• United States

IT union activity

Aug 21, 20032 mins
Data Center

* American workers try to keep jobs from being outsourced overseas

American IT workers threatened by the trend of offshore outsourcing of IT jobs overseas are taking action to persuade government and industry to keep jobs here at home.

The IDG News Service, Network World’s sister company, reports that the International Federation of Technical and Professional Engineers (IFPTE) will lobby Congress for laws and measures to protect U.S. technical jobs (see The article noted that roughly 50,000 of the IFPTE’s 80,000 members are IT pros, which I found surprising given that I hadn’t heard much about tech labor unions.

A quick search on the Web turned up Alliance@IBM, the national site for the IBM Employees’ Union. The group is fighting Big Blue’s plan to accelerate offshore outsourcing. I also came across TechsUnite (, a site sponsored in part by the Communication Workers of America (CWA).

Another IT-related union is the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers (WashTech), a Seattle affiliate of the CWA. WashTech formed in 1998 to represent the interests of long-term temporary workers, or permatemps.

Back in 2001, Networld World ran a face-off debate on whether IT workers need a union (see and Mike Blain, president of WashTech, maintained that unions offer strength in numbers. Harris Miller, president of the Information Technology Association of America (ITAA), argued that such unions would undermine tech workers’ authority. As you might guess, the opinion pieces led to spirited discussion on our online forum.

I’m curious – are IT unions bigger than I thought? Let me know if you belong to one and if you believe the offshore outsourcing trend is going to accelerate labor union organization and activity.