Plaintiff to Judge in Tech Hiring Lawsuit: No Settlement, Please

Plaintiff to Judge in Tech Hiring Lawsuit: No Settlement, Please

Michael Devine Lawsuit 310x NYT

Silicon Valley companies involved in salary collusion offer millions, but plaintiffs want billions.

When a company like Apple wants to settle a lawsuit for millions, you kindly say "no thanks," and ask for a "b" instead of an "m."

That's the philosophy being touted by Michael Devine, one of four named plaintiffs currently suing Apple, Google, Intel, and Adobe for conspiring to keep tech talent salaries artificially low.

The trial is set to start later this month, but Apple and Co. want to settle up now, to the tune of $324 million dollars. The settlement was negotiated by the plaintiff's attorneys, but Devine sent a letter to the judge last weekend, in which he asked her to reject the settlement.

Devine's logic: The 64,000-strong Class lost an estimated $3 billion in wages during this period of collusion. In a successful antitrust lawsuit, the damages number could triple to $9 billion. $324 million versus, at minimum, $3 billion? Now you can see why Devine "wants a chance at real justice."

And shouldn't Devine and the Class get it? It would be one thing to settle that highway rear-end lawsuit for car repair money, leaving behind that neck injury you may or may not have been milking. It's another to settle with some of the world's largest corporations who just spent the last some-odd years actively deflating your worth as a worker, along with tens of thousands of others.

Devine has set up a website for his cause, called Tech Worker Justice. So far it's just a simple Wordpress page outlining his initial settlement rejection moves.

Penny for your thoughts? Drop 'em in the comments.

[Additional Source: Slashdot]
[Image Credit: The New York Times]

Permalink

He's gonna look back and regret this. Greed

Look the first thing the judge will look at is if it actually harms the tech industry.

If these companies have decided together that they won't pay more than X for workers, that's sort of their business. I mean when they collude on behalf of workers to demand that their workers receive A coverage and Y cost.; no one complains. The point is, it also means that any company not colluding is free to you know, offer more to lure talent away from the big companies.

That's sort of the way salaries work. Artificially low is a relative term. Also the collusion must be proven, many people base their rates off what their nearest competitor is doing, much like a grocery store. Nothing in their actions prevents any of the workers from you know going to work for someone else.

When you start asking for billions you officially made it cheaper for these companies to keep the case bouncing through the legal system til your grandkids are collecting social security.

The settlement is based on cost to defend and risk of losing. The offer to settle is not admission of fault per say. When you demand billions the cost versus risk equation changes and out comes the battalions of lawyers and they will go for the full fight. Personally I think this grandstanding by Devine and after all the noise has gone quite there will be a settlement.

BigTuk:
He's gonna look back and regret this. Greed

Look the first thing the judge will look at is if it actually harms the tech industry.

If these companies have decided together that they won't pay more than X for workers, that's sort of their business. I mean when they collude on behalf of workers to demand that their workers receive A coverage and Y cost.; no one complains. The point is, it also means that any company not colluding is free to you know, offer more to lure talent away from the big companies.

That's sort of the way salaries work. Artificially low is a relative term. Also the collusion must be proven, many people base their rates off what their nearest competitor is doing, much like a grocery store. Nothing in their actions prevents any of the workers from you know going to work for someone else.

When you start asking for billions you officially made it cheaper for these companies to keep the case bouncing through the legal system til your grandkids are collecting social security.

You guys really should read the context of his rejection.

"The 64,000-strong Class lost an estimated $3 billion in wages during this period of collusion."

If these companies did in fact devalue the efforts of a large number of employees, in collusion with one another, they should most definitely be forced to pay. Do you have ANY idea how un-ethical this is?

Maybe it is all BS, maybe they should just take the money and run, but if the claims are legit, which is at least partially the case, this is kind of a big deal, and should not go unpunished.

If there was an

BigTuk:
He's gonna look back and regret this. Greed

Look the first thing the judge will look at is if it actually harms the tech industry.

If these companies have decided together that they won't pay more than X for workers, that's sort of their business. I mean when they collude on behalf of workers to demand that their workers receive A coverage and Y cost.; no one complains. The point is, it also means that any company not colluding is free to you know, offer more to lure talent away from the big companies.

That's sort of the way salaries work. Artificially low is a relative term. Also the collusion must be proven, many people base their rates off what their nearest competitor is doing, much like a grocery store. Nothing in their actions prevents any of the workers from you know going to work for someone else.

When you start asking for billions you officially made it cheaper for these companies to keep the case bouncing through the legal system til your grandkids are collecting social security.

Not entirely true. You see if Apple, Google and co all agreed they would always hire people at a certain salary that is a conspiracy to keep price of employment low. They also agreed that they would not offer jobs to people who were already hired by a different company so that competition for employees would not drive the price up.

For example employee A wants 50'000 $ a year, but company A would rather not pay that. Neither would any other company. So they get together and agree to a price ceiling for worker pay. This is artificial deflation, essentially the worker is forced to accept a salary he would otherwise never have because all the companies have come together and decided that they simply would not hire anyone at that price.

The same as artificial inflation where a product is purposefully kept scarce so that prices rise or certain companies have made a deal to never sell anything under a certain price. Both illegal practices.

If this is true then yes they essentially made a monopolistic move to drive down worker costs violating workers rights to a fair salary, pretty similar if a bunch of companies for example water and power suddenly decided that they'd really like 2$ per glass and if you can't pay it you can go to another company that also wants 2$ per glass.

Monopolies are illegal, unless you literally are the pioneer in that industry.

1337mokro:
If there was an

BigTuk:
He's gonna look back and regret this. Greed

Look the first thing the judge will look at is if it actually harms the tech industry.

If these companies have decided together that they won't pay more than X for workers, that's sort of their business. I mean when they collude on behalf of workers to demand that their workers receive A coverage and Y cost.; no one complains. The point is, it also means that any company not colluding is free to you know, offer more to lure talent away from the big companies.

That's sort of the way salaries work. Artificially low is a relative term. Also the collusion must be proven, many people base their rates off what their nearest competitor is doing, much like a grocery store. Nothing in their actions prevents any of the workers from you know going to work for someone else.

When you start asking for billions you officially made it cheaper for these companies to keep the case bouncing through the legal system til your grandkids are collecting social security.

Not entirely true. You see if Apple, Google and co all agreed they would always hire people at a certain salary that is a conspiracy to keep price of employment low. They also agreed that they would not offer jobs to people who were already hired by a different company so that competition for employees would not drive the price up.

For example employee A wants 50'000 $ a year, but company A would rather not pay that. Neither would any other company. So they get together and agree to a price ceiling for worker pay. This is artificial deflation, essentially the worker is forced to accept a salary he would otherwise never have because all the companies have come together and decided that they simply would not hire anyone at that price.

The same as artificial inflation where a product is purposefully kept scarce so that prices rise or certain companies have made a deal to never sell anything under a certain price. Both illegal practices.

If this is true then yes they essentially made a monopolistic move to drive down worker costs violating workers rights to a fair salary, pretty similar if a bunch of companies for example water and power suddenly decided that they'd really like 2$ per glass and if you can't pay it you can go to another company that also wants 2$ per glass.

Monopolies are illegal, unless you literally are the pioneer in that industry.

And these companies are the only ones in America hiring tech people? anything preventy Digisoft interactive from offering $60,000? Nope.

You see monopolies don't exist in the labour market really. So long as they're not paying below minimum wage a company can pay what ever they want... including minimum wage to anyone they want. Of course the worker is free to you know reject the offered salary and try another company. That's how the labour market works. if there are more people of a particular skill set in an area than there are jobs that require someone of that skillset.. the employer has the power because let me tell you, the pay you turn away is the the pay the guy next in line for the interview will jump for joy at.

When the inverse is true the situation is reversed. Now silicon valley may very well be in a situation where there is an over-saturation of tech based employees so it's not uncommon in any industry for their to be some standard as to what a particular skillset is worth.

Remember, guys, greed is bad... unless it's not a corporation being greedy.

-__-

-____-

-_________-

theApoc:
[

You guys really should read the context of his rejection.

"The 64,000-strong Class lost an estimated $3 billion in wages during this period of collusion."

If these companies did in fact devalue the efforts of a large number of employees, in collusion with one another, they should most definitely be forced to pay. Do you have ANY idea how un-ethical this is?

Maybe it is all BS, maybe they should just take the money and run, but if the claims are legit, which is at least partially the case, this is kind of a big deal, and should not go unpunished.

Key word is estimated. Lawyers for the plaintiffs will always go for the maximum possible damages, its their job. Its an extraordinarily rare event, in a defended case, for for plaintiffs to get the damages they are looking for. As general rule of thumb, a won case will get 75% of the damages asked for. A realistic award would be $2.25 billion, however Apple's lawyers estimate of the win/loose on the case would reduce the figure they offer.

theApoc:

BigTuk:
He's gonna look back and regret this. Greed

Look the first thing the judge will look at is if it actually harms the tech industry.

If these companies have decided together that they won't pay more than X for workers, that's sort of their business. I mean when they collude on behalf of workers to demand that their workers receive A coverage and Y cost.; no one complains. The point is, it also means that any company not colluding is free to you know, offer more to lure talent away from the big companies.

That's sort of the way salaries work. Artificially low is a relative term. Also the collusion must be proven, many people base their rates off what their nearest competitor is doing, much like a grocery store. Nothing in their actions prevents any of the workers from you know going to work for someone else.

When you start asking for billions you officially made it cheaper for these companies to keep the case bouncing through the legal system til your grandkids are collecting social security.

You guys really should read the context of his rejection.

"The 64,000-strong Class lost an estimated $3 billion in wages during this period of collusion."

If these companies did in fact devalue the efforts of a large number of employees, in collusion with one another, they should most definitely be forced to pay. Do you have ANY idea how un-ethical this is?

Maybe it is all BS, maybe they should just take the money and run, but if the claims are legit, which is at least partially the case, this is kind of a big deal, and should not go unpunished.

Of course they have to then prove that the companies would have paid them more without collusion. Good luck with that. also that figure works out to just about $50,000 per person.

Uhm... 50,000 is not worth hanging an albatross of that size over your head..not in that field because I can assure you, every one of those 64,000 will find it very, very difficult to be hired by any company, they will also find their positions becoming very uncomfortable. Kiss any upward mobility goodbye.

So each employee that's part of the class action suit would get $20,250 $5,062.5... depending on how long this has gone on, that does seems low.

Besides the part where people should be paid properly for their expertise, these companies need something harsher to make it something not worth doing. Somehow I doubt the people behind the decision to do it won't get jail time so an absurdly high fine seems like the next best thing.

I wonder if the people that are part of the class action lawsuit will have a harder time getting a job in their industry as a result of this. If so, then getting $187,000 $46,875 from a 3 billion settlement will probably be the best thing to go for, not for greed, but for basic future planning while maintaining their current living style.

EDIT: Where the fuck was I getting those numbers from!?

BigTuk:

1337mokro:
If there was an

BigTuk:
He's gonna look back and regret this. Greed

Look the first thing the judge will look at is if it actually harms the tech industry.

If these companies have decided together that they won't pay more than X for workers, that's sort of their business. I mean when they collude on behalf of workers to demand that their workers receive A coverage and Y cost.; no one complains. The point is, it also means that any company not colluding is free to you know, offer more to lure talent away from the big companies.

That's sort of the way salaries work. Artificially low is a relative term. Also the collusion must be proven, many people base their rates off what their nearest competitor is doing, much like a grocery store. Nothing in their actions prevents any of the workers from you know going to work for someone else.

When you start asking for billions you officially made it cheaper for these companies to keep the case bouncing through the legal system til your grandkids are collecting social security.

Not entirely true. You see if Apple, Google and co all agreed they would always hire people at a certain salary that is a conspiracy to keep price of employment low. They also agreed that they would not offer jobs to people who were already hired by a different company so that competition for employees would not drive the price up.

For example employee A wants 50'000 $ a year, but company A would rather not pay that. Neither would any other company. So they get together and agree to a price ceiling for worker pay. This is artificial deflation, essentially the worker is forced to accept a salary he would otherwise never have because all the companies have come together and decided that they simply would not hire anyone at that price.

The same as artificial inflation where a product is purposefully kept scarce so that prices rise or certain companies have made a deal to never sell anything under a certain price. Both illegal practices.

If this is true then yes they essentially made a monopolistic move to drive down worker costs violating workers rights to a fair salary, pretty similar if a bunch of companies for example water and power suddenly decided that they'd really like 2$ per glass and if you can't pay it you can go to another company that also wants 2$ per glass.

Monopolies are illegal, unless you literally are the pioneer in that industry.

And these companies are the only ones in America hiring tech people? anything preventy Digisoft interactive from offering $60,000? Nope.

You see monopolies don't exist in the labour market really. So long as they're not paying below minimum wage a company can pay what ever they want... including minimum wage to anyone they want. Of course the worker is free to you know reject the offered salary and try another company. That's how the labour market works. if there are more people of a particular skill set in an area than there are jobs that require someone of that skillset.. the employer has the power because let me tell you, the pay you turn away is the the pay the guy next in line for the interview will jump for joy at.

When the inverse is true the situation is reversed. Now silicon valley may very well be in a situation where there is an over-saturation of tech based employees so it's not uncommon in any industry for their to be some standard as to what a particular skillset is worth.

A deal they made with google. Also digisoft might not have the funds for that seeing as it might be a far smaller company. Who also can't compete with the bigger guys because they buy up all the talent and will turn against Digi when it starts poaching employees.

I am just saying that if an industry comes together to make price deals with one another it is bad. This leads to monopolies and poor worker conditions as end prices go up but labour compensation goes down.

If you actually look at the story basically what the workers are saying is that over the years they lost out on 50 grand per person. That's a pretty low sum per person. Now if this was just 5 guys trying to get 3 billion dollars I might have immediately called bullshit. However 50'000 doesn't sound unreasonable.

Companies not raising salaries to match inflation. Other businesses refusing applications. Overall agreements of worker fees. Sounds pretty plausible and also deliciously illegal in a free market that is built on competition.

really isn't there a number of worker recourse options for this sort of thing? I mean isn't the definition of a "Union" price collusion among the workers imposed upon the companies?

Don't see anything wrong with this and don't think it's greed.

This is 64.000 people who've all had their wages kept artificially low and have been denied opportunities for better jobs at competitors. All people who have many expenses that haven't been kept artificially low.

This has been going on since 2005 until, at least, 2009. 5 years, at least 64.000 people and a settlement of 324 million. That's 1k a year per person. Doesn't sound so large now does it?

Especially once you start reading some of the e-mail correspondence that's out there right now between these companies (and quite a few others not being sued). 1k a year per person isn't going to cover that...

BigTuk:

Uhm... 50,000 is not worth hanging an albatross of that size over your head..not in that field because I can assure you, every one of those 64,000 will find it very, very difficult to be hired by any company, they will also find their positions becoming very uncomfortable. Kiss any upward mobility goodbye.

And you're okay with this? What these companies stand accused of is absolutely illegal. It's just like how companies are not allowed to collude directly on prices. Preventing collusion is how you ensure competition rather than monopoly/oligarchy. There is strong evidence that the companies colluded not only on new hiring salaries, but on not trying to poach employees. The latter of those especially is something that would have pushed up wages, or at least benefits packages, as employers tried to get and hold the best talent. I can give you that not every single company participated, but the ones that could most afford increased salaries all seemed to and there was a lot of incentive to do so in the forms of 1. Paying Less and 2. Not Irking the Bigger Fish.

BigTuk:
He's gonna look back and regret this. Greed

Look the first thing the judge will look at is if it actually harms the tech industry.

Maybe the guy is greedy, but that doesn't make his point less valid, and the first thing the Judge is going to look at is the applicable laws. That will be the last thing they look at because that's all that matters. The Judiciary is supposed to be impartial, and that means to all aspects outside of the legality of what is presented.

1337mokro:

A deal they made with google. Also digisoft might not have the funds for that seeing as it might be a far smaller company. Who also can't compete with the bigger guys because they buy up all the talent and will turn against Digi when it starts poaching employees.

I am just saying that if an industry comes together to make price deals with one another it is bad. This leads to monopolies and poor worker conditions as end prices go up but labour compensation goes down.

If you actually look at the story basically what the workers are saying is that over the years they lost out on 50 grand per person. That's a pretty low sum per person. Now if this was just 5 guys trying to get 3 billion dollars I might have immediately called bullshit. However 50'000 doesn't sound unreasonable.

Companies not raising salaries to match inflation. Other businesses refusing applications. Overall agreements of worker fees. Sounds pretty plausible and also deliciously illegal in a free market that is built on competition.

So basically the employees are still being payed more than say what another company might be paying hmm? Which again turns the argument back to.. what harm is it doing? This more sounds like a bunch of employees mad that rival companies aren't trying to lure them away with more money than they're already being paid.

Companies that raise salaries to match inflation are usually also engaging in a good deal of staff cutting.

Remember labour is a rather funny thing. Collusion doesn't really affect the market as much as you'd think . If a bunch of companies decide they will only pay X and X is patently unfair then no one will take the job...people will just change to the most lucrative career they are qualified for. if they feel said career will deliver X+1.

A factory without workers is a very, very expensive loss for the owners. HEnce the power of unions. but this.. is not a union action is it?

shirkbot:

BigTuk:

Uhm... 50,000 is not worth hanging an albatross of that size over your head..not in that field because I can assure you, every one of those 64,000 will find it very, very difficult to be hired by any company, they will also find their positions becoming very uncomfortable. Kiss any upward mobility goodbye.

And you're okay with this? What these companies stand accused of is absolutely illegal. It's just like how companies are not allowed to collude directly on prices. Preventing collusion is how you ensure competition rather than monopoly/oligarchy. There is strong evidence that the companies colluded not only on new hiring salaries, but on not trying to poach employees. The latter of those especially is something that would have pushed up wages, or at least benefits packages, as employers tried to get and hold the best talent. I can give you that not every single company participated, but the ones that could most afford increased salaries all seemed to and there was a lot of incentive to do so in the forms of 1. Paying Less and 2. Not Irking the Bigger Fish.

And have they prevented competition? Is there anything stopping Macr0Digitronics Incorporated from setting their salary at $60,000. Nope. Nothing. See it's only anti-competitive if it prevents other people from accessing the market. In this case the market is workers. Nothing is preventing another company from hiring workers at a higher rate if they can afford it. So this is obviously not hurting competition. And if the rate is such that other companies cannot afford to pay more well then they are obviously being paid quite well.. better than workers at all those other companies that can't afford 50K Salaries.

BigTuk:
He's gonna look back and regret this. Greed

Look the first thing the judge will look at is if it actually harms the tech industry.

Maybe the guy is greedy, but that doesn't make his point less valid, and the first thing the Judge is going to look at is the applicable laws. That will be the last thing they look at because that's all that matters. The Judiciary is supposed to be impartial, and that means to all aspects outside of the legality of what is presented.

True and again... when dealing with anti-competition one has to look at who the competition is. Google and Apple aren't competing against their employees are they? No they're competing against CompuGlobalHypermEgaTech i.e other companies. NOw has them agreeing on a given pay scale hurt the ability of CompuGlobalHyperMegaTech to hire employees. Well if the pay is so low then any non-colluded company should easily be able to offer more and lure workers away from said colluding companies...ironically it would be anti-competition if they kept the salaries higher than other companies could afford. Of course the workers would never complain about that sort of anti-competitive nature would they?

See at the end of the day this is not collusion but collaboration and companies collaborate all the time. That's how standards come about because a bunch of companies came together and said Okay we can all agree that this should be X. thusly the standard will be that this should be X. They do this for salaries all the time., in every industry. There is some agreement in what a person of a particular combination of skillsets should be paid.. based on the value of said skillsets to the business. If they agree that for A given Position A that a person meeting the baseline requirements interms of skill and training should be payed Y. Now naturally said payscale is flexible. if their skillsets are +10 like say the person is also multi-lingual, has more experience in the field etc... then the scale goes up accordingly. Though it is the employer that gets to decide how much that difference is worth.

Much in the same way you decide if the price difference between your standard white bread and the artisan wholewheat 100% organic bread is equitable to your needs. Always remember a worker is free toask whatever he wants but just like any seller it makes no sense to sell higher than the market is wants to pay. That's why no one sells apples for $80 a piece.

It doesn't matter what they could have done differently to look for better payment. It's not about them.

From what I can tell this is about the companies, how they allegedly agreed behind the scenes to not hire anyone above a certain rate to control the work environment and ultimately become anti-competitive.

I can see how a case can be made based on that, yes?

Greed is bad, I completely agree, but this isn't one man gunning for $3 billion, folks. He is gunning for $3 billion to be split among 64,000 some-odd jilted tech workers. And this money is supposed to represent years and years of mistreatment, not a few fiscal quarters.

Let's assume for a moment that whatever money is received is split evenly among the 64,000...

$325 million: Less than $5,100 per person.

$3 billion: $46,875 per person.

Keep in mind that whatever money John Q. Tech Worker gets from this settlement is taxable income, because it represents lost wages (I am not 100 percent sure on this fact, but I think that's how it would work). So $5,100 could really be about $4,000; $47k would be $38k or so, depending on what tax bracket he or she is in.

Also, legal fees. If we're using the 33% contingency fee model? $325 million could end up as $220 million, give or take. $220 million among 64,000 workers is $3,450 pre-tax. Also not 100% on this because I don't know the finer points of this specific legal agreement.

Those calling this greed: Don't. It's not greed, it's straight-up lost compensation. You wouldn't call it greed if it was 64,000 Walmart employees doing the same thing about lost overtime wages, would you?

-Devin Connors

BigTuk:

1337mokro:
If there was an

BigTuk:
He's gonna look back and regret this. Greed

Look the first thing the judge will look at is if it actually harms the tech industry.

If these companies have decided together that they won't pay more than X for workers, that's sort of their business. I mean when they collude on behalf of workers to demand that their workers receive A coverage and Y cost.; no one complains. The point is, it also means that any company not colluding is free to you know, offer more to lure talent away from the big companies.

That's sort of the way salaries work. Artificially low is a relative term. Also the collusion must be proven, many people base their rates off what their nearest competitor is doing, much like a grocery store. Nothing in their actions prevents any of the workers from you know going to work for someone else.

When you start asking for billions you officially made it cheaper for these companies to keep the case bouncing through the legal system til your grandkids are collecting social security.

Not entirely true. You see if Apple, Google and co all agreed they would always hire people at a certain salary that is a conspiracy to keep price of employment low. They also agreed that they would not offer jobs to people who were already hired by a different company so that competition for employees would not drive the price up.

For example employee A wants 50'000 $ a year, but company A would rather not pay that. Neither would any other company. So they get together and agree to a price ceiling for worker pay. This is artificial deflation, essentially the worker is forced to accept a salary he would otherwise never have because all the companies have come together and decided that they simply would not hire anyone at that price.

The same as artificial inflation where a product is purposefully kept scarce so that prices rise or certain companies have made a deal to never sell anything under a certain price. Both illegal practices.

If this is true then yes they essentially made a monopolistic move to drive down worker costs violating workers rights to a fair salary, pretty similar if a bunch of companies for example water and power suddenly decided that they'd really like 2$ per glass and if you can't pay it you can go to another company that also wants 2$ per glass.

Monopolies are illegal, unless you literally are the pioneer in that industry.

And these companies are the only ones in America hiring tech people? anything preventy Digisoft interactive from offering $60,000? Nope.

You see monopolies don't exist in the labour market really. So long as they're not paying below minimum wage a company can pay what ever they want... including minimum wage to anyone they want. Of course the worker is free to you know reject the offered salary and try another company. That's how the labour market works. if there are more people of a particular skill set in an area than there are jobs that require someone of that skillset.. the employer has the power because let me tell you, the pay you turn away is the the pay the guy next in line for the interview will jump for joy at.

When the inverse is true the situation is reversed. Now silicon valley may very well be in a situation where there is an over-saturation of tech based employees so it's not uncommon in any industry for their to be some standard as to what a particular skillset is worth.

It isn't so much that they are the only tech companies hiring, they are the biggest and most profitable. They hire a huge percentage of the talent, simply because they are so big, and the smaller companies just can't make up the difference.

And it isn't that the salaries were low as such, it's that the companies are being accused of specifically colluding with one another to keep them low. It's the collusion aspect that makes this a lawsuit. If the laws of natural supply and demand dictated that a sysop would get,say, $60k a year, that's all well and good. That's what the market says a sysop is worth, nothing to see here, move along. When the largest companies that hire sysops all get together and agree to pay only $60k a year, that's where the problem starts. Now those huge companies, the leaders in the industry, have basically set, as a group, what a sysop is worth. It effectively becomes a multi-company monopoly, like what happened with the various e-book publishers and Amazon. The publishers colluded to set prices, and that just isn't cricket.

Royas:

It isn't so much that they are the only tech companies hiring, they are the biggest and most profitable. They hire a huge percentage of the talent, simply because they are so big, and the smaller companies just can't make up the difference.

And it isn't that the salaries were low as such, it's that the companies are being accused of specifically colluding with one another to keep them low. It's the collusion aspect that makes this a lawsuit. If the laws of natural supply and demand dictated that a sysop would get,say, $60k a year, that's all well and good. That's what the market says a sysop is worth, nothing to see here, move along. When the largest companies that hire sysops all get together and agree to pay only $60k a year, that's where the problem starts. Now those huge companies, the leaders in the industry, have basically set, as a group, what a sysop is worth. It effectively becomes a multi-company monopoly, like what happened with the various e-book publishers and Amazon. The publishers colluded to set prices, and that just isn't cricket.

And you cut the legs off your own argument. They are the biggest and most profitable....meaning they are paying better than the others. Smaller or id sized companies being unable to really match means that well you're getting paid better yes?

The depth of this collusion is basically more or less an agreement to 'not bribe each others' employees to jump ship.'
That's pretty much it... and that's pretty much a natural function of supply and demand. The demanders (the companies) have decided that they won't pay more than X for the supply (workers). That's totally fair. It's not unlike say consumers boycotting a grocery story for price gouging.

This is like Walmart or a grocery store suing shoppers for not paying $20 a piece for their apples apples.

THis is how labour markets work.. me thinks that this is just more sour grapes that these companies have together said. We won't pay more than X for Skillset Y. THe workers are free to get jobs elsewhere but since the best they can get elsewhere is X-1 or X-2 well then what are you going to do? X isn't an unfair price and if someone else values your Skillset at X+1 and has a position open the workers are free to take it...nothing stops another company from offering X+1 and nothing stops a worker from applying for said position (well unless the employment is on contract for a set period of time). So again, how is the practice unfair to the workers. The actions of these companies has not limited the options of the workers or the abilities of competing companies. So it is neither exploitation nor is it anti-competitive.

BigTuk:

....meaning they are paying *[slightly] better than the others.

I think this is how most(including myself) see it.

BigTuk:

if someone else values your Skillset at X+1 and has a position open the workers are free to take it...

Except that from what I'm reading, X+1 is never an option because the corporations that can afford X+1 have decided that they'll never go beyond |X|.

*Warning: I'm doing my best to not sound like an ass-hat but no matter what I type I end up sounding like... an ass-hat.

Durai:

BigTuk:

....meaning they are paying *[slightly] better than the others.

I think this is how most(including myself) see it.

BigTuk:

if someone else values your Skillset at X+1 and has a position open the workers are free to take it...

Except that from what I'm reading, X+1 is never an option because the corporations that can afford X+1 have decided that they'll never go beyond |X|.

*Warning: I'm doing my best to not sound like an ass-hat but no matter what I type I end up sounding like... an ass-hat.

Which basically boils down to.. the workers think they're worth more than they're being paid... the companies have decided they won't pay more than X...that's perfectly legal. Rule of economics... no one wants to pay what something is worth. People ideally want to ay less than the perceived value. Hence why Sales are such a big thing.

What you have here is a side effect of a saturated labour market. See when a given skillset is both important and scarce pretty much those with the skillset name their price...where the skillset is either common or not as vital.. then the employer has room. If it's not scarce well they likely have 30 more applicants interested in the position.. one of whom probably has overdue rent and would like to stop living off one cup of ramen a day. That will jump at the prospect of being paid.

If it's not vital they company will do without divide the responsibilities of the position among various existing positions.

As said. in the case of this claim... it will be very hard for them to prove the practice is anti competitive or exploitative.

hopefully they will suceed and get their 3 billions compensated. Keeping wages artificially low is very bad for everyone but people that do it.

There is a laughable amount for people saying that what this guy is doing is a bad idea. He's standing up for worker's rights and fair pay, if any collusion between corporations can be proved, then I hope they all suffer the full extent of this huge lawsuit.

BigTuk:

1337mokro:

A deal they made with google. Also digisoft might not have the funds for that seeing as it might be a far smaller company. Who also can't compete with the bigger guys because they buy up all the talent and will turn against Digi when it starts poaching employees.

I am just saying that if an industry comes together to make price deals with one another it is bad. This leads to monopolies and poor worker conditions as end prices go up but labour compensation goes down.

If you actually look at the story basically what the workers are saying is that over the years they lost out on 50 grand per person. That's a pretty low sum per person. Now if this was just 5 guys trying to get 3 billion dollars I might have immediately called bullshit. However 50'000 doesn't sound unreasonable.

Companies not raising salaries to match inflation. Other businesses refusing applications. Overall agreements of worker fees. Sounds pretty plausible and also deliciously illegal in a free market that is built on competition.

So basically the employees are still being payed more than say what another company might be paying hmm? Which again turns the argument back to.. what harm is it doing? This more sounds like a bunch of employees mad that rival companies aren't trying to lure them away with more money than they're already being paid.

Companies that raise salaries to match inflation are usually also engaging in a good deal of staff cutting.

Remember labour is a rather funny thing. Collusion doesn't really affect the market as much as you'd think . If a bunch of companies decide they will only pay X and X is patently unfair then no one will take the job...people will just change to the most lucrative career they are qualified for. if they feel said career will deliver X+1.

A factory without workers is a very, very expensive loss for the owners. HEnce the power of unions. but this.. is not a union action is it?

Or they are being paid way under what they would have been paid had these deals not been going on. You see just getting paid isn't hard. I could get paid for flipping burgers. Getting paid enough is a different matter.

Why even have a minimum wage if companies should decide what you earn? Why even have anti-trust and monopoly laws to prevent companies from colluding and inflating prices whilst deflating worker compensation. Why have all that when you think the companies should be able to decide your wages?

I do hope you have never in your life worked for minimum wage but always agreed to sign a contract for whatever the company wanted to pay you because otherwise your position is a bit hypocrite.

Now onto why this is not good. We are essentially a free market system. This involves businesses competing with each other for the best product. Not colluding together to drive out all other competition whilst still driving down production costs and purchase cost up.

We don't allow Nintendo to do backdoor deals with retailers about the pricing of Wii's and artificial scarcity. We don't allow Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft to agree that a retail worker will never earn more than X amount of dollars. We can set in place a minimum, but not a maximum. We can't allow them to agree that anyone wanting to work in an industry like this which takes at least 4 years of dedication just to get a degree and many more years to get actually good at your job to have an artificial cap.

If we say yes why not stop pretending any of our other regulations have merit. Let's just revert back to industrial era poverty where you either worked or starved. Hungry people are after all much happier to work for those 2 pennies you pay them. Heck have the kids help out. After all a company should get to decide your salary right? Especially when you think that you'd be worth a pretty decent one yourself because who cares about those beneath you?

1337mokro:

Or they are being paid way under what they would have been paid had these deals not been going on. You see just getting paid isn't hard. I could get paid for flipping burgers. Getting paid enough is a different matter.

If they are being paid under.. well then again. There's no anti-trust issue since any company not in the collusion is free to offer them more. So again. There's no anti-trust or price fixing issue.

Why even have a minimum wage if companies should decide what you earn? Why even have anti-trust and monopoly laws to prevent companies from colluding and inflating prices whilst deflating worker compensation. Why have all that when you think the companies should be able to decide your wages?

COnsidering in america many employers ignore the minimum wages. All those people who have 'tips' as a necessary make up of their salary...yeah they are being paid at or slightly under minimum wage. America I learned is one of the few countries where Tips are 'customary' as opposed to you know. Earned with exceptional and pleasant service.

Again, this is no different than a bunch of market shoppers deciding that nope... $10 is too much to pay for one apple. Have I and my neighbors colludied to fix the price of apples? Should the Apple Vendor then take us to court for all the money he lost because he had to sell his apples at less than $10. If that happened it would be a laugh riot. This is the same thing. The maker consumers have decided together what they will pay for a service/good. which in this case is labour with a certain skillset.

Nothing they've done prevents people of the skillset from you know, going on to companies that offer them more, and nothing they've done prevents another company from offering to pay more. Again,. They've done nothing illegal or harmful. If no other non-colluded company can pay more than what the colluded companies are.. well then they're obviously being paid better than most others in their field. and if no other non-colluded company is offering more.. maybe.. maybe the industry as a whole doesn't see that skillset as being worth more...which again..is like asking people to buy an apple for $10. You're free to sell it for whatever you ant but don't be surprised if your buyers pass you by because they don't consider the apples worth that much.

I do hope you have never in your life worked for minimum wage but always agreed to sign a contract for whatever the company wanted to pay you because otherwise your position is a bit hypocrite.

I've worked at hourly wages, I've worked and minimum wage, I've worked at contracted salary and on commission. This doesn't make my stance hypocritical. It makes my stance informed. See I've been in and about the labour market enough to see and understand how things work. If I am offered less than I know I'm worth I am free to not take it. but I always know that the pay I scoff at is the pay the next guy will happily accept. This is how things work when there are more workers than jobs in an industry. You can refuse the pay or you know...do without running water for a while.

Now onto why this is not good. We are essentially a free market system. This involves businesses competing with each other for the best product. Not colluding together to drive out all other competition whilst still driving down production costs and purchase cost up.

Free market cuts both ways. Again you've yet to state how these actions are driving competition out. Secondly business collaborate all the time. It's necessary for any industry to function. This is why for any industry there are always standards and practices. How were these standards arrived at? Collaboration between the various industry stakeholders.

We don't allow Nintendo to do backdoor deals with retailers about the pricing of Wii's and artificial scarcity. We don't allow Nintendo, Sony and Microsoft to agree that a retail worker will never earn more than X amount of dollars. We can set in place a minimum, but not a maximum. We can't allow them to agree that anyone wanting to work in an industry like this which takes at least 4 years of dedication just to get a degree and many more years to get actually good at your job to have an artificial cap.

Actually Microsoft is free to decide what they want to pay a retail worker. And if they sony and Nintendo all agree that is perfectly legal. If the workers are feeling under paid...they go somewhere else. See in no way has the options of the worker or other companies been reduced. And actually there's nothing wrong with the artificial scarcity thing.. I mean come on the Digital Media industry is founded on artificial scarcity. It's a base principle.

The reason a minimum exists is to actually prevent abuse. because of the reality that there will always be more workers than jobs in any system, if it were not for the minimum then the free market system would drive wages down to levels where the worker puts in a days work and cannot buy so much as a loaf of bread with what they earned.

There is no set maximum but their is an implicit maximum. The more specialized and vital your skillset is, the higher the wage you can expect again dependent on how many people seek that skillset and how many people have it. If there are only 10 dentists in a country those dentists may charge whatever they want. If there are 5000 dentists .. well then that's a different story. Why do you think teaching salaries increase as you go up the education ladder. Compare the salary of a grade school teacher to a university professor lecturing the Bachelor's or Doctorate program. It's a more advanced skillset and there are fewer people with said skillset.

Again it boils down to. Is it anti-trust? Have these companies acted in away to limit the options of their competitors? Nope. CompuGlobalOptiTech is is free to decide and offer their own salaries whether it be lower or higher than the accused companies. (ironically it would be Antitrust if those colluding companies had set the wages so high that no other company could match them and thusly could never get the talent they need but of course the workers would never complain about such anti-trust tactics would they?).

Does it limit the freedoms of the workers? Nope, a worker is not a slave, they always have a choice to refuse the salary or to hunt for a better offer from other companies. If they can't find a better offer then one might say it's because the players colluded but one would have to prove that said players would have been inclined to pay significantly more otherwise.

A buyer is never going to pay more than a good or service is worth to them. So even if me and the other shoppers had not agreed to boycott the guy selling apples for $15 a piece that doesn't mean that any of us were going to spend $15 for an apple anyway.

If we say yes why not stop pretending any of our other regulations have merit. Let's just revert back to industrial era poverty where you either worked or starved. Hungry people are after all much happier to work for those 2 pennies you pay them. Heck have the kids help out. After all a company should get to decide your salary right? Especially when you think that you'd be worth a pretty decent one yourself because who cares about those beneath you?

Spoken like a true middle-class American W.A.S.P. Listen, until you've had to figure how to buy a month's worth of food with nothing more than $15 (without food stamps or other such government assistance) then you can talk about the plight about the down-trodden worker. When you can say you've put in a 12 hour shift running on nothing but a cup of hot water and a packet of ketchup, then you can talk.

For many people this is a reality. I can complain all I want but I know that there's always someone out there...who is in a worse position than me who's not too proud to work for minimum wage. Now if this instance were truly violating worker's rights than this would be a labour union issue.

Maybe I'm alone in this, but I don't think it's greed. A settlement of that size is nothing to sneeze at and will take care of any monetary problems you could possibly have for the rest of your life. I think he's actually trying to expose a crime and see it punished. Is that so hard to believe?

MeChaNiZ3D:
Maybe I'm alone in this, but I don't think it's greed. A settlement of that size is nothing to sneeze at and will take care of any monetary problems you could possibly have for the rest of your life. I think he's actually trying to expose a crime and see it punished. Is that so hard to believe?

$3bil / 64,000 (number of plaintiffs in the class action suit) = $55 grand a piece. which is about a year's salary for most people in that bracket. Keep in mind after that you'd likely find it pretty hard to keep your existing job or find a new one in the industry.

That is again assuming they win...or that the case is concluded any time in the next 20 years.

If they lose well they will find it very hard to keep their jobs and very hard to find new jobs. Employers look into these things. The higher your salary the deeper those background checks. Ever notice any job application has to include the last place of employment...you don't think they call and do a little digging as to why you left?

 

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