pjk peter.kindlmann at yale.edu
Mon Dec 18 23:52:54 EST 2000

Subject:   union.com

(from INNOVATION,  18 December 2000)

About 50 Amazon.com employees recently held a meeting that some say
was a  major turning point in the industry. They met to join a
trade union. Citing  long hours, mandatory overtime and sudden
changes in shift schedules, the  service workers set up an
organizing committee to seek affiliation with the  Communications
Workers of America and to win union recognition from Amazon.  While
some observers don't see a big threat, union officials say many 
Internet staffers are unhappy, and companies will have to find ways
of  dealing with their grievances, especially as the companies try
to cut  costs. Lost amid the hype over paper millionaires are the
tens of thousands  of employees involved in tedious, often
mind-numbing, tasks. "The industry  might be high-tech but the
working conditions are such that people want  representation," says
a CWA spokeswoman. Many professionals, lured into the  e-world with
share options, also are growing dissatisfied and disillusioned 
that dot-com employees are not having "more fun, more freedom and
more  scope," according to a report from one executive recruitment
company. "Our  study explodes the general consensus that dot-coms
offer a better quality  of life and a more fun environment. The
hours worked are longer, the travel is more onerous and time at
home is limited. The new economy company  increasingly mirrors the
old, but without a supportive infrastructure." 
(Financial Times 30 Nov 2000)  http://news.ft.com/

Let me also recommend a good book from before the dot.com craze
even reached full bloom, by the Harvard economist Juliet Schor,
"The Overworked American" (BasicBooks 1992).  --PJK

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