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

Sunday, September 14, 2014

How many 'contingency workers', 'permatemps' are working for Microsoft today?

In January 2009, there were 41,255 'contingency employees' at Microsoft.
How many are there today?
How many vendors at Microsoft in June 2014 compared to the 41,255 of 2009? How many with benefits and how many without benefits?

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Memory Lane: two excellent articles by Samatha M Shapiro about the 'permatemps' at Microsoft... 15 years ago

 The Temp's rights was published in February 1999 and Temporary Victory in May 1999, both in The Stranger. Samantha Shapiro is now a contributing writer with the New York Times and many other magazines. 14 years later, the Microsoft's temps are back to square 1.
The Vizcaino victory appears to have been quite temporary.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

The Vizcaino vs Microsoft decision, 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, May 12 1999

If you want to revisit the Vizcaino decison, rendered May 12 1999 in San Francisco by the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals: click Here or read below, especially at the end. Here is the résumé of the case by the plaintiff's attorneys  as posted on their website. They refused to discuss the case with me.

Monday, July 7, 2014

The most detailed story (so far) about the revolt of the Microsoft's 'permatemps'

Just discovered, thanks to Jake Rosenfeld, a book published in June 2008, that contains the most detailed story I have seen so far about the 'revolt' of the Microsoft's permatemps:

Love the work, hate the job, by David Kusnet (John Wiley and Sons) pages 97 to 149 about Microsoft's 'permatemps'.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Naomi Klein explains 'contingency workers' at Microsoft in her book No Logo

On page 249 of No Logo, Naomi Klein starts explaining how high tech companies have develeoped the use of 'contingency workers': 'The percentage of Silicon Valley workers employed by temp agencies is nearly three times the national average' (1998). And Microsoft, the largest of the software firms, didn't just lead the way to this part-time promised land, it wrote the operating manual.