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Startup Employees As an Organized Labor Group 107

An anonymous reader writes "Last Friday may turn out to have marked the beginning of Silicon Valley's organized labor movement--startup employees met in Palo Alto 'to share war stories and to start developing what organizers called a 'Startup Employee Equity Bill of Rights'.'" That probably should include the right to work late, for little pay, and to trade less certainty now for greater hoped-for benefits down the road. If you've been a startup employee, or started one of your own, what would you put on the wishlist?
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Startup Employees As an Organized Labor Group

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  • by dentin ( 2175 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @12:04PM (#46551603) Homepage

    I will close my company before I allow a union within the ranks.

  • by kimanaw ( 795600 ) on Saturday March 22, 2014 @12:24PM (#46551785)
    I don't think the group was advocating for unionization, rather, just a better education for employees. (I actually watched an interview with the gentleman on Bloomberg that was pretty enlightening, despite some snarky comments from the hosts)

    As a multi-startup veteran (without much to show for it but a few scars), the biggest issue is how opaque ownership percentages are. The current SillyCon Valley game is to give 5-6 digit option grants - so it seems like you're getting a lot - when there are 10-12 figure shares outstanding - and it can be impossible to find out that last figure.

    Another complaint is the legalese of grants, which is usually waaay over the top, so you end up spending a lot on lawyers to translate the terms. The grants should be in "plain English" - most of the terms are pretty simple, once you clear away the legalese.

    And another big deal is the little things that you might overlook, e.g., is there an acceleration clause if the startup gets bought out (very possible in this age of acquihires), or what happens if the startup actually IPOs: can you sell on the open market, or only back to the investors (which can limit your profit) ?

    Also, on the topic of acquihires, if your startup gets bought out and you're a key employee, then your options may not mean anything, cuz you can -and should! - negotiate whatever you can get when the deal goes down. So it may be better to position yourself as a key contributor, than to get hung up about options.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday March 22, 2014 @03:13PM (#46552891)

    I used to have this view. I hated unions and read all the stories about guys just standing around not doing anything. Then I went to work for a union shop and joined the local. WOW. What an eye opener that was.

    It's simple. You and the employer enter into a contract. If one of you doesn't uphold their end of the contract then the breaching party is taken to task. It's that simple. When some PHB is having a bad day, he isn't going to take it out on the pee-ons because then a steward will be standing on his desk calling him to task.

    You want to be able to fire someone because you dont like the color of his shirt? OK negotiate for that when the contract comes up. Everything is negotiable. But there will be a price the other party demands. But that is not what an employer wants, an employer wants to be able to fire you at will with the implicit threat of blackballing you with other employers, while of course the employee has no recourse. All the union does is level the playing field.

    And yes, there are corrupt people in unions, just like there are corrupt people in business and govt. You get what you put into it.

They are called computers simply because computation is the only significant job that has so far been given to them.