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Do Bloggers Need To Unionize?

There have always been pro-union people and anti-union people, and you can usually guess who’s what depending on their individual caste. In this case, though it carries with it the same arguments, it will have to be decided first if an industry has emerged from nebulous existence and into a viable, thriving industry.

The burning question: Is there a need for a blogger’s labor union?

And your first thought, like mine, is quite likely, “huh?”

Labor unions are for steel workers and teachers, underpaid, over-skilled and overworked, who need collective bargaining power just to avoid a return to the 19th Century sweat-shop economy – that, and the ability to feed their kids.

(Note: I chose steel workers and teachers as examples only because the two make up about two-thirds of my own family. So that means, in general, I am pro-union, and by default, pro-American-made automobile.)

In the past two years, blogging, as a profession, has grown from geeky obscurity into a direct challenge to the journalism industry, even with bloggers’ reputation for being unruly, unvetted, grammatically and syntactically insufficient, and above all, a disorganized mess.

But that is sort of what (okay, completely what) made the medium so appealing. They answered to no one and therefore were accountable to no one; the individualist, populist, no-truth-barred approach both what propelled it and what held it back. Abused, sometimes inaccurate, sometimes out and out wrong, but for the most part, a development for the greater good, for freedom of speech, for information exchange, for the free market of ideas.

But organized? Isn’t that a kind of bloggers’ code sacrilege? Wouldn’t this be the same disorganized collective that railed against the idea of a Blogger’s Code of Conduct?

Don’t answer that. It’s too restrictive. Bloggers are all creeds, all different kinds of people.

So back to the real question:

With whom are bloggers bargaining, and why is there a need for them to bargain collectively?

The winning answer to that is blog publishers and blog network owners, who pay on a percentage basis rather than a per-post basis. Entrants to the “profession,” and yes we must call it that now, claim to make pennies for hours of work, without health insurance and other benefits afforded to other workers.

I’m not taking sides here, just stating the crux of the matter. The issue was billed as a “liberal” movement, as you might imagine, as no business-minded, robber-baron conservative type would support unionization. I might have taken a side there, though. Again, I am generally pro-union, as it seems to me it’s either that or indentured servitude and tenant farming.

About the Author:
Jason Lee Miller is a WebProNews editor and writer covering business and technology.

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