Fastmail Lays Off 60% of their Union's Bargaining Unit

Linking to a Reddit thread that links to Mastodon. My journalistic integrity is not great, but I found this interesting.

https://www.reddit.com/r/fastmail/comments/1do3ede/fastmail_just_lays_off_60_of_their_unions/

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Thanks for sharing. Direct linking to the Mastodon post:

Woof. Not good news. I wonder if Fastmail will respond/explain publicly…

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This seems extremely disheartening.

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I joined FM about 18 months ago. It works well. My only “groan” comes annually when the bill arrives, but other than that I’m happy.

This news puts the thought of switching in my mind but
a) to what?
b) I can only imagine my friends/family’s reactions when they find out I changed my email address again.

Holding tight for now.

May be Apple Mail on your domain?

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A good thought. I’d forgotten about Apple Mail’s domain support. IIRC, it’s limited but it exists.

Maybe time to dredge up the wiki thread I tried to make a while back:

Proton is noticeably missing from that list.

I’m not sure this is enough to make me seek a new email service (I’d certainly like to see if the company has an explanation or response before jumping ship), but it’s broken my view that Fastmail was one of the virtuous ones…

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The ‘proper’ way to handle this is to own your domain and set up your email addresses with it. If you need to change services—for whatever reason—your email address stays the same, and you can relatively easily and quickly migrate if needed.

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…especially if you’re already paying for an email service that includes the ability to use your own domain.

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I would like to see the explanation from Fastmail, just for completeness. I would also like to know how many employees total, out of how many, were laid off. The headline makes it look like a surgical strike against Fastmail’s union’s bargaining group. I’m sure the percentage is true - but it may or may not be a fair characterization of the whole scenario.

That said, that Mastodon thread includes an email purportedly received from Fastmail talking about how they were moving all operations to Australia for efficiency purposes - so it’s possible that the information will be forthcoming.

And that brings up one more question. Doesn’t Australia already have many of the labor protections that US unions typically advocate for?

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Protections, certainly some of them. Collective bargaining for pay rates, no.

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Moving operations to another country doesn’t necessarily mean moving jobs. People working for a web based company could live anywhere.

This reply on Mastodon might be the best we get in that respect?

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Yikes. If people are looking for an alternative, the iCloud Mail with custom domains has been working great for me for the past few years.

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This quote stands out for me, “We are committed to ongoing negotiations with the Philadelphia union members and are actively hiring for a new operations team member, which will be a union role.”

At face value it doesn’t appear to be a union busting tactic, but time will tell.

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The screenshot of the email specifically mentions time zone issues making collaboration a problem, and strongly implies that they’re centralizing staff at their HQ in Melbourne. The US will still have support staff, but nothing else.

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I moved from Fastmail to iCloud+ custom domains a few years ago. It works great, but my needs are simple. I have two custom domains set up with a few aliases. They act as aliases - you can receive and send from the custom domain but all email shows up in your iCloud inbox. You can’t have seperate inboxes.

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LOL. This assumes you come up with a good domain and address first time. I’m on my third or fourth. I’ve lost track.

I just moved to Fastmail at the start of June, finally ditching Google after many, many years. Fastmail’s product is fantastic.

Also… running away from Fastmail, based on an unclear situation, for a company (Apple) that is known to be combative to unions… might not be the altruistic move. Think twice about your values before opting for iCloud mail.

Yes, Australia is a civilised nation. (Not as civilised as New Zealand, of course. :wink: )

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This is a good point. I am by default rooting for those employees and am a general supporter of collective bargaining, but at the end of the day I do also have services from multiple corporations none of them seem to be specially friends with the unions. Amazon, Apple, the banks, the phone company, the grocery chain…

With email one can opt to resort to self-hosting but not something I would generaly recommend.

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There is another possibility. I’m not suggesting that’s what is going on here at all. In fact, given the number of people involved I’d even say improbable; but…

There are sometimes small groups (which isn’t exactly what we’re dealing with here, hence - unlikely) of people within workplaces who make things difficult. They don’t show up on time, they leave early, they are difficult to deal with, and they are always in a state of taking some kind of action against the company, for something, no matter what.

Whenever I see stories like this I sometimes wonder if the small clique(s) of difficult people got together and made lives impossible for the rest of the office. It’s sometimes easier just to try and remove the “bad bits” without explicitly saying so.

Again, not suggesting that’s what’s going on here, but a good reminder that not everything is always as cut and dry as it seems.

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+1


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