Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 22nd Jan 2009 15:37 UTC
Microsoft After much, much, much speculation, Microsoft let the cat out of the bag today: due to weak results, Microsoft is going to cut 5000 jobs. Those 5000 jobs will disappear over the course of 18 months, with 1400 jobs being cut immediately. Quarterly results, as well as the cost-cutting measures, were made known in a press release today.
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RE[2]: It is a shame
by JonathanBThompson on Thu 22nd Jan 2009 23:08 UTC in reply to "RE: It is a shame"
Member since:

Yeah, sure! You've clearly got no clue how unions end up causing more harm on both sides than good:

1. At first, perhaps, unions seem to benefit the workers by making better working conditions. Well, that's all fine and well where there's safety problems and human rights violations. But honestly, if you've ever been inside Microsoft's hallowed halls, you'd have a heck of a time attempting to justify that.

2. Longer term, a union makes it nearly impossible for those that are slackers to get fired once they've been hired.

3. And of course, don't forget this: unions inevitably cost the workers more over time because they demand union dues, and also, once a shop has a union, you generally can't work there unless you join their union, and unions (outside of safety/rights violations) rarely have much value to workers, especially ambitious and competent ones.

4. Very long term, when unions out-live their reason to exist and don't disband (most never disband), they end up causing costs to go so high that employers can't afford to keep workers, and things get too expensive, the company goes out of business, and no work is available.

Look how well things have worked for the US auto companies for an example. Oh, there have been unionized engineering shops, but... generally that doesn't work out too well long-term. International Harvester, have you by chance ever heard of them???

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[3]: It is a shame
by Yamin on Thu 22nd Jan 2009 23:43 in reply to "RE[2]: It is a shame"
Yamin Member since:

and out of 3 suggestions, you decide to rant on one missing the complete point of the post. I'm no union supporter.

I am pretty sure I spent far more time talking about cooperative companies than on unions.

I'd much rather see engineer/scientists focus on employee owned companies and professional associations. The whole point is to empower yourself instead of simply ranting and whining about shareholders.

Here's a hint... do you know why lawyers, accountants... tend to run their own firms instead of simply being worker bees?

Edited 2009-01-22 23:45 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 1

RE[4]: It is a shame
by JonathanBThompson on Mon 26th Jan 2009 12:07 in reply to "RE[3]: It is a shame"
JonathanBThompson Member since:

Funny you mention doctors, lawyers and accountants as comparisons for cooperative practices to that of software engineering, because there are major differences that make them an apples/oranges comparison:

1. Only in the most unusually complicated cases is there much or any teamwork of note between them where they work together closely, because they normally don't need to.

2. Only in rare cases do any of them develop new products: if you're creating new things in accounting, prison time often results, most doctor's practices don't engage in much/any real research, and it is government that enacts laws.

3. All 3 of your examples have little/none in the way of long-term project work of a highly unpredictable nature in terms of expense, manpower requirements, or production schedules, largely since very little is truly creative, and is very routine and constrained by law: software development in most cases is creative, often difficult to schedule out creativity and testing and bug fixing.

4. All 3 of your examples have pure service as a product, and none of them have their underlying knowledge/tech base change incredibly fast under them, though it's be nice if more doctors kept up better. Competent doctors, lawyers and accountants have a surprisingly consistent demand for their services, regardless of the economy, because people can't do a lot of the things they can do, and (more importantly) they can't avoid using their services during bad times and make do, without falling prey to long-term negative consequences, while people often can use the same old hardware/software for many years without upgrading. How many people feels need to upgrade to Vista???

5. Lawyers, doctors and accountants have something that is not nearly as speculative for the needs/wants of their services because of the above points, while the closest comparison of software engineering/development consultants have a much increased chance potential customers will choose to keep their old systems when they decide they have something that works well enough when the budget is tight, or just even if the budget is fat, but their current software/hardware is a sufficiently known and efficient solution for their needs. Perhaps you're unaware of just how many mainframes from the 60's, or at least the software written for them are still in production use: why do you think there was such a huge Y2K scare???

Speculative software product creation (not doing development for a fixed contract) is very financially risky with the amount of resources versus guaranteed payback, especially when you have to factor in marketing costs. Software can cost many manyears of labor to develop, and even if "perfect" can be knocked out by something marketed better, or people won't switch from something else due to lock-in. Is Windows better than everything else available? For every commercial success, many never break even: not even Microsoft is immune from this reality! Most people only are aware of the commercially successful software: what percentage of the general population has even heard of BeOS?

Because of all these factors, very few (statistically) software firms can survive as cooperative businesses developing speculative products unless they start with a large pile of cash to ride out the lean times until they produce enough hits to overall be profitable.

Summary: your examples are less than valid in the real world, and reek of inexperience within it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Reality show your wrong and lying
by Moulinneuf on Fri 23rd Jan 2009 01:05 in reply to "RE[2]: It is a shame"
Moulinneuf Member since:

1. Union would have tried to keep the 5000 jobs , by pressuring Microsoft , asking the entire group to walk and ask for lower pay for those worker instead of firing.

2. That's a usual bulshit and lies , slacker are easily fired in Unions. It's in bad company that slacker are hard to fire , also most worker have no idea what other worker work result are , the big slacker are usually thingking they are the best workers.

3. Actually in reality union workers have more benefits and more pay over time compared to non unionized worker , the only competent and ambitious that make more usually change side to be their own boss or change job to a real paying profession. one union group , people like you tend to forget , are asssociation and profession like doctors , plumber and other associated worker professions.

4. The real culprit to blame for large job loss is globalization , not union per say , the boss have gone global and union have stayed local. when they can replace you by 100 people that cost them half your salary over all and it cost them less to ship the product half the planet away then do it locally , they do the maths and cut jobs to increae profit , usually loosing in the long term because you can't replace quality worker with experience over night unless you move them around.

The US auto company #1 problem is they are trying to sale 70's and 80's style car , at twice the price of their competitor in the name of extreme profit when their counter part are offering car of the end of the 90's for hlaf their price , The management are to blame for the huge excess of inventory , that cost hundred if not thousand of millions per day and excess of sales dealership , that are costing them more then the actual unionized worker on the line ( do a research on port storage vs buying a lot inside a small city ).

The funny thing is other worker cost more then US workers , if you add all their benefits , but they also get retrained on the job , and work longuer hours , full meal compensatiuon and live in country where free healthcare are the norm , a lot of them also get residence on the comapny dime and extra activity too , so they are not gouged by inssurance and failing medical system and greedy landlord in almost empty city that have US citizen pay three time as much as everyone else.

US auto company have been around longuer then their counter parts , other companies around the world also used to close more often due to past US higgher quality and service in vehicules , because after all they are automakers , not money makers. Beside most US auto makers don't have that much unions this days as they let in a lot of worldwide subcontractor on many parts , assembled in the US is not the same thing as entirely built in the US.

- Tesla ( working electric car ) #1 problem is production , both in number and cost and training and financing , the worker could always setup a production shop and offer there service , the Union could lend them the starting money.

- Microsoft as a tendancy to hire the best , in case you don't know Apple and GNU/Linux company could use them if they show their worth.

Most company fail due to management and shareholders lack of oversight over management and there undue importance on them , when your company use to make 50 million a year in profit and now you have a ceo who make 45 million based on past result , that no longuer apply in the last year year and sales are in decline to low 10 of million , the problem is the CEO not the worker who do the job.

- Statistic show non unionized company close million more time then unionized one.

- Microsoft history show it as created a lot of millionaire and even a couple billionaire employee , this days they make record profits but they don't create as much rich people ...

One can even draw a direct parralel betwen the reason why both US based company in two different industry are laying off people :

Most people globally are starting to buy other cheaper , better , faster , safer prodcuts from their competition.

Reply Parent Score: 3

modmans2ndcoming Member since:

There is nothing wrong with Unions protecting workers from unfairness. Unions do however get in the way of business realities and they also protect the useless POS workers who should get fired. If I was a union member and my co-worker was not coming to work and when at work, not working.. I would not support the Union's efforts to keep him... It gives me more work and less pay for it.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE[3]: It is a shame
by Soulbender on Mon 26th Jan 2009 12:19 in reply to "RE[2]: It is a shame"
Soulbender Member since:

I think the U.S is a very bad example of how unions work. Just because you guys failed to make them work doesn't mean they don't work in some other place of the world.
But perhaps software engineering isn't a profession in dire need of unions...

Reply Parent Score: 2