Silicon Valley wage fixing: Disney, Lucas, Dreamworks and Pixar implicated


#1

Originally published at: http://boingboing.net/2014/07/09/silicon-valley-wage-fixing-di.html


#2

I welcome our new Nerd-centric robber barons.


#3

Supporting and writing accounting software back around 1990, I was one day ordered to sign an "agreement" stating that if I were to leave the company, I couldn't work for our competitors for two years after. Everyone doing programming or support had to sign.

It was made clear that this was part of an agreement with our main competitor, and that their employees had to sign a similar "agreement."


#4

It shouldn't be called "no poaching". The negative and illegal associations most people are going to have to "poaching" makes it sound much better than what these companies actually did. They prevented people from being free to find the best offer they could for their skills. These companies spit on the American Dream. They differ from slave-owning plantation owners only in degree, not in kind.


#5

The best trick they've pulled is convincing the engineers, and professionals without a large stake as a class, that their interests lie more with management than labor.


#6

this kind of thing is not okay to do to the tech bourgeoisie


#7

I think this whole thing is overblown. Nobody forced them to work at Apple Google et. al and if they didn't like it they were free to work somewhere else without a poaching agreement or vote to recognize a union at work.


#8

Yes, but they couldn't go where equivalent engineers who hadn't worked with them could go. It is illegal to collude to suppress wages and worker mobility by agreeing that you won't hire people from your competitors. It isn't good for the workers since it pushes them out of the competition and suppresses wages.


#9

I've run in to this myself as a tech contractor, not just in moving between companies but in trying to move between contracting agencies. Despite not being legally binding in my state, other agencies won't touch you until you've spent half a year scraping by on unemployment. They really make sure you've learned your lesson about wanting better for yourself.

I worked on several iterations of a triple-A game franchise. One of my friends there was a very talented 3d artist who had worked in that studio, on that title, since the very first. He knew the tools, the processes, the people, the studio culture and had technical skills they absolutely needed. When he was negotiating to come back for the 4th entry in the series, he had to accept a $5/hr pay cut to keep working. That's how we're rewarded for dedication and expertise now.

But hey, free soda in the breakroom!


#10

Clearly you do not understand, value or worship the free labor market.


#11

The dreaded "non-compete clause". Remind me, again, why the corporations get to rig the game in their favor?


#12

in Scandinavia it is not unusual for professionals such as architects and engineers to be unionized.


#13

I really can't believe these guys were not pulling for Romney.


#14

These non-compete clauses are often not enforceable unless narrowly defined, particularly in California: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Non-compete_clause#California


#15

Doesn't sound like this was a non-compete clause the employees signed and "agreed" to. Sounds like this was an agreement not to hire from competitors, and to price-fix the wages of an industry.


#16

Right. I was referring to @RogerStrong's comment about an agreement to not work for competitors for two years after employment.


#17

BTW, for any who don't know: the vast majority of non compete clauses are illegal and unenforceable and may invalidate the whole employment contract.


#18

300 million among how many plaintiffs? After the lawyers take their cut, I'll bet each and every one of them gets an extra buck an hour.


#19

Ah, but these are more egalitarian and meritocratic Libertarian robber-barons!


#20

It'd be nice if we could prove so without being bankrupt from legal fees.