Thursday, January 28, 2016

Comparing paid parental leave at Microsoft and Lionbridge: 20 weeks to zero or 140 days to zero.

Screen shot 2016-01-23 at 4.51.55 PM
Watch this video produced by the Department of Labor that compares the paid maternity leave in the US and in Germany. Then replace the US by Lionbridge and Germany by Microsoft. In fact the difference is even greater between Lionbridge and Microsoft since Microsoft increased its paid maternity leave to 20 weeks (12 weeks for the fathers) while Lionbridge stayed where it was: at 0 day. How long can Microsoft tolerates such a shameful gap that is contrary to its proclaimed commitment to human rights?
Want to do something about it? It's easy if you happen to own one share (or more) of Microsoft's stock: join our corporate social responsibility initiative targeting Microsoft by (first) asking its Board of Directors to require its suppliers to immediately provide paid parental leave to their employees. We leave it up to you how long this paid parental leave should be. Did you note the emai? (and thank you to cc to us at temporaryworkersofamerica at

You don't own any Microsoft's stock? Ask Fidelity Investments that manages your Lionbridge 401k to buy one share for you. By the way, did you know that Fidelity Investments owns 10% of Lionbridge's stock? Do you want to write to Fidelity Investments CEO to ask her to invite Lionbridge board of directors to change its inhumane no paid parental leave policy?

Monday, January 18, 2016

2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Day @ Microsoft: Help end paid leave discrimination

2016 Martin Luther King Jr. Day @ Microsoft: Help end paid leave discrimination

For 29 years Microsoft did not celebrate MLK .JR Day as a paid holiday. Then on August 5 2015, Kathleen Hogan, Executive Vice President, Human Resources announced Microsoft was adding MLK Day to its list of paid holidays. That would allow the employees to 'take time to recharge and invest in ways that are meaningful to them'.  

Friday, January 8, 2016

Chronology 2016

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: Lionbidge 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.
References: Microsoft Corporation Case 19-CA-189881
Microsoft Corporation Case 19-CA-189865

Lionbridge Case 19-CA 189865, 189868

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. 

Sunday, January 3, 2016

Microsoft's Temporary Workers 3 wishes for 2016

There are thousands of people employed by Microsoft via vendors (Microsoft has not divulged the exact number). Many of them are classified as 'temporary' although their initial contract can be extended for years. Vendors use the temporary (mis)classification as a way to deny basic benefits like any sort of paid leave. On March 26 2015, Microsoft announced it cared for the health and wellness of those workers and would therefore, within the next nine months, require  vendors to provide them with 'at least 15 days of paid time off per year'. 
How has this policy change be implemented, how many vendors and employees are concerned, how do they feel about it, are questions that remain unanswered. 

20 question survey about working conditions of Tier1s in the Windows App Certification Lab

This anonymous questionnaire was offered to all Tier1 employees after the vote rejecting the ratification of the tentative collective agreement. 13 answers (on 40) were submitted.

    1. Did you take part in the ratification vote?