Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Clarification about the annual performance review and pay raises

Today during the stand up meeting HR announced the annual performance review. While usually such review is linked to pay raises that's not the case with Lionbridge, especially for the Tier1s. We have heard about pay raises for the Tier2s in the past, never for any Tier1. We know some Tier1s asked for a raise and were laid off soon after and we know of Tier1s who repeatedly asked for raises but never got any, despite their excellent performance. Lionbridge's practice since the start of this lab has been to stick with the initial rate people were hired for and never give them a raise: people who started at $17 are still at $17 and people at $22 are still at $22. Of course since 2012 many prices have gone up, especially housing costs. That's why the union proposed a cost of living clause along with pay raises: Lionbridge did not want any of it as you can check from their proposal. Their attorney explained they were following the market and the market did no justify any pay raise. Maybe you read about studies showing salaries were up in our region (+5% in the last quarter of 2015): not for us. Meanwhile Lionbridge's financial results for 2015 are excellent, as they recently announced. Still, in face of Lionbridge persistent refusal of any raise, the reality for us, as demonstrated with the paid time off requirement, is that Microsoft is the market: only Microsoft can lift up our compensation (as they did in the past for some of their suppliers). Now if by miracle Lionbridge wanted to raise all Tier1 salaries or only a few, the union would obviously not object. HR sort of implied that no Tier1 could get a pay raise except via collective bargaining: been there, done that and Lionbridge's answer has been no pay raise for anybody. If they were to change their mind, the union would not object, even if the raises were selectively given to a few. You did get a raise partially thanks to our advocacy for paid leaves that had some influence on Microsoft's PTO decision. We keep pushing for more and who knows, maybe Bill Gates will put Melinda's preach into practice for Microsoft's suppliers employees?
As I close this clarification I want to suggest something those of you who have a 401k could do: I think it would be interesting if some of us were buying each at least one share of Microsoft stock, becoming therefore Microsoft's shareholders. Being shareholders we could, for instance, attend the annual meeting and express our wishes. It's called shareholder activism. Just an idea.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Melinda Gates expresses (once again) her support for paid parental leave: will it translate into a change of policy to require Microsoft's suppliers to provide paid parental leave?

In the 2016 Gates Foundation annual letter co-written by Bill and Melissa she states: "studies show that when fathers are able to take time off from paid work when their children are born, they spend more time with their kids and doing other kinds of housework for years to come. As a result, they form a stronger bond with their partners and children. That’s one reason why I think access to paid family and medical leave is so important for families."
It's too bad that despite Melissa's concern, a concern we assume is shared by Bill, Microsoft has done nothing (yet?) to make sure its suppliers provide paid parental leave to their employees. Last year Brad Smith announced an 'at least 15 days of paid time off policy". This is an improvement from not one day but this policy does not take into account the needs of new parents as there is no provision for paid parental leave!!! Bill could do the right thing and convince Microsoft to require a paid parental leave policy for their suppliers employees. Another improvement in terms of paid family leave would be to require the suppliers to offer the same paid public holidays leave as Microsoft does. That would bring 12 additional paid days to the people working for Microsoft who need it the most (as they are usually much less paid). That would be practicing what they preach.

Friday, February 12, 2016

Lionbridge Announces FY 2015 Results With Revenue of $560 Million

"In 2015, we delivered our strongest financial performance in history with record revenue, ongoing margin expansion and record earnings despite currency and customer concentration headwinds," said Rory Cowan, CEO, Lionbridge.  "

Highlights for the fourth quarter ended December 31, 2015 include:
  • Revenue of $140.8 million, an increase of $21.1 million, or 18% from the fourth quarter of 2014.
  • GAAP net income of $2.9 million or $0.05 per share, based on 62.5 million weighted average diluted shares outstanding. This compares to a GAAP net loss of $1.2 million or $0.02 per share in the fourth quarter of 2014.
  • Adjusted earnings of $9.8 million or $0.16 per share.
  • Adjusted EBITDA of $11.8 million.
  • Acquired 1.2 million shares of its common stock in the quarter for an aggregate purchase price of $6.0 million as part of its new share repurchase program announced in November 2015.