Friday, December 26, 2014

About the second collective bargaining meeting

During our second collective bargaining meeting we basically recorded all the questions Lionbridge had about the draft contract we had submitted. If you want a copy of this initial draft, just email us. A date for the next meeting has not been scheduled yet. It should be sometime in early January.
We'll keep you posted. While deeply frustrated by the lack of paid holidays we wish you all the best during this holiday period and for the new year.

Sharing a message from Momsrising.org


Dear All,
My name is Desiree Rosado, and I’m writing to say thank you for the precious gift of paid sick days.

Let me explain. 
A few years ago, all three of my children got sick with the nasty H1N1 flu. I ended up missing several weeks of work to care for them. I got no sick pay and my husband and I slipped deeper into debt. It took us years to dig out. 
No parent should have to choose between caring for a seriously ill child and a paycheck or a job.
With the help of MomsRising, I shared my story with Connecticut lawmakers. Soon after, Connecticut passed the nation’s first statewide earned paid sick day law. It’s made an enormous difference to me and to many families in Connecticut.
Without a doubt this victory began with a gift from someone like you.

The good news is that a movement for paid sick days is sweeping the nation and in 2014 alone, two states and ten cities passed paid sick days bills – that's more than all the measures that passed from 2006 to 2013 COMBINED!

Because of this impressive streak of wins for paid sick days, more and more members of Congress are signing on to co-sponsor The Healthy Families Act, a bill that would expand access to paid sick days nationwide.
This momentum is needed. Right now, ridiculously, nationwide, 80% of low-wage workers don't have access to a single paid sick day. This is despite the fact that having access to paid sick days is proven to save funds and is a basic workplace protection in most other nations.

Momsrising won't stop until EVERYONE has the ability to earn paid sick days.
MomsRising knows what it takes to mobilize and win. With your support, we'll bring forward the voices of families to let every member of Congress know: We are watching you, and we expect you to stand up for paid sick days for our families.

Thanks for all you do.

Sincerely,

Desiree Rosado

Mom to Bella, Alicia and David
MomsRising volunteer


PS: Momsrising's headquarter is based in... Bellevue: 12011 Bel-Red Road – Suite 206, Bellevue, WA 98005. Ask them to support or demands for paid sick leave! Ask them to email Lionbridge and Microsoft so that every employee working for Microsoft has access to paid sick days.
 

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Second collective bargaining meeting: Thursday December 18

The second collective bargaining meeting will take place on Thursday December 18 in Bellevue.
Please send us your demands asap.

Friday, November 14, 2014

First collective bargaining meeting

We had our first collective bargaining meeting with Lionbridge this afternoon: four representatives of Temporary Workers of America and four Lionbridge's representatives. We expressed our demands for compensation increases and benefits.
Lionbridge asked what numbers we had in mind and we said we had to ask you what your precise demands were.
Not everybody is in the exact same situation so we would like to hear from each of you individually about your quantified wishes for salary raises, and various benefits: how many paid leave days, how many paid legal holidays, how many paid sick days, how many paid parental leave days or if they were all bundled together (except for the legal holidays) how many paid time off days.
Thank you in advance.

Monday, November 3, 2014

First collective bargaining meeting

The first collective bargaining meeting is scheduled for Thursday November 13.
Please let us know of your suggestions and demands.
temporaryworkersofamerica at gmail.com

Thursday, October 30, 2014

An 'inadvertent clerical error'

Lionbridge informed us yesterday that because of an 'inadvertent clerical error' we were sent a document that contained confidential information that the Union had not requested.
We were unaware it was there as there had been no such information in the previous similar  documents we had received.
As soon as this was confirmed we asked the people who usually receive updates from our part to immediately delete the questionable file and confirm to us this had been done.
We understand this has caused and understandably a certain amount of concern for our co-workers.
All our apologies for the stress caused by Lionbridge's 'inadvertent clerical error' that we hope will remain harmless.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

About the move and Thanksgiving

The concern is aggravated by Thanksgiving taking place the next Thursday and Microsoft closing for the Friday after Thanksgiving. That's 3 days without pay in a short period of time.
You asked me what the Union can do.
As your representative the Union can ask Lionbridge to negotiate about any event impacting our working conditions and those decisions certainly do.
Therefore, if that's what you want I can file a formal request to ask Lionbridge to negotiate about that, suggesting alternatives, like another date for the move, that we get paid, that they offer overtime paid overtime, etc. 

It does not mean Lionbridge will agree to anything but we'll have expressed our concerns and maybe Microsoft will also notice. 
After all I hope they don't want an unhappy workforce and they could also make an effort as they did once when they paid us while keeping us home because there was no work. 
OK that was when the team was very small and it did not last but as Satya Nadella got himself a $3.6 million cash bonus,maybe we could also get a bonus for all our good work all those years? Like getting paid for those 3 days where we cannot work.
What do you think?
What do you want?
Let me know.
Take care
Ph

PS: I had also been asked where we were with the incorporation of the Union. I had told it was pending. I just received this afternoon the certificate from the Secretary of State (see picture on the previous post).
PPS: as for Lionbridge's executives they bought back $2.9 million of stock so they are not doing poorly either.





Temporary Workers of America is incorporated


Saturday, October 18, 2014

Lionbridge's answer to our request for information

Find below the text of the e-mail I received from Jeanne Schreuder in answer to our request.
She included in an attachment a list of all the lab's Tier1s employees (or considered as such) with their date of hiring, classification and hourly pay rate.
For those of you who are Lionbridge Tier1s who have not contacted the union and would be interested to receive this document, send us an e-mail with your name: we'll send you the confidentiality agreement for you to approve and then email you this document.
Our e-mail is temporaryworkersofamerica at gmail.com
Have a good week-end

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Information request for the purpose of collective bargaining and scheduling of first meeting

Find below the e-mail sent Tuesday October 7th to Jeanne Schreuder, Vice President Human Resources for Lionbridge.

To the attention of Jeanne Schreuder
Vice President 
Human Resources
Lionbridge Technologies

From Philippe Boucher
Temporary Workers of America

Dear Jeanne,


In order to prepare for negotiations, the union hereby requests the following information to be provided by Friday october 17.

A list of current Tier1 employees with their date of hire, job classification, languages spoken, rate of pay and evolution of this rate if applicable

The rate paid by Microsoft for those employees

The number of days and dates of unpaid time off taken by each employee year by year since their hire

The number of hours paid overtime for each employee, year by year since their hire

As for scheduling our first bargaining meeting we propose Friday October 24th from 3.30 to 5.30, Monday 27 or Wednesday29 (same hours).

We propose using a conference room of the downtown Seattle Public Library, 1000 Fourth Avenue, that can be used for a $50 fee.

Sincerely yours,

Philippe Boucher
Temporary Workers of America
Collective Bargaining Representative of the Lionbridge Technologies Tier1 employees in the WSCC Lab

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Coincidence

Surfing the web this morning to find some additional information about paid parental leave I find this 2011 report by Human Rights Watch and this just published post by Secretary of Labor Tom Perez (reposted below). Can something be done at the Lionbridge/Microsoft level? I have a few ideas. What about you?

Monday, September 29, 2014

Microsoft Changes Temp Benefits (April 3d 1999)


Below is a copy of an article published in the Seattle Times on April 3d 1999

It seems that some agencies, contrary to Lionbridge, are still providing today benefits similar to those required in 1999. 

If you know of such agencies presently working for Microsoft, please let us know.

Microsoft Changes Temp Benefits -- Workers Will Be Able To Choose Employment Agency

By Keith Ervin
Seattle Times Eastside Business Reporter
April 3rd 1999
Responding to the complaints of temporary workers, Microsoft is changing its contracts with employment agencies to improve benefits and give workers a choice of agencies.
About 6,000 temps were informed by the agencies yesterday of changes in Microsoft's contracting policy, effective May 3. Most of those workers are in Redmond.
Instead of being told by Microsoft which payroll agency they will work for, as is the current practice, workers will be able choose among competing agencies. The agencies are expected to provide at least the following benefits:
-- Thirteen paid days off each year, including sick leave, holidays and vacations.
-- Medical and dental coverage, with the employer paying half the cost.
-- Training opportunities worth $500 a year.
-- A 401(k) or other retirement program, with the employer partly matching employee contributions.
Sharon Decker, Microsoft's contingent-staffing director, said most agencies already provide some benefits, but their benefit packages are "all over the board."
The changes respond to some, but not all, of the most frequent complaints from temporary workers. Unhappiness over temporary-employment policies has led to two lawsuits by temps against Microsoft and to creation of a labor union, the Washington Alliance of Technical Workers, or WashTech.
"It sounds like we got quite a lot. I'm thrilled," said a former temp who now works for Microsoft as a full-time technical editor. The employee, who asked not to be identified, said she credits the changes at least in part to the union's pressure.
Marcus Courtney, co-founder and organizer of WashTech, called the change "a step in the right direction," but said the union still believes temps are treated as second-class workers.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Cost Of Living Adjustments and Inflation


Today I was asked if we could have raises linked to the evolution of the cost of living. 

A good question that led me to check for such an index and/or inflation rates that I thought were very low.

It turns out (as you can see) they are not so low:

Inflation rates

2012: 2,1%
2013: 1,5%
2014: not available yet for the whole year could be 1,5  then about 5,1% for the 3 yars


COLAS - Cost Of Living Adjustments

2012: 3,6%
2013: 1,7%
2014: 1,5%
total: 6.8%  + 2015 to come

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

No objections were filed: Temporary Workers of America is certified

Here is the text of the email from NLRB:

Hi Philippe,
No objections were filed so we issued a certification of representation today which you should receive in the mail this weekend.  As of today, Temporary Workers of America represents a unit of all Tier 1 employees employed by Lionbridge at its Redmond location.
Sincerely, 
Daniel Hickey
NLRB

I informed them of our future move very soon to a new location in Bellevue.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Waiting for challenges?

Lionbridge's attorney stated last Thursday, before the results of the vote were known that they intended to "challenge" the votes we challenged (the 3 Tiers 2s) and the choice of Marilyse as our observer.

It's not clear what they can expect to achieve with such challenges as I doubt the final result can be reversed but they have until Thursday to proceed.

If they post those challenges I don't know how they'll be processed: I asked NLRB about their potential impact but did not receive yet an answer.

Let us be patient.

If you have questions or if you hear questions, thanks for forwarding them.

I recently found this page devoted to Eleanor Roosevelt's quotes about unions: I found it interesting and inspiring.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

The union won!

Today, Temporary Workers of America won the vote with 18 votes in favor vs 13 votes against.
3 votes were challenged and not counted but counting them would not have changed the final result.

By the way, the email sent by the management about this issue was in complete violation of the prohibition of electioneering after Tuesday 12pm and it's content was completely wrong.

The challenge never meant to prevent anybody to vote and it was in full compliance with the law that allows any party to challenge votes. What was in violation of the law was the management's email.

That did not change the final result but it was really shocking.

Thank you for all who supported our efforts: we know this is only one step forward in a long and arduous process but that's encouraging.



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Fifth and last propaganda session: the more sessions, the more they stay the same


You are smart: you have patiently and politely listened to the repetitive arguments trying to make you believe not trying to change anything is the best choice.

I should not worry or doubt one second your capacity to see through this attempt and in fact I don't. 

It's more my own frustration of having been forced to listen silently because I know better than wasting energy in useless debates. 

Therefore I'll resist the temptation to go on and on when our daily reality is the best antidote.

Please excuse the few remarks I cannot prevent myself to make: at least you are not obliged to read them and thank you if you do with all my apologies for not being the best advocate I'd like to be for our own common interests.

As I think about what we heard today and what I am trying to summarize now I feel it's like closing arguments in a trial.

During those 5 sessions Lionbridge has tried to convince us they are on our side and that our best interests are better taken care of by dealing with them on a one on one basis.

They have to convince us of that so that we decide and vote against our own interests: our best interest is not aligned with Lionbridge's best interest, at least the way LB is presently managed. 

LB only wants to maximize it's profits by giving us as little as possible. 

This situation is best defended by preventing us to organize and present a united front. 

They have to convince us a union is a bad idea that is against our own interests while of course the exact oppose is true.

If they have been able to make you believe the present balance of power is the most favorable to your interests they'll win. 

I am always amazed when people vote against their own interests but it happens very often.

Such is the power of the dominant ideology: the ideas that are the most frequently expressed, that represent the dominant interests, dominate.

In our case LB's dominant self interest is to keep paying us as little as possible, as they have managed to do and as they kept telling us they would continue to do.

Bottom line: whom do you trust as having your best interests at heart?

A few points they made:

LB seemed concerned about union dues. As mentioned earlier our proposed goal is $2 per month, $10 for this year if you agree about this rate. Is it excessive? You are not obliged to join the union, even at this rate.

It was ironic to hear again Obama care trumpeted as a benefit to come thanks to Lionbridge's generosity when it's a legal obligation and it's not even clear their proposal will be more interesting than what you eventually already have (through your spouse/partner for instance) nor how much we would have to pay anyway.

Is having a union going to be very time consuming?
To the point where you don't have time for your kids or for any leisure? 

You could almost cry at this argument if it was not coming from a company that does not provide any paid time off, no paid family time, nothing.

It was a bit much but how revealing of how out of touch they are (while they -of course- do have paid time off for themselves).

On our side, this whole election process did not require one big meeting: almost everything happened during short conversations during breaks and lunches with an extensive use of email and the blog.

Who would remain focused on physical meetings when one can use the net?

Of course we remained completely available when someone wanted to talk.

We are a small group of people who have been in the same boat for quite a while and we can relate on a different level than what can be shared with management.

Asking for basic benefits is not rocket science and who is not for it?

It's true we have been through many changes except for remaining classified as temps and not gaining any raise or real benefit like paid time off of any kind for 2,5 years: no paid sick leave, no paid family leave, not one cent, not one day.

Can you believe you have any chance to get anything of this kind by yourself and only for yourself?

The 12+ people who signed the cards asking for an election did it because they believed it was the right thing to do to defend the interests we all share that Lionbridge has been refusing to address with the one on one individual system they want to maintain.

You have already been subjected to too many propaganda sessions, just remember the text of the notice Lionbridge was forced to email to each of us: we have the right to organize. Why not exercise this right?

Thank you for your patience

Take good care

PS: yes I did not comment on the lack of unions in the high tech industry. 

It would take too long but as v-dashes at the bottom of the lab scale we know all about the discrimination and the huge inequalities created by the high tech industry that would like the public to believe all the employees are treated like royalty. 

You know better. 

It's true that creating a union in such an environment would be quite a change. 

A good change.

Monday, September 8, 2014

4 questions to NLRB and a surprise move from Lionbridge


As I was preparing myself to be an observer for the election I sent those 4 questions to NLRB's Daniel Hickey:


Hi Daniel,

1. Does my status of 'observer' prevents me to vote?

2. May I ask who is the observer for Lionbridge?

3. Is it allowed to bring/read a book/newspaper?

4. Is it allowed to take notes (not related to the people voting)? I am interested in writing a few things if it is allowed. 

Thank you

Here are his answers:

Hello Philippe,

I have copied Employer attorney Tim O’Connell on my responses to your 4 questions below:

1.      No, you are an eligible voter.  There is Board case law that found that found a union official acting as the union’s observer in an decertification election was objectionable, meaning the election had to be rerun.  Butera Finer Foods, 334 NLRB 43 (2001).  However, the union observer in Butera was a full-time employee of the union, not an eligible voter or an employee of the employer, and the Board specifically stated in footnote 7 that its holding did not apply to non-decertification elections such as the one here.  I am not aware of a case that states it is objectionable for a union official, who is also an employee and an eligible voter, to act as the union's election observer.

2.      The Employer intends to have non-supervisory HR administrative assistant Sara D’Jiovanis act as its observer.

3.      I encourage both observers to bring books to read, but no campaign or political literature and no electronic devices of any kind, including e-readers, kindles, tablets, etc.

4.      Neither observer can takes notes or write during the election.

Let me know if you have any further questions.

Here is the email sent by Lionbridge's attorney: 


Thank you for copying me.  I do not want to surprise you at the pre-election conference:  we are going to object to Mr. Boucher serving as an observer.  We believe he has become the public face of the Union, and therefore should not be permitted pursuant to Section 11310.2 of the Case Handling Manual (“A union official should not serve as an observer even if he/she is also an employee of the employer.”)

Having said that, I wholly agree that Mr. Boucher is an eligible voter, and I have no concerns about the other issues identified in your e-mail.

Best regards,

Tim

Timothy J. O'Connell
Stoel Rives
600 University St., Ste. 3600
Seattle, WA  98101


I had no idea I had 'become the public face of the Union' and that precluded my being an observer as this issue was never raised earlier but better now than Thursday morning. 

As I didn't especially relish spending the whole day in an hotel room even with an excellent book and as our main concern is not to delay the election we are going to look for a courageous replacement. 

Not sure what NLRB will decide as they did not seem to have anticipated this objection. 

We'll keep you informed.

Have a good evening.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Latest news before the week end


Here is the email I received today from NLRB:

I spoke to the hotel and they cannot assign us a room until later in the evening the night before the election or early the next morning on September 11, 2014.  However, they do promise that we will have an room number assigned to us by7:00 Am and that the room will be clean and ready for our use well before the 10:30 Am pre-election conference.  I will email the room number to both of you as soon as I get it on September 11, so the Employer and Union can then inform the voters of the room number.  I suggest we also distribute the room number by email. 

So you'll know only on thursday the exact location but it's not a problem. Maybe you can start figuring out how you'll get there and eventually with whom: although voting is an individual affair you can still make the trip to the election place a group project (more fun).

Each of you should have received from Brent the 3 paqes Notice of election document. 

A few words about the "authorized observers": Lionbridge and the Union have an 'observer' that checks everything is done according to the rules. I'll (Philippe) be the observer for us.

There are strict neutrality rules applying to the observers so don't expect me to greet you with joyful demonstations as they are prohibited. Don't think I have become a cold snobbish fish, I'll just abide by the rules that spell for the observers:

DO NOT

. Keep any list of individuals who have or have not voted
. Talk to any voter in line to vote, except as instructed by the Board Agent (Greeting voters as they approach to vote is acceptable)
. Give any help to any voter. Only a Board Agent can assist the voter.
. Electioneer at any place during the hours of the election.
. Discuss or argue about the election
. Leave the election area without the Board Agent's permission.
.Use any electronic media or device, including cell phones, laptop computers, personal digital assistants (PDAs), mobile email devices, wired or wireless data transmission and recording devices, etc. (Please turn off or disable those devices before entering the polling area).

So basically no communication for me during the whole election process.

VoilĂ .

Have a good week-end.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Fourth Lionbridge's propaganda session: same as before.


Today's meeting provided the same anti-union content and the same focus on eventual risks.

Of course, despite their dire predictions, they cannot be sure of anything we, 
-as we Tier1s are going to be the union if we vote for it- are going to do: we'll decide together everything we want to try to achieve. 

We can simply decide to focus on a few key issues we would like to see improved, like wages, paid time off and not deal at all with seniority and else. 

It's up to us: why would we reduce flexibiliy if it's useful for us?

Yes the money for improvements in our situation will have to come from somewhere: LB's profits, LB's share of the pie will have to be reduced. 
Obviously not something they want to consider.

Why would we try to hurt ourselves, hurt the people who are in the very same boat we are on?

Classic use of the fear and arguing that one can get more individually than via a collective effort. 

This was all very repetitive and it's difficult to assess who can be convinced by those assertions but for the insidious fear factor, and the impact of repetition.

Brace yourself for a final session next Tuesday.

Take good care

PS: I found a bit strange Brent's answer about Microsoft not being billed for those sessions while the hour spent voting will have to be processed separately. But that's another story.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Third Lionbridge's propaganda session: more of the same.


Today we learned where the vote will take place and that we'll get paid for it. That goes with LB's desire to have as many people as possible voting: we certainly agree on that. Here is the message from NLRB: 

We will hold the election at the Extended Stay Suites located at 15805 NE 28th St., which is about a 12 minute walk from Microsoft Building 3.
I have reserved an extra large ground floor suite which employees can park in front of.  I will provide the room number once I receive it form the hotel. The hotel should be able to remove the bed from the room but has not promised that yet.
I propose polling from 11 AM to 1:30 PM and 2:30 to 4:30 PM.

Remember the vote is anonymous and secret.

We completely disagree with LB's assertion that a union is a business and their other claims about what is needed and how costly it's going to be. 

In Washington State a union is incorporated under Chapter 24.06 RCW, the non profit miscellaneous and mutual corporations act. 

There is no need to incorporate before a positive vote takes place as you can check with the NLRB (as we did). 

Our union, if we vote to create one, is going to operate on a voluntary basis as it has until now and because of our small size we don't anticipate any complex reporting, nor any need for high fees, that will be decided together. 

We had mentioned $2 per month as a possibility. 

Even when already existing unions ask for a fee, their members only pay once the contract has been approved with a pay increase that covers the fees. 

In any case that's not how we plan to operate but it was interesting to see how LB wanted to paint such a dark and negative picture of a union that will be formed by the very people who were in the room and are doing such a good job but cannot obtain any raise or real benefits (not legal obligations) because that would put LB's competitiveness in danger.

Of course they cannot tell us anything about how much they are paid by Microsoft and they cannot afford a cost of living increase.

We should mostly be thankful they did not reduce our hours to 30 per week.

They continue hammering the union could not promise or guarantee anything as if we had done any of that while LB itself does not promise or guarantee anything either.

You can reread the answers to the FAQ posted on the blog as they provide more information on those issues.

It was interesting to hear that Microsoft does not tell them how much to pay their employees because in the late 90s when the class action was taking place Microsoft did require it's contractors to provide benefits, some health insurance and up to $500 worth of training.

Who is to say they could not do it again while the WA legislature has considered mandatory paid sick leave (like in Seattle) and some paid time off. Nothing passed because of the Republican control of the Senate but this could change in the next elections.

In any case we can ask for those changes that are supported by many very active organizations like Momsrising.org.

But we are not there yet.

I realize I forgot to mention the lie about annual performance reviews but we all know there was none.

As for the few people (4) who used to be Tier2, now working as Tier1 but who kept their full time regular classification and benefits it is now clear they should not vote as Richard told us Tier1 status could only be temporary flexible without benefits.

To finish on a more positive  note our friend Wei (who was fired despite her seniority) has found another job she likes.

I hope all this propaganda did not impact you negatively while we prepare ourselves for an unpaid Labor Day.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

About Lionbridge's second propaganda session


For their second propaganda session Lionbridge stuck to it's favorite strategy: fear.

The main red cape to frighten us is THE STRIKE that the union could impose on us, bringing ruin to all.

The only problem with this scenario as Eric pointed in his previous FAQ post is that if ever a strike was considered (very unlikely) you would have to vote for it as you will have to approve an eventual contract.

Lionbridge claimed that a union makes promises but in fact can guarantee nothing: we have made no promises and we know that winning the elections would only be one  step toward a negotiating table where Lionbridge could concede nothing. 

We only believe we have a better chance to obtain something by collective bargaining than by one on one discussions with Brent.

While Lionbridge trumpets the family like climate we have seen how difficult he tried to make it recently for one of us who needed to go take care of his dad. 

This unpaid leave is supposedly one of the "benefits" we have now?

It's just the law in WA and Lionbridge is not that willing to implement it: so much for empathy and compassion.

Today a coworker asked to leave one hour before time because his wife needed him to take care of their infant daughter. 

The Tier2 reaction was mostly about how he would be able to compensate or not for this one hour absence: so much for flexibility and empathy.

All what Lionbridge listed as "benefits" are legal obligations they cannot avoid. 

You know (and they know) very well we have 0 benefits but for the meager 401k.

The generosity of Lionbridge has consisted of not reducing our hours while they tell us they considered it.

Do you seriously believe they could have done it? 

No way and of course it supposedly puts them in the drivers seat when they are not: the real driver is Microsoft.

Lionbridge told us that Microsoft had been informed of the petition and did not want to get involved (as we assumed they would react at this stage).

We were assured we were doing an excellent job, that the client was satisfied but did we hear anything about a raise and some real benefits? 

No we only heard about their concern for their profitability. 

The only way for us to get some bigger share of the profits is to vote for the union and bargain collectively. 

There is no guarantee but it's the only chance we have and it's our right to do it as they themselves emphasized in the notice they were forced to send us.

Who can you trust to defend your interests? Yourself and your pals within your union or Brent and co?

Of course you know the answer to this question.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)


Who is TWA?

TWA = Temporary Workers of America
A collective bargaining unit formed to represent Lionbridge Tier One (T1) employees. 
Philippe Boucher (who signed the petition form so his name is known by Lionbridge since August 5) and Eric Osnes (writing this FAQ) have been particularly active but each of the co-workers who signed the 'authorization cards', representing more than 30%  of T1s (at least 12 people) is a fundamental part of TWA. You are welcome at any time to join us and volunteer.

Why Has It Been Formed?

Lionbridge T1 employees are considered by Lionbridge as Temporary Full-Time Employees. (Refer to your employment documents.) Although being “full-time employees” we are denied the following:
-       Periodic raises
-       Paid time off (vacation)
-       Paid sick leave
-       Health insurance
-       Advancement opportunities within the company
We are however offered participation in the company’s 401(K) plan, but note that they start you off with automatic deductions whether you agree to it or not. You must actively go to the Fidelity website to stop those deductions which can add a significant amount of money to your take-home pay.

It is known that a number of T1’s have gone to Brent Willems to negotiate their own compensation packages. Some have succeeded; others have not and been laid off. 

TWA was formed to act as a collective bargaining unit with Lionbridge to negotiate getting the benefits we deserve.

Why Haven’t I Heard About TWA Before The Lionbridge Meeting?

We had to be secretive about getting people to sign the union cards. In that instance there was a possibility that we would be retaliated against by Lionbridge (that's what happened to Marilyse) and we also did not want to tip our hand. We were very careful about who we spoke to based on what we perceived the individuals response would be. It was clear that some people would be adamantly opposed to the idea while others readily embraced it. We needed 30% of the T1s to sign up and we succeeded in reaching that number even though it took several months to accomplish.

Can I be fired by Lionbrige for participating in TWA?

No. This would be considered retaliation and is strictly illegal under Federal Law, the NLRB, and in direct conflict with Microsoft’s Supplier Code of Conduct (which applies to Lionbridge). Were Lionbridge do this they would face severe legal penalties and public relations nightmare.

Will This Affect Lionbridge’s Ability To Continue Work For Microsoft?

There is strong evidence that Microsoft will not interfere and that they will embrace this change if they really stand by their Human Rights commitment.


“As a signatory to the UN Global Compact, Microsoft is committed to respecting all of the human rights described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work.

We recognize that as a leading technology provider with global operations, our business can help to promote – or be used to impede – human rights. The stakes grow higher every year as information and communications technologies (ICT) become ever more important in how people work, learn and interact with one another.

We recognize the important responsibility we have to respect human rights and we aim to bring the power of technology to bear to promote respect for human rights throughout the world.”

From the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:

“Article 23
(1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against unemployment.
(2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay for equal work.
(3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of social protection.
(4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the protection of his interests.

Article 24
Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.”

We encourage you to read the other declarations that Microsoft is a signatory to and has committed to.

An important note: you will not find any such commitment publicly posted on the Lionbridge website.

Any significant interference by Microsoft could be interpreted as a sign they are a 'joint-employer', something they are especially trying to avoid since the Vizcaino class action.

What Is Lionbridge’s Responsibility To Microsoft?

From the Microsoft Supplier Code of Conduct:

“Through the Standards of Business Conduct, Microsoft has established company standards that include ethical business practices and regulatory compliance. These standards apply to all Microsoft employees, directors, and officers. Similarly, Microsoft expects its suppliers to embrace this commitment to integrity by complying with and training its employees on the Microsoft Supplier Code of Conduct.”

Microsoft expects its Suppliers to share its commitment to human rights and equal opportunity in the workplace. All Microsoft Suppliers must conduct their employment practices in full compliance with all applicable laws and regulations, and must, without limitation:

Respect workers’ rights to freedom of association and collective bargaining in accordance with legal requirements. As noted above, we require that Suppliers not engage in discrimination in hiring, compensation, access to training, promotion, termination, and/or retirement based on union membership.”

Lionbridge Said That A Union Would Complicate The Relationship Between Employees And Management. Is This True?

It is only true if that is how Lionbridge decides to work with us. More often than not Unions work side by side with management to ensure the welfare and success of the company while also protecting the employees from exploitation by the company. This is more the rule than the exception.

And remember, YOU are the union. So they are working with YOU, not some evil, nebulous organization. And wouldn’t you prefer to have an influence on things that affect you directly at work?

Lionbridge Has Said That There Will Be Strikes And That Would Mean No Paychecks Or Benefits. Is This True?

This is a blatant scare tactic being used by Lionbridge. Also, notice that they said benefits. Do you get benefits now?

Strikes only occur when things go badly between management and the union. Furthermore, they only occur IF THE MEMBERSHIP VOTES FOR A STRIKE. That means YOU. Union officials have no say whether or not to call a strike. Such an action must be approved by the membership.

Also, many critical unions have “no strike” clauses in the contracts they negotiate with their companies.

So no, it is highly unlikely that a strike would ever occur and it would require YOU to authorize one.

Why Don’t We Go To Lionbridge And Negotiate For Benefits Without Forming A Union?

We have heard this question quite a lot. The truth of the matter is that it will not work. There is nothing binding in whatever concessions we were to receive whereas with the union the contract is binding on all parties and subject to NLRB enforcement.

As mentioned before, it is known that individuals have gone to Brent Willems on their own to make their own deals. There is nothing preventing you from doing this but the results are mixed. Some people have successfully obtained benefits and pay increases FOR DOING THE SAME WORK YOU DO. Others have subsequently been fired. You take your chances.

More to the point, if you are successful, do you think it is fair that you should get those extras when your colleagues don’t?