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Jan 10, 2001

Microsoft Employees File $5 Billion Racism Suit


Source:  Reuters

WASHINGTON Microsoft Corp. was hit with one of the largest discrimination suits in U.S. history as seven African Americans alleged racism and a ``plantation mentality'' at their workplace.

A group comprising both current and former employees in the company's Washington, D.C., and Redmond, Wash., offices sued Microsoft for $5 billion, alleging that they were repeatedly passed over for promotions, paid less than white employees, and subjected to harassment and retaliation when they complained.

Willie Gary, the Florida lawyer handling the case, said he is seeking class-action status.

``They (Microsoft) have a plantation mentality when it comes to treating African American workers,'' Gary said.

Gary pointed to 1999 government statistics that showed only 2.6 percent of Microsoft's 21,429 employees, and only 1.6 percent of the company's 5,155 managers, were black.

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December 13, 2000 

A huge victory for the worker

Yesterday Microsoft agreed to pay $97 million to settle a class-action lawsuit in which thousands of temporary workers filed against Microsoft.  In class-action lawsuit known as Vizcaino v. Microsoft, workers accused company of improperly denying them benefits.

District Court Judge John C. Coughenour gave the $97 million settlement agreement preliminary approval on December 12, 2000.  This settlement includes compensation to class members (permatemp employees), attorneys' fees, and litigation expenses.

Larry Spokoiny, one of the eight named plaintiffs, hailed the settlement. Mr. Spokoiny, who worked at Microsoft from May 1989 to September 1990, testing Microsoft Word software.  "This is a huge victory for the workers," Mr. Spokoiny said. "Before, they used to do this just to save some cash for themselves. It sounds to me as if they learned something from this lawsuit, and I think many other companies across the nation are going to sit up and take note."  

The $97 million settlement that Microsoft will pay is one of the largest ever received by a group of employees in a class-action lawsuit.  Workers had sued the company, maintaining that they were actually permanent employees, not temporaries, and therefore deserved the same benefits as regular workers.

 
In recent years, partly in reaction to the lawsuit, Microsoft has taken several major steps to change its employment policies.
 
David Stobaugh, a lawyer for the plaintiffs, estimated that 8,000 to 12,000 former Microsoft permatemp workers would qualify for an award under the settlement.
 
"This case has gotten a lot of publicity, and as a result, a lot of employers have decided to change their policies.  These employers recognized they shouldn't have people working at their company for a long time who don't get benefits. And for those companies who haven't changed their policies, this settlement sends a message that it could be very expensive not to change.
 
These temp workers at Microsoft, who called themselves "permatemps" because many worked there for more than two years, asserted that the company maintained a fiction that they were temp workers by hiring them through temp agencies to avoid paying them stock options, pensions and health coverage.
 
Mr. Stobaugh said that the awards to individual employees would be paid in cash and would be based in part on how long they worked at Microsoft. That cash payment would be based on the amount of stock they would have been able to buy in the discount stock purchase program if they had been allowed to, and how the value of the stock would have appreciated, assuming the employee sold the stock after a year.
 
"Microsoft continues to be a great place to work, and we value everyone who contributes to our products and services," said Deborah Willingham, Microsoft's vice president for human resources.  "We are pleased to reach an agreement that is acceptable to both sides and resolves this litigation."
 
"Microsoft is constantly working to ensure that its employment policies make this a great place to work," said Matt Pilla, a company spokesman. "There are ongoing changes, and obviously we factor in when employees have problems with our employment policies."
 
Since Microsoft has more than $20 billion in cash and cash equivalents, company officials said the settlement would have little effect on the company's bottom line. And Mr. Pilla said the settlement would not have a material effect on Microsoft's financial results.

"It is interesting that after years of depriving these employees of their deserved benefits Microsoft officials still say that "Microsoft is a great place to work" said Ken Hamidi, founder and spokesperson of FACE Intel.  

"After years of mercilessly abusing, exploiting, and victimizing its employees, Intel's officials also still shamelessly claim that Intel is a great place to work.  We all should learn from Microsoft workers, we have to get together and take action in order to win against tyrannical corporations" said Ken Hamidi.

 

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January 10, 00

What happened to the concept of free market and fair competition in a free country?  

Intel is again arrogantly and lawlessly threatening motherboard manufactures that through intimidation stop them from using AMD's microprocessor, Athlon.  

If you are sick and tired of Intel's bullying, support Dan Pettis's noble effort to encourage the frightened manufacturers to ignore Intel's desperate threats. 

I would like to let you know that 2 months ago we started a petition directed at motherboard manufacturers. The petition is designed to convince the board makers to defy any pressure or chipset supply cutoff threats from Intel, and get serious about producing and marketing motherboards for the AMD Athlon. We now have over 20,000 signatures, and the number continues to rise. 

There can be no legitimate excuse for the failure of motherboard manufacturers to design and produce these products that are in such low supply and high demand. Additionally, many of those that have produced boards (Asus, Gigabyte, Microstar, etc.) have, until just recently, refused to advertise, mention them on their website, or in some cases even acknowledge them as their own products.

With continued support, the petition might be able to help change this situation. In any event, Rob Hughes of Chip Geek has prepared an informative petition explanation page that summarizes the petition's intended goals, and provides a nice looking petition banner graphic available to anyone interested in linking to the petition. The Chip Geek petition explanation page can be seen here

http//www.ugeek.com/procspec/petition/petition.htm

I thank you for your time!

Dan Pettis-

Petition Manager 


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July 9, 99

Attention all Intel employees, if you have any information regarding the new developments of the shift work changes at Leixlip site in Ireland please let us know, THANK YOU!

By: Colman Higgins
Industrial Relations News

Intel Transfers 700 Workers - Shift Changes Raise Potential Difficulties Further details on the transfer of over 700 employees from one plant to another within the Intel complex in Leixlip, Co. Kildare, were expected to be announced this week.

The transfer is roughly estimated to cause significant changes in shift patterns for about 200-300 of the 700, and while some may see increased earnings with more night work, others are likely to see losses in earnings.

The non-union multinational, which employs over 4,000 in Ireland, told its workers last week that it recognized that the proposed transition would be "disruptive", and said it would give its workers "maximum support" to help them through it.

There have been reports of discontent among the workers involved, although part of this may be due to the uncertainty surrounding the actual number of those who may be adversely affected by the changes in shift pattern.

Loss of Earnings?

When the issue of compensation for loss of earnings - or voluntary redundancy for those unwilling to transfer - was put to a company spokesman, he declined to comment, saying that any information on those and any other issues in relation to the transfer had to be communicated to the employees first.

The transfer is coming about through the combination of the closure of the test, assembly and packaging plant at Leixlip and a need for more workers at the main chip fabrication plant, due to major new investment there. As a result, there are to be no compulsory redundancies. The test, assembly and packaging work is to be moved outside Ireland, to a location as yet to be decided, which could be the Far East.

The ‘ramping down to zero’, as the company describes the closure, is expected to take place on a phased basis over an 18-month period between now and the final quarter of next year, although it is not known yet if the bulk of the workers will be transferred in the early or late part of this period.

The new jobs at the fabrication plant are the result of a further investment program there, which is understood to involve spending 300 million to move the plant towards more sophisticated microchip technology.

Night Work:

Currently the 700 workers in test and assembly are divided into three categories - those on permanent night work, permanent day work and those on day work with occasional night work. The main fabrication plant has rotating shifts, which means that those on permanent nights may lose out on at least some of the night work premium.

Just as significant is the fact that many of these would have built a lifestyle around permanent night work, as this pattern left them free during the day for college courses or looking after their families. If a voluntary redundancy package is made available, there could be a significant demand from this group.

A company spokesman said that a "transition group" had been set up in recent weeks to manage the transfer of the 700 from test and assembly to the fabrication area. All information regarding the situation would be communicated to the employees as soon as it became available, he said.

The assembly and test plant is in fact the original Intel plant in Ireland that was set up in 1990, with the fabrication area which now dwarfs it having developed since then. As a result, it would have some of the workers with the longest service in Intel’s Irish operation. The plant originally produced motherboards, and moved to assembly and test in the past year or so.

Union Members:

While the company does not recognize trade unions, a SIPTU spokesman confirmed that the union does have a number of workers at the plant in private membership. He was reluctant to reveal the number of members it had, or what areas they were employed in, in order to protect their privacy.

IRN has been told by the Kildare and Leixlip branch of the union that no Intel workers are members of that particular branch, so it is not inconceivable that the union’s Intel members have a some other institutional arrangement with the union.

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July 2, 99

Thursday, June 17, 1999,  Intel workers angry about planned shift work changes

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By Madeleine Lyons

There were angry scenes and tears at Intel's assembly plant in Leixlip yesterday, as workers were briefed on the company's restructuring plans. Under the new arrangement, assembly operations - where 750 people are employed - will gradually be phased out and workers will be re-deployed to a new production process.

Workers were initially told the change would take place within the next 12 months, but it has now emerged the process will begin in a matter of weeks. Under the new plan, workers will be required to change from a fixed pattern of either day or night shifts to a mix of day and night shifts in which they will initially work four nights, followed by four days for a six-month period.

Industry sources have said those affected will receive no extra pay apart from the standard night work premium. Workers have also been told that if the new arrangement does not suit them, they will have to leave the company without redundancy payment.

All of the 750 workers have been with Intel at least four-and-half years, and a significant proportion are mothers. According to one source close to the company "People are just stunned because it's a whole change of life. People have their entire lives planned around the fixed shifts, only to be told either go on the new rota or tough."

Intel workers are now understood to be seeking official advice on their position. Although the company does not recognize unions, it has a number of SIPTU members among its workforce. One industry source says Intel has put the workers in an impossible position, and they would welcome the intervention of the Minister for Enterprise and Employment, Ms Harney, to put the employees' case forward.

A spokesman for Intel said it recognized there would be change in shift patterns, and a "transition team" would be set up to manage the transfer process beginning next week. "Where people identify they will be unable to make the transition, they have been encouraged to talk to their supervisor about their position," he said. "We have 18 months to work this all out."

He refused to comment on the issue of redundancy or remuneration, only to say there will be a one-to-one transfer of jobs within the same grade.

Intel is one of the largest employers in the country, currently employing 4,100 people. It is investing 300 million (euro 380.92 million) in the shift to more sophisticated microchip technology which will allow it to produce greater volumes of higher-performance chips at lower cost. It is expected to reach the market next year.

http//www.ireland.com/scripts/search/highlight.plx?

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May 10, 99

INTERNET PHONE CHARGES

This is one to make sure you make a noise on:

In the next two weeks, Congress is going to vote on allowing telephone companies to charge for Internet access.

That means, every time we make a long distance e-mail we will receive a long distance charge. This will get costly. Please visit the following web site AND complain - Complain to your Congressman.  Don't allow this to pass.  Write to them at the following websites.

http://www.house.gov/writerep       

Pass this on to your friends.  It is urgent.  I hope all of you will pass this on to all your friends and family and write to Congress.  All of us have an interest in this one.

PLEASE FORWARD TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW TODAY BEFORE IT IS TOO LATE.

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March 29, 99

AMD stealing US retail processor market

Market research company PC Data said recently chip company AMD had taken more than 50 per cent share of the US desktop retail market in February, the second month in a row that AMD has trashed Intel's retail share.     

The figures show AMD at 51.4 per cent, Intel at 38 per cent and Cyrix at 10.4 per cent.     AMD is reportedly in negotiations with other chip manufacturers to use their fabrication plants to step up production.

Intel tells its employees that: "EMPLOYEES ARE INTEL'S GREATEST ASSET."  But it teats its employees like "GREATEST WORTHLESS EXPENDABLE ASSET."  And the above data is the net result of such a deceitful brutality.

AMD on the other hand, impresses its employees as they are AMD's "A VALUABLE ASSET."  According to former Intel employees who left Intel to work for AMD, it treats its employees like "AMD's REAL VALUABLE ASSET."

And that obviously makes a lot of difference in net results, doesn't it?

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February 1, 99

Supreme Court Applies Free-Speech to Internet

Thursday June 26 459 PM EDT

By James Vicini

WASHINGTON (Reuter) - The Supreme Court extended free-speech rights to cyberspace in a historic ruling Thursday, striking down a federal law that restricted indecent pictures and words on the Internet computer network.

The nation's highest court dealt the Clinton administration a major defeat by declaring unconstitutional the law that made it a crime to transmit sexually explicit material to anyone younger than 18.

The high-profile case marked the first time the Supreme Court granted full constitutional free-speech protections under the First Amendment to the giant worldwide network of linked computers used by tens of millions of people.

The justices by a 7-2 vote ruled that all key parts of the Communications Decency Act violate free-speech rights, amounting to illegal government censorship.

"Notwithstanding the legitimacy and importance of the congressional goal of protecting children from harmful materials, we agree ... that the statute abridges 'freedom of speech' protected by the First Amendment," Justice John Paul Stevens said for the court majority in the 40-page opinion.

The law, signed by President Clinton in 1996 as part of a telecommunications overhaul, barred distribution to minors of indecent or "patently offensive" materials on the Internet. It provided for fines and a maximum two years in prison.

The law defined indecent as anything that "depicts or describes in terms patently offensive, as measured by contemporary community standards, sexual or excretory activities or organs."

The law did not target obscenity or child pornography, which already were illegal. The Internet indecency law has never taken effect because of the court battle.

The ruling represented a major victory for the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and groups representing libraries, publishers and the computer on-line industry, which brought the lawsuit challenging the law.

ACLU attorney Stefan Presser said, "Essentially the Supreme Court of the United States took an idea from the 18th century, that is free speech, and said it has enduring quality, and will extend into the 21st century, because government will not be allowed to censor what's on the Internet." Clinton said he would study the decision, gather people representing industry, parents, teachers and librarians to review it, and continue to look for a way to keep children from viewing pornography on the Internet.

"With the right technology and rating systems we can help ensure that our children don't end up in the red light districts of cyberspace," he said in a statement.

The Supreme Court said the rapidly growing Internet deserved full First Amendment protection, citing its unique characteristics as a public forum for the exchange of ideas and information.

The high court rejected arguments that the Internet was similar to the television and radio industries, where there has been a history of extensive government regulation and where indecent speech may be restricted.

"The (Communications Decency Act) is a content-based regulation of speech," Stevens said. "The vagueness of such a regulation raises special First Amendment concerns because of its obvious chilling effect on free speech."

"As a matter of constitutional tradition ... we presume that governmental regulation of the content of speech is more likely to interfere with the free exchange of ideas than to encourage it," Stevens said.

Chief Justice William Rehnquist and Justice Sandra Day O'Connor agreed that the law was unconstitutional in that it would restrict adults' access to material they otherwise would be entitled to see.

Writing for the two, O'Connor said they would invalidate the law only in those circumstances. That part of the court's ruling was unanimous.  But O'Connor said for the two dissenters that she would uphold other restrictions that prohibited the use of indecent speech in communications between an adult and one or more minors.

In his statement, Clinton said, "The Internet is an incredibly powerful medium for freedom of speech and freedom of expression that should be protected. But there is material on the Internet that is clearly inappropriate for children ... We must give parents and teachers the tools they need to make the Internet safe for children."

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January 5, 99

Call for Freedom for Chinese Scientists Who Used Internet

On 10 December, a coalition of 13 free speech and scientific organizations launched an e-mail campaign on behalf of two jailed Chinese scientists charged with "using the Internet to promote democracy," reports Cyber-Rights & Cyber-Liberties (UK), one of the groups. Lin Hai and Wang Youcai were both arrested and charged with "inciting the overthrow of state power." Lin , a Shanghai software engineer, was arrested in March after providing 30,000 Chinese e-mail addresses to "VIP Reference", a US-based Internet magazine that distributes reports on dissident activities, human rights, and other issues to more than 250,000 e-mail addresses in China. Wang, a Chinese physicist,  leader of the 1989 pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square and co-founder of the opposition group China Democracy Party, was arrested in November after e-mailing documents to dissidents overseas. "The Internet is already proving to be a very powerful tool for dissidents in China and around the globe," says Barry Steinhardt, executive director of the  Electronic Frontier Foundation. "The Chinese government has recognized the threat that it poses to their dictatorial rules and has adopted the most repressive rules about Internet use in the world." To view an Action Alert calling for Lin and Wang's release, visit http://www.cyber-rights.org/linhai.htm

Via:

View the webzine version of the IFEX "Communique" on-line at  www.ifex.org/communique. International Freedom of Expression exchange Clearing House

IFEX "COMMUNIQUE" # 7-48                

15 December 1998

-) -) Message Ends; Signature File Begins (- (-

George(s) Lessard, Community Media Arts, Management & Mentoring Information, subscriptions, public keyword searchable archives and CAUTIONS, Disclaimers, NOTES TO EDITORS and copyright information may be found @ http://members.tripod.com/~media002/disclaimer.htm

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October 29, 98

(Updated 11-2-98)

Intel thinks, acts, and behaves as they are above the law

Recently more than any other time we are asked questions like:

"If I and others feel that there have been unfair hiring and employment practices within Intel and if we have proof of it, could we take any legal action?"

"Who could represent us and what specifically would we need in order to get a class action lawsuit started?"

"A number of people who are targeted for redeployment feel cheated and deprived of the jobs they honestly feel they qualify for, the number is growing.  What can we do and whom we can talk to see if we have a case?"

The following should not be considered as legal advice.  Just   recommendation of some precautionary measures to protect your employment.

  1. Perform your duties to the highest standards.
  2. Document your performance in detail in your weekly's and other       appropriate documents.
  3. Apply for as many jobs posted as possible.
  4. Keep a copy of the job description, job application, and interview       notices.
  5. After each interview write an e-mail to the interviewer and thank them for the opportunity.
  6. Keep an active network with other coworkers and friends in other      departments.
  7. Openly share your job seeking experience and any employment problems    with others.
  8. If you think you have been discriminated against, wrongfully treated,      targeted for termination, being intimidated, etc., report the incident via e-mail to your managers and copy your HR representative.
  9. Do not trust your manager and or your HR representative, highly likely      they will work against you.
  10. If you and other members of your network need legal advice and or you       feel that you need to file a lawsuit inform us and we'll introduce you to an attorney in your area.
  11. Always keep a copy of your employment record and all of your      employment events at home.

The Best way to correct a corrupted and lawless system like Intel is to fight them back in masses, peacefully and in framework of law.  Intel thinks, acts, and behaves as they are above the law, only because in the past no one has challenged them and stood up to correct them.  If they are destroying our careers and lives is not their fault, it's because we allow them to do so

United people never fall!

 


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