Just a quick pointer to The Association of Professional Engineers, Scientists and Managers, Australia. Andrew’s father (a civil engineer) first pointed this out to him. It calls itself a non-profit organisation representing professional employees, but essentially it performs the functions that IT people most seem to want from a union:

  • professional advice on employment contracts, including intellectual property agreements and restraint clauses; and
  • subsequent advice in the event of disputes or confusion over said contracts.

You can also, apparently, get a whole bunch of research into stuff like average salaries in your field, broken down quite finely by level of responsibility. So called IT professionals fall under their umbrella. Membership is tax deductible.

I have no idea how much work they’ve done with Free Software related contract issues. My guess would be not much, but I haven’t actually asked.

And no, I’m not a member (although I’m considering becoming a post-graduate student member, but the considering will probably take a while). I just thought it would be a useful heads-up to the sundry people I hear occasionally wishing that there was some kind of union-esque service for hacking folk.