Tuesday, December 22, 2015
Unpaid public holidays and no paid parental leave: Microsoft and Lionbridge are Scrooge like companies
In December 2012, Henry Blodget wrote a post in Business Insider about the Scrooge Award he gave to Corporate America. Three years later, as Xmas is coming, Microsoft and Lionbridge jointly deserve a Scrooge Award for not providing paid public holidays to all their employees. As we are not paid during those public holidays we suffer a loss of income that takes a big part of the fun out of this period as we worry about how we are going to compensate for this $ loss. Could it be possible that Microsoft does not know its trusted Lionbridge supplier does not pay for public holidays? It is doubtful as Microsoft directly profits by not paying either for those public holidays. Yes, some suppliers are more human and do pay those days to their workers (like WIPRO does). As we noted in the previous post, Microsoft should require all its suppliers to provide paid public holidays as this is clearly mentioned in article 7 (d) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: "Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays ", and Microsoft claims it is committed to implement this Convention. We'll keep denouncing this Scrooge-like behavior until it changes. Of course in these times of celebrating a nativity we'll add to our outrage the lack of any paid parental leave. The Universal Declaration of HumanRights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights also contain dispositions for pregnant moms. Article 25.2 of the UDHR states: "Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and assistance". Article 10.2 of the Internal Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights states: "Special protection should be accorded to mothers during a reasonable period before and after childbirth. During such period working mothers should be accorded paid leave or leave with adequate social security benefits." 50 years later, as this Convention was adopted in 1966, these benefits are still not required by Microsoft for all tis suppliers. Although this Convention was never ratified by the US Senate, Microsoft voluntarily committed itself to implement all its content (as far as it was relevant to its responsibilities as a multinational corporation) when they joined the UN Global Compact in ... 2006. 9 years later Microsoft is still not respecting its commitment to implement dispositions adopted 50 years ago and implemented routinely in most industrialized countries, including by Microsoft's subsidiaries operating in those countries. Lionbridge Technologies does not give a damn about the UN Global Compact but their subsidiaries in other countries also have to respect those dispositions. Only in the US...
Friday, December 11, 2015
How Microsoft does not implement its proclaimed commitment to respect all the human rights in the Universal Declaration and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
It's December 10 again, Human Rights Day again and this year Microsoft is still in violation of its commitment stated as follows:
"Since endorsing the UN Global Compact in 2006, Microsoft has had a formal commitment to respecting all of the human rights enumerated in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights; International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; and ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work. "
This year's Human Rights Day is devoted to the launch of a year-long campaign for the 50th anniversary of the two International Covenants on Human Rights: the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which were adopted by the United Nations General Assembly on 16 December 1966. Let us look at article 7 (d) of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: "Rest, leisure and reasonable limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay, as well as remuneration for public holidays "
It is clear that paid leave should include periodic vacation AND the payment of the public holidays. When they announced their new requirement of 'at least 15 days of paid time off', Microsoft ignored the specific requirement by the UN texts that public holidays be paid, on top of the basic paid vacation. Requiring only 15 days of paid time off, without adding to this mandate the payment of the public holidays deprives full time supplier's employees of any payment when Microsoft closes its offices for ten public holidays during the year.
This distinction is clearly confirmed in the 1970 Convention on paid holidays: see article 3.3 and article 6.1
Ten unpaid public holidays represent millions of dollars that are not paid to thousands of Microsoft's suppliers employees, mostly employees that are paid the less. How long will it take for Microsoft to respect its commitment?
Tuesday, December 1, 2015
Cooperman's arrival in Lionbridge capital ($23 million, a 7% stake) apparently brought changes in the financial management with the departure of the CFO. Read the article in the Boston Business Journal of November 9. Cooperman worked for years at Goldman Sachs then created his own hedge fund, Omega Advisers whose performance has not been so great lately. He also accused President Obama of promoting class warfare in an open letter (November 28, 2011). While Lionbridge announced a $50 million share repurchase program, they could not find one cent to increase Tier1 pay, nor provide paid holidays or parental leave for people who have worked in the lab for years but are still misclassified as 'temporary' workers. As for the 15 days of PTO, they have constantly repeated it was only because Microsoft required it that they offered it.