woman in blue and red school uniform standing on road during daytime 
Photo by Ehimetalor Akhere Unuabona on Unsplash


Every dataset that I have reviewed regarding unions shows them to be a good idea.

Not one argument that I have heard about unions has mentioned data.

Exactly two arguments that I heard against particular unions had sufficient substance to be worthy of thought.

None of the arguments that I have heard in favor of unions lacked substance or were at odds with the data I was aware of.

That is not to say the pro-union arguments are always right; just that I have found them generally to be convincing and where there is data, correct.

brown bear plush toy on white textile
Photo by <a href=httpsunsplashcomkwookutm source=wordpress instant imagesutm medium=referralutm source=wordpress instant imagesutm medium=referral>Kristine Wook<a> on <a href=httpsunsplashcomutm source=wordpress instant imagesutm medium=referral>Unsplash<a>

I haven’t thought about unions in a long time. I read an article on engadet.com about receipt printers with ‘antiwork’ messages that made me think about unions and how the #suckagereduction program might relate.

#Suckagereduction is about small, powerful, easy to adopt non-disruptive changes. Forming a union is assuredly never a small, easy-to-adopt non-disruptive change. It is a difficult, potentially fatal, act of bravery. Union organizing is much too big and too hard to be part of #suckagereduction.

But the following thought exercise for employers is tractable: If your staff was unionized in what ways would their life be better? Which of those can you enable without them having to unionize? Which of those would have little, no, or negative costs?

There is a startup company that I spoke to a while ago that had a better system for scheduling nurses. (Dinosaurs were not still roaming the earth, so not that long ago.)

Every indication was that it would improve the lives of the staff, improve the quality of care while decreasing costs. It was a good #suckagereduction idea. Unfortunately, they didn’t launch.

If anyone would like to try that or something like it, feel encouraged to get in touch.

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Written by Russell Brand

Russell has started three successful companies, one of which helped agencies of the federal government become very early adopters of open source software, long before that term was coined. His first project saved The American taxpayer 250 million dollars. In his work within federal agency, he was often called, “the arbiter of truth,” facilitating historically hostile groups and factions to effectively work together towards common goals


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