Tech sector employees have historically had few influential unions, professional societies, or other cooperative entities. 2020 may be the year that changes, thanks to ongoing labor disputes such as public awareness of game developer working conditions, walkouts at Google protesting inequity and sexual harassment, and the recent collective bargaining victories at “new media” establishments.
Most programmers work under better conditions, but dig beyond the surface and there are still some uncomfortable questions. Why are stock options deliberately misleading? Why isn’t there standard on-call compensation? Why is on-the-job training so limited? Why are programmers over 30 considered old? Why are tech companies so interested in outsourcing, offshoring, and even prison labor?
We need more context to answer some of these uncomfortable questions. Let’s take a lightning-speed tour through the history of cooperative economics, including medieval guilds, Luddites, ship’s articles, the American labor movement, and worker’s cooperatives. Learn what connects all of these moments in history, and how that very same thread runs through our careers as technologists today. And most importantly, learn why you’re more like a pirate than you ever guessed!