In terms of the white-collar employees of Silicon Valley, their lack of labor unions is to be expected. Because their wages are comparatively higher, white collar professionals are historically less likely to see themselves as part of an oppressed class of laborers whose work makes money for wealthy CEOs and investors - even if this is technically true. John and Barbara Ehrenreich [...] coined the term 'professional-managerial class' to describe the class of employees who, though performing the same kind of wage-labor, feel a kinship with the rich owners, bosses and managers rather with than [sic] the blue-collar class more likely to be performing manual labor. 'Historically, the [Professional-Managerial Class] have designed and managed capital's systems of social control, oftentimes treating working-class people with a mixture of paternalism and hostility,' they write. [...]
There are many historical examples of professional-managerial class workers at tech companies who were left behind during boom times, while those at the top got rich. One of Apple's earliest employees, Daniel Kottke, was Steve Jobs' 'soul mate' in college, and shared a house with him in the early Apple days. Kottke had worked for Apple when it was still based in a garage. Yet because he was an hourly employee, he was never granted stock options. Prior to Apple's IPO, Kottke pled with Jobs on this topic - Jobs could have very easily granted him 'founder's stock' - but Jobs refused to do anything for his friend. A fellow engineer, Rod Holt, saw the writing on the wall for Kottke and went to Jobs' office to press him on the issue. As Jobs biographer Walter Isaacson documents:
'We have to do something for your buddy Daniel,' [Holt] said, and he suggested they each give him some of their own options. 'Whatever you give him, I will match it,' said Holt. Replied Jobs, 'Okay. I will give him zero.'
Kottke's labor was important in building the company's fortune, though he was one of many left behind. If he had any inclinations that his interests and his former best friend (now boss)'s interests were aligned, his experience with Jobs likely dissuaded him of this notion.
cite this for my book? some more stuff follows on what life was like for early employees at Apple (Doug Menuez reports): Michael Tchao, Ko Isono (who committed suicide)