Friday, May 1, 2020

Change of name: welcome to Federation of tech Workers

Pittsburgh Association of Tech Professionals is now Federation of Tech Workers. Our mission remains the same: helping workers in the tech industry improve their working conditions and making their workplaces more fair and safer--now more than ever 
Follow them on Facebook. (I could not find a website). They organized in September 2019. No info (yet?) about the collective bargaining process.

Friday, October 11, 2019

American Factory, a documentary on Netflix: Capital vs labor

Interesting. It's too bad a majority of workers were scared enough to vote against a union :( 
They were definitely exposed to all the same tricks, firing of pro-union workers, intense propaganda sessions (the very same stuff we were fed by Lionbridge and is fed everywhere), sudden $2 pay raise (look at what you could lose) etc... :( . At the end it's a 'classical' but not often showed in movies story of capital vs labor. 
There are many reviews if you google American Story. I selected this article published before the film. Of course, workers would be better off with a union and the company would still make a profit (as we all know and as they already are). Hopefully it will happen asap. Later  I found this by Jon Talton for the Seattle Times.
I looked a bit more at Fuyao: they just bought a plant in Germany (that had gone bankrupt). Wondering if they have unions there. Here about labor protests in China now and in the past

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Friday, September 27, 2019

Melinda's take on how to accelerate change

As I am working on putting out a third and updated edition of The Other Microsoft, I visited Melinda Gates, Pivotal Ventures website (here the paid leave working group, unfortunately with a broken link) and as well as the Evoke one. This extract is dedicated to gender equality but it could apply to any change, including paid leave, a topic she has said she supports. Read below the content of 'Amplify external pressure'. I'll share my comments later. Take care.

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Who reports about the vote to unionize at HCL/Google in Pittsburgh?

I find it interesting to see who reports about it and who does not.
Googling (thank you Google) shows the following pieces (incomplete as I don't have unlimited time to devote to the search)
The USW press release
in Wired, by Paris Martineau
in Bloomberg News, by Mark Bergen and Josh Eidelson
Shirrin Ghaffary in Vox/Recode
Sarah Todd, for Quartz at Work where I also ddiscovered how Kickstarter is firing organizers, in this article on Slate by April Glaser.
Colin Lecher in The Verge
Pittsburgh NPR station, before the vote, by Kathleen Davis.
In the Washington Post,article by Greg Bensinger and Nitasha Tiku (one worker is quoted as saying "For him, the biggest concern was paid time off', although "Google, in April, said it would require contractor firms it works with to offer paid sick and parental leave, as well as improved health care and minimum pay of $15 per hour." But how soon should that be implemented and what were the minimal requirements, how many days etc. 
Very detailed article by Brian Conway for VICE/Motherboard section: he notes that "Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day are paid holidays for Google workers, but not HCL contractors. As a result, several HCL contractors said they must use personal days on those holidays, as they aren’t allowed in the office without Google employees present." We faced exactly the same discrimination at Lionbridge/Microsoft. Brian also mentions that "Several contractors said they are prohibited from discussing their salaries with each other": we had the same issue with Lionbridge but few people seem to know such a prohibition is illegal. They had to change their policy after the NLRB found out while investigating one of our charges.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

In Pittsburgh: success in organizing within a Google's contractor

Excellent article in The Guardian, by Julia Carrie-Wong about workers organizing to get a union, with so many similarities with our own story. In fact the vote is taking place today. All our best wishes of success, friends. We can only hope they don't play on you the run away shop strategy :(
That happened when we cornered Microsoft with an NLRB charge about them being a joint employer. Something that was too 'dangerous' for their business model, despite their claims of generosity and acceptance of unionizing, although it basically never took place (yet?) but for us. 
Visiting twitter, I just found out they won! 
They are going to be represented by United Steel Workers.
Congratulations and again all our best wishes. Considering the size of HCL, (140K employees in 44 countries) it will be interesting to see if the unionization drive spreads, including in our region as, of course HCL partners with Microsoft.
More info here about the organizing.