High Tech Website is One-Stop Resource for IT Workers

For Immediate Release
October 7, 2002
For More Information:
Jeff Miller or Candice Johnson
CWA Communications, 202-434-1168

The hottest issues in information technology, job and training opportunities, the latest industry developments and resources for techs seeking a voice on the job all are part of a new online community for IT workers: www.techsunite.org.

From job issues, like the H-1B visa program and dealing with layoffs, to information about training available through CWA’s partnerships with some of the biggest IT corporations, www.techsunite.org will help IT workers find the answers and support they need.

It’s also a site where viewers will find one search interface to learn about what’s going on in their area — Java or other training, for example — as well as links to users groups and training providers, a very useful resource for tech workers.

The legal resources section helps IT workers keep up to date with the latest judicial action on benefits for freelance and temporary contract workers, employment law and worker rights. The community forum gives IT workers an opportunity to tell their stories – their personal struggles and successes in their work — and to debate ideas with tech workers nationwide. Another feature enables IT workers to become e-activists on key tech issues, from job rights for workers whose company has suddenly been sold to legislative initiatives.

The site also provides an opportunity for IT workers who are interested in building union representation at their workplaces to discuss issues with other IT workers who are organizing and to learn more about those campaigns. The Workers’ Stories section also highlights workers’ experiences at IT companies.

The Washington Alliance of Technology Workers-CWA, for example, is an organization of high tech workers with an effective voice for IT workers in the workplace and in public policy issues. Formed in 1998 to address problems faced by long-term temporary employees at companies like Microsoft, Washtech is an important resource for other workers looking to gain a voice.

The Alliance@IBM-CWA has a membership of about 5,000 IT workers at IBM Corp. locations nationwide. Information from members of the Alliance about their campaign to win a union voice also is linked to the site.

There is growing interest among IT professionals and other workers in union representation. Recent polling by Peter D. Hart Research Associates found that 58 percent of workers ages 18 to 34 would vote for a voice at work if given the chance. Professional workers in such information industries as media, information processing, communications, higher education and more, increasingly are looking to CWA for a voice in shaping the policies that affect their careers and their futures, from job and compensation issues to concerns about free speech and association.

CWA Executive Vice President Larry Cohen said the site will be very important for IT workers who have been hit hard by the free fall of the high tech industry.

“In the recent IT collapse, the high tech industry has shown itself to be no different from the old mass-production industry model, with frontline IT workers seen as costs to be cut instead of the real resource and value they represent,” Cohen said.

He cited a recent report by the Washington Alliance of Technology Workers-CWA, funded by the Ford Foundation, which pointed out the great disparity in compensation between most IT employees and top high tech executives. “A shared voice and a real stake in the company for high tech workers is the key to the innovation and productivity that IT companies need to be competitive,” he said, adding that the site “will support tech workers as they organize to get that voice,”

The site is a project of the Communications Workers of America, the union for information technology and communications workers, in conjunction with Washtech and the Carol/Trevelyan Strategy Group.