liked it or not, the going rate for a native English speaker was $4-5/hour.  If I charged less, all I was doing was indicating that for some reason I was a subpar native English speaker and deserved to be considered such.

Kyralessa
Friday, March 12, 2004

Lower wages is the consequence, not the solution. Because of outsourcing, programming will be a less lucrative career for Americans.

Despite that fact, I'll remain in the field, since with my strengths and experience I'll earn more as a programmer than in any other career that comes to mind.

Julian
Friday, March 12, 2004

This may look outrageous to some of you, but
I don't understand why 12$ a hour is considered a low wage. That's about $2200 a month. I realize one won't become rich from it, but isn't it enough for a good standard of living ?
Naturally this refers for "beginners" wage, but why should someone expect $50/hour right out of college ? One should promote his/her way up the ladder by proving some worth, so $12/hour doesn't seem too low for a beginning...

Eli Bendersky
Friday, March 12, 2004

If you think it's natural and right for people to be eating clay, then yes, we should feel lucky and grateful to be earning $12 an hour.

Encouraging workers to cut back or accept lower wages is a great way to cause suffering, too. When populations cut back so far that the next step is eating clay - ooh, say, like in Haiti - it's great because that leaves more money for landowners, especially since you can distract workers into arguing amongst themselves that even the clay is too luxurious and it's possible to survive for several days on water alone, provided one doesn't get too greedy.

Yes, the solution to poverty is more poverty, accompanied by a PR campaign telling you you never had it so good!!!

Fernanda Stickpot
Friday, March 12, 2004

$12 an hour is a low wage. Firstly it's not $2,200 a month. That would presume that you worked all twelve months of the year.  It comes out at $480 a week. Multiply that by 46 to allow for six weeks vacation (including Christmas, Easter Thanksgiving and so on) and you get $22,080 a year, which is $1840 a month.

Now if that money is gross then there are a load of expenses to take off, including medical cover. And then there is the quesiton of accomodation. In New York you wouldn't get any change out of your salary if you wanted your shoe-box furnished, but no programmer works for that kind of money in NYC. However it would be reasonable to consider an outlay of $700 - $800 a month for a one bedroomed apartment in a mid-tier city in the States.

If the guy is talking about a contractor's rate, tnen it's even worse.

And remember that graduates in the States have a fair amount of college loans to pay off (though many default). Since student grants all but disappeared in the UK starting salaries for graduates are in the £22,000 - £25,000 range (that's $38,000 - $45,000 range but the dollar is artificially low and the pound artificially high at present).

The original poster is either pitching himself way too low, or as I suspect in the wrong area.

Stephen Jones
Friday, March 12, 2004

People eating clay and paying for the privilege seems like someithing made up by unscrupulous journalists.

----"When populations cut back so far that the next step is eating clay - ooh, say, like in Haiti - it's great because that leaves more money for landowners"----

I doubt it. The main dream of landowners in a Third World country is to own a pizza outlet in LA or Dale County. Being a big fish in a small pond loses a lot of its allure when there is a drought and the water is polluted with toxic waste.

Stephen Jones
Friday, March 12, 2004

Okay then, it leaves more money for whoever stands to gain from workers' not asking for too much.

Fernanda Stickpot
Friday, March 12, 2004

You people are pathetic and make me ashamed to be loosely associated with you through the programming profession.

Why are you people so clueless about business?  Did you never run a lemonade stand or mow lawns as a kid?  Why is it so hard for you to understand value?

Jeez, the 7-11 pays $10/hr. 

donna
Friday, March 12, 2004

1. Why should programmers be forced to accept $12 per hour when managers with no technical skill get $500,000 plus bonuses?

2. Even if you accepted a low wage, offshoring would still go ahead. It's driven by the Indian firms. They would just start saying American programmers are no good, and keep paying money to the politicians.


Friday, March 12, 2004

People in this state (Indiana) tend to value physical labor over mental labor, as is evidenced by the substantially higher average wages gotten by people in blue collar jobs.  This reliance on manufacturing in particular has really managed to get the entire state into a rather sad situation.  The grade- and high- schools are for the most part really sad here, and the halfway decent colleges are not very innovative.  Tech companies have no incentive to locate here because the state of education is so lame, and those with a decent education leave because there are no tech companies.  Because the companies that are here don't really "get" the value of tech, they don't pay well at all.

Basically, it's way past time for me to move out of this state.  If it wasn't for having a very solid social support system (i.e. friends and family) I would have a long time ago.

Lower wages are not the solution.  Being able to add value is, but it's also necessary that those hiring are actually capable of understanding the value you can add.  If they don't know what to do with you, you actually aren't being allowed to add the value that you are capable of adding, and indeed, to that particular company you aren't worth very much.

Aaron F Stanton
Friday, March 12, 2004

"People in this state (Indiana) tend to value physical labor over mental labor, as is evidenced by the substantially higher average wages gotten by people in blue collar jobs. "


The high wages are probably because of the unions.


Friday, March 12, 2004

Wouldn't allowing workers to telecommute save companies money?

Kid Vicious
Friday, March 12, 2004

"The high wages are probably because of the unions."

Yup.  I was going to mention that, but it got lost in my rant somewhere.  Unions were useful at one time in improving working conditions, and they have a couple minor uses here and there, but overall I despise them.

Collective bargaining...feh.  Why do you need a frickin' union for that?  What a union does is eliminate an individual's ability to bargain, and if that individual is above par then they should be able to negotiate better pay, conditions, whatever.  Why would a sub-par worker deserve to be paid as much as even an average one?

Can't people understand even the most basic economic principles?  Artificially raising wages above their value will cause inflation.  Lower wages for tech people is not the solution, because if they are actually doing what they should be, more valuable products are being created, and they should be paid well for that.

Sorry...my Libertarian is showing.  (take a deep breath, Aaron...)

Aaron F Stanton
Friday, March 12, 2004

The thing is ...

You are now dealing with individuals that in many cases are above par.  Indian companies staffed with degreed engineers and operating at CMM level 5 willing to write that ERP app for 1/10 of the cost. 

The days of "I'm a superstar and can negotiate better on my own" are frankly quite dead.


Friday, March 12, 2004

Then there's no point at all in writing software in this country.  Period.

Aaron F Stanton
Friday, March 12, 2004

"You are now dealing with individuals that in many cases are above par.  Indian companies staffed with degreed engineers and operating at CMM level 5 willing to write that ERP app for 1/10 of the cost. "

Yes, and that's why the operating system, ERP, database, shrinkwrap, enterprise ware, etc, markets are overrun with Indian based software company applications. Could you please name a couple? Oh right, there is pretty much none. Don't claim that this is a recent thing, either -- while it's getting press because of the duldrums in the States, India has had a vibrant software development outsourcing industry for well over a decade.

.
Friday, March 12, 2004

Aaron, you state there is no point writing software in this country. Perhaps this is true. And if so, then the system where the talented individual negotiates one-on-one certainly doesn't seem to work, does it? Given that, would you consider supporting a union if it could restore the wage leverage of talented workers?

Dennis Atkins
Friday, March 12, 2004

If _you_ ran one of those companies, would _you_ advertise that your most recent version of software was programmed in India?  Supposing Company X has had great success in cutting costs and shipping faster by outsourcing to India; why would they tout it and invite all their competitors to enjoy the same great success?

You're making an argument from silence, and such arguments don't prove anything.

(I'm not in favor of outsourcing; I'm just in favor of logic.)

Kyralessa
Friday, March 12, 2004

"If _you_ ran one of those companies, would _you_ advertise that your most recent version of software was programmed in India?"

You mean like the latest, absolutely disastrous version of Quark, that has led to a fullscale migration and impending doom for the company?

"Supposing Company X has had great success in cutting costs and shipping faster by outsourcing to India; why would they tout it and invite all their competitors to enjoy the same great success?"

Public organizations are just that - public. Private organizations have employees that blabber. It's rather hard to keep a secret in this industry.

In any case, organizations have been outsourcing to India for YEARS. This is hardly a big secret.

I will say one thing, though: I have no doubt that the big Indian outsourcing firms, the ones that are making the big bucks on the backs of the Indians, are engaging in some widespread astroturfing (of course they are -- it is big business). From hearing about the great (and _laughable_) CMM standards to the productivity and error free status of Indian programming. Whatever.

As an aside -- certifications, such as CMM, are what you get when you have no other proof of your capabilities (like a history of successful products). Instead you get CMM or ISO certifications, padding the pockets of trade standard boards and consultants, and stick that in as big of letters as you can to show that you can push paper like nobody's business. It is absolutely laughable that this is held up as proof of the greatness of Indian software firms, yet I know of absolutely zero software firms here questing towards CMM. They're not trying and failing, they've just recognized it as certification-masturbation and have ignored it.

.
Friday, March 12, 2004

Absolutely not.  As I said, artificially raising wages above true value only serves to cause inflation.  Net effect being that the buying power of people whose wages have been so raised is reduced to where it should be by market pressures.

Adding true value is the only way to make real money.  The answer is to either get out of the business of writing software or to find a way for the American software writer to be more productive than those competing for the wages.

I was watching the dot-com boom and saying to myself that nothing was being produced, so how was there anything being done to create such insane market values?  There wasn't - while services are useful, they are only useful to the extent that they enable someone else to create a product of value.  Very little of true value was being created, so the market had to correct itself.

It's thermodynamics applied to economics.

Aaron F Stanton
Friday, March 12, 2004

whups - sorry bout that...the "absolutely not" is in response to supporting unions for programmers...just a clarification.

Aaron F Stanton
Friday, March 12, 2004

The rumors of my death has been greatly exaggerated.

Thank you,

                                                                              American Programmer


Friday, March 12, 2004

Who decides what's artificial and what's real in wage adjustment?

For instance, perhaps the H-1B program could be considered an artificial _lowering_ of wages.

Kyralessa
Friday, March 12, 2004

"Who decides what's artificial and what's real in wage adjustment?"

The market as a whole.  It is indeed possible that exporting IT jobs could cause deflation.

Inflation isn't much good, but I believe deflation is worse.  Companies get locked into a spiral of price wars and trying to increase profit margin, and when you combine the two it exerts tremendous pressure on their suppliers (both physical suppliers and services/labor) to lower their prices, and so on down the road.  Also, if you have deflation, money becomes worth more in the future than it is now, so there is no reason to buy things now, lowering consumer demand for additional products.  This means that companies can't emven move the stock they have, so they have to lower prices just to clear inventory to make new products.  This enforces the death spiral.

Aaron F Stanton
Friday, March 12, 2004

If software developer wages drop too low the problem will be even worse, because the only people remaining as software developers will be the people too stupid to get a higher paying job.  Then jobs will really fly overseas where the software dev jobs are relatively high wages attracting smart people.

If wages for software development are on par with wages for being a UPS guy or other low skill jobs why on earth would a smart person want to go into that field?

It's true that during the .com boom there was wage inflation among some of the companies which no longer exist, but Software Development is a professional job and it should be treated as such, both in salary and reputation.

Lower wages is not the answer.

chris
Friday, March 12, 2004

"artificially raising wages above true value only serves to cause inflation. "

Actually, most economists would argue that raising wages above the market reduces employment.  Inflation is a product of changes in demand and the real value of money. 

Presently, many businesses can't raise prices because their customers won't pay much more.  Thus, we have had relatively low inflation lately.  In fact, the tech sector has been in a deflationary period since almost the beginning, at least in hardware.  The price for the same device drops as newer equipment is produced.  But somehow Dell and Intel seem to make profits anyway.

Jeremy
Friday, March 12, 2004

"If wages for software development are on par with wages for being a UPS guy or other low skill jobs why on earth would a smart person want to go into that field?"

First off, UPS drivers make bank.  The package sorters are definitely not well-off but many many UPS employees do very well.

Second, the issue of the cost of doing business in the USA is about more than wages.  Remember that a company has many other costs, many of which are regulatory.

For example, to employ me my company has to pay half of social security and medicare taxes (7.65% of wages from the employer, an equal amount from my paycheck), state unemployment insurance, state disability insurance, tax to the city for employing someone (I thnk it's characterized as a street use fee), and more.  Additionally, the company provides health care benefits, which is a non-trivial cost and has been increasing faster than inflation for at least the last 10 years.

And don't forget the 35% federal tax rate on corporate profits plus any state income/business taxes.  (Washington state doesn't tax profits - they tax revenues, to the tune of 1.5% whether or not the business is profitable.  This is great for a high-margin company like Microsoft but is very tough on lower-margin businesses.)

Wages are certainly one component of the expense and unattractiveness of doing business in the USA, but are not the only ones.  We can't afford to ignore the regulatory environment that created much of the high cost structure including healthcare.

Jeremy
Friday, March 12, 2004

"artificially raising wages above true value only serves to cause inflation"

Aaron, I thought that inflation was caused when the government orders the Federal Reserve to print more money. The money supply is inflated and higher prices result because the true value of the dollar has gone down.

Dennis Atkins
Friday, March 12, 2004

"I thought that inflation was caused when the government orders the Federal Reserve to print more money."

That's one of the factors that can cause inflation, true.  However, there are two ways in which an artificially high wage causes inflation.  One is that the excess availability of cash in the hands of the person being paid means that they are likely more willing to pay more for items than they would have otherwise.  The second is that the company that pays them the higher wage not only can charge more for a product (because the purchasers have more money) but they indeed must charge more to maintain profit margins, since a larger portion of their expenses is going to labor.  It is both a push and pull mechanism.

The Fed can affect this by printing more money or raising or lowering the prime rate, to be sure, but there are many factors above and beyond this.

Regarding artificially high wages and unemployment:  To some extent this is true - a situation where a company is not willing to pay a high wage will result in overworked salaried employees, but when the company is forced to recognize that it has passed the point of diminishing worker productivity, they will bite the bullet and hire more people to get the job done.  Their first choice is to hire people at the lowest wage possible, which in many cases can boost productivity for unskilled work, but is detrimental for skilled labor such as programming.  The next step (and I've seen it happen) is the panic as deadlines are broken is to hire contractors at a much higher rate than a regular employee would have cost in the first place.  Eventually, to meet deadlines in the mid-term, the company hires employees at the lowest prevailing wage for someone of those skills necessary to be trained to do the job.  If these wages are high, the product or service will cost more, and this too will result in inflation as the company not only pays for the current wage, but the mistakes made by the initial unskilled people and the overpaid consultants.

Most (but not all) companies do not think long term.  Most are only concerned with the quarter's cash flow sheet.

Aaron F Stanton
Friday, March 12, 2004

Aaron, unions don't stop good people getting paid well. They do stop managers underpaying people at the bottom of the heap, or sacking them because the boss made a pass at them, or whatever.

Also, you say you despise unions. Do you despise the accountants, lawyers and medical bodies? They function as unions, protecting their members' interests.

x
Friday, March 12, 2004

One of the things that I despise about unions is seniority.  A person with seniority can easily claim a prime job over someone with better merit.  It genuinely does not matter if the person with seniority can do the job better or worse than a person with even slightly less seniority, they get first dibs.

There are quite a few companies where it is not possible to get a job without being in the union.  It doesn't matter if you are willing to do without union benefits or protection, you are not able to become employed there.  In a situation like that, individual negotiation is a literal impossibility.  It does not matter if the individual could do a better job than everyone else there - again, the value of individual merit is negated.

I do believe that cooperation is useful, even necessary to getting certain things done.  I believe, however, that work is done by individuals - frequently individuals working together - but not by groups.  A group is an artificial construct, and it frequently benefits the undeserving at the expense of the best.

There are certainly cases where a person with a lot of potential is just starting out and with a little help they can repay what was given to them and go on to do fantastic things - if this were not the case there's no reason to have kids, because in the short term they require tremendous effort.  However, when an individual truly cannot perform a job that pays an arbitrarily high wage, then that person should not be paid that wage.  If the teamster's union, for example, suddenly and arbitrarily decided that all truck loaders should have their pay tripled and called for a strike until it occurred, what do you suppose would happen?  UPS would be crippled until they either broke from the union or gave in.  This would cause a great deal of shipping in the US to come to a halt, which would in turn cause serious problems in our economy.  I'm not saying that it would necessarily happen, but that's a what if.  Econmoically, it is not worth it for truck loaders to be paid triple their current wages, but the teamster's could force a substantial pay increase for no increase in actual work done.  Would the loaders have earned it?  No.  Would they load more boxes per hour after the wage than they did before?  No.

(Intermission:  I am not against pay increases that serve to negate inflation - Despite the fact that a cost of living raise is not merit based, it does not make sense to erode a person's real purchasing power simply because time has passed and inflation occurred.  Also, since in the US tax brackets increase as one goes up the income scale, a pay raise can in some instances actually cause a decrease in available cash flow, and the raise given in that case should be enough to increase the net take home pay.  This is one of the many things that a skilled accountant is good for.  Intermission over.)

A union is a formalized system of giving up individual power that could be done without such formalization.  If people in a non-union shop decided to go on strike to improve working conditions or pay, there's no reason they couldn't bring the company to its knees until it listened to their demands.  However, if someone felt that they personally had no issue with conditions or pay, they could just go about their business.

Essentially, a union is a government outside the legally sanctioned governmental system.  If people want better working conditions, then laws can be created, and if a company violates the laws they can be penalized and/or criminal charges can be pressed against those responsible.  I really can't imagine what benefit a union can bring to its members that laws and individual negotiation could not.

It's late, I'm tired, and I tend to ramble in conditions like these.  I wind up a bit short tempered, and I apologize if I come off elitist or arrogant or something equally annoying.

Aaron F Stanton
Saturday, March 13, 2004

Ok, if you are going to email me, please use an email address I can reply to so I don't have to do what I am doing now, which is quote your email and my reply:

-----

Hello -

Not merely auto worker's, but also teamsters, actor's, and whatever supermarket worker's union my sister had to join.  Future unions would indeed not have to be like that, nor would an organization have to call itself to be a union to be that way.  There certainly could be a professional organization that is not seniority based but merit based.

It has been my experience on the whole that nearly all forms of collective bargaining diminish the value of individual merit.  I have seen few, if any, counterexamples to this generalization.

Aaron

-----Original Message-----
From: The Ted [mailto:***@****.*****]
Sent: Sunday, March 14, 2004 8:45 AM
To: Aaron F Stanton
Subject: Lower Wages Is The Solution


Hey Aaron, it sounds like your notion of a union is rooted in the auto worker's industry.  Not all unions are like that nor would any future union have to be like that.



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Thanks,

Aaron

Aaron F Stanton
Sunday, March 14, 2004

Aaron, take the example of journalists, who are covered by unions. Pay scales and assignments are awarded based on talent, and some journalists make megabucks.

The difference unions make is that junior people don't get screwed.

You could also use medicos and others as examples.

x
Monday, March 15, 2004

See, now there's an example of a union that I was unaware of, the journalists.  The idea of a union protecting interests in a merit based fashion is completely outside my experience.  I had never heard until now of one that dispenses with the notion of seniority in favor of talent and skill.

I believe that skill can and should improve over time, and thus seniority should in principle indicate a level of skill, but it frequently does not.

I would need to know more about the journalist's union before I decide whether or not I approve of it.

Thanks for bringing a valuable counterexample to my attention.

Aaron F Stanton
Monday, March 15, 2004

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