American IT Union Forces Fair Play

Arthur Sowers arthures at
Wed Nov 10 10:46:56 EST 1999

On Tue, 9 Nov 1999, Rich Lemert wrote:

> Arthur Sowers wrote:
> > On Mon, 8 Nov 1999, Rich Lemert wrote:
> >
> > > >  That is not the same statement
> > > > as "the world is out to screw you."  There is a distinction.  The latter
> > > > is supposition that is likely not true.  The former is factual.
> > >
> > >   In spite of what Art claims, I have no problem recognizing thatdecent people
> > > can and do get screwed in this world. The problem
> > > I do have, though, is that so many people in s.r.c. automatically
> > > extrapolate that to say that the world _is_ out to screw everyone.
> >
> > Actually, it is fairly standard practice among management to get help at
> > the lowest price possible. That includes temps, postdocs, and H1-Bs. Also,
> > there has been a widespread conversion in corporate america to the cash
> > balance pension plan, which does screw people who have been "in" the
> > company for some time.
>   There is an important distinction here that you bring up quite nicely.Yes,
> companies are trying to reduce their costs (including labor), and
> quite often this does have the effect of screwing large numbers of
> people. However, the objective is NOT to "screw people", this is only
> a side-effect of their decisions. Anyone following this group, however,
> would get the impression that management sits up in their ivory tower
> going "how can I fuck over the most people today?"

Semantically, the CEOs and other executives will never admit to this, but
they all know that if they want high compensation packages, perks, and
stock options that increase in value, then that will have to come from
somewhere else (i.e. the wallets of the underlings). I've very rarely
heard or seen any actions or statements on the part of CEOs etal. that
really convince me that they are "so" concerned about their employees.
Read "Confessions of a Union Buster" by Martin J. Levit, and "The Big
Boys" by Taylor and Nader. 
> >  This is baloney.
> > > The 'real world' is neither idyllic nor hellacious, it has elements
> > > of both.
> >
> > It is bullshit to think that the average career scenario has a peachy
> > outcome.
>   Define "peachy outcome".

Lifelong career, 60K plus salary (=Josh Halpern's view of the NSF study he
likes so much), with pension and lifelong health plan. 

> > Look at what the upper 1% make and then look at where the lower
> > 20-40% of the population are. There is a very wide gap there.
>   Who cares what the upper 1% make or how big the gap is? 

Because the _small_ 1%, compared to the large 20-40%, shows that most
"don't make it" and those that do are a very small minority. 

> Thequestion is, what
> fraction of the population is unable (but willing)
> to provide for themselves the basic necessities of life - food, shelter,
> clothing, health care, and an education. If there were a program that
> would guarantee that everyone would at least attain this level, and if
> a side-effect of that program was that the gap between the top 1% and
> the rest of us tripled, 

First, I'm not talking about guarantees. Rather, assurances (MDs get a
better deal than PhDs). The real gap between the top 1% is much more than

>then I fail to see where there is any problem.

This phrase does not connect with the former phrases. The problem is the
PhD glut (or, conversely, the PhD-requiring job dearth, or some
combination of both) and most of the guys who know anything about the job
market do not fail to see where the problem is. Its still in the media:
the most recent issue of The Scientist has an article about this 200-500
applicants per job. 

Then there is the new career half-life essay (with many new references) on
my websites.

Go have a look.

Art Sowers

> Rich Lemert

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