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The Thugs of Silicon Valley

Bunch of strange stuff has been going on in High-Tech for the last 5-10 years. I have discussed previously the use of H1 Visa employees from other countries to steal American engineering jobs, paying H1’s  half or less than what a qualified American Engineer would get.  Resulting in several hundred thousand American kids who did the right thing, and got a college education in the Tech field…Being unable to get a job.

Then there was the outright age/salary discrimination against experienced and older workers. Resulting in the strange situation where the very guys who invented much of the current technology in the first place…becoming pariahs in the view of company HR.

If that wasn’t criminal enough, now we find that some of the biggest names in the Tech business have participated in a conspiracy, the result of which is to eliminate the ability of American workers to find a new job.

One of the things Unions did back in the days of the Robber Barrons was to break this sort of “restraint of free trade” up. One of the reasons conservatives are so anxious to destroy unions is they know if Unions move from the manufacturing of physical devices into the High-Tech development world…

Theirr clients won’t be able to get away with this shit.

The Techtopus: How Silicon Valley’s most celebrated CEOs conspired to drive down 100,000 tech engineers’ wages

In early 2005, as demand for Silicon Valley engineers began booming, Apple’s Steve Jobs sealed a secret and illegal pact with Google’s Eric Schmidt to artificially push their workers wages lower by agreeing not to recruit each other’s employees, sharing wage scale information, and punishing violators. On February 27, 2005, Bill Campbell, a member of Apple’s board of directors and senior advisor to Google, emailed Jobs to confirm that Eric Schmidt “got directly involved and firmly stopped all efforts to recruit anyone from Apple.”

Later that year, Schmidt instructed his Sr VP for Business Operation Shona Brown to keep the pact a secret and only share information “verbally, since I don’t want to create a paper trail over which we can be sued later?”

These secret conversations and agreements between some of the biggest names in Silicon Valley were first exposed in a Department of Justice antitrust investigation launched by the Obama Administration in 2010. That DOJ suit became the basis of a class action lawsuit filed on behalf of over 100,000 tech employees whose wages were artificially lowered — an estimated $9 billioneffectively stolen by the high-flying companies from their workers to pad company earnings — in the second half of the 2000s. Last week, the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals denied attempts by Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe to have the lawsuit tossed, and gave final approval for the class action suit to go forward. A jury trial date has been set for May 27 in San Jose, before US District Court judge Lucy Koh, who presided over the Samsung-Apple patent suit.

In a related but separate investigation and ongoing suit, eBay and its former CEO Meg Whitman, now CEO of HP, are being sued by both the federal government and the state of California for arranging a similar, secret wage-theft agreement with Intuit (and possibly Google as well) during the same period.

The secret wage-theft agreements between Apple, Google, Intel, Adobe, Intuit, and Pixar (now owned by Disney) are described in court papers obtained by PandoDaily as “an overarching conspiracy” in violation of the Sherman Antitrust Act and the Clayton Antitrust Act, and at times it reads like something lifted straight out of the robber baron era that produced those laws. Today’s inequality crisis is America’s worst on record since statistics were first recorded a hundred years ago — the only comparison would be to the era of the railroad tycoons in the late 19th century.

Shortly after sealing the pact with Google, Jobs strong-armed Adobe into joining after he complained to CEO Bruce Chizen that Adobe was recruiting Apple’s employees. Chizen sheepishly responded that he thought only a small class of employees were off-limits:

I thought we agreed not to recruit any senior level employees…. I would propose we keep it that way. Open to discuss. It would be good to agree.

Jobs responded by threatening war:

OK, I’ll tell our recruiters they are free to approach any Adobe employee who is not a Sr. Director or VP. Am I understanding your position correctly?

Adobe’s Chizen immediately backed down:

I’d rather agree NOT to actively solicit any employee from either company…..If you are in agreement, I will let my folks know.

The next day, Chizen let his folks — Adobe’s VP of Human Resources — know that “we are not to solicit ANY Apple employees, and visa versa.” Chizen was worried that if he didn’t agree, Jobs would make Adobe pay:

if I tell Steve [Jobs] it’s open season (other than senior managers), he will deliberately poach Adobe just to prove a point. Knowing Steve, he will go after some of our top Mac talent…and he will do it in a way in which they will be enticed to come (extraordinary packages and Steve wooing). Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on January 26, 2014 in American Greed

 

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A New Labor Movement to Roil The US?

American Labor has been comatose since Ronald Raygun fired the Air Traffic Controllers in 1983. However, the US economy has a greater gap in income and wealth since the time of the Robber Barons of the  last century, when Labor took to the streets and rocked the country.

Perhaps we are seeing the seeds of another great Labor uprising, putting middle class America back on their feet.

Our country tends to g in idelogical swings from the left to right and back every 40 years – I think the kickback against conservatism may be bigger, and more serious than even Liberals suspect – IF Progressives can define and enunciate the issues around the right wing noise machine. I think those of the generational poor due to color, and the middle class may indeed find common ground…

At which point there is going to be hell to pay.

Hat Tip to Truthout, for another insightful piece.

United by Hard Times: Workers Organize Across Race Lines

by: Carlos Jimenez  |  YES Magazine

The Lawrence textile strike (1912), with soldiers surrounding peaceful demonstrators

I’m feeling relieved. For a while it seemed like the historic election of our first African American president would give legitimacy to the idea that we live in a “post-racial” America. The idea that race is no longer a part of people’s daily experience is not merely false. It’s potentially dangerous when a majority of people are struggling to understand what’s happening to them economically.

What people are experiencing is exactly what’s supposed to happen to them under capitalism and its current variant, neoliberalism. That economic system is grounded on the idea that society must have winners and losers. It has convinced people that those categories are based on race: that people of color are, in the natural course of things, losers; and that white people, regardless of class, are supposed to win.

When hard times hit, as they have recently, people who are losing their grip on their middle-class status—or those who were already poor and are getting poorer—look for someone to blame. They fall back on the official story: White people’s troubles are caused by people of color; the troubles of people of color who were born in this country are caused by immigrants. It’s a divide-and-conquer strategy that keeps people who are natural allies on a class basis from looking at who’s really causing their trouble: the people who run the capitalist system.

This moment presents both a challenge and an opportunity. The challenge is to get people with shared economic interests working together—to get them past learned racial divides. As long as poor and working-class white people remain convinced that they win by keeping people of color on the margins, all workers will continue to lose economic ground. The opportunity is to use this economic crash as a way to find common ground among those who are the real losers—regardless of race—in the existing system…

The rest is here.

Moving Forward, Together

Despite the constant use of race as a wedge, and perhaps as a result of it, young people today are turning away from old racial divides and leading the way in creating a multicultural America. Data from a 2003 Gallup Poll showed that 82 percent of white 18- to 25-year-olds disagreed with the idea that they “don’t have much in common with people of other races.”

Spaces like the US Social Forum (USSF) in Detroit serve as opportunities to advance the discussion of building alliances based on class rather than race. The USSF expects more than 25,000 progressive activists and organizers to come together to share their work in areas as diverse as education, stopping the criminalization and incarceration of youth, bringing an end to unjust wars, bargaining collectively for better wages and benefits, attaining reproductive justice, and protecting the environment and Earth’s well-being.

But the overarching theme of the USSF is how we can build a larger movement that addresses not just racism, but the many structures that are impeding people from pursuing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Working people of all races are looking for movements or vehicles through which they can express their self-interest. We cannot allow the right wing and corporate elite to co-opt the anger that is out there, as they have with the “Tea Party” movement and the growing resentment against immigrant workers. Progressives can change the direction of our country for the better by helping working people join together, regardless of race, to be their own champions.

Moving Forward, Together

Despite the constant use of race as a wedge, and perhaps as a result of it, young people today are turning away from old racial divides and leading the way in creating a multicultural America. Data from a 2003 Gallup Poll showed that 82 percent of white 18- to 25-year-olds disagreed with the idea that they “don’t have much in common with people of other races.”

Spaces like the US Social Forum (USSF) in Detroit serve as opportunities to advance the discussion of building alliances based on class rather than race. The USSF expects more than 25,000 progressive activists and organizers to come together to share their work in areas as diverse as education, stopping the criminalization and incarceration of youth, bringing an end to unjust wars, bargaining collectively for better wages and benefits, attaining reproductive justice, and protecting the environment and Earth’s well-being.

But the overarching theme of the USSF is how we can build a larger movement that addresses not just racism, but the many structures that are impeding people from pursuing life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Working people of all races are looking for movements or vehicles through which they can express their self-interest. We cannot allow the right wing and corporate elite to co-opt the anger that is out there, as they have with the “Tea Party” movement and the growing resentment against immigrant workers. Progressives can change the direction of our country for the better by helping working people join together, regardless of race, to be their own champions.

 
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Posted by on March 11, 2010 in News

 

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