RMS created non-safe spaces at both MIT & the FSF. When I was at the FSF, RMS had little to no empathy for the staff. The FSF was not a healthy, functional workplace. We formed a union to help protect ourselves from RMS — he controlled our pay, benefits, and workplace conditions.
Everything was controlled by RMS — not the executive director, and not the board. The union helped turn FSF employment into what most people think of as a "normal" office job. It didn't fix everything. Some of the issues that we did fix:
RMS did not believe in providing raises — prior cost of living adjustments were a battle and not annual. RMS believed that if a precedent was created for increasing wages, the logical conclusion would be that employees would be paid infinity dollars and the FSF would go bankrupt.
RMS did not believe in providing bereavement leave. What if all your close friends and family die one after another? It's conceivable you would be gone from the office for days, or weeks, if not months. What if you lie about who is dying?
RMS would often throw tantrums and threaten to fire employees for perceived infractions. FSF staff had to show up to work each day, not knowing if RMS had eliminated their position the night before.
Respectively, the union provided a formula for allocating a portion of any budget surplus to COLAs and wage increases, bereavement leave, and progressive discipline for workers, ensuring that union employees could not be fired at RMS' whim.
RMS has not apologized for the harm he's caused. Both MIT & the FSF successfully separated themselves from RMS in 2019. Why did the secret group of voting FSF members reelect him to the board? Why.

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More from @paulnivin

23 Mar
I worked at the FSF for 3 years and volunteered for over 6 years — that ended in 2004. I witnessed misogyny, sexual objectification, and abuse carried out by RMS. I banded together with my coworkers, formed a union, negotiated a contract, and was elected shop steward.
While RMS started the free software movement and the GNU GPL was a groundbreaking document, the community still has a right to hold him to account for his abhorrent actions and harmful speech. RMS should not be part of the FSF.
The movement has grown larger than one person. We need leaders that are inclusive and treat all humans with the respect and dignity that they deserve. I cannot support a Free Software Foundation that enables RMS.
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