25 March 2014

Why We Need Unions, Aggressive Anti-Trust Enforcement, and Former CEOs Behind Bars

Because without all of these, those in power conspire to impoverish and humiliate the rest of us:
Back in January, I wrote about “The Techtopus” — an illegal agreement between seven tech giants, including Apple, Google, and Intel, to suppress wages for tens of thousands of tech employees. The agreement prompted a Department of Justice investigation, resulting in a settlement in which the companies agreed to curb their restricting hiring deals. The same companies were then hit with a civil suit by employees affected by the agreements.

This week, as the final summary judgement for the resulting class action suit looms, and several of the companies mentioned (Intuit, Pixar and Lucasfilm) scramble to settle out of court, Pando has obtained court documents (embedded below) which show shocking evidence of a much larger conspiracy, reaching far beyond Silicon Valley.

Confidential internal Google and Apple memos, buried within piles of court dockets and reviewed by PandoDaily, clearly show that what began as a secret cartel agreement between Apple’s Steve Jobs and Google’s Eric Schmidt to illegally fix the labor market for hi-tech workers, expanded within a few years to include companies ranging from Dell, IBM, eBay and Microsoft, to Comcast, Clear Channel, Dreamworks, and London-based public relations behemoth WPP. All told, the combined workforces of the companies involved totals well over a million employees.

According to multiple sources familiar with the case, several of these newly named companies were also subpoenaed by the DOJ for their investigation. A spokesperson for Ask.com confirmed that in 2009-10 the company was investigated by the DOJ, and agreed to cooperate fully with that investigation. Other companies confirmed off the record that they too had been subpoenaed around the same time.

Although the Department ultimately decided to focus its attention on just Adobe, Apple, Google, Intel, Intuit, Lucasfilm and Pixar, the emails and memos clearly name dozens more companies which, at least as far as Google and Apple executives were concerned, formed part of their wage-fixing cartel.
Heads, I win, tails, you lose, klepto-capitalism at its finest.

The fact that the victims of this organized wage-theft conspiracy are well paid does not make it better, neither does the fact that many of the people involved are techno-libertarians, which does not make it just that they are a victim of their own laissez-faire philosophy.

The DoJ has secured a settlement, slap on the wrist fines, and no one will go to jail.

At the most, there will be a court judgement, and penalties, but the executives in question won't pay that, they are indemnified by their corporations, so it's shareholders, pension funds and the like, end up paying for this.

This is contemptible.


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