ABSTRACT

Veteran Indian labor organizer, Elvee Subramaniam, remarked during an interview that the economic downturn following the 2007 fi nancial crisis might in fact precipitate labor mobilization in India’s call centers and information technology workplaces. Subramaniam drew from his experience as a leader in the eff orts to unionize the country’s banks, a process that had a positive transformative eff ect on the conditions of work. It also propelled India’s trade union movement by adding hundreds of thousands of new professional workers to the union movement. Thus far, his prediction has not materialized as anticipated. However, over 20,000 workers did join India’s sole IT-ITES trade union, UNITES, between 2005 and 2010. But the story of UNITES, and other experiments at collective organizing in India’s fl agship sector, is one of a rise and ultimate decline. Chapter 5 examines the leading labor organizations that have made overtures at organizing employees in IT-ITES, namely the Union for ITES Professionals (UNITES), the IT Professionals Forum (ITPF), and the Young Professionals Collective (YPC).