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Microsoft Pri0

Welcome to Microsoft Pri0: That's Microspeak for top priority, and that's the news and observations you'll find here from Seattle Times technology reporter Matt Day.

Category: Contractors
March 16, 2009 at 5:28 PM

More labor unrest at Microsoft: Custodians want subcontractor to restore jobs

Members of the Service Employees International Union Local 6 demonstrated at Microsoft’s Redmond campus for a second day Monday. Their gripe is not with the software giant but with a subcontractor, SBM Site Services of Sacramento, Calif., which was awarded the custodial contract in December to clean buildings at the corporate campus.

Since then, SBM has reduced the number of workers on the contract to 300. Jessica Berg, a spokesperson, said the company has laid off only 10 workers. The SEIU agrees that there are about 300 workers on the contract now, but says that represents a reduction of 60 jobs from the previous subcontractor, ABM Janitorial Services. Fred Prockiw, an organizer with Local 6, said ABM employed about 360 people for the same workload. A representative of ABM could not immediately be reached.

The remaining employees say they’re being asked to make up the slack.

“The workload’s too much,” said Dirk Koteles, 56, who picks up trash and sweeps Microsoft’s parking garages for $12.50 an hour, plus medical benefits. “They won’t give us overtime to do all this extra stuff. They expect us to get everything done in eight hours.”

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March 6, 2009 at 6:44 AM

Microsoft contract worker Phil Palios decides labor organizing not for him

Phil Palios, who stepped into the spotlight this week with an attempt to stage a protest against the pay cuts Microsoft contract workers are facing, changed his mind. He had initially planned to reject the 10 percent pay cut passed on to him by contract firm Volt, after Microsoft lowered the rate it pays U.S. contracting companies by 10 percent to save costs. Palios went on to try to open communications among Microsoft contractors who were outraged by the cuts.

But late Thursday, Palios sent an e-mail to several reporters pointing to this blog post, where he explains his decision to accept the pay cut and back away from his attempt to organize contract workers, which he describes as “one of the most intense experiences of my life.”

“… After my emotions calmed down and I had more time to think I realized I had begun walking down a path that was not helping me achieve my goals in life,” Palios, 23, wrote.

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March 3, 2009 at 6:01 PM

Microsoft vendors and contingent workers total more than 79,000, on top of direct employees

It’s widely known that Microsoft has a large contingent work force in addition to its 96,000 direct, regular employees worldwide. But the company has never publicly quantified these workers, who typically work through third-party firms and do everything from mow the lawns to write software. According to numbers reviewed by The Seattle Times, Microsoft has roughly…

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