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The Practice Management Knowledge Community (PMKC) identifies and develops information on the business of architecture for use by the profession to maintain and improve the quality of the professional and business environment.  The PMKC initiates programs, provides content and serves as a resource to other knowledge communities, and acts as experts on AIA Institute programs and policies that pertain to a wide variety of business practices and trends.

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  • 1.  Unions?

    Posted 10-24-2022 07:45 PM
    You may have seen the recent news about the staff at a small/mid-size architecture firm in NYC forming a union.   At the same time, SHoP dropped their unionization efforts, though apparently that may have inspired Bernheimer's conversion.
    I know there are some who have promoted this for the entire 30+ years I have been an architect - and many who opposed. It certainly seems that nationally (beyond architecture) we are at a pro-union pivot point. What are your thoughts on the pros, cons, and future direction? Does anyone have insight into the particulars of what made this smallish firm the right time and place for this inflection point? Does unionization in your view in any way inhibit internal advancement or firm ownership transition by setting up an us-them dynamic?

    Scott Knudson AIA
    Knu Design, LLC
    Boyds MD
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  • 2.  RE: Unions?

    Posted 10-26-2022 10:11 PM
    I’ve been retired for some time, but this topic has always held some degree of intrigue for me. I spent 80% of my career working in a large, design-build firm that used union construction workers on all of our projects. Yet we had no unions on the engineering side. It was discussed and batted around by the employees, but we never seemed inclined to move in that direction. Probably because we were fairly compensated with good benefits and significant promotion opportunities that may have been stifled by union membership. Many of the professionals who joined the firm when I did moved quickly into management as the firm grew and prospered during the 80’s and early 90’s. Those advancements may not have been that rapid had the shop been unionized. It would have been more complicated, for sure. Today, the work environment is far different than when I was coming up in the profession. The staffing is different, the opportunities and career paths are different. I’m sure the perspectives of today’s young professionals are very different than when I was starting out. I’m still of the opinion that, in an environment that encourages growth into professional management and associate/partnership opportunities, union affiliation may create road blocks to advancement.

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  • 3.  RE: Unions?

    Posted 10-27-2022 05:39 PM
    We  all know that "some firms" are problematic as far as salaries, overtime etc. See link to article below from my Alma Mater. When I started working in 1984 I inquired about working with a famous architect in my city. Work for free in competitions with the promise of naming credits, low salary, excessive overtime you know the rest. I walked away and looked for a corporate job. I never worked overtime and was content with my salary and my progress within the firm.  I do think that if it was put out as a vote I would vote yes to Union. Cheers

    SCI-Arc Faces a Reckoning Amid Allegations of Faculty Misconduct
    Architecturalrecord remove preview
    SCI-Arc Faces a Reckoning Amid Allegations of Faculty Misconduct
    As the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary at the end of the month, the prestigious school has become embroiled in one of the largest crises in its brief history.
    View this on Architecturalrecord >

    Guillermo Monter AIA
    Klawiter & Associates
    Santa Monica CA

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