Friday, October 23, 2015

Request for Microsoft to attend a collective bargaining meeting as a joint employer

Find below the text of the letter/email we sent on October 17, to Kathleen Hogan, Microsoft Executive Vice President Human resources. 

Temporary Workers of America

October 17, 2015
Kathleen Hogan
Executive Vice President, Human Resources
One Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
Re: Request for Microsoft to attend a collective bargaining meeting as a joint employer
Dear Ms. Hogan,
Our union, Temporary Workers of America (TWA), represents the 37 Tier1 employees provided by Lionbridge Technologies for Microsoft's app certification lab within the App & Catalog Operations (ACO), presently located in Bellevue, Buidling Advanta C.
We have had collective bargaining sessions with Lionbridge Technologies since November 2014.
After reviewing the NLRB decision of August 27, 2015 about Browning-Ferries Industries, we think that Microsoft can be considered a joint employer and should be part of the collective bargaining process, because of the significant control Microsoft has on our working conditions.
We therefore ask you to attend the next collective bargaining meeting that will take place on Friday, October 23, at 3.30 p.m. at 
East Shore Unitarian Church
12700 SE 32nd Street
Bellevue, WA 98005-4317
We are grateful that Microsoft decided on March 26, 2015 to require that its suppliers provide 'at least 15 days of paid time off' to their employees since Lionbridge Technologies would not have offered us anything without this requirement. See the initial contract proposal of February 27, 2015 on our blog:
Unfortunately there are two big gaps in this requirement:
1. It leaves out parental leave without requiring any specific additional paid time off for new parents.
2. It leaves out the 'legal holidays' that are very important moments for family time.
In his March 26, 2015 post, Brad Smith rightly mentions that some Microsoft suppliers already provide paid leave benefits and more than 15 days of PTO. We know, for instance, that WIPRO does provide paid parental leave and pays for the public holidays observed by Microsoft.
Unfortunately that's not Lionbridge Technologies policy.
Lionbridge present proposal of September 21 (see our blog: Article 7, page 7) is the arch-minimum of what Microsoft requires: 15 days that will start accruing monthly in a proportionate way (1.25 day per month), starting only when the collective bargaining contract is signed: there is no retroactivity, no taking account of any of the previous years. There is nothing set aside specifically for paid parental leave, no paid public holidays on top of the 15 PTO bucket.
In his post Brad mentioned his concern for small companies that could find it more difficult to implement the new requirement. Lionbridge is not such a company. It is a very well established, NASDAQ listed corporation, that is boasting its increasing profits at each quarterly report while refusing all our demands.
On August 5, while we were trying to come to terms with Lionbridge's approach, you announced an increase in the number of paid parental leave and two new paid public holidays, for Microsoft's own 'direct' employees.
On August 21, Melinda Gates commented on this announcement in a post published on The Huffington Post: it "should put pressure on every company, in every industry, to design and implement similar policies, setting a new standard for family leave."
We completely agree with Melinda.
Is improving the 'at least 15 days of paid time off' too costly a proposition for Lionbridge Technologies and/or Microsoft? 
Here are our estimates based on the present number of 37 Tier 1 employees and their present compensation, that has not changed for the last 3 years, ranging from $17 to $22 per hour.
On average during the last 3 years, there were 2 or 3 families with new children among us, mostly new fathers. If we take the families concerned in 2014, providing them with four weeks of paid family leave would have cost $ 7.040, a cost increase per employee of ten cents per hour.
Providing 10 days of paid legal holidays to the 37 employees (at their present compensation) would cost $57.040 a year, a cost increase per employee of 80 cents per hour.
Lionbridge Technologies refuses (as of today) to make this paid leave investment.
What about Microsoft? Where does Microsoft stand? Are you willing to expand the minimum "at least 15 days" standard to provide family leave to supplier employees working for you?

At the end of your August 5 post you wrote: "We will continue to listen to employee feedback to establish benefits and build an overall employee experience that raises the bar in our industry, creates a more inclusive environment, and recognizes the importance of our people to the continued success of Microsoft".
We hope you'll consider all these facts and give us an answer about your participation in the collective bargaining process as a joint employer before the end of Thursday, October 22.
Philippe Boucher
Co-Founder and President
Temporary Workers of America
cc: Timothy O'Connell, attorney for Lionbridge Technologies

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