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Unity, Not Unionization: An Update Featured

Unity, Not Unionization: An Update krakenimages

Unity in the service of truth is just, while unionization without the means to do justice is a painful truth. Or, the good technology nonprofits pursue, from teaching students how to code to adopting a code of conduct, from joining communities together online to mentoring individuals offline, is a reward of inestimable value. This reward is a profit—a social good—exclusive to nonprofits, bettering the least among us by eliciting the best from some of the greatest among us. But, to repeat the point of my previous column, what the Nonprofit Professional Employees Union (NPEU) and the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) want is not what most nonprofits need.

Because the technology industry is the earliest of early adopters, because the industry influences politics, laws, language, history, culture, commerce, and tradition, what happens to technology nonprofits is a harbinger of what may happen to nonprofits in general.

If the rewards of working for nonprofits cease to exist, if the work is no longer rewarding because the opportunity to work is no longer available, if nonprofits avail themselves of their legal rights instead, and exhaust their savings in the process, everyone—including the NPEU and OPEIU—loses.

What good is a nonprofit that is organized but obsolete, or unionized but unable to operate?

For the good of compromise, the agreement workers strike with nonprofits is the one nonprofits forge with donors: to accept a mission—to further a mission—with the understanding that, though for-profit businesses pay more, nonprofits have the potential to do more; to improve the world; to repair the world; to make gentle the life of this world.

The world has a wealth of for-profit businesses, of very profitable businesses in the technology industry alone, but the world gains nothing if nonprofits lose everything.

Would Silicon Valley be more responsible or transparent without nonprofits?

Would Wall Street be more ethical without nonprofits?

Would Washington, DC be more accessible without nonprofits?

By focusing their attention on workers who should unionize, rather than workers who have a moral union of their own, the NPEU and OPEIU can advance the cause of humanity—in every for-profit industry.

Attention of this kind is necessary and right, as it honors workers who deserve higher pay, better benefits, and safer working conditions.

Attention of this kind is, in the final analysis, an act of kindness, for attention must be paid to such persons.

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