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

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 - 2015

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 MoitiƩ 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: 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: Lionbridge sends their contract proposal to TWA

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

October 17: 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: 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: collective bargaining 9th meeting. TWA agrees to submit the tentative agreement to all the Tier1 employees for ratification (or not)

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

October 26: 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 27: Charge filed with NLRB about Microsoft as a joint employer

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Lionbridge Contract Proposal of September 21

By clicking on this link you'll be able to read Lionbridge Contract proposal of September 21, 2015.
As we are all mostly concerned about how the 'at least 15 days of paid time off' is implemented, we have also reproduced below article 7 Paid Time Off (page 7). We think the way it is presently worded raises some issues and needs some clarification. We also have some concerns about the two pages of article 4 "Grievance procedure" (page 4 and 5) that seems to abolish any possibility to file a charge with NLRB: any dissent with Lionbridge would have to be 'arbitrated by an arbitrator' at a cost the union could not afford instead of the free and objective process with NLRB. We are not sure either about article 5.3 about Confidentiality: it could mean we are prevented to voice any concern publicly and we could not accept such a 'gag order'.
As much as we want the 15 days of paid time off to be implemented as soon as possible, we think this should not be obtained with the loss of very fundamental rights.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Microsoft: Stop paid leave discrimination

Sign this petition on coworker.org

Microsoft: Stop paid leave discrimination

To: Microsoft

Microsoft: Stop paid leave discrimination

Campaign created by Philippe Boucher

Extend paid holidays and paid parental leave policies to all Microsoft's supplier's employees.
Why is this important?
On March 26, Brad Smith, Microsoft Executive Vice President for Legal Affairs, announced that Microsoft would now require its suppliers to provide 'at least 15 days of paid time off' to their employees, as "paid time off matters".
On August 5, Kathleen Hogan, Executive Vice President, Human Resources, announced that Microsoft wanted to support its employees with benefits that matter the most to them: therefore Microsoft was adding two days to its present list of 8 paid holidays (MLK Day and President's Day) and extending its paid parental leave policy to 12 weeks. Unfortunately, those new benefits were not extended to the other half of Microsoft's workforce: the thousands of people who work full time for Microsoft via suppliers as many of the contractors don't provide any paid holidays nor any paid parental leave.
The direct, very negative consequences of this new policy will be a two day cut in pay, worth millions of dollars, for all the supplier's employees that are not being able to work on the two new unpaid holidays and the bitter confirmation that while Microsoft cares for its direct employees having parental leave they don't give a damn about the way their 2000 suppliers provide (or most often don't) any paid parental leave nor paid holidays. As the Department of Labor recently confirmed: the lack of paid leave disproportionally impacts low wage workers.
Were the savings made by Microsoft by adding two unpaid holidays planned to finance the new extended paid parental leave? Should the suppliers and their lowest paid workers take a pay cut to offset the cost of extended parental leave for the privileged better compensated employees?
While Brad Smith expressed in March a concern to reduce the inequality of treatment between employees, Kathleen Hogan's announcement is going in the exact opposite direction.
This shocking situation is made even more so by Microsoft's attempt to include Martin Luther King Jr within their corporate culture, as they finally add MLK Day to their list of paid holiday.
It took 30 years for Microsoft to recognize a holiday implemented as paid holiday since 1986 and the way it will work is going to penalize the lowest earners, the complete opposite of Martin Luther' King's vision!
At the end of her announcement, Kathleen Hogan writes: "We will continue to listen to employee feedback to establish benefits and build an overall employee experience that raises the bar in our industry, creates a more inclusive environment, and recognizes the importance of our people to the continued success of Microsoft."
Please sign this petition to let her know your concern about the lack of consideration Microsoft shows for all the people working via suppliers that are discriminated against and ask that Microsoft extend its new paid holidays and paid parental leave policies to all its suppliers employees, the other half of Microsoft

Friday, July 17, 2015

Lionbridge proposal: 15 days of paid time off

Dear All,

As we expected from the Scrooge company that Lionbridge is, their paid time off proposal is the smallest possible to respect Microsoft's requirement: 15 days per year that can be used for any purpose. 

The eligibility would start once the contract with the union is signed and there is no retroactivity: one month after the signing you'll gain a bit more of one day of PTO. The people who have been there for years and the people who just arrived are treated the same. 
There is no extra paid time off for parental leave and the public holidays are taken out of the 15 bucket so that's already about half of the 15 days.
Lionbridge is therefore much less generous than WIPRO (for example). 
Microsoft has missed the opportunity to be really generous by adding the public holidays and a specific paid parental leave to the deal. 
They could still decide to do something if they get some bad feedback from the media comparing their meager offer to Facebook's ($4000 for each new baby).
It's also maintaining big inequalities among suppliers and with Microsoft's direct employees.
Let us know how you feel and if you want the union to sign asap or not.
Have a good week-end.

Friday, July 10, 2015

Next collective bargaining meeting (the 5th): on Friday July 17

The fifth collective bargaining meeting will take place on friday July 17th. from 3.45pm to 5 (or less) at the 

East Shore Unitarian Church
12700 SE 32nd Street
Bellevue, WA 98005-4317
For those who are never attended, the church is a 5 minute drive from Advanta. 
Any Tier 1 employee is welcome to attend. 
Microsoft has included its paid leave requirement (at least 15 days of paid time off) in the new contract signed with Lionbridge. The question is when and how will Lionbridge implement it as far as our lab is concerned. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

How much would it cost to provide us Memorial Day as a paid holiday? $5204

Considering the present compensation rate of the 37 or so Tier1 tester/reviewers working for Microsoft and paid via Lionbridge Technologies we estimate the cost for one paid leave day is $5204.
In comparison, Lionbridge CEO, Rory Cowan made last year between $1.522.275 and $2.89 million (that's including part of his stock options): taking into account his $1.5 million compensation, one paid leave day for the 37 employees represents less than one day of Cowan's income and less than 4 hours when choosing his $2.9 million income. 
For the first quarter of 2015, Lionbridge posted record earnings and bought back 254.000 shares of its common stock for $1.4 million.

Cornish College art students help with Microsoft temps’ campaign for better benefits.

In the Sunday edition of the Seattle Times.

Cornish College art students help with Microsoft temps’ campaign for better benefits.
By mday@seattletimes.com

The labor movement has a rich history of using art to galvanize support, from the black-cat symbol of the Industrial Workers of the World to folk songs by Pete Seeger and the writings of Upton Sinclair.
So when Philippe Boucher, a contractor on Microsoft’s campus who helped organized Washington’s newest union of technology workers, searched the Web for images to depict his campaign for paid time off, he was surprised by what he found.
“There were very few images on these themes,” Boucher said. “Almost nothing.”
Boucher got some help to remedy that. The Bainbridge Island resident ran into a neighbor, Natalia Ilyin, as his campaign was gaining steam this winter. Ilyin, a professor at Cornish College of the Arts in Seattle, happened to teach a class called “Design for Social Change.”
A partnership was born. Ilyin asked her students to create poster- and advertisement-style images on behalf of the Temporary Workers of America, the union chartered last year by Boucher and fellow employees of a Redmond unit of technology contractor Lionbridge Technologies.
Among the results: A family at a barbecue with the father figure cut out. A man and a child seated at the dinner table next to an empty chair. Someone in a cast worrying about having to rush back to work too soon.
Many of the pieces feature the phrase “Paid Time Off Matters.”
That isn’t a coincidence. In March, several months after Boucher’s campaign began and amid a broader push for better wages and benefits for the lowest-paid workers in a booming technology industry, Microsoft ordered the contractors it buys services from to give their employees 15 days of paid leave a year.
Microsoft general counsel Brad Smith made the announcement in a blog postunder the headline “Paid time off matters.”
Boucher agrees. He’s also keeping an eye out for an opportunity to hold an exhibition of the images.
— Matt Day: mday@seattletimes.com

Saturday, May 16, 2015

Sign the petition asking Microsoft to start implementing their paid leave policy for Memorial Day

We just created with Coworker.org' support an on line petition titled "MICROSOFT: Give Memorial Day as paid leave holiday to your supplier's employees."
Take a moment to add your name supporting this demand:
Thousands of people have worked for years for Microsoft via contractors-vendors, without having any paid time off. We think Microsoft's new policy of requiring their suppliers to provide paid time off should be fully implemented as soon as possible.

Memorial Day seems a perfect and very symbolic date to start providing paid leave.
We don't see any technical or financial obstacle to do so and it would be a tangible sign that Microsoft takes its commitment seriously and will implement it promptly.
 This upcoming Memorial Day is an opportunity to ask Microsoft to start implementing its commitment to paid leave now instead of we don't know when.
We think it's worth giving it a try. After you've signed the petition, please take a moment to share it with others.
It's easy – all you need to do is forward this message.
Thank you!

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Improved Benefits for Facebook Contractors Employees

Sheryl Sandberg, Facebook's CEO posted this announcement (below) on FB's blog. You'll notice the similarity with Microsoft's announcement also via the company's blog and with a very similar wording. A few differences still: the $15 minimal wage and $4000 for workers who don't receive parental leave. It's not clear if the minimum 15 days of paid time off includes the 'legal holidays' or if they are added to this package. I wonder if the media compared those benefits to those offered by Facebook to their 'direct' employees. No mention of the eventual 'cost', nor who will pay for it, nor how many people are concerned. Implementation was effective May 1st for some contractors.

May 12, 2015

Improved Benefits for Facebook Contractors

By Sheryl Sandberg, Chief Operating Officer
Today, I am pleased to announce that we are implementing a new set of standards on benefits for contractors and vendors who support Facebook in the US and do a substantial amount of work with us. These benefits include a $15 minimum wage, minimum 15 paid days off for holidays, sick time and vacation, and for those workers who don’t receive paid parental leave, a $4,000 new child benefit for new parents.
This will give both women and men the flexibility to take paid parental leave, an important step for stronger families and healthier children. 
We’ve been working on these changes for some months and had originally planned to announce this last Monday.
Effective May 1, we’ve already put these standards in place for some of our largest support teams at our Menlo Park headquarters. We will be working to implement this program with a broader set of vendors within the year.
This broader group will include workers who do substantial work for Facebook and who are employed by companies based in the US with more than 25 employees supporting Facebook. 
Taking these steps is the right thing to do for our business and our community. Women, because they comprise about two-thirds of minimum wage workers nationally, are particularly affected by wage adjustments. Research also shows that providing adequate benefits contributes to a happier and ultimately more productive workforce. 
We are committed to providing a safe, fair work environment to everyone who helps Facebook connect the world. This is an important step forward in this work for us.