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LinkedIn Busted In Wage Theft Investigation 108

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the sudden-outbreak-of-workers-rights dept.
fiannaFailMan (702447) writes that LinkedIn was just fined for the all too common practice of requiring workers to work off the clock Following an investigation by the U.S. Department of Labor, LinkedIn has agreed to pay over $3 million in overtime back wages and $2.5 million in liquidated damages to 359 former and current employees working at company branches in four states. The Fair Labor Standards Act requires companies to have record-keeping systems in place to record overtime hours worked and to ensure that employees are paid for those hours, requirements that the company was not meeting.
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LinkedIn Busted In Wage Theft Investigation

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  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @08:54AM (#47606049)

    H1b's just do the OT with out makeing a big deal and if they quit or get fired they have to go home right away so they don't rock the boat and they will take pay that is like $10K less then what most US workers want to start at the base level for all kinds of work.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @09:05AM (#47606103)

      They also refuse to fritter away valuable keystrokes and time on trivial things, like punctuation.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      H1b's just do the OT with out makeing a big deal and if they quit or get fired they have to go home if they cannot find a new job and complete the transfer within 30 days after being fired (which is very likely to be the case).

      You are correct about not rocking the boat, but I corrected the sentence for you.

      • by praxis (19962) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @12:45PM (#47607373)

        H1b's just do the OT with out makeing a big deal and if they quit or get fired they have to go home if they cannot find a new job and complete the transfer within 30 days after being fired (which is very likely to be the case).

        You are correct about not rocking the boat, but I corrected the sentence for you.

        The poster you "corrected" appears to be more correct than your correction. According to Klasko (I tried for ten minutes to find the relevant document on dhs.gov), there is no 30-day period. The visa status ends immediately and the employer must arrange travel back to the country of origin. In practice, a new H1-B petition *might* be approved by the government but it appears there is no grace period, it is at the whims of the petition reviewer.

        If an employer terminates an H1-B employee before the end of that employee’s period of authorized stay, the employer is liable for the “reasonable costs” of return transportation for the employee to his or her last country of residence.

        Contrary to popular belief, there is no “10-day,” “30-day” or other grace period for terminated employees holding H-1B status. Once the employment relationship terminates, the H-1B employee is out of status. While USCIS has proposed a 60-day period within which an H-1B worker may seek new employment, that period remains only a proposal.

        From: http://www.klaskolaw.com/artic... [klaskolaw.com]

        • I see. Thanks for the correction.

          Anyway, you could read more on possibility of staying without being sent back on http://www.uscis.gov/tools/omb... [uscis.gov] which said that the person may be granted a time period to stay and find a new job if the person files I129 before the termination notice. Also, the 10-day grace period is from termination by expiring employment time period.

          • by praxis (19962)

            That link you supply seems to agree that it is an exception that *may* be granted. I speak mostly of the case with no advance notice since with advance notice, it is pretty easy (assuming there are other companies that want the worker) to have an H-1B transferred. The 10-day period after an H-1B expires does not seem to apply in the case of termination before visa expiration.

            It goes without saying that this is a complicated area of law and there are a lot of myths and/or misinformation surrounding our visas

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      It's not in the article, but the story I heard was that these were sales force employees that were short changed. Not the sort of job commonly given to foreign workers. The hints about Silicon Valley and LinkedIn make it seem like these were tech workers, most of which do not get overtime anyway.

  • Go figure. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @09:01AM (#47606087)

    For Silicon Valley Companies, perma-temping and hiring H1B's is part of their business practice, and crap like this is written into unofficial cost of risk reports to execs.

    "High Reliability, High Availability, High Productivity through Meat Grinding."

    The underlying cost of perma-temping is you communicate to individuals who otherwise are worth it to invest in, or who want to invest in themselves, that they are not worth it to invest in only to be exploited, and that you as a company are not worth it to work for. Obviously, if you're an insecure executive manager, keeping the bar low is optimal.

    Remember, This comes on the heels of their entire customer password database being taken off with 2 years back and that feeding spamming and other sideband attacks for years and years. So you know they have significant technical debt.

    In Illinois, where I work, it's a misdemeanor for each offense of this, and a felony if you commit enough of them. Problem is the corrupt politics.

    Doesn't really matter at the end of the day though, because companies who engage in this sort of practice get known and get black listed by the competent.

    • Re:Go figure. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by swb (14022) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:15AM (#47606495)

      While this makes sense in simple, easy to type in Excel, dollars and cents numbers, how is it good for productivity?

      Nearly every place I've ever worked where the company appears more interested in exploitation the quality of work suffers. The really talented people leave. The decent people do a lot less and the crappy people even manage to be even crappier.

      The quality of the work product sucks.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This is what happens in a lot of government agencies. It's a one-two punch from a public that treats all government employees as lazy pieces of shit and entrenched management that are lazy pieces of shit. When the line level employee is faced with this atmosphere, and the ongoing political attacks on their compensation, there's no reason to stay. All but the most ideologically dedicated with real skills and qualifications eventually leave their government job for one with better pay and less political heat.

      • Agreed and I'm guessing the talented people that left weren't responsible for this screw-up: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2... [wikipedia.org]
      • by ShaunC (203807)

        The really talented people leave. The decent people do a lot less and the crappy people even manage to be even crappier. The quality of the work product sucks.

        Yet management somehow still gets their bonuses, so who gives a fuck?

      • The decent people do a lot less and the crappy people even manage to be even crappier.

        The decent people do a lot less and the crappy people even manage to get promoted.

        Fixed that for you.

      • Re:Go figure. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by jcr (53032) <.jcr. .at. .mac.com.> on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @01:40PM (#47607803) Journal

        The really talented people leave.

        That happened at LinkedIn years ago.

        I had a phone interview with them once, and I cut it short. The guy interviewing me was in no way qualified to ever be my boss.

        -jcr

    • And losing less than $6m over it works out to be a smokin' deal.

      It seems that if they don't get caught, they save money, and if they do get caught, they just have to pay the wages that were due, which is no big deal.

    • by ArhcAngel (247594)

      For Silicon Valley Companies, perma-temping and hiring H1B's is part of their business practice,

      Indeed. A company that was at one time known for it's test and measurement equipment and pioneered the laserjet printer space routinely hires temporary (contracted through temp agencies) labor for permanent manufacturing positions which is illegal. Since the law in question [dol.gov] prohibits temporary labor from occupying a position for more than a 12 month period this company lays off the entire manufacturing line the last week of the year only to recreate the positions the very next week.

  • color me surprised (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    big shocker here... asshole companies that do asshole things to their customers also do asshole things to their employees.
    I'm glad they got caught, but I have little sympathy for collaborators (people who take jobs at evil corps).

  • Ooh, get tough... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @09:05AM (#47606105) Journal
    It must be neat to be eligible for the section of the justice system where merely fulfilling your past obligations and agreeing to try harder next time is enough to get an official press release praising your integrity, never mind the absence of any actual penalty...
    • $3,346,195 in overtime back wages and $2,509,646 in liquidated damages

      The later is the penalty. Slap on the wrist? You bet.

      • by Noughmad (1044096) <miha.cancula@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:03AM (#47606441) Homepage

        Pirate mp3's? Pay damages of up to 600.000 times the cost of the album.
        Don't pay $3M in wages? Pay damages of less than the amount owed.

        • by Cardoor (3488091)
          hey - if you want to be treated with the dignity and fairness due to a human being, stop whining and just incorporate.
        • And THIS, pals, is why the screaming about regulations is so damn stupid.

        • SMFH. Seems legit. Eventually, at some point, us plebians have to get fed up with it right? I mean, we just MUST have a breaking point, right?

          • by ultranova (717540)

            Eventually, at some point, us plebians have to get fed up with it right? I mean, we just MUST have a breaking point, right?

            And then what? Revolution? You know how that'll end - meet the new boss, the same as the old boss. It's because the new boss what taught what it means to be a boss by the old boss. Just like LinkedIn's leadership was taught that making money is the most valuable thing, and just like the slap on the wrist they received as a nominal punishment confirms that they have indeed correctly dis

    • The hard part on the prosecution side is proving that the accused took deliberate malicious action as opposed to just screwing up. Part of agreements like these is that accused now stipulates that the action was wrong and they will ensure that they don't repeat it. This means that the next time they do it---and you know they will--- the prosecution pulls out the accused's own stipulation as the evidence that they are deliberately doing something wrong, either a deliberate violation or a deliberate failure t

  • by Joe_Dragon (2206452) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @09:08AM (#47606113)

    It's about time for one for Tech / IT as a union will put a stop to a lot of this BS and the 1HB abuse.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      What kind of a pencil is a 1HB?

    • by sjbe (173966) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @09:30AM (#47606217)

      It's about time for one for Tech / IT as a union will put a stop to a lot of this BS and the 1HB abuse.

      So what is stopping you from organizing a union? If you think it is so important then why are you not doing it instead of just complaining here on slashdot where it doesn't matter at all? Or are you just all talk and no action? Every time this topic comes up there is a bunch of complaining about how IT workers "need a union" but nobody ever seems to think it important enough to actually bother organizing.

      • by Narcocide (102829) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @09:37AM (#47606277) Homepage

        the dirty secret is we all hate each other

        • by Bacon Bits (926911) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @01:40PM (#47607801)

          No the dirty secret is when IT people are young we are all naive, idealistic Libertarians who couldn't fathom the idea that Labor might need protection from Capital when the Free Market can clearly fix all ills if only the government would get out of the way. When we're older one of two things has happened: we're in management and on the other side of the table, or we're still in the trenches and we'd rather dangle in the breeze than swallow the bitter pill of our own reality or try to convince the new, naive. idealistic, Libertarian junior coworker that he's getting the shit end of the stick on purpose.

          • So goddamn true.
          • by ultranova (717540)

            No the dirty secret is when IT people are young we are all naive, idealistic Libertarians who couldn't fathom the idea that Labor might need protection from Capital when the Free Market can clearly fix all ills if only the government would get out of the way.

            Or, more cynically, everyone thinks they're better than average, so they don't want a union cramping their style. One might say the result is laser-guided karma giving them exactly what they said those "weaker" programmers deserved: low wage, bad worki

          • Nice theory.

            The reality is we can replace our bosses in 1/10 the time/cost it would take them to replace us.

            Granting that isn't true for all. Fuck them.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Well for starters, you can't make a union in Perl...

      • by Sarten-X (1102295) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @10:18AM (#47606509) Homepage

        As a fellow Slashdotter once said, "the best union is the one you're threatening to form".

        Once you actually have a union, you also have a bureaucracy, and rules, and obligations. Sure, they're there to help you, but it still means headaches. On the other hand, if there's just a lot of complaints, the informal process is more flexible and can more easily reach an agreement, as long as the company in question is willing to compromise.

        • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki&gmail,com> on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @11:10AM (#47606803) Homepage

          Back oh 10-15 years ago, I was part of a group that formed a union at a shop I was working at. We built industrial control panels for heavy machinery, lots of electronics and stuff in them, PLC's, relays and so on. If you ever see a small grey square box on the underside of a truck trailer, we built them too. They're used for shifting the rear wheels. Anyway, while you're right that you get the bureaucracy, rules and obligations. In some cases, the employer is such an ass, that it's worth those headaches vs the complaints, threats, and attempts to push people into non-paid OT.

          Some companies are willing to compromise, some businesses too. Some of them just want to see the world burn around them.

        • As a fellow Slashdotter once said, "the best union is the one you're threatening to form".

          Not unless it is a credible threat. There is no one actually seriously threatening to form a union and the management of the relevant companies knows this. An actual threat to form a union requires actually talking to (or becoming) union organizers. I'm confident enough I'd put actual money on it that no IT worker reading this has ever seriously taken any of the substantial actions required to form a union of IT workers. It's just a bunch of bitching on a website the management of their company will nev

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's about time for one for Tech / IT as a union will put a stop to a lot of this BS and the 1HB abuse.

        So what is stopping you from organizing a union?

        Unions are a means to create a monopoly out of a fungible resource. IT and similar professionals are having enough trouble trying to convince management that our field is not fungible, and that adding Ned the Noob to a project will not hasten progress enough to reach the random deadlines that have no correlation with reality. Forming a union would be counterproductive.

        If you think it is so important then why are you not doing it instead of just complaining here on slashdot where it doesn't matter at all? Or are you just all talk and no action? Every time this topic comes up there is a bunch of complaining about how IT workers "need a union" but nobody ever seems to think it important enough to actually bother organizing.

        It is a loud and half-educated minority arguing for a techy union. Mostly 1st year out of college or less. Once they get a solid taste of

        • The problem with modern unions is that they don't self-police the rubbers who inevitably get in. If Willy is a caught watching kiddie porn on the corp's equipment, the company shouldn't have to fight the union to get him axed. Modern unions for the most part will defend their members regardless of the infraction, including a criminal offense like this... If Steve is slacking and not getting his work done, Steve's coworkers should actively work with him to get him productive and if he isn't, give him da bo
      • by vencs (1937504)

        So what is stopping you from organizing a union?

        May be because a threat to form an union is more effective than the union itself.

    • Obligatory (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @09:45AM (#47606325)

      The job market views labor unions as damage and routes around it.

    • by Solandri (704621)
      That's a nice sentiment, except this has nothing to do with Tech/IT workers. Most white collar jobs are exempt from the FLSA's overtime protections [dol.gov]. Generally, salaried professionals and managers are exempt; in that respect Tech/IT workers are no different from other salaried professionals like doctors, lawyers, teachers, engineers, scientists, musicians. Salaried non-commissioned salespeople are one of the few white collar jobs which are non-exempt, and that's where Linkedin got in trouble - they weren'
      • by Shadow99_1 (86250)

        I have been a hourly worker, rather than salaried, as a network admin before. To make it more complex my yearly pay was worked out and then it was divided down to provide an hourly rate. I didn't actually want that situation, but the company did because hourly employees got different considerations for things like days the place was not open. See salaried workers got paid for all days the place wasn't open (usually around 21 per year, or three weeks worth), while hourly had to use their own vacation time fo

    • It's about time for one for Tech / IT as a union will put a stop to a lot of this BS and the 1HB abuse.

      Have you ever worked for a union?
      The difference will be, all this same stuff will happen, and you'll pay union dues.
      Union Bosses are still bosses, and in it for profit just like everyone else.

      • by rockout (1039072) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @11:44AM (#47606999)

        I belong to a union. I'm a full-time freelancer, in a technical field (not IT), but I belong to a union that I pay union dues to.

        From your comments, it sounds to me like you either don't work for a union, or at one time you worked for an extremely shitty corrupt one. I assure you that while I pay union dues, I also make a lot more money on union jobs than on non-union ones (which I am far less likely to take on, because of the pay difference). I also now get my health care through a union plan, which is far cheaper than getting it on my own was.

        My union dues pay for themselves each year within the first 4 days of work I do, in form of increased day rates that I get paid - and those rates are higher entirely due to my fellow techs and I organizing in 2008. Literally overnight, I suddenly had an about-30% increase in pay, and all I had to do was sign a card saying I wanted to be represented by the union, and I agreed to pay 2% of each check to the union. Pretty good deal by any measure.

        Please don't paint all unions with your "commie unions and corrupt union bosses!!!" brush. It doesn't work that way in the majority of unions. But conservatives have done a great job convincing many Americans that that's actually the case. Which is unfortunate, as wealth continues to get more concentrated at the top. The thing is, my clients pay the higher union rates because they're still making money on each job. They just don't make as much of it, but that doesn't mean they just threw up their hands and said "oh well, we're only making 16 cents on the dollar now instead of 18, time to shut the whole thing down!" They have the money. They just want to keep more and more of it, no matter how much they make. Unions serve as a valuable counterweight to that greed.

        • There is also a quality guarantee depending on the industry. I know that plumbing unions, for example, hold their members to a higher standard of work and require more thorough training than just "took a class at a comprehensive high school." Hiring a union member isn't an automatic guarantee of quality, but the odds of getting quality work are higher than you would have hiring Random Guy Off Craigslist.
        • Perhaps you are correct about the value of YOUR union, but in my own experience with two somewhat-non-technical unions (IATS&E, and another national one I won't name) I was treated as a disposable non-entity whose only purpose was the payment of dues, my verbal or written input was not solicited nor heard, and I never even SAW my union "representative" at the jobsite(s). Ever. NOT EVEN ONCE. I'm not bitter about it (much.) To this day I avoid all "Union Shops" because of those two jobs ...
          • by rockout (1039072)

            To this day I avoid all "Union Shops" because of those two jobs ...

            If you've applied this brand of logic to all the decisions in your life, I'm not surprised that you're a bitter person.

        • Could you please tell us what field you are in and what kind of union you are a member of?

    • So, if we have a union and we go on strike, can we put the servers on strike too?

      "HTTP Error 525: Host is on strike"
    • by jcr (53032)

      ech / IT as a union will put a stop to a lot of this BS

      Oh, fuck off. I don't need another goddamned racket sucking money out of my paycheck to buy hookers and blow for politicians and mafia bosses.

      -jcr

    • by Ravaldy (2621787)

      Forget unions. People have to hold companies accountable by involving the governments when these companies break the rules. There are ways to get your message across and get a proper response.

      In the past, unions saved people from abuse and paved the way to federal labour laws and regulations but all they do now is:
      - Protect those who do not want to work as hard as they should and punishes people who work to hard by pointing them and telling them to stop making the others look bad
      - Forces companies to promot

    • No IT union. Please for the love of god don't let unions fuck up IT. Unions create a bad working relationship between labor and management and they introduce inefficiency. The best thing we have going in Silicon Valley is keeping the unions out. We could do things like organize politically to make our voices heard on matters of policy, but unions will kill the industry.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      It workers work in a meritocracy. I am better than you, so I get paid more than you; this is why I stay around and clean up your endless fuckups. When I'm not making enough more than you I go to another job where I get a raise and 1 or more new people just like you. Rinse, lather, repeat until retirement.

      Union people believe they should be paid according to how long they have managed to not get fired for. They also try to make it really hard to fire union members. The last thing an IT worker wants to do is

  • by theodp (442580) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @09:15AM (#47606135)

    That'll teach Reid Hoffman to click 'Accept'...

  • Ok so they got caught for involvement with internal shenanigans, now someone just needs to look into all of those mailserver logs where linkedin tries to access corporate email accounts using linkedin credentials when they haven't been authorized to...
  • Slippery Slope (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @09:39AM (#47606289)

    If you pay some people for working, pretty soon everyone will expect to be paid for working!

    • Which, like a higher minimum wage, will cause a ripple effect of wage increases, which I am absolutely certain is how inflation happens! How can these leftists expect the economy to work if we pay all these jackoffs decent money for their effort!?

  • Many employees at tech companies are "exempt"; they don't get overtime pay. LinkedIn's dispute is about overtime for non-exempt sales people. The law is pretty murky, so calling this "wage theft" is a stretch. And this isn't going to change anything for tech employees; they are usually exempt anyway.

    Is this good for the employees? I doubt it. LinkedIn isn't going to pay more compensation overall, they are simply going to shift it around. If it has any effect, it's going to be shifting money from higher perf

  • by James-NSC (1414763) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @11:02AM (#47606759) Homepage

    Some companies skirt this rule simply by paying "hourly" employees a salary above $23,600 (per FLSA [flsa.com]) then work them 80+ hours a week and call it good. More and more employees, regardless of actual job duties are being paid a salary so they are then "exempt" from any overtime pay, even those that would traditionally qualify under the FLSA & I see this more and more often in the IT sector. If you look at the Computer Employee Exemption [dol.gov] - you can make pretty much any IT job [flsa.com] fit the bill if you phrase it correctly.

    Workers are left with little recourse because:

    • They've been exempt at every job they've ever had, so they no know different
    • Many - even some of the learned ones - do not know how the FLSA applies to them in this situation
    • Everyone around them is expected to work overtime w/out compensation, so it's not unusual.
    • Regardless of what job duties they will be doing up to and, frankly, especially those including "non-exempt" duties they are told by management that they are doing "exempt" duties
    • They have little real recourse, even if they know they are "non-exempt", unless other co-workers join them in a complaint. Co-workers who are unlikely to do so as:
      • There is little perceived gain and significant risk
      • It is expensive to the point of being cost-prohibitive in order to make a successful claim
      • Any employee who were to be successful would likely find repercussions pertaining to employ-ability later down the road. While not legal to do so above the board, it happens nevertheless (just look at all the wage-fixing [boingboing.net] and collusion [reuters.com] in the valley - you actually think they'll hire someone again, or promote them over a co-worker who didn't sue?)

    At the end of the day, LinkedIn is far from an anomaly, it is standard business practice - unless there is a top to bottom review by some third party (I don't know if there is even an entity that would be suited for this sort of endeavor), this practice will continue unabated. We will work more and continue to be paid less than what we earn.

    • by Ryanrule (1657199)

      Yeah that exception should be at like 75k, for cheap midwestern town. A big city, more like 125.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      According to this site I ran across [hrmorning.com] while checking to see if there had been any progress on this topic in recent years, we can look forward to a potential Notice of Proposed Rulemaking some time in November, which is expected to raise the exempt bar to ~$1,000/week and update some of the duties tests for what constitutes white collar work.

      Additionally, it's worthwhile to note that many states have their own overtime exemption rules that already set the bar much higher than the current $455/week. For instan

  • by ErichTheRed (39327) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @11:27AM (#47606911)

    The current culture in IT is a breeding ground for problems like this. LinkedIn is a public company now, but I'm sure they still operate in Silicon Valley start up mode trying to grind 80-hour weeks out of everyone without paying for them or staffing appropriately.

    I know it's a total pipe dream, but I have an idea that would get IT the representation it needed without the Randian folk getting upset about unions...a professional organization. The AMA ensures high salaries for physicians by limiting the number of spots in medical school as well as setting a high bar for licensure. Professional Engineers (the actual licensed kind) are liable for their work and can refuse to sign off on things that they deem unsafe. Law is a bad example (the ABA went down the same roads we in IT are traveling.) Professional organizations would bring at least a minimum level of universal training to the field. Right now, what passes for education beyond a CS degree is provided by vendors with a vested interest in you buying their product. Projects that you see all over the IT press that blow up after millions of wasted dollars were flushed down the toilet probably would have a better chance of getting shot down right away.

    The problem is that there would have to be a split in the field with regards to job duties, and I don't know how that would be easily separated. Things like tech support, documentation and basic systems administration might be better classed as paraprofessional jobs so that things like OT and on-call hours would be easier to ensure compliance on. And on the other side, systems architects and engineers would need to step their game up...mandatory continuing education, etc. Right now, skill levels and education experiences vary wildly. Hiring someone involves either giving them ridiculous tests to see if they're lying about their experience or just hoping you can smell BS. It would be a good thing for employers as well in the long run.

    I'm sure things will have to get very bad indeed for anything to happen given the culture in IT. IT people have really done a good job convincing themselves that they're white collar professionals, lone wolves and would never need any leverage against an employer. Having a professional organization rather than a union would probably quiet some of this, espeically when people see that they could increase their income and improve working conditions for everyone by doing it. The problem is the toxic "job creators vs. lazy entitled workers" meme -- people need to realize that business owners aren't just going to welcome you into their club if you play by their rules. It's an adversarial relationship, always has been, and people need to treat it that way. Workers will always try to get more for their labor, and management will always try to squeeze as hard as they can. The only way to balance that out is to organize.

    • Some of them are trying to get booted up. Atlanta Web Design Group recently organized a bit more strongly and even considered filing as a 501(c) group. (Didn't quite raise enough money in their last Kickstarter for that.)

      I think that IT as an umbrella is too broad, but an American Association of Developers might be a great start.
    • by RabidReindeer (2625839) on Tuesday August 05, 2014 @03:03PM (#47608353)

      ... And on the other side, systems architects and engineers would need to step their game up...mandatory continuing education, etc.

      Here's part of the problem. Long, long ago, there was this thing called "Certified Data Professional" Locally, some people tried to make a big deal of it, and I even knew 1 or 2 people who took the exam. In fact, I have the study guide.

      But it didn't work then, and that was back when just knowing COBOL and basic I/O was good for the majority of the jobs. Unless, of course, you worked exclusively with FORTRAN, PL/1, RPG or Assembler. And then there's which OS to be proficient in JCL for. Or which brand of hardware: IBM, Univac, Burroughs, or one of the other "7 dwarfs".

      The field has exploded since then. We have batch and interactive, multiple flavors of GUI systems, mobile devices, various and sundry web platforms - and I can't even count just the ones for Java, even before Ruby on Rails, Django, and on and on. We have scientific computing, AI, business processes, multiple database options, LDAP, virtualization, containers, clouds, Big Data - something new every week.

      There's NO TIME to make a one-size-fits-all professional competence exam based on continuous learning. We're all learning different things, and we can't slow down because we're already at the point where we need to learn something else.

      I have no solution, other than to notice that the cram-and-barf exam/cert solution is obviously worthless. The only certs I've seen that I'll credit are less on details and more on things like whether you can bring up a general-purpose Linux (or Windows) server in 4 hours.

      I'd be inclined to simply make it a "web of trust" thing where to be certified, you needed a certain number of votes from people already in the club. Meaning that they're willing to risk their reputations that you're decently competent. But that, too has its flaws. Good Ole Boys get free passes and unwashed twerps with bad social skills get left out. And bad social skills are almost a badge of honor in IT!

  • Guess they should polish up their LinkedIn profiles.

Last yeer I kudn't spel Engineer. Now I are won.

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