Archive for the 'Strike' Category

The Strike at IBM in Second Life is Absurd

September 28th, 2007 | Category: IBM, Strike

Or so says The Center for Union Facts. They said they laughed about it and then decided to go check it out and since the strikers were doing this on their own time and their own computers, it wasn’t a real strike. They said most just stood around typing platitudes and one female character had rockets for breasts. ;)

Well, it looked like a strike to me, but I have never been part of a real strike, what do workers at a real life strike do that is different, other than doing it on company time?

This strike will be considered a success for the Italian workers at IBM because all they really wanted was the attention and the press, which they got from sites like this one and many others. They got IBM’s attention and the attention of the press, which is what real life strikes do as well, correct? Hell, employers probably would like these better as they loose no company time.

“The strike is absurd because it’s not a real strike if they are doing it on their own time and their own computers,” Tim Miller of the Center for Union Facts wrote The Skinny.

“After we finished laughing at the absurdity of a 2nd life strike—we decided to check it out at IBM’s Second Life headquarters and give the picketers a little dose of,” the Union Facts blogger wrote.

“All in all, we must report being disappointed in the verve of the virtual strikers. Most just stood around typing platitudes,” Union Facts posted in a blog about the strike. “One
female character had rockets where breasts should be.” Source: Second Life Strike Draws Guffaws from Union Watchdog Group

Here is a sign they showed up with.

Virtual Picketers Met with Real Facts—Union Facts

We decided to check out the “strike” at IBM’s Second Life headquarters and give the picketers a little dose of So we sent in our own virtual counter-protester — complete with slogan and sign.

It is just another day on the virtual picket line for CUF, but now we’ve got a big, honking’ sign. That’ll show ‘em. Source: Virtual Picketers Met with Real Facts—Union Facts

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The IBM Strike Underway in Second Life

September 27th, 2007 | Category: IBM, Strike

I did get a chance to go inworld and check out the IBM strike, two of the IBM sims were fairly busy, with one being all strikers, the Italian IBM sim, and the other with quite a few strikers was named, I believe, IBM 101, but the Business center, which included some employees as well as some strikers, wasn’t as busy, but it sure looked a lot better. ;)

IBM Logo

While I was there, there were probably a total of 40, maybe 50 strikers, so the turnout while I was there was not huge, but I haven’t checked any other blogs to see if there were busier times that I missed.

Here are some pics from the Italian section of IBM’s complex.

IBM Italian Workers Strike

IBM Italian Workers Strike 2
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IBM Strike Time and Place Set

September 26th, 2007 | Category: IBM, RL Meets SL, Strike

The strike by the IBM workers in Italy will take place in Second Life tomorrow, September 27th, 2007 starting at 9am and lasting until 9pm, UK time, which, I believe is 4am until 4pm in the eastern time zone. Not sure if I will be able to make that time frame, but I will try to check it out for sure. The protest starting point is here, from there you can put on your t-shirt and grab a sign and teleport straight to the strike sites. From the UNI global union website,

To join the protest on the 27th, follow these 5 steps:

Start Second Life on your computer and go to our Central Platform here: or go to UNI’s house on Commonwealth island and click on the blue spherical Teleport button to Teleport to the Central Platform.
Put your IBM Protest Kit on (t-shirt and one sign or one fish that you can alternate during the protest) - if you don’t have one yet, you’ll find free kits at the Central Platform or at UNI’s house. Please contact if you need help.
You are ready! Now click on one of the Teleport buttons on the Central Platform to automatically Teleport to IBM islands in Second Life or other protest locations.
You will meet our staff who will greet you at each location.
The Teleport will not work if there are too many people in at the same time, or if IBM has shut down their islands to stop us from protesting. If your Teleport doesn’t work, come back to the Central Platform and try another location.
On location, you will see our staff wearing very big white banners. Read the instructions on their banners, meet other people and have fun!
When you’re done, you can go back to the Central Platform to protest in other areas! Just hit the Teleport buttons!
Thank you ever so much, on behalf of all IBM Italy workers! Your support means a lot to each and every one of them. Let’s hope this First Virtual Protest brings us positive results!
Source: IBM Protest in Second Life to take place 27th September 2007

They say they will have IBM workers from 18 countries participating, which, if true, will surely make for some slow IBM islands, and some people may not even be able to get there as there is a limit on how many avatars a sim can support, but they will have multiple strike areas you can teleport to. You can follow the events on their website here.

Second Life URL.

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More on the Second Life Strike at IBM

September 18th, 2007 | Category: IBM, RL Meets SL, Strike

We posted earlier how the Italian workers for IBM were planning a strike in Second Life to protest the fact that they asked for more wages and IBM said no and actually took away more money, 1,000 euros or about $1300 dollars. New World Notes has an article on it today, and he actually got some interviews from the parties involved.

John Wood of Tigmoo, a blog network for UK labor unions says,

“An Italian labor union RSU is in dispute with IBM– pay negotiations there look like there will be an effective pay cut for very many Italian IBM staffers,” he e-mails me. “The union is expecting hundreds of avatars of Italian IBM workers, as well as IBM staff from around the world, and other trades unionists, to converge flash-mob style later this month, to demonstrate and spread the word about the dispute.”

A Uni Global SL representative, UNIglobalunion Oh, had this to say,

Are you planning to protest on the IBM campus?

UO: Yes we are planning to be present on the IBM sim. But if they throw us out we have other alternatives for our virtual strike!

How many actual IBM employees are expected at the protest, and how many who already work at their SL campus?

UO: It’s hard to predict how many IBM employees will join as most of them have given us their private email addresses to join the strike. A few of them have given IBM addresses, which has just allowed us to confirm the participation of IBM workers in a number of different countries. Indeed, we are expecting 18 countries to participate in the strike– at least. I’m not sure any of them work on the IBM [Second Life] campus! It seems for now we are fighting issues in real life for IBM Italy workers… I’m not sure IBM would appreciate SL workers joining the strike. Yet, they are more than welcome to go on strike with us!

Why is protesting in SL the most effective means of pushing this issue forward?

UO: Protesting in SL is ONE of the means of pushing the issue forward. We need dialog with IBM and a better deal for the thousands of employees in Italy. One of the ways of getting there might be to catch their attention - and the media’s attention - with our planned SL actions. Source: Avatar-based workers unite? Labor union protest against IBM to enter Second Life (Updated)

Now, when I visited their site in Second Life, I was under the impression that it was starting on the 17th of September and running until the 30th, on the New World Notes sites, it says the strike is starting on the 25th and will be held on the IBM campus in Second Life. Here is a response from Jo Grant, avatar Jaymin Carthage, from IBM, who said he knows nothing of the situation is only commenting on what could and should happen in the SL strike.

Humor aside, from a purely technical perspective it is possible to ban or eject people whose presence you don’t wish. But this is not always the right decision. In some circumstances it’s clearly harassment. For example in the French election fracas of a few months ago the protests spread well beyond the lands of the people involved and neighbors had to put up with flying pig bombs. But in the case of an IBM Labor union protesting on IBM land… there is some relevance.

The strict approach would be to exercise full property rights and eject or ban anyone that is not considered beneficial to supporting your business. Your sim costs you money and you expect to get a return on it. Allowing it to be a venue directly against what you consider to be company interests erodes that return and should be acted against. The down side of this approach is that once you start where do you stop? If someone is wearing a competitor’s shirt is that worth ejecting? Who is going to monitor?

The lax approach is to say that if your land is public, that anyone has the right to be there, as long as they follow the same rules you apply to the public. IBM does not allows selling of items or weapons on its land. So with this approach as long as the protesters weren’t armed they would be OK. The problem is that things can get to the point where it is hard to achieve the ends you set up your build for if this is taken to extremes. If these protesters wanted to stage a sit in and bombard all visitors there for weeks on end, that would interfere with the business IBM is trying to conduct there.

In the specific case of the Italian labor union, if it was my choice, I would treat it like a real world protest. I would meet with the leaders (to discuss their protest, not their grievance, that is presumably being taken care of elsewhere). If they were willing to have a non-harassing protest of a set duration I would cooperate with them in having it done. Perhaps providing a company spokesperson in a set location that people witnessing the demonstration could converse with to get the company view on things. Once over it would be business as usual. Not leaflets left by either the company or the protesters giving their views. Source: Political Demonstrations in Second Life

And here is an article from the AFL-CIO Now Blog,

The real world and the cyberworld are coming together to help IBM workers gain a decent contract.

The IBM workers will go on strike in Second Life this month. UNI and the Communications Workers of America, through its Alliance@IBM, are asking all union supporters to join the Italian workers online by joining Second Life and downloading a strike kit. You can do both by clicking here. Source: IBM Employees Go on Strike Online. You Can Join Them

It certainly will be interesting to see how IBM handles this situation, and if I can be, I will be there to check it out. Be sure to get the strike kit and get the free t-shirts, I like this one myself, if nothing else, your avatar can sleep in it. ;)

IBM Union Strike t-shirt

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IBM Union Strike in Second Life

September 15th, 2007 | Category: IBM, Strike, Unions

The strike by IBM’s Italian employees is only two days away, so I thought I would check out what they have available for people to use to walk the virtual picket line. They have a complete strike kit available that includes three signs with slogans like “We will not let go until the contract is signed”, “We demand the signing of the contract in Second Life”, “Their profits rise and our performance bonus is sacrificed”, “We deserve our performance bonus agreement”, “IBM unilaterally trashes its agreements with the union”, and “They slash 1000 from our income”. They also have floating fish that float over top of your avatar with similar slogans. They are serious about this strike, it will be taking place from September 17th until September 30th.

They also have a couple free t-shirts, one for the union and one with a strike slogan on it. If nothing else, they are souvenirs of the first strike held in Second Life.

IBM Union Strike t-shirt

During the talks to renew IBM’s Italian internal collective agreement, the works council, supported by the majority of IBM Italy employees, asked for a small salary increase. IBM responded by cancelling their “productive results benefit”, resulting in a loss of €1000 per year for each employee. For a company that wants to lead in corporate social responsibility, this is unacceptable.

RSU (Rappresentenza Sindacale Unitaria) decided to organize the first virtual strike ever in Second Life with the help of UNI (Union Network International). It is time for IBM, a company with one of the highest profits, to share some of the fruits with its workforce. Source: IBM Union Strike

Union Network International

If you feel like joining in and helping them out, you can register here, if you are new to Second Life, they even give you a few tips on how to get around, how to walk, teleport, find stuff on the map, etc. I haven’t been able to find out the strike location on their site yet, so I figure they will be emailing the final location out to the mailing list.

Union Network International

Here are the Strike Kit Instructions, after the break.
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Want to Join a Virtual Picket Line?

August 24th, 2007 | Category: IBM, Strike

IBM could be facing a strike in September, but not in real life, in Second Life. Apparently the Rappresentanza Sindacale Unitaria IBM Vimercate, or RSU, the trade union that represents the 9,000 IBM workers in Italy, is planning on striking IBM in SL, and they want as many avatars there as possible.

A statement sent to The Register by the RSU sets out the reasons for the industrial action as follows:

It seems that the reasons for this first virtual strike are related to the renew of the internal agreement. While IBM is one of the company with major profits, its employees are receiving very few fruits of this big mountain of money.
The internal climate is below all the IT industries (taking advantages for the famous IBM’s competitor: HP), and the drop that overflowed the glass is the long and inconclusive negotiation for the internal agreement. While the works council, supported by the majority of IBM Italy employees, was asking for a small salary increase, IBM responded with the complete suppression of the “productive results benefit”, with a loss for a single employee of €1000 per year. For a company that wants to lead the corporate social responsibility, this is really too much. Source: IBM faces Second Life strike

This could be interesting, I know I’m going to show up just to see what happens when you get employees, employers, random avatars and you know some griefers will show up, all mixed together. I will post a Second Life URL to the planned location when I find it.

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