Saturday, July 30, 2016

Tentative Collective Bargaining Agreement Between Lionbridge and Temporary Workers of America

This Saturday morning, from 9AM to 2PM. five of us negotiated with three Lionbridge's representatives a contract in the context of the upcoming layoffs.
You can read the content of this addendum here.
Were present for the union, Lizzie Mueth, Jeff Chapman, Leo Guerra, Colin Sweeney and Philippe Boucher .
We obtained a severance payment for people leaving voluntarily or not:
4 weeks pay plus one week per year of presence.
We don't know how many people will be concerned (we were told between 10 and 20) and the date would be August 10.
For the people who will stay, the minimal pay will be $19.50 per hour, becoming $20 six months later. They'll also become eligible for merit pay based increases on the second payroll period after ratification.

People with more than 9 months of employment immediately become regular with all the benefits linked to this classification: paid company holidays and paid time off increasing with the years of employment, more than the 15 days we have now.
Lionbridge told us they were considering parental leave but nothing was decided yet. We'll see.
The five of us felt this was the best we could get so we accepted this offer and it will be submitted to a ratification vote by all lab employees this coming Wednesday.
You should receive printed copies of the agreement at the office on Monday and we'll post it online as well as soon as possible.
The selective process to determine who is laid off will rely on the last three evaluations and made by Tier2s with at least one year in their position. It was very difficult to devise a fair system of selection and we thought this was the best possible option in a process that remains inherently painful and somehow subjective.
In exchange of Lionbridge's concessions the union agreed to abandon after the ratification of this agreement all NLRB charges pending against Lionbridge and Microsoft.
We think this was a best effort and we hope you'll support it.
If you have any questions, email us or talk with the people who attended this meeting.
It was very generous of them to devote so much time of their week end to this negotiation and contribute key valuable suggestions.
Have a good week end.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

A meeting this coming saturday July 30 with Lionbridge about "the potential for work force reductions"

Lionbridge is proposing a meeting with the union this coming saturday July 30 at 9AM in their office in the building across from the lab, Sterling Plaza, Suite 300.
Here is the initial text we received tuesday afternoon:

 Lionbridge has completed its review of the impact of the reduced volume of work it will be performing on the ACO project under the new contract with Microsoft.  As a result, we need to discuss the ultimate location of the ACO work, as well as the potential for work force reductions in Bellevue, and of course the time table for such actions.
We are available any time on Saturday, July 30. Please get back to me as soon as possible.

Please let us know if you want to attend. Lionbridge says that because their office will be closed, security would like to know the names of the people who will be coming for the Union.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Revisiting page 84 of the 2015 US employee handbook: what is/was our classification? what is/was our eligibility for paid time off and paid company holidays?

Have a closer look at page 84, Exhibit G - Paid Time Off of Lionbridge's 2015 US Employee Handbook. Remember that this document was supposedly sent to us on March 9, 2015. We write supposedly because none of the Tier1 employees we interviewed could find this email nor the handbook in their email archives nor did they remember having confirmed they had received it and read it.
Notice the distinction between HP (Hewlett Packard) and Non HP employees. 
If we are to believe the handbook, by that time 'all regular employees are eligible per the chart above'. Does that mean we should have been eligible for paid time off and paid company holidays as soon as March 9 2015 but were just not 'told' by Lionbridge?
Or were we excluded from this because we were are part of a unit that was/is unionized and in the process of collective bargaining? Why was this policy change never mentioned by the Lionbridge's representatives during the collective bargaining meetings?
What is our classification today as Tier1s in this unit? 
What was our classification on March 2015?

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Seattle mayor proposes more paid leave for city employees with newborns, ill family members. What about Microsoft's suppliers in the Puget Sound area?

Read the article in the Seattle Times by Patricia Madej. The proposed plan would extend paid parental leave to 8 weeks (from the present 4 weeks):  "a move that coincides with a nationwide conversation on paid leave." Lionbridge Technologies adamantly refuses to join this conversation. At our last collective bargaining meeting when we asked about paid parental leave their attorney's shocked answer was "absolutley not!'. That's how out of touch and without empathy they are.
Since August 5, 2015 Microsoft provides at least 12 weeks of fully paid paid parental leave to it's 'direct' employees.
Fidelity Investments (the main Lionbridge shareholder) also has such a policy: 'Employees who give birth can take 16 weeks of fully paid Maternity Leave. Associates with a spouse/partner that gives birth, or who are adopting or fostering a child can take 6 weeks of fully paid Parental Leave.'
All Microsoft's suppliers should provide similar benefits. Fidelity Investments should care about how employees are treated in companies where they invest. We want to take hope in Satya Nadella's insistence on empathy, as expressed in this interview with Chicago Booth Magazine and other recent instances:
"When I’ve had my failures—when I’ve been impatient or not listened to someone—it was because I didn’t enlist my sense of empathy. Empathy helps me understand what others expect, what they need to succeed, and what the authentic ways are to communicate. We’re all  social beings. "
Seattle Councilmember M. Lorena Gonz├ílez said that she hopes to set an example for private companies. 

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Frustrating 4th of July: Paid holiday discrimination thanks to Microsoft and Lionbridge Technologies

 I have been working full time for Microsoft via their supplier Lionbridge Technologies for 4.5 years, since December 5 2011 when I was part of the first team in their app certification lab. I am still misclassified by Lionbridge as a 'temporary worker' because we had the audacity to vote for a union in September 2014. In January 2015, Lionbridge decided that after 9 months of full time employment, its temporary workers will be laid off or be 'converted' to 'regular' status with the corresponding benefits that include paid holidays. So what am I complaining about? There is an exception to this conversion scheme: if you happen to be represented by a union in the process of a collective bargaining negotiation, Lionbridge has decided this conversion does not apply to you.