Devinatz said it's difficult to know what might spur efforts at "pre-union formation," or initial steps toward a union, by software workers. An increase in offshore outsourcing is one. High-tech workers might be influenced by efforts in other professions.
For instance, as more physicians are no longer self-employed, the America Medical Association is supporting unionization for doctors.
In explaining why unions might be interested in organizing doctors, David Leffell, a physician and professor at the Yale School of Medicine, noted in a Wall Street Journal op-ed, that "doctors essentially provide a service, one that cannot be outsourced to India or China."
For unions to get off the ground with software workers, Devinatz said, "They have to believe that collective action would be possible vehicle to get the kinds of things that they want and that they deserve."
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