Sunday, August 21, 2016

The Other Microsoft, Second Edition is now available

Other_Micro_PB_2_frontThe Other Microsoft, Second Edition, tells the story of Temporary Workers of America, the baby union that was officially born on September 11, 2014 to represent the employees of a lab certifying apps for the Windows Store. The second edition updates the content with what happened since the creation until the end of July 2016, including the charge filed against Microsoft for joint employment, recently withdrawn in the context of layoffs at the lab and the ratification of the first collective bargaining agreement. What's next? Shareholder activism. If you are interested, if you own shares of Microsoft, contact temporaryworkersofamerica at
The second edition is now available via Blurb for print on demand versions as well as e-book and pdf formats.  It is also available on Amazon as an e-book.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Microsoft announces they are going to require their suppliers to provide at least 15 days of paid leave to their employees

On Thursday March 26, Brad Smith, Vice president Executive of Microsoft published on Microsoft's official blog a post entitled 'Paid time off matters: Ensuring minimum standards for the people at our suppliers" (see below for a copy of this document).
When implemented this decision will drastically change the situation that is described in The Other Microsoft. By itself it is already a very significant and positive change that deserves to be considered and appreciated. Of course we'll see in the coming weeks and months how this announcement translates into real changes for Microsoft's suppliers employees and especially for the 'temporary' workers presently deprived of any paid time off. Of particular interest will be the situation at LOCAL/Lionbridge Technologies where the collective bargaining is on going: at the last meeting, on February 27, LOCAl/Lionbridge Technologies had refused to provide any paid time off of any sort (see pages 8 and 9 of their contract proposal).
Microsoft's announcement changes the story of The Other Microsoft that will need at least one new chapter to take it into account and tell what's next to come.
We'll bring those changes into the book as fast as possible but until we are able to do so we'll keep you up to date on this blog.

Friday, January 16, 2015

In the news

This week we are in the news:

As temp sector grew, so did appeal of Union. Microsoft campus labmates bargain for benefits, in the Tuesday January 13 issue of the Boston Globe, by Katie Johnston

Labor issues at Microsoft prompt talk of policy changesin the Thursday January 15 issue of  the Seattle Times, by Matt Day

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Other Microsoft is now available as an e-book and as print on demand

The Other Microsoft is now available in an e-book format via Amazon Kindle and as print on demand via The cover was inspired by the cover of Capital in the 21st century, as I liked its simple design and making a connection with a fundamental book about the growing inequalities generated by the present economic system.

Even after working full-time for years, many employees -in fact almost half of Microsoft's workforce- are contracted through vendors who misclassify them as "temporary". As a result they do not receive any benefits: no paid sick leave; no paid family leave; and, no paid vacation. While Microsoft reportedly takes very good care of its "direct" employees, often receiving high marks in "best places to work for" lists, because it provides them with significant benefits, the company continues to ignore the situation of the "permatemps" who work for years on end, often receiving no paid leave until they are let go. 
This situation contradicts Microsoft's claim to be a good corporate citizen. Microsoft is a signatory of the UN Global Compact and it publicly asserts its commitment to the implementation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. As such, Microsoft should make sure its US suppliers employees get the basic benefits that are mentioned in the Declaration, including Article 24 about "periodic holidays with pay". 
At one small lab on Microsoft's campus in Redmond, frustration with this situation has compelled workers with over two years, to unionize. They voted on September 11, 2014 to form Temporary Workers of America and choose it as their exclusive collective bargaining representative: a first in the high tech milieu. 
This short book tells their story and their hope for positive changes. NOW.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Microsoft once (in 1998) required that its suppliers provide a few benefits to their 'temporary' employees

Especially important for people concerned about the present situation of 'permatemps' without any benefit provided by their staffing agency is the information given by Ron Lieber (read the extract below). It clearly shows that Microsoft at that time (1998) did require its suppliers to provide a set of benefits to their 'temporary' employees. Unfortunately I have not been able to find additional relevant information. My guess is that in the following years, for whatever reasons, the benefits requirements were abandoned.
August 2000: The permatemps contretemps, by Ron Lieber, Fast Company