MIL-OSI USA: Communications Workers of America Files Unfair Labor Practice Charge Against Lionbridge for Retaliatory Layoff

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Source: Communications Workers of America

(Boise, ID)—Yesterday, the Communications Workers of America (CWA) filed Unfair Labor Practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Lionbridge Technologies, Inc., a Microsoft supplier, alleging that the company laid off the entirety of a 160-person team in Boise, Idaho, in retaliation for workers engaging in protected organizing activities and protected speech when raising issues regarding their working conditions. This team provided quality-assurance services to Microsoft subsidiary Activision.

In addition to the layoff, Lionbridge offered workers a severance package that required them to agree to overly broad confidentiality terms and to waive rights protected under the National Labor Relations Act. This practice has been ruled unlawful by the NLRB. Workers were told that the reason for their termination was that the project had ended. However, other teams working on the same project in Mexico and Poland continue to work.

Lionbridge has a documented union-busting track record. In 2016, it laid off all the members of a union in Bellevue, Wash., shortly after workers finalized a first collectively bargained contract with the company. That unit also provided subcontracted labor to Microsoft.

In 2022, Microsoft adopted principles for engagement with worker organizations, which recognized workers’ legal rights to organize and expressed a belief in “the importance of listening to our employees’ concerns.” This team of subcontracted workers and all U.S. workers enjoy those same rights and protections. CWA expects Microsoft to hold its contractors to the same standards the company has set for itself, as stated in its principles.

“We brought our concerns to management and organized with our coworkers to improve our working conditions. In response to these complaints, Lionbridge chose to lay off our entire team, in violation of our rights as workers. We do much the same work that union-represented Activision QA employees do, and Microsoft should make sure that everyone working on its games is treated with respect in line with its labor principles, including employees of contractors,” said Al Bussabarger, former Lionbridge Test Associate.

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About CWA: The Communications Workers of America represents working people in telecommunications, customer service, media, airlines, health care, public service and education, manufacturing, tech, and other fields.

cwa-union.org @cwaunion

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