“ In the late ’70s and early ’80s the United Electrical Workers had recruited 600 workers at Silicon Valley’s largest contract manufacturer. That CM now has its HQ in Singapore. In the ’90s most of the hardware end of high tech in the Bay Area was offshored to Asia. This was motivated by two things: 1. Unions like UE beginning to make inroads in the hardware end, 2. cities in Silicon Valley passing all kinds of health & safety restraints after it came out that the electronic manufacturers had poisoned Silicon Valley’s groundwater.
What remains in the Bay Area, and probably other areas of USA, is the programming, design, marketing, maintenance and servicing end of the high tech sector. The companies in this area hire large numbers of people with college educations. They depend on the engineers and support staff because they carry the technology around in their heads. So the companies are motivated to pay them high salaries and fairly generous benefit systems — private welfare states. That’s part of the union avoidance strategy.”