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Memo: 66 Volt workers have not accepted wage cuts

  Some Microsoft contractors are apparently following through on threats to refuse pay cuts mandated in recent weeks.
  According to an internal memo obtained by the Seattle P-I, 66 employees at Volt, which is generally considered to be Microsoft’s largest temporary staffing firm, have not signed amendments to their contracts, which would include 10 percent pay cuts. If contractors do not accept the wage cuts, they lose their jobs. The memo shows that one of the 66 is on vacation. However, some of the other employees are marked as “thinking” or having “escalated”.
  A Volt manager did not respond to a message seeking comment this afternoon.
  Earlier this month, Microsoft alerted its temporary staffing firms that it would cut bill rates by 10 percent as part of a cost-cutting measure. All of the major firms have since cut wages.

Contractors protest Microsoft wage cuts

  About 15 temporary staffers employed at Microsoft gathered at a prominent intersection outside the company’s corporate headquarters in Redmond Monday evening to protest upcoming wage cuts.
  Microsoft told its temporary staffing agencies two weeks ago that it would cut its bill rates by 10 percent, in an effort to slash the amount it spends on contingent staff by up to 15 percent.
  All of the major staffing agencies have since alerted employees that they will need to agree to wage cuts of as much as 10 percent or lose their jobs.
  The contractors protesting Monday at the intersection of 156th Avenue and Northeast 40th Street said the ultimatum is unfair because they agreed to a fixed pay rate when they signed on to their Microsoft assignments, which typically last at most one year.
  The staffing agencies argue that they can cut wages because the workers are employed at will.
  ”I think it’s a really bad precedent that Microsoft is setting,” said Twilight Wade, a software design engineer in test, who works for the Volt staffing agency.
  ”What’s the point of a contract if it’s not honored?” He said he would not agree to the cut and would likely therefore lose his job Tuesday.
  Phil Palios, a Volt software design engineer in test, organized the protest, e-mailing a list of 2,000 contractors to tell them about it.
  The protest was notably low-key, and attendance was much less than Palios had predicted. Palios held the only sign, upon which he had scrawled, “No Pay Cuts.” A few cars driving by honked. But Palios pledged to stand at the intersection each day for the next two weeks and said the protest was a start.
  ”We need to show how we’re all here together,” he said, asking his fellow protesters to brainstorm ideas about how they could organize.
  A Microsoft spokesman declined to comment about the situation.
  Over the last month, the company has taken a series of other steps to cut costs. Microsoft has slashed 1,400 jobs and has said it will lay off up to an additional 3,600 employees over the next 18 months.

Show All Comments – Originally from Seattle Tech Report

Written by Boathill

2009-03-12 at 10:32

Posted in News

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