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Cinemassively: Virtual strike of IBM by employees yields real results

Moo Money

I came across a video today that didn't blow me away technically. The aspect ratio changes throughout, the UI is on, and it might have been edited in Windows Movie Maker. However, I couldn't take my eyes off of this video because it made a difference.

In September 2007, Second Life Insider blogged that Italian IBM workers were using Second Life to protest a proposed pay cut. Little was known about the strike at the time, except that those interested should download a strike kit and carry on peacefully on their own time. In a video released yesterday in multiple languages, they explain what went on, why they did it, and what the results were.

Read on for more details about the strike ...

During agreement discussions at IBM, the Italian Works Council asked for a €60 salary increase per employee. IBM responded by cancelling a union agreement, decreasing pay by €1000 annually. This affected 5,000+ employees.

In response to the pay cut, Italian IBM workers took to the internet, organizing a protest in SL. They created an international taskforce in one week's time. Then they spent 20 days and nights planning the peaceful strike.

They prepared strike kits in three languages and trained participants. They also arranged a meeting point for avatars to teleport over to IBM's sims. With only 24 hours notice of the strike, the protesters were ready.

Over 1800 employees and residents joined in on the strike. IBM shut down at least one of their sims in response. They were undeterred, though, and posted their results frequently on their protest blog.

In the end, the man responsible for the pay cut resigned, talks resumed, and the performance bonuses were granted. The protest even ended up being chosen as one of the 100 web initiatives of 2007. More importantly, they made a difference in both real life and Second Life.

To see more about the protest, please visit their IBM Strike History Museum in-world.

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