Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Tems Step to WashTech

Magazine article Editor & Publisher

Tems Step to WashTech

Article excerpt

Microsoft, agencies refuse to recognize unit

Twenty professionals adept at both tax and software codes are the unlikely vanguard for a Newspaper Guild local's first formal attempt to bargain for the temporary workers who comprise a third of the 19,000 people who work for the Microsoft Corp.

"We're professionals who are used to being treated professionally," says Barbara Judd, a software code writer and certified tax professional.

Judd and her colleagues, who over the last 15 months have been writing the code for Microsoft's just-announced TaxSaver income tax software product, voted to affiliate with the Washington Alliance of Technical Workers, or WashTech. In May, they petitioned to bargain collectively with four temporary employment agencies that are their official employers.

So far, the group has been stymied in getting official recognition from the temp agencies - let alone Microsoft, which vigorously maintains it is not the employer of the large number of "contingent staffers" who toil on the software giant's Redmond, Wash., campus.

Despite their lack of progress, the code writers represent the first tangible step towards unionizing Microsoft's so-called "permatemps" made by WashTech, which is also known as The Newspaper Guild/Communications Workers of America (tng/cwa) Local 37083. …

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