Saturday, May 23, 2015

Memorial Day Should be a Paid Holiday for all the 40.000 Microsoft Temps

Memorial Day should be a paid holiday for all Microsoft temps. In a press release to be distributed to the media, Temporary Workers of America asks Microsoft to clarify its new paid leave requirement for supplier's employees and to speed up its implementation.

Image created pro bono by Lili'uolani Pickford for TWA, (c) TWA,  see more images

Temporary Workers of America (TWA) is a newly created union (September 2014) that represents people working full time for Microsoft's app certification lab via a contractor, Lionbridge Technologies. The union was formed because Lionbridge Technologies refused and still refuses to provide any paid leave to employees classified as temporary despite the fact they have been working full time for years.
There are 40 of us in the lab and at last count Microsoft had about 40.000 'temps' working via vendors. How many still don't get any paid leave?
Memorial Day is a paid holiday for Microsoft's 'direct' employees who enjoy eight such paid holidays, plus two paid 'personal days' and fifteen days of paid vacation. Lionbridge employees working alongside Microsoft's employees get nothing.
On March 26, Brad Smith announced a new Microsoft requirement for its suppliers: they would have to provide at least 15 days of paid leave. The announcement does not specify what suppliers should do about the 'public holidays'. Some, like WIPRO do like Microsoft: they offer paid legal holidays AND 15 days of paid leave.
TWA asks Microsoft to clarify their requirement and require its suppliers to offer the same number of paid public holidays as Microsoft AND 15 days of paid leave.
Microsoft mentioned the implementation of the new requirement would take place within the next nine months.
As of today, two months after this announcement, Lionbridge technologies still refuses to provide any paid leave.
On April 16, Microsoft's CEO, Satya Nadella has been invited to the White House and celebrated as a 'champion of change' but  nothing has changed for the 'temporary' workers who have worked for years for Microsoft without any paid leave and continue to do so.
We can see no reason for Microsoft not to implement the new requirement right away. Lionbridge Technologies constantly announces record profits but refuses to its employees working for Microsoft the most basic benefits while its competitors (like WIPRO) show it can be done without problem.
Why does Microsoft exempt companies like Lionbridge Technologies from implementing right now the new paid leave requirement?
This coming Memorial Day, Microsoft's 'direct' employees will enjoy a paid holiday. Lionbridge Technologies employees have been offered (with Microsoft's approval) the possibility to work on Memorial Day at the usual hourly rate (starting at $17), not even overtime.
Therefore, people living from pay check to pay check will "choose" to work on Memorial Day instead of being on paid holiday with their family and friends.
Facebook's COO Sheryl Sandberg announced on May 12 that Facebook had started to implement its new paid leave requirement: Microsoft can do the same.
Facebook also offers $4000 to supplier's employees if they don't have paid maternity/paternity leave. TWA thinks Microsoft should emulate that initiative: that would greatly help the two families who had a child in November and the one expecting a baby for the end of this month.
As things are now, those families did not get one day of paid leave.
The expecting dad prays the baby is born during a week-end.
For some of us this will be the 4th unpaid Memorial Day since starting working for Microsoft.
Microsoft proclaimed 'Paid Time Off Matters": it's time to walk the talk, it's time for the 'change champion' to deliver real change, now.
Philippe Boucher
Temporary Workers of America

TWA has created a dedicated blog to Microsoft Paid Time Off Matters
See the 55 images created by eleven students of Seattle Cornish College of the Arts on the theme of paid leaves on Images for Paid Leave
Read the story of the creation of Temporary Workers of America in the short e-book The Other Microsoft
PS: How much does providing Memorial Day as a paid holiday cost?
Considering the present compensation rate of the 40 Tier1 tester/reviewers working for Microsoft and paid via Lionbridge Technologies we estimate the cost of providing Memorial Day as a paid holiday 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 40 employees represents less than one day of Cowan's income and less than four hours when choosing his $2.9 million income. For the first quarter of 2015, Lionbridge posted record earnings and bought back 2 54.000 shares of its common stock for $1.4 million.
A look in the archives: this article in The Stranger from February 1999 about Temp Rights at Microsoft.

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