Microsoft contractor drops protest against pay cuts

A Microsoft contract worker who organized a protest against a plan to cut contractor pay has dropped that effort.

A Microsoft contract worker who organized a protest against the company's plan to cut contractors' pay has abandoned that effort and accepted his pay cut.

The decision was an emotional one, Paul Palios wrote on his blog. "After my emotions calmed down and I had more time to think I realized I had begun walking down a path that was not helping me achieve my goals in life," he wrote. Palios organized a group of Microsoft contract workers to protest on the company's Redmond, Washington, campus.

Palios wrote that he did not expect the amount of attention he would receive for staging the protest and did not anticipate the work it would require to keep it going.

"I decided that I did not want to become a labor organizer and give up my work in software," he wrote. "I love software, it is my passion in life and I still had a great job on an amazing team at the best software company in the world."

Palios said that after meeting with Volt Information Sciences, the global IT staffing agency that set him up with the Microsoft position, he decided to sign the contract amendment and accept the 10 percent pay cut rather than continue the protest against the cuts.

"I really like my job and I felt that even at 10 percent less pay, it was worth being able to continue working on the projects I am a part of," he wrote. "I also think that it's unfair to think one can be immune from a shattered economy."

In an effort to reduce costs, Microsoft said a couple of weeks ago it is cutting current contractor pay by 10 percent and future contractor pay by 15 percent. The cuts followed Microsoft's unprecedented move of laying off up to 5,000 employees, which it announced in January at the same time it reported quarterly financial results that missed company and analyst estimates.

Microsoft employs nearly 96,000 people directly and does not disclose how many contractors work at the company. However, some estimate the number of contractors is in the tens of thousands.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

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