Meetup.com: A new labor organizing tool?
Remember Meetup.com? That was the web service that so famously launched the Dean campaign's people-powered movement into the consciousness of the mainstream media - on the day that 500 people showed up at a bar in New York to see some no-name Governor from Vermont.
Well, Meetup never went away. There are now 1.7 million people signed up for the service, and they're gathering to schmooze and share about all kinds of things - most of them very apolitical. (Harleys, Barbies, golden retrievers...)
But, in Bangalore, India, there's a handful of software programmers who are fed up with working conditions. This from Fortune Magazine:
In several Meetup groups in Bangalore, India, of which there are now 100, [Meetup CEO Scott Heiferman] says that software programmers are working together to improve their working conditions—it’s a nascent move toward collective bargaining. “When people get together, they see what they have in common and talk often turns to 'how do we make things better?’" Heiferman says. "These are like the new unions.”
Here at home, could Meetup.com become a new labor organizing tool? With companies like Wal-Mart summarily closing down shops and firing workers that begin to think union, could Meetup become a safe venue to bring workers together? Sure, Wal-Mart could show up too, but the Meetups wouldn't have to be explicitly about union organizing. Just getting folks talking about a collective vision for better working conditions would go a long way...
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