This being close to Labor Day I have been thinking about unions. The traditional labor unions that were so strong in the 1950s through 1970s took a pretty serious hit in Wisconsin not long ago. Was it a death blow? I don’t know? The writing might be on the wall for them as a whole in the years to come. Now don’t get me wrong, I am very much in favor of worker’s rights and collective bargaining. But, like so many things in this world labor unions just got carried away with the power they possessed during those years. When that happened common sense, like always, went out the window. It seemed like when unions became so powerful their main goal was to make life difficult for the employers rather of representing the interests of the workers and also doing what was good for the company. It became just too adversarial.
We have seen the internet cause a revolution in so many areas over the years. Most credit it for the Arab Spring that has swept across the Middle East which of course. like the Tale of Two Cities, was a good thing and a bad thing. Of course the internet has also put the world of information into the hands of almost everyone and that is indeed a very good thing. Now if we could just get cyberspace connections in rural areas such is where I live that information superhighway would be available to all. But that is another story I guess.
So, why can’t the world of the twenty-first century have virtual labor unions? Why can’t workers collectively gather together in the cyberworld to discuss what employers are doing. Why can’t cyber-unions work? I know there are a lot of details ( yeah lots of details ) that I am casually overlooking but I don’t see why it can’t work? Let’s give labor unions back to the people and maybe drive some of the power quest out of it.
Cyber-unions are kind of like getting back to the town meeting concept that was so prevalent in old world New England. When a citizen had something important to say he called for a town meeting where he could present his case. If the majority of the town agreed then his idea was acted upon. I would not be surprised if this idea actually happened there would be some push-back from employers as brick-and-morter unions did one hundred years ago. But anything worth doing has some risk. If whole countries can be overthrown on the internet why can’t unions be formed there?
Just an idea that popped off the top of my head.
But what do I know….