Yes, most of us have it better than so many other people in the world, but would you consider going on strike to improve the culture, pay, and other issues not being fixed by HR or leadership?
I am thankful for the life I have. I went to college and came out making six figures as a dev. I get this, but I also understand that I have seen a significant decline in the quality of my current work environment over the past three years. I could just move on (and I might), but I have been thinking about this question for the past week or so...why don’t any people in tech organize? We actually have a lot of power and I’m surprised we have not exercised our muscle by doing this yet.
Yes, most of us have it better than so many other people in the world, but would you consider going on strike to improve the culture, pay, and other issues not being fixed by HR or leadership?
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- fucking looool at us devs being so coopted that we willingly buy into the narrative that we’re oh so fortunate and lucky that big corps have the compassion to pay us as much as they do. all these perks are just them being charitable right?
like, come on, don’t be naive, jesus. companies profit 10000x more than labor does, even in tech, and while we’re certainly privileged, that doesn’t mean that collective action is that crazy of an idea
but of course it’ll never happen bc we willingly act against our own self-interest again and again. in no other industry are professionals so happy to get on their knees. and in no other industry do workers say things like, “if you’re not PASSIONATE and don’t spend 20 hours outside of work on a coding side project, you’re not a *real* dev”
for other examples see also leetcode and open office floor plans and ageism and shitty obfuscated equity packages as an accepted part of TC and asymmetrical salary information and engineers having to be slowly convinced that it’s ok to negotiate (“if you really love what you do, why do you need more money??”)
- Undisclosed dajakeGfba’s point is that this is an employee’s market. Tech is beyond full employment. You have the power to get what you want simply by quitting and going somewhere else. Guaranteed you’ll have 10 job offers if you interview around now. That’s not the case with unionized labor, hence why it’s unionized.
- This is the most privileged, 1%, living in a bubble, entitled bullshit thread I’ve ever seen on here.
It’s one thing to be liberal but to actually believe tech workers need to strike is fucking ridiculous. We are the 1% of the 1%.
Please get out of the valley every once in awhile and experience life.
- Google employees just did a walkout to help end policies that encourage discriminatory practices (eg forced arbitration). You don’t think changing culture and policies for the betterment of women and minorities is something employees should do? BTW unions are most seen outside of SF. Coming from a Midwest union household I can tell you that they would completely support tech workers unionizing. It’s not about entitlement, it’s about the ability to organize and collectively bargain for a better work environment and quality of life.
- Unions destroyed Detroit. You can bargain your power out of this country, be my guest. Please explain to me the walkout, I experienced it at first hand. While the original intent was good (calling out the Silicon Valley elite for their abuse of power, corruption and double standards) it was soon coopted by the usual suspects. They lied about this being an issue across the company at every level, they mixed in intersectional feminism, and demanded the increase of power of the "Diversity Officer." It became an astroturd movement masquerading as grassroots.
- No... management/execs destroyed Detroit. They made commitments to unions (eg pensions) and then refused to allocate $ towards it. And clearly you experienced the walkout much like a state trooper in Selma witnessed the March to Montgomery. Immediately complaining about intersectional feminism... smh
- Let me be more clear since you’re not getting it: I’m getting the same perspective from you on the walkout as I would from a state trooper watching the March to Montgomery. Has nothing to do with race. Has everything to do with your perspective on the world. The comment on MLK is ridiculous. The people who marched with him and knew him like John Lewis have said enough about this. Thanks for your uninformed perspective once again.
- Ytr, listen, you're holding your nose so high I'm worried you'll knock down a chandelier. You're a nobody to me, your opinion doesn't matter and you don't have the moral high ground just because you think so. You come across as an arrogant prick who's full of himself and that doesn't make you a better person--quite the contrary.
- Thank you Defcon. PC college kids in the US are clueless. WE are the world's 0.1%. AND even in the US you are 1% with 400k salary/tc, which many of us here are either there or getting there at some point.
I remember once in a class about product design in which the professor said to design toilet paper for the world's 1%. People saying to add gold or other stupid things like that. I had to pause discussion to explain that if they were in that class they were already the 1%.
- Please, tell me more about myself. Tell me more about how friends who walked out really feel. Tell me more about intersectional feminism ruining the walkout. Tell me more about what MLK would think. You’ve got everything and everyone figured out, even though most of the things you’ve said in this thread are just flat out wrong (eg unions/Detroit, the walkout effects, MLK) and you can’t address that. You come across as a judgmental bigot. Be my guest to continue that.
- @brazuka - I think I disagree with your view on unions/labor but I definitely agree with your sentiment on the 1%. That is a great story. There was a question that sometimes got asked in interviews at another tech co - do you consider yourself lucky? Best answer was - absolutely. Born in a good era in a country that had educational institutions and off the bat has access to more resources than 95% of the world. This was from someone who we later found out grew up on food stamps on the south side of Chicago. He had great perspective, was awesome to work with.
- No. The work environment for most tech workers is extremely good and I think a tech strike would trivialize the experience of those who actually suffer to a certain extent. To more directly answer why tech workers don't organize, it's because we already do have a lot of power individually. Companies fight over us. I don't think organizing would add much to my ability to get what I want.
- Jesus fucking christ. The millennial entitlement is ridiculous on blind. You are literally a 1%er or very close most likely. What on Earth do you have to complain about.
- When the transit strike happened a few years back, the local media loved clips of techies in line for ferries complaining about 50k a year being enough and how transit workers were obviously just greedy and spoiled.
If tech workers went on strike i’m sure the local media would find some 50k a year workers to talk about how tech people are spoiled. It’s just divide and rule.
We get out of our bubble by supporting teachers and hotel workers in their strikes so that when we have our own issues, they remember which side we were on and they will support us.
- @nullval No, but at a certain point it inarguably just becomes greed to demand more. And even if your religion doesn’t teach greed to be a sin (or lack thereof, where atheists purportedly still have sufficient morals to function in life), history shows that the greedy people often end with their heads cut off =) so there is a reason we shouldn’t all be gluttons and demand every last penny we can.
- How are you going to “improve” them? Jesus, we already have more sexual harassment policies and training than ever before!! What is that you want?? I swear some people (and is it just me or is this mostly leftists?) Just won’t be happy unless they are complaining about wanting more.
- https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/08/technology/google-arbitration-sexual-harassment.html - @izzypop — you asked for examples. and you’ll see the walkout actually worked.
- I would totally strike. My attitude towards companies have always been “fuck you and pay me”. Greedy upper level management make 7/8 figures a year to discuss bs all day and SWEs doing the work are entitled?
Fuck them. Seriously, people who say we’re entitled have their head up their ass. Wake up and see where the real privilege is. And fuck you for driving our comp lower by not standing up for your worth. In America nobody will give you anything if they don’t make a hefty profit in the process, so there’s nothing to feel bad about.
- Dude! Get a life! You are a spoiled generation that get tons of perks from your job, high salary, becoming to 5% of world population. What else do you want? Massage at the end of the day? A helicopter to pick you up in the morning? Once you face through your first economy recession having to pay your bills, then you will wake up for life!!!!!
- Undisclosed 3xceptionAlmost everyone in Bay area is making 6 figures. TC250K single income couple no kids here and I feel I live okay but far from luxury. One child will put me on a paycheck to paycheck life. I certainly dont feel I am prevelidged. But if was not in tech I would definitely not live here.
- I guess we are changing the topic. We all agree that Bay Area is expensive and will always be. However, the troll that originally posted this post is talking about strike. This is a non-sense of an individual that has no clue what hard life is about. When I started my career in my country, the paycheck was given at noon and we had to run to the grocery store to buy food for the month before the 40% monthly inflation eats your salary. I know we live in a different reality, but complain about our lives as tech folks in Bay Area is at a minimum childish or selfish. I recommend him to read the news and a bit of history.
- Even if someone earns a high *income*, that’s different than someone who has large amount of *wealth*, who makes money on their money. The latter doesn’t have to work to maintain their lifestyle, the former does. Throw in exorbitant rent, maybe a kid or two, and suddenly that six figure income means living paycheck to paycheck living. Like a shark, if you stop moving you die. Even if the person living off their wealth accumulates the same income, there’s a huge difference between them in terms of freedom, power and privilege. I don’t think it’s helpful or even reflects reality for a high paid worker to identify with VCs or “the 1%.” They have more in common with ordinary, less privileged workers and I think it’s in all of our interests to recognize that.
- Microsoft C9T¥*I disagree, yes we are not on the streets but there is a growing contractor b citizen population being groomed by tech companies.
I saw this in film too slowly and slowly eroding full time employees. The guy is just asking a valid question because he sees the writing on the wall.Nov 10, 20182
- so many people missing the point
we can be both fortunate and yet realize that we are getting paid *exactly* what we deserve, and no more. this is capitalism
CEOs and companies don’t give us things for free. there is no such thing as a free lunch. don’t be fucking naive. yes, enjoy your job, but there’s no reason we can’t extract as much value as we can, collectively
you can bet your ass that recruiters and capital and C suite executives are. only nouveau lower-case-riche not-yet-wealthy people like most high TC engineers here would balk at this
and this is why devs are beta af and don’t know how to negotiate and are so bad at office politics and money
- I don’t get this either. Look out for yourself, because companies look out for themselves. Are people reacting because they don’t want to accept the realization with all their hard work and doing the right things and pleasing their boss they don’t want to accept the fact they still aren’t getting their fair share?
- Undisclosed RGOd34Work life balance could be improved. Taking advantage of salaried employees and working them to the bone isn’t fair. I’m 33, worked 50+ hour work weeks (with many 55-60+) since college and I’m burnt out. I can’t do this anymore.
- ADP Runner131That's normal in pretty much every segment, nothing special about tech.
Having recruited every aspect of a company, the company wants to get the most out of salaried people.
That's really the underlying problem, companies no longer "honor" the 40 hour work week. They claim an hour lunch, but you're there 9 (or more) chowing down a 4 minute lunch to try to keep deadlines from stacking up.Nov 20, 20180
- Has anyone done a research for tech workers and the cancer rate? We get paid well but a lot of people get sick from all the stress and night and weekend oncalls...
- Like all things in trade, there was no begging to receive my healthcare: they offered me a job with certain terms and conditions, and I accepted. The fact that it was laughably lucrative compared to most of my classmates going into other industries made me think I was getting away with something.
And as I frequently say, could be worse than tech life: I could be spending 12 hours a day several miles into the ground mining coal, like my recent ancestry did.
- Undisclosed dasnakeThe reason there are no tech unions is because most tech workers can quit and receive 10 competitive job offers within a month or two. That’s not the case with unionized labor. This is an employee’s market, and you vote with where you decide to work.
- A tech workers union may not be critical to avoiding destitution, but the fact that we have options actually gives us even more leverage. We may choose to use it to demand fair hiring practices, work/life balance, input into the technology we create, protection against sexual harassment, or any number of good things rather than focusing on salary like a blue collar union might, but the fundamentals are mostly the same.
- Seriously? You make 6 figures right out of college and you complain? If your work environment, boat load of money, possibly free food and whatever perks are so terrible go to another company. There are people working for tech companies who make crap. The people who deal with the end users abuse and have to beg arrogant people like yourself to fix bugs that you introduce while you wax horror about your environment. Up yours. So glad I’m returning to my former industry. It may be a sausage party but people don’t forget when they struggled.
- The choice to live in the prestigious bay area is a CHOICE. People are clawing to work with a FAANG company but then cry foul once they realise the staggering cost of housing and relocate anyway. CHOICE. Same choice I made and now I am choosing to GTFO.
I currently pay 2k for a studio and huge taxes. And?
- Amazon WoolyScarfYou can get your point across by leaving the company. Vote with your feet. The reason why I wouldn't strike is because I can easily find comparable employment with less effort and achieve a similar goal of sticking it to them.
- That’s not easy for everyone though, if some hundreds or thousands get fired, there’s so much competition in the market. CA tech layoffs, 40% fired! 😳 What about those scenarios?
Also, I did leave a bad team recently but it’s not easy I had to wait 6 months to find a good fit.
So just coz one manager decided to screw my career I had to suffer it for 6 months.
- AT&T DDM2KThis logic will only carry you as far as the free market will allow - and only as long as there is a talent demand.
OP is talking about a WORK STOPPAGE significant enough to force the employer’s hand in making immediate concessions to appease the workforce so that they may honor existing customer commitments and not damage their reputation.
If people leave one at a time and “vote with their feet” there’s negligible impact to the employer and allows them to backfill positions as they vacate. All this BS about “freedom of choice” paints a false dichotomy, both of which involve the individual acting alone, neither of which impact the company much.
So much for your career progression and income stability when the job market isn’t so rosy and you get laid off, and the highest paying gig pays 50% of your previous salary. How long will it take to recover the difference? With 5 years seniority, what percentage of your department would have to get laid off before your turn came up, assuming LIFO tenure-based RIFs?
Let there be seniority-based personnel decisions, benefits, and pay, to a certain level. The star performers will continue the pursuit of a fulfilling career above what basic protections are offered in the lower ranks, anyway. These are the same people who’d leave a company voluntarily at 18 years when they could qualify for a pension check for life at 20 or 25.
Organizing the non-Principals, non-Distinguished Engineers will have no negative impact on the trajectory of the company.Nov 12, 20181
- Go work on a manufacturing line and tell me you have poor working environments. Better yet, go volunteer in an impoverished area and tell me how bad we have it. Ffs the entitlement is incredible with this one
- It's infuriating seeing laborers turn on laborers in this thread. Y'all been brainwashed by the man.
- My interests related to my job:
1) have a fulfilling career
2) make as much money of as minimal effort as possible
3) have time & flexibility to enjoy 2
Tech does a great job as things stand at fulfilling those.
1) job is overly regulated to make sure poor engineers don’t look bad. Also tons of PC BS comes in. All this making the workplace dull, uninnovative, & oppressive.
2) my pay & effort must be adjusted to more closely match the lowest performers. Meaning I make less & have to work more hours.
3) schedules would be regulated since low performers who would normally be fired are now kept on & need rules to provide structure they can’t impose on themselves.
Yup, totally going against my own interests.
- Pro athletes have unions and enormous differentials in highest and lowest paid workers. The idea that unions exist to protect lazy workers or push salaries down is complete BS spread by management to prevent unionizing so they can continue to do as they please. Workers in unionized industries earn significantly more on average - including non unionized workers, who get a bump. Everyone thinks they’re a 10x developer though who falls in that 1% of workers who could hypothetically earn more without a union though.
- Pro athletes *are* the product and in being the product are put in significant risk. Perhaps if whenever anyone talked unionizing they brought in the major sports reps instead of a local teamster’s union they’d get more interest.
But again, it’s not like we have bad conditions with stupidly expensive office furniture & computers. A large variety of fair trade, organic, & gluten-free free food. We have flexibility in schedule & work location. Worst any of us have to deal with are idiot middle-managers, on-the-spectrum people saying stupid things, or SJWs getting pissed over every little nothing.
Yup it’s a hard life.Nov 10, 20181
- Is this for real? I hear all the time how the rich are so privileged in America. I’m pretty sure that most tech employees make significantly more than the average American and from my experience most fall on the liberal side so they should actually be asking to have a portion of their income donated to the poor so everyone can be equal. Only fair right?
- I mean yes. This is exactly what many liberals advocate. It’s called progressive taxation and increasing the social safety net. So... that’s exactly what they (and me) ask for, and the types of candidates we vote for. The only problem is we end up subsidizing corporate welfare queens like WalMart who don’t pay their employees a living wage...
- Truth is progressives love to tell others what to do with their money but when t comes down to it nothing is stopping them from voluntarily giving their money to those in need. Instead of asking for raisins progressives that make too dollars (tech) workers should be willing to donate a significant amount of their salary to low wage workers. But at the end of the day the dollar is king, we are all capitalist
- Undisclosed PpWl16I think relative change is a thing to look out for. In my job I have to maintain all kind of certs, be involved in all these industry organizations, do research, attend various conferences and what not. Employers pay some of it, but most of it I have to do out of pocket. So a considerable part of that awesome tech salary goes into that. Never mind the stress of a high performance job while constantly having to go through education and training while others waste their time watching 'sportsball'. Something has to change. We do have it good, but overall quality of life is crap. If I look around me the number of people with depression or alcoholism because they dont have a personal life is staggering. If I look how much time I put into my job I basically work two full time positions.
- True, but I rather want to be part of the solution. We have to recognize that something is seriosuly wrong with the 'modern workplace' and it also affects 'us'. I was working on a major project with global news coverage in 2014. Like most of my coworkers I would leave the office often after 9 PM. I would walk past offices and see people cry in them. There were times where I worked 26 hours, had 4 hours of rest, worked 20, slept 6 and then did another 18 hours...all of that in a dynamic environment with impactful decisions to make. The result was that I gained 50 lbs and had all sorts of health issues. Things need to change
- Atinlay - moving jobs isn’t a solution - it’s just running from the problem and does nothing for the next person who comes along. A lot of the toxic culture you’re describing persists I think because I’m tech it is so easy to switch to another high paying job. The company will squeeze as much labor out of you as possible, what do they care if you’re truly “living” or not? Even if gross salary isn’t a major issue, tech workers should organize to demand work life balance and a healthy lifestyle and company culture.
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- I’ve been reading several posts. It’s not about the pay we need to complain. It’s about the way we are treated. The bullies, chauvinists and politics at work. The fact you need to leave the company simply because your manager doesn’t like you and there’s nothing you can do about that except get another job. It’s about all the extra hours and the excessive stress, the lack of WLB. If you make 250k but you spend working in a very stressing environment an average of 12 hours/day then you are not that well paid. And there is more. Got it?
- My point is that we usually work in an unhealthy work environment and in some cases, mainly for us women, is not even safe. The fact that exist people with worse working conditions and that we earn a big salary doesn’t mean we cannot complaint to improve our working conditions.
- Yep. Do you find you don’t have every access to complain now? Microsoft doesn’t have an anonymous HR line (Intel does)? Imagine working at 99% of jobs where they would tell you to go f*ck yourself if you were complaining your boss is mean or you have to work a lot.
I also don’t know anyone in tech who really works 60 hours/week, at least if you have a family.
- If you need proof that software engineers aren’t smarter than the general population, look no further than this thread. You actually think the tech boom is a permanent facet of the market, and these free lunches and beanbag chairs will be around forever.
- fuck this bullshit!!! All entitled overpaid millenials...flip some burgers and make min wage for a month and then come back n be thankful that y’all millenials at fangul were born with half a brain! Sheesh!!!
- You want to strike privilege class ? Go ahead .... here comes accelerated offshoring ......
- Corporations won't listen to anything unless it affects their bottom line. When competition offered better pay and talent started to leave Google they implemented a company-wide pay raise. Vote with your feet and go to a company that treats you better.
- Verizon Godaihttp://www.latimes.com/business/technology/80014970-132.html
Or the companies conspire to keep pay wages low.
- Tech workers today are the best case scenario for how the free market economy should work. If you don't like a job or feel. Under payed, move on and find something better. If you feel you don't have the skills, go learn what is in demand.
- Again that's why it's called employment at will. It works both ways. If telecom is hard to land jobs in, move to something better like IOT, ml, data science. Sure you will take a short term paycut, but think of it as the price you pay for learning a new skill. If that is not an option, there is always an open source project you could contribute to and eventually consult in.
- I should have mentioned it’s not about paycut, it’s about H1B visa etc. it’s really tough for visa holders when there’s unexpected stuff. At will can’t be both ways coz obviously a company won’t be that affected by 1 person leaving, but the other around is a huge impact in a persons life.
- Having gone from working night shifts in a gas station through college to this, I'm pretty happy with it.
- I say try it. My guess is you will be fired and absolutely nothing will change in the universe. Tech workers are vastly overpaid.
- You idiots know all our companies answer to their board of directors and stock holders, right? They aren’t running a charity.
- Microsoft 642tclAll the sheep who bleated in response to your post; that is why there is no collective tech worker power. A lot of sheep who assume grazing in a pasture makes then better than others; they stand convinced they have no real worth if they were to go elsewhere and try to deter others from rising up or growing, out of their fear or change and growth.
Stuck in place grazing, not even making the companies they work at better since they are sheep with no passion.
- Undisclosed yJGj20Don’t want to remove those golden cuffs, do we?! High skilled tech workers work in best conditions and most of them are actual shareholders.
- Bloomberg TREQSlayerYou can start by joining the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers - http://washtech.org
That is the only technology workers union.
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- Lol. This thread reads exactly like any body of professionals discussing any union both existing and non existing.
I used to be part of a professional union when I started my tech career. I didn’t get the need for it. Now that I’m smarter and wiser than the n00b new hires I can see what my senior level folks were talking about when defending the importance of a union.
It’s just hard as hell to form these things. Because it’s all about the money. And people like getting more money for being a top performer. A union tends to normalize the pay across your peers. So you have to be greedy but not selfish at the same time. Because everyone needs to be united with their greed to benefit all of their peers rather than only themselves.
- Almost. I don’t think it normalizes pay as much as it bargains for agreements to determine pay by experience or tenure vs performance (or as some would say - management discretion). I don’t think normalization is the issue - a better comparable for what a high impact tech workers union looks like is not public sector unions or the trades, but sports unions such as MLBPA where wages are incredible high and there’s disparity between highest and lowest paid members (60X) - but you have to have at least 2 yrs experience to qualify above minimum salary and work your way up for the next 4 years via arbitration.
- Exactly, unions largely gain power/$$$ through barriers to entry. Members make more money by denying jobs to others willing to do it for less. Whether that is good or bad is subjective and probably depends on the scenario. But it is effectively a cartel (not a bad word).
Professional organizations like medical doctors are also a de facto union - keep entry low in the name of quality.
- Agree it depends a lot on the contract. In my case, desk sleepers that barely worked would get a 1.5% raise, and if I busted my butt I’d get a 3-4% raise. I felt the lower performers were protected far too much and the top performers weren’t fairly compensated.
But one example doesn’t make it the norm.
- If you’re a top performer (which everyone is convinced they are of course), you could lose out on the high end of salary. But you stand to gain in the things that actually have a far greater impact on your happiness and satisfaction in life: reduced hours, increased security, and dare I say a sense of solidarity with your coworkers, rather than a vicious cycle of competition against any and everyone. I’ll take potentially lower pay for a happier life every day of the week and Sunday.
- As a former GM employee, I can tell you that all sounds good, and it is while it lasts. However, it decouples what you make from the market and can make for some really absurd scenarios over time. So much so that your company can go bankrupt, pensions go bankrupt, etc. All that security you thought you had ... poof.
I watched half my engineering org get laid off. Most of the rest were asked if they wanted to stay at a demotion or two, or receive severance. Plenty of inversions too - low paid junior folks stayed back and later rehired the experience folks back under them. Most who lost jobs had zero transferrable skills because they were so comfortable and'safe'.
It's never black and white.
- I would go on strike if enough other people did too, for the right cause.
Eg bathroom equality. We have 1 female bathroom for every 1 male bathroom, but many more male engineers than female engineers.
I’d strike for that.
- Amazon Gr8fulJust WOW. I can’t tell if you’re being funny or serious. Since bathroom stalls became a ‘thing’ buildings of all sorts have been built equal. Regardless physiological differences between the sexes that make lines for women’s stalls in theaters, airports, amusement parks, not to mention EVERY single other workplace that isn’t grossly male dominated.
For the first time, in your entire life, your God given right as a man to never wait for a bathroom stall is violated and you want to organize? Obviously the number of men at your office dwarf that of women so much that the ‘speed factor’ of use that normally runs vastly in your favor due to physiology, runs the other direction a great deal...but I assume some women are allowed to work there, No? Will the few female developers who I’m sure very much enjoy sharing the space with you be allowed to join this ‘union’?
I suppose architects should add a new category of office type, tech office. Like Medical/dental office space has additional plumbing, ‘tech offices’ would have two multi stall bathrooms on every floor but one much larger than the other one. Obviously the physiological differences between men and women’s ability to hold technical jobs need to be accounted for, right?
- Ericsson bwd65In the Bay Area I would think that no high tech employees have a union and therefore no strike protection. If you tell your boss you’re on strike they’ll fire you on the spot and hire someone else. So the survey is irrelevant
- Yeah tech workers are not easily replaced, which gives us enormous leverage - IF we can work through the Silicon Valley mindset where we’re all just temporarily embarrassed VCs and organize tech unions. I work for a pretty great company but I’d help organize one in a heartbeat if I thought we could pull it off. The company and all of the workers would be better off for it.
- Not a tech related comment but I have friends working as biotech postdoc researchers for UC Berkley with 5 degrees that make $40,000-50,000. Adds a very special kind of irony when they walk past striking hotel employees that nearly make the same without any degrees. I say we should do it.