Join Italy’s IBM Workers in a Virtual Strike
IBM workers in Italy have taken the next step in challenging the corporate globalized world—they’ve set a Virtual Strike on Second Life for Sept. 27.Here's some further background from UNI.
The members of UNI and the Communications Workers of America, through its Alliance@IBM, are waging the online effort after IBM canceled a provision in its contract with Italian workers that resulted in the loss of 1,000 Euros per year for each employee. The works council, supported by the majority of IBM employees in Italy, had asked for a small salary increase. [...]
UNI is a global union for skills and services with 15 million members in 900 unions.
Don’t know what Second Life is? Here’s a good time to give it a try. Second Life is an online 3-D platform that enables you to create your own persona (”avatar”) and take part in virtual group events.
Click here and follow the steps to sign up (basic membership is free), and continue to download the software. The virtual strike at IBM isn’t the first and won’t be the last online action among workers, and it’s a good chance to show your solidarity and build a global community that includes workers as the forefront of the new world order.
“This is the first ever union action in the virtual world,” said the General Secretary of UNI global union Philip Jennings speaking in New York. “Wherever companies go we shall pursue them if they behave badly. It opens new avenues for industrial pressure in the future and brings greater involvement in trade union activities for younger, computer-savvy members.”Does the idea of a virtual strike seem ridiculous? To some it might, but I think blogger Nancy Scola puts it in perspective:
“Businesses like IBM are using the new opportunities of the Internet and virtual space like Second Life to reach customers - but they cannot have that space to themselves. The best step forward now is for IBM to sit down in real life with the workers coordinating body in Italy and resolve this dispute.”
The IBM strike might not win a lot of pity points from the Italian public for losing their annual bonus, so picketing up and down Italian streets might not be the most effective means of protest. But by striking in Second Life, the Italian IBM workers are letting the tech-savvy company know that they don't appreciate their behavior, while raising consciousness on Big Blue's doings in every tech publication that has picked up the story around the world.A virtual strike gives the IBM workers a voice, a way to communicate. Sometimes that's enough. Sometimes people just want their voices to be heard.