I guess it was only a matter of time after Second Life began to generate real life money and host real businesses.... Evidently IBM and an Italian workers have a labor dispute, and it's spilling over into Second Life. Here is a snip from the Philadelphia Inquirer business blog about it. Link through the title to this post to see the entire posting at Philly Inc.
Their union, Rappresentenza[sic] Sindacale Unitaria, in conjunction with Union Network International, is sponsoring the first-ever, they say, online strike, asking avatar workers around the world to go picket IBM's Second Life online presense. Read more about it here
Follow the link for Rappresentanza Sindacale Unitaria to see their website which includes notes (in Italian, but hey! scroll down and see it in English) on their strike, which was due to start on Sept. 12. They offered tutorials in using Second Life to get more people to get online and show solidarity with their striking avatars. The Union Network offers a way to sign up for the strike and lots of links to media coverage. The AFL-CIO website also has ways to support the Italian union. According to the (admittedly biased) AFL-CIO website the basis of the strike is this:
During talks to renew IBM’s contract with its Italian workers, the employees who have to feed families and pay house notes asked for a small raise. IBM responded by canceling their “productive results benefit”—a productivity bonus—in effect cutting every worker’s pay by 1,000 euros or about $1,377 a year.
The British paper, The Register offers a brief story about possible griefing at the IBM location on Second Life.