A wise pet coordinator at the local Humane Society once said, “There are no bad dogs, just bad masters.”
Blame it on a bad economy, or blame it on the granddaddy of outsourcing and profits over people, but Microsoft is blaming its pay cuts for the temporary workers it hires on the bad economy.
Todd Bishop at Tech Flash explains:
“Microsoft, citing the "realities of a deteriorating economy," will reduce by 10 percent the amount it pays employment agencies for many of its temporary workers -- and cut by 15 percent the target billing rate for future temporary work.”
Bishop adds that this decision is expected to influence the tech job market and may require the agencies “to reduce their already slim profit margins or cut worker pay.” Some say they will even need to do both. The decision affects temporary workers in existing Microsoft assignments who will either need to “accept pay cuts or take their chances in an increasingly difficult economy.”
Meanwhile, the Seattle based Washington Alliance of Technology Workers is unable to help the struggling local technology professionals. President Les French cites the distinct problem of trying to organize temporary workers under the frequency with which they change jobs, saying that it is “like hitting a butterfly with a BB gun.” French explains
"When Microsoft hires a full-time employee, it's a lot different than when they contract an agency to provide the worker on a temporary basis. They're relieved immediately of a lot of legal obligation, and certainly there's a buffer between them and any organizing effort. So the organizing effort has to be with the temporary agency. Then again, you still have to meet the requirements of defining the business unit -- who's in it, whose nose is going to be counted. ... You can't really nail down the unit or the group that you're trying to organize."
Hope is the bread of the poor. Should the board of Microsoft ever decide to opt for humane hiring practices -- such as recruiting local professionals for full time work with non-slave labor compensation plans --- nevermind. That would have to be when hell freezes over. In the meantime, keeping billionaire CEOs and fawning sycophants honest is no doubt a menial task, but somebody has to do it, whether it is unions or tech groups or non-co-opted journalists or ‘honest’ politicians. But if Microsoft is the poster boy for technology labor arbitrage, professionals in the field can expect to see this temp worker, low wage rent-a-tech programming business model flourish that benefits the upper 3% of corporate executives at the expense of local communities.