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Union Benefits

By Steve Jones,

This editorial was originally published on Mar 19, 2009. It is being re-run today as Steve is away at SQL in the City.

I know lots of you don't think unions are good, they create inefficiencies, etc., etc., blah, blah. We've debated that topic before and I'm not sure that anyone would change their mind.

Suspend those thoughts for a moment. Not because you're wrong, but because I want you to have a bit of fun this Friday. For this Friday's poll:

What benefits would you like if we were unionized?

Stop and think about it for a minute. If you could argue for better benefits in your job, something that you think would make you more productive, or your company more productive, what kinds of things would you want your union to get?

For a few thoughts, I was thinking along the lines of these things:

  • Retraining - Some guarantee of xx days of training for every xx years of service if they get rid of your technology?
  • Ergo Chairs - Or any other equipment that might make you more productive for your whole career
  • extra vacation - The US standard is still 2 weeks, though many companies combine sick and vacation time as one 3 week block. What would you want? 4 weeks? 5?
  • Medical benefits - Perhaps some base level of benefits that's higher than you normally get?
  • Telecommuting - Some guarantee to commute xx days a year?
  • Professional Advancement - Certification payment with no penalty? Something else?
  • Overtime - Should we get paid for extra work?
  • Holidays - More holidays?
  • Retirement - Pensions?

I'm not necessarily thinking that we'd get all these things, but it would be interesting to think about what benefits would benefit the group as a whole. So let us know what you think, and what might improve if we had a union. I'm not asking you to support one, or even calling for one, but just thinking a little outside the box.

Steve Jones

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