Tuesday, December 22, 2015

How much did Microsoft and Lionbridge save/take from their employees by not providing paid leave nor paid public holidays?

It's easy to calculate how much you were deprived of, how much Lionbridge and Microsoft kept in their pockets. If you worked for 4 years at $22 per hour, $176 per day, you would have accumulated 100 days (4 times 10 days of paid public holidays and 4 times 15 days of PTO) for a total of $17.600. The total for 3 years is 75 days, $13.200, 2 years, 50 days, $8.800, 1 year, 25 days, $4.400. Instead of that, Lionbridge will pay a bit more than one day, about $200.
If you were making $17 per hour and worked for 3 years, you were deprived (stolen?) of $10.200, $6.800 for 2 years and $3.400 for one year. 
:(   :(  :(   :(  :(  :(

Unpaid public holidays and no paid parental leave: Microsoft and Lionbridge are Scrooge like companies

ScroogeIn December 2012, Henry Blodget wrote a post in Business Insider about the Scrooge Award he gave to Corporate America. Three years later, as Xmas is coming, Microsoft and Lionbridge jointly deserve a Scrooge Award for not providing paid public holidays to all their employees. As we are not paid during those public holidays we suffer a loss of income that takes a big part of the fun out of this period as we worry about how we are going to compensate for this $ loss. Could it be possible that Microsoft does not know its trusted Lionbridge supplier does not pay for public holidays? It is doubtful as Microsoft directly profits by not paying either for those public holidays. Yes, some suppliers are more human and do pay those days to their workers (like WIPRO does). As we noted in the previous post, Microsoft should require all its suppliers to provide paid public holidays as this is clearly mentioned in article 7 (d) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: "Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays ", and Microsoft claims it is committed to implement this Convention. We'll keep denouncing this Scrooge-like behavior until it changes. Of course in these times of celebrating a nativity we'll add to our outrage the lack of any paid parental leave. The Universal Declaration of HumanRights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights also contain dispositions for pregnant moms. Article 25.2 of the UDHR states: "Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance". Article 10.2 of the Internal Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states: "Special protection should be accorded to mothers during a reasonable period before and after childbirth. During such period working mothers should be accorded paid leave or leave with adequate social security benefits." 50 years later, as this Convention was adopted in 1966, these benefits are still not required by Microsoft for all its suppliers. Although this Convention was never ratified by the US Senate, Microsoft voluntarily committed itself to implement all its content (as far as it was relevant to its responsibilities as a multinational corporation) when they joined the UN Global Compact in ... 2006.  9 years later Microsoft is still not respecting its commitment to implement dispositions adopted 50 years ago and implemented routinely in most industrialized countries, including by Microsoft's subsidiaries operating in those countries. Lionbridge Technologies does not give a damn about the UN Global Compact but their subsidiaries in other countries also have to respect those dispositions. Only in the US...

Friday, December 11, 2015

How Microsoft does not implement its proclaimed commitment to respect all the human rights in the Universal Declaration and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

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It's December 10 again, Human Rights Day again and this year Microsoft is still in violation of its commitment stated as follows:

"Since endorsing the UN Global Compact in 2006, Microsoft has had a formal commitment to respecting all of the human rights enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. "
This year's Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966. Let us look at article 7 (d) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: "Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays "
 It is clear that paid leave should include periodic vacation AND the payment of the public holidays. When they announced their new requirement of 'at least 15 days of paid time off', Microsoft ignored the specific requirement by the UN texts that public holidays be paid, on top of the basic paid vacation. Requiring only 15 days of paid time off, without adding to this mandate the payment of the public holidays deprives full time supplier's employees of any payment when Microsoft closes its offices for ten public holidays during the year.
This distinction is clearly confirmed in the 1970 Convention on paid holidays: see article 3.3 and article 6.1
Ten unpaid public holidays represent millions of dollars that are not paid to thousands of Microsoft's suppliers employees, mostly employees that are paid the less. How long will it take for Microsoft to respect its commitment?

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

Lionbridge attracts hedge fund billionaire Lee Cooperman

Cooperman's arrival in Lionbridge capital ($23 million, a 7% stake) apparently brought changes in the financial management with the departure of the CFO. Read the article in the Boston Business Journal of November 9. Cooperman worked for years at Goldman Sachs then created his own hedge fund, Omega Advisers whose performance has not been so great lately. He also accused President Obama of promoting class warfare in an open letter (November 28, 2011). While Lionbridge announced a $50 million share repurchase program, they could not find one cent to increase Tier1 pay, nor provide paid holidays or parental leave for people who have worked in the lab for years but are still misclassified as 'temporary' workers. As for the 15 days of PTO, they have constantly repeated it was only because Microsoft required it that they offered it. 

Saturday, November 21, 2015

2015 Thanksgiving at Microsoft: the stinging bitterness of an unpaid holiday

I have been working full time as a tester/reviewer in the Windows App Certification Center since January 2012. Thanksgiving 2015 is coming. Microsoft gives two paid holidays to its ‘direct employees’ for Thanksgiving but we are employed via a supplier (Lionbridge Technologies) that does not offer any paid holiday.
In my case, this lack of paid holidays has saved Microsoft and Lionbridge a total of more than $7K during the last four years. Meanwhile my co-workers and I keep struggling from paycheck to paycheck and many are going to choose to come to the office the day after Thanksgiving not to lose another payday. Of course this Friday will not be paid overtime, just the regular $17 to $22 per hour, the same unchanged rates than 4 years ago.

Friday, November 20, 2015

How Lionbridge cut 4+ hours of the PTO they said would provide for 2015

When Lionbridge HR Senior Director Susan Gillespie emailed Tier1 employees (see below) about Lionbridge's implementation of Microsoft's Paid Time Off requirement she wrote that people would get 13.85 hours of PTO. That's 4.61 hours less than what Lionbridge had offered in the Memorandum Of Understanding they had signed on October 23, that refers to 18.46 hours of PTO.  Should this reduction be interpreted as a retaliation against the employees who voted against the ratification of the tentative collective agreement? It certainly looks like it. Not a very auspicious start.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Lionbridge to implement immediately their PTO program

After the rejection of the tentative collective agreement, Lionbridge has offered to implement immediately their proposition relative to paid time off (PTO). The union has decided no to oppose it. That means that people who have been working in the lab for more than 9 months will get now the 2,5 days of PTO corresponding to the months of November and December, provided they keep working full time during these 2 months. People who have not worked for 9 months will not be eligible for PTO until they have been working for 9 months.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Results of the ratification vote: 20 NO 5 YES

25 Tier1s (on 40) voted. 20 voted NO and 5 voted YES.
There is a clear majority of Tier1s who refused Lionbridge minimal proposal. 
This vote sends a message to Lionbridge and Microsoft. They have to offer better conditions: significant raises after 3 + years of full time work without any raise with a bottom rate at $17 per hour, better benefits like paid holidays, paid parental leave, immediate accruing of paid time off taking in consideration the time already spent: immediate 15 days of PTO for people who have worked full time for more than a year. Microsoft and Lionbridge financial results are such they can easily provide better compensation and benefits.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Lionbridge Tentative Final Agreement and why we dislike it

Go here to see Lionbridge Tentative Final Agreement. 
Why should Tier 1 employees dislike it to the point they could refuse to ratify it? Read below for our analysis.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Ratification vote on Thursday, November 12, 2 to 4pm, room 3313

The ratification vote will take place in Conference Room 3313 from 2-4pm on Thursday, November 12th

Lionbridge Q3 results

Compare Lionbridge Q3 results with the fact the company refuses any pay increase, any paid parental leave, any paid holidays. Meanwhile, 
"The Company also announced today that its Board of Directors has authorized a share repurchase program allowing the Company to repurchase up to $50 million of the Company's common stock through fiscal year 2018. The new authorization is almost three times as large as the previous $18 million share repurchase program that was announced in November of 2012 and which has now expired."

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Why we think arbitration is dangerous

Read this article in the November 1st edition of the New York Times, titled "A privatization of the justice system".

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Is Microsoft a joint employer? TWA files a charge with the National Labor Relations Board

Temporary Workers of America is a small independent union born on September 11, 2014 to represent 40 or so employees working for Microsoft via a supplier, Lionbridge Technologies. The union was created because of the accumulated frustration of years without any paid leave nor pay increase.&nbsp
On March 26, 2015 Microsoft announced it would require its suppliers to provide 'at least 15 days of paid time off' to their employees but nothing was set aside specifically for paid parental leave and no paid holidays were mentioned.
From the very start we thought the requirement was too weak and we were concerned about its implementation.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Microsoft declines union's invitation to collective bargaining

As reported by Matt Day in the Seattle Times. 

Request for Microsoft to attend a collective bargaining meeting as a joint employer

Find below the text of the letter/email we sent on October 17, to Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft Executive Vice President Human resources. 

Sunday, October 11, 2015

The trend toward 16 weeks of paid family/parental leave

To complement the previous post here is a link to an article published October 8 in the Washington Post by Jane Waldfogel of Columbia University: Why 16 week paid parental leave policies are revolutionary for US workers.

Could Melinda Gates help us obtain parental leave and paid public holidays?


Parental Leave Isn't Just About Parents: Why It Makes a Difference to Our Kids' Health
Let's not forget what parental leave is really about: healthier babies, parents who are able to thrive professionally, and strong and resilient families.
By Melinda Gates
This post first appeared at Parents.com. We could not find the exact date and it apparently did not elicit any comment. It was then reproduced on August 21, on The Huffington Post (72 comments). We discovered it because it was referenced on October 7 by Emily Peck again in The Huffington Post in a post where she explained how Melinda Gates is taking her own advice as the Gates Foundation announced it was now offering to its employees up to one year of paid parental leave.
The question for us: is there any chance that Melinda can convince Microsoft to require that its supplier Lionbridge Technologies provide "some parental leave" instead of nothing. What does she think the parental/family leave standard should be for Microsoft's suppliers?

The news that Netflix and Microsoft will strengthen their parental leave policies was welcomed by parents across the country, including me. These announcements should put pressure on every company, in every industry, to design and implement similar policies, setting a new standard for family leave.
However, there's more to this story than we are seeing in the headlines. Yes, the new policies will help tech companies retain highly skilled employees in a competitive job market, and that's an important priority for Netflix, Microsoft, and companies like them. But let's not forget what parental leave is really about: healthier babies, parents who are able to thrive professionally, and strong and resilient families.
I saw only limited coverage--such as this article--that focused on how the new policies will help parents and babies. We can debate about how leave should be structured to maximize its impact, but what's not in question is that when mothers and fathers get paid leave, they benefit, and so do their children.
Paid leave has been linked to higher birth weights and lower rates of infant mortality. Mothers who get paid leave breastfeed more and for longer, which is one of the best ways to protect the health of a newborn. This is to say nothing of the long-term emotional health of both parents and children who are able to form a strong attachment from birth.
The benefits extend beyond newborn health: When fathers take leave, they participate more in early child rearing, and that level of engagement continues after the leave ends. The evidence also shows that mothers who take leave are more likely to get raises in the year following their leave--54 percent more likely.
Netflix and Microsoft made these changes because parental leave is a benefit their employees really want. Parents know intuitively that spending more time with each other and with their newborn is the best thing for their family.
I hope that we see more companies improve their parental leave policies. If that's how businesses start competing for the best employees, society will benefit greatly. When all Americans have the ability to stay home with their new babies without incurring financial hardships or professional disadvantages, our country will be healthier, happier, and more productive. It's a goal we should all be working towards, for the health of our children.
Melinda Gates is co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. 

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Temporary Workers of America (TWA) Timeline 2011 - 2017

December 5, 2011: Start on the Redmond campus of the Microsoft's lab to certify apps for the Windows Store (10 Tier 1 employees supplied by Lionbridge Technologies)

December 12, 2012: Email to Dan Bross (Microsoft Corporate Citizenship and Public Affairs) about Microsoft's commitment to Human Rights via the UN Global Compact (article 24 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:  Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay”)

January 1st, 2013: Creation of the blog Campaign for the right to paid holidays for all employees in the US

August 2nd, 2013: Marilyse B is fired by Lionbridge after having asked for benefits for the Tier 1 employees. Soon later she files a charge with NLRB against Lionbridge for retaliation.

January 2014: NLRB finds in favor of Marilyse. She settles with Lionbridge and the charge is abandoned.

March 2014: Beginning of the organizing drive for TWA with the creation and collection of authorizing cards.

August 1st 2014: TWA files with NLRB the petition to organize a vote for the union. Creation of the blog Lionbridge Union to communicate with fellow lab workers. 

September 11, 2014: vote in favor of TWA as union representing Tier1 Lionbridge Technologies employees in the Windows Store App Certification lab in Redmond (at the time). 

October 11, 2014: Publication of The Other Microsoft by Philippe Boucher (Blurb.com and Kindle versions)

October 14, 2014: Bill Gates publishes on his blog 'Why inequality matters', his review of Thomas Piketty's book, Capital in the 21st century.

November 7, 2014: Philippe Boucher is disciplined by Lionbridge with a 'written warning' for The Other Microsoft because it 'unacceptably disparaged Microsoft and Lionbridge'.

November 8: contact via email with Microsoft's Board of Directors about the lack of paid leave for supplier's employees, situation described in The Other Microsoft.

November 14, 2014: collective bargaining first meeting

December 11, 204: Philippe Boucher files a discrimination charge against Lionbridge for the 'written warning' about The Other Microsoft. 

December 18, 2014: collective bargaining second meeting

January 7, 2015: collective bargaining 3rd meeting

January 13, 2015: Article in the Boston Globe 'Microsoft labmates bargain for benefits'

January 15, 2015: Article in the Seattle Times 'Labor issues at Microsoft prompt talks of policy changes'

February 3: Opening of a blog for Temporary Workers of America

February 10: collective bargaining 4th meeting in the presence of attorney Dmitri Iglitzin (with financial support of AFL-CIO) to advise TWA

February 27: collective bargaining 5th meeting: Lionbridge initial proposal with zero paid leave of any kind (in the presence of Danielle Franco-Malone to advise TWA)

March 10, 2015: Publication of L'Autre Moitié de Microsoft (French version of The Other Microsoft) on Amazon-Kindle.

March 24, 2015: Presentation of TWA for the students of the Design for Social Change class at Cornish School of the Arts: they are going to produce images and video clips pro bono for TWA.

March 24, 2015: Article about Lionbridge CEO 2014 compensation

March 24, 2015: Charge for bargaining in bad faith filed with NLRB by TWA against Lionbridge (for refusing to provide the contract with Microsoft and the amount Microsoft pays for each employee). Charge withdrawn on May 19.

March 26: Brad Smith's Announcement about Microsoft new requirement that suppliers provide at least 15 days of paid time off to their employees

March 27, 2015: several articles about TWA, in the Seattle Times, the Washington Post, etc.

March 30, 2015: Creation of the blog Paid Time Off Matters to monitor the implementation of Microsoft's announcement.

April 16, 2015: Microsoft CEO invited to the White House as 'champion of change' because of their new paid leave requirement for their suppliers

May 1st, 2015: Article in Business Week Bloomberg News: 'Microsoft's contract workers are organizing'

May 12, 2015: Facebook announcement about their new policy requiring paid time off and providing paid parental leave for their suppliers employees

May 16, 2015: Article in the Seattle Times, "Image says it all for Microsoft temps', about the images produced by the Cornish Students.

May 19, 2015: TWA withdraws its charge against Lionbridge for bargaining in bad faith.

May 22, 2015: TWA petition to Microsoft on coworking.orgMemorial Day should be a paid holiday for all 40.000 Microsoft temporary workers

May 29, 2015: collective bargaining 6th meeting; cancelled at the last minute on the advice of our attorneys because there was only one union representative available

May 29, 2015: Lionbridge files with NLRB a charge against TWA for bargaining in bad faith

June 8, 2015: Department of Labor explains how the lack of paid leave disproportionally impacts low wage workers

June 9, 2015: Disengagement letter from attorneys Dmitri Iglitzin and Danielle Franco-Malone, ending legal advice for TWA.

June 30, 2015: Lionbridge contract with Microsoft is renewed. TWA is informed by a Microsoft employee that it contains a clause requiring Lionbridge to provide at least 15 days of paid time off.

July17, 2015: collective bargaining 7th meeting: Lionbridge now includes 15 days of paid time off in its proposal.

August 2, 2015: Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft Executive Vice President for HR, announces new benefits (2 new paid holidays and extendend paid parental leave of 12 weeks) for Microsoft 'direct' employees

August 13, 2015: Microsoft Chief Procurement Officer Mike Simms writes about policy changes for US suppliers (including the 15 days of PTO requirement)

August 20, 2015: collective bargaining 8th meeting: TWA accepts Lionbridge contract proposal.

August 26, 2015: TWA petition to Microsoft 'Stop paid leave discrimination' launched on  coworker.org.

August 27, 2015: NLRB decision in Browning-Ferris Industries (Joint Employment criteria)

September 3, 2015: Testimony in support of Marilyse in front of the Washington State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals about her occupational injury claim for incapacitating repetitive stress syndrom.

September 8, 2015: Lionbridge informs TWA that they have received 'some further elaboration from Microsoft as to its expectations'  concerning the PTO requirement. Finalizing the contract proposal should therefore take 'a few more days'.

September 21, 2015: Lionbridge sends their contract proposal to TWA

September 23, 2015: TWA expresses concerns about the wording of the confidentiality clause (article 5) and the clause about the use of PTO (article 7)

October 17, 2015: TWA invites Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft’s HR Executive Vice President to attend the next collective bargaining meeting on October 23 as joint employer

October 23, 2015: two hours before the meeting Mike Simms, Microsoft’s Chief Procurement Officer (see August 13) declines via email TWA’s request, stating Microsoft is not a joint employer.

October 23, 2015: article in the Seattle Times: Microsoft declines union invitation to the bargaining table


September 3, 2015: Testimony in support of Marilyse in front of the Washington State Board of Industrial Insurance Appeals about her occupational injury claim (for incapacitating repetitive stress syndrom)

October 17, 2015: TWA invites Microsoft to attend the next collective bargaining meeting as a joint employer.

October 23, 2015: Microsoft declines the invitation to the bargaining table for the ninth collective bargaining meeting taking place that very day

October 26, 2015: TWA polls its own members about Microsoft as a joint employer (80% agree they are) and if TWA should ask NLRB to determine Microsoft’s joint employer status (90% support such a filing).
October 28: TWA files a charge against Microsoft with NLRB for refusing to bargain as a joint employer - Case 19-CA-162985

November 3r 2015: Confidential Witness Affidavit given to NLRB

November 9, 2015: Lionbridge attracts hedge fund billionaire Lee Cooperman for a 7% stake of $23 million (Boston Business Journal). Lionbridge announces a $50 million share 
repurchase program

November 12, 2015: Employees refuse to ratify the tentative bargaining agreement (20 NO and 5 YES)

November 19, 2015: Lionbridge decides to implement the 15 days of paid time off provision despite the rejection of the bargaining agreement. TWA does not object.

November 21, 2015: Thanksgiving @ Microsoft: the stinging bitterness of an unpaid holiday.

December 10, 2015: Human Rights Day. TWA explains again why Microsoft is in violation of its commitment to respect human rights as stated in the Universal Declaration and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (articles 7d and 10.2) 

December 22, 2015: How much did Microsoft and Lionbridge save/take from their employees by not providing paid leave nor paid public holidays? Up to $17.600 for 4 year employee.

January 3, 2016: Results of the 20 question survey about working conditions of Tier1 employees in the Windows App Certification Lab


January 4, 2016: Microsoft's temporary workers 3 wishes for 2016

January 18, 2016: Martin Luther King Jr. Day @ Microsoft: help end paid leave discrimination.

January 19, 2016: Letter to Abigail Johnson, CEO of Fidelity Investments that holds 10% of Lionbridge Technologies

January 19, 2016: Email to Sandi Peterson, new member of Microsoft Board of Directors (followed by letter)

January 25, 2016: SS-8 request to the IRS for Determination of Worker Status for Microsoft and Lionbridge

January 28, 2016: Comparing Microsoft's parental leave benefits with Lionbridge: 20 weeks to zero. Launch of a Corporate Social Responsibility campaign targeting FU companies (Family Unfriendly)

February 12, 2016: letter to Darren Walker, President of the Ford Foundation

February 13, 2016: email to John Stanton, new member of Microsoft Board of Directors 


March 6, 2016: Email to Bishop Greg Rickel of the Diocese of Olympia (Episcopal Church) about a shareholder activism initiative toward Microsoft


March 8, 2016: Email contact with Paul Benz, Co-Executive Director of Fait Action Network about a shareholder activism initiative

March 12, 2016: Attending FAN meeting in Port Townsend

March 20, 2016: Email to Sister Judy Byron, Coordinator of the NorthWest Coalition for Responsible Investment (reminder on March 30) emails sent via IPJC (Intercommunity Peace and Justice Center) then directly on April 28.


March 21, 2016: Meeting with George Robertson, Chair, Board of Directors of the Diocesan Investment Fund for the Diocese of Olympia

March 23, 2016: Email to Josh Zinner, ED of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (reminder on March 30 and end of April)


March 24, 2016: Email from NLRB: they are still waiting for Microsoft answer to the joint employer charge. Expect it by the end of March, with their decision possibly by the end of April.


March 31, 2016: Panel member at the University of Washington screening of 'A day's work", documentary film about temp workers

April 5, 2016: Meeting with Karen Eaton, Deacon, Grace Episcopal Church, Bainbridge Island

April 6, 2016: Email to Jeff Johnson, President Washington State Labor Council

April 12, 2016: Lionbridge HR Susan Gillespie has 'questions and answers' meeting with a few Tier1 employees where she informs them of a change in the temporary workers classification: after 9 months they become 'regular' employees, except in our unit because of the ongoing collective bargaining process. The same impossibility, according to her, applies to eventual pay raises.


April 13, 2016: Brief for the Board of Directors of the Diocesan Investment Fund for the Diocese of Olympia


April 22, 2016: Answer from the Board of Directors of the Diocesan Investment Fund for the Diocese of Olympia asking for FAN's decision, expressing preference for legislative action.



April 27, 2016: Paul Benz co-executive director of FAN refers us to Sister Judy Byron, Program Coordinator of the NorthWest Coalition for Responsible Investment (see March 20, 2016)

April 28, 2016: Email to Sister Judy Byron and Father Mike Crosby including link to Jessica Northall Ted presentation (Mike Crosby is with the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility that organizes shareholder activism)

May 2, 2016: Second Q&A meeting by Susan Gillespie where she confirms what she said on April 12. A Tier1 employee shares an email she sent to him about those issues.

May 2, 2016: Request for information about when and how the change of policy was decided and how employees were informed (or not).


May 26, 2016: Tenth collective bargaining meeting. Lionbridge announces the existence of a petition to decertify the union (in the context of Lionbridge's argument that no raises nor change in classification could happen because of the union and the bargaining process). Lionbridge conditions signing any contract agreement to the union dropping the charge of joint employment against Microsoft  and stop disparaging against Lionbridge and Microsoft.

May 30, 2016: The union files charges against Lionbridge for bargaining in bad faith and a request to block the decertification petition process.

June 13, 2016: Work starts in the new location, on Factoria blvd in Bellevue. This building is not part of Microsoft.

July 4, 2016: Frustrating 4th of July: Paid Holiday discrimination thanks to Microsoft and Lionbridge

July 5, 2016: Philippe Boucher resigns from Lionbridge
July 5, 2016: Meeting with Alfredo Silva, organizer with the International Association of Machinists (AIM), District Lodge 160


July 19, 2016: Microsoft loses its NLRB appeal in Washington DC to revoke the subpoena to produce their contract with Lionbridge. TWA is informed by mail on July 22.


July 26, 2016 : Lionbridge requests a collective bargaining meeting because of upcoming lay offs


July 30, 2016: A tentative agreement is signed to be submitted for ratification on August 3rd.

August 3, 2016: The agreement is ratified 30 to 1

August 4, 2016: TWA withdraws its NLRB charges against Microsoft and Lionbridge

August 4, 2016: Lionbridge reports Q2 results with record revenue of $143.8 million

August 12, 2016: First layoffs: 6 people decide to leave voluntarily and 6 people are laid off involuntarily.

September 21, 2016: Lionbridge announces the lab will be closed by the end of October and all 20 people laid off with 5 losing their jobs immediately. "Reason" given: 'business needs and adjusted volumes". That's less than 2 months after the collective agreement was signed (July 30) and ratified (August 3).

December 3, 2016: The lab in Bellevue closes down, 4 months after the ratification of the collective bargaining agreement.

December 12: Lionbridge announces it is going to be acquired by HIG Capital, a private equity investment form for about $360 million.

December 13, 2016: TWA files charges with NLRB against Lionbridge and Microsoft for unfair labor practices (bargaining in bad faith) and anti-union (retaliation) and again joint employment. Mentioned is the runaway doctrine where a company closes a site to move the work to non-unionized places.


December 20. 2016: Panorama Global receives funding from a prominent US philanthropist (Melinda Gates?) to study how the private sector makes decisions regarding paid leave. 

January 23, 2017: The American Enterprise Institute and the Brookings Institution launch a joint blog project: Paid family leave: an issue whose time has come

February 8, 2017: Newly created group, Pay + Leave USA launches its paid leave campaign targeting Starbucks discriminatory policies.

February 16, 2017: TWA files a petition for Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA). TAA is a federal program that assists US workers who lose their jobs as a result of foreign trade, like when the worker's firm has shifted provision of services to a foreign country. "This program seeks to provide affected workers with opportunities to obtain the skills, credentials, resources and support necessary to become reemployed."


February 22: Article in the Seattle Times by Sandi Doughton confirming Melinda Gates concern for paid leave via her personal executive office organization, Pivotal Ventures.

March 1, 2017: Lionbridge's shareholders approve acquisition by HIG Capital.

May 16, 2017: Microsoft announces 'landmark partnership' with the UN Human Rights Office but still does not implement paid family leaves nor paid public holidays for its suppliers employees in the US, contrary to existing UN and ILO conventions.

May 20, 2017: New report by PL+US about The Haves and Havenots of paid family leave in the US.

May 22: Lionbridge and Microsoft file petitions to oppose NLRB's subpoena requesting they communicate contents of their contracts and other documents about the layoffs

July 6, 2017: Department of Labor’s Determination of Eligibility to Apply for Worker Adjustment Assistance is communicated to TWA. It was signed on June 30.


July 20, 2017: Lionbridge announces the nomination of a new CEO, John Fennelly, effective July 24.


July 24, 2017: Email from Lionbridge's counsel, Tim O'Connell, about the possibility of a settlement that would include a withdrawal of the NLRB charges.

August 15, 2017: Meeting between Union representatives Philippe Boucher and √Čric Osnes and Tim O'Connell, Lionbridge's Counsel to discuss an eventual settlement of the ULP and joint employment charges.


October 31, 2017: The union emails Tim O'Connell its proposal for an eventual settlement of the charges filed with NLRB against Lionbridge and Microsoft.