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Plaintiff In Tech Hiring Suit Asks Judge To Reject Settlement 215

Posted by samzenpus
from the not-so-fast dept.
An anonymous reader writes with news that Michael Devine, one of the plaintiffs in a lawsuit accusing tech firms including Apple and Google of conspiring to keep salaries low, has asked the court to reject a $324 million settlement. "Apple has more than $150 billion in the bank, eclipsing the combined cash reserves of Israel and Britain. Google, Intel and Adobe have a total of about $80 billion stored up for a rainy day. Against such tremendous cash hoards, $324 million is chump change. But that is what the four technology companies have agreed to pay to settle a class action brought by their own employees. The suit, which was on track to go to trial in San Jose, Calif., at the end of May, promised weeks if not months of damaging revelations about how Silicon Valley executives conspired to suppress wages and limit competition. Details of the settlement are still under wraps. 'The class wants a chance at real justice,' he wrote. 'We want our day in court.' He noted that the settlement amount was about one-tenth of the estimated $3 billion lost in compensation by the 64,000 class members. In a successful trial, antitrust laws would triple that sum. 'As an analogy,' Mr. Devine wrote, 'if a shoplifter is caught on video stealing a $400 iPad from the Apple Store, would a fair and just resolution be for the shoplifter to pay Apple $40, keep the iPad, and walk away with no record or admission of wrongdoing? Of course not.' 'If the other class members join me in opposition, I believe we will be successful in convincing the court to give us our due process,' Mr. Devine said in an interview on Sunday. He has set up a website, Tech Worker Justice, and is looking for legal representation. Any challenge will take many months. The other three class representatives could not be reached for comment over the weekend."
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Plaintiff In Tech Hiring Suit Asks Judge To Reject Settlement

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  • by Charliemopps (1157495) on Monday May 12, 2014 @10:42AM (#46979115)

    Time for a union that is only way to get the power to the workers!

    Apparently you've never worked for a union. You just pass your power on to the union, whose best interest is the union, not you. I'm not against organized labor, but unions in this country are usually even worse than they corporations they are supposed to protect you against.

    I've worked for 3 different union shops in my time and they were all the same. Got seniority? You can't get fired... ever. People would come in drunk and the UAW would protect them. We had teams of people that sat reading books at a picnic table all day just in case someone went home sick, they were making $25/hr to do that. I also worked for AT&T. At one point I had a customer having a problem with a particular database. It was outside my normal functions but they were dead in the water and the department that was supposed to handle it wasn't returning their calls. I fixed it, got commended by management. A month later I had a union grievance filed against me for doing the work someone else should have done. They actually tried to fine me. Luckily I got a new job before they could complete the case and I just told them to stuff it when they decided against me.

    This is all anecdotal personal experience so take it with a grain of salt. Maybe I just had bad luck. But I'm done with unions.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Monday May 12, 2014 @10:47AM (#46979159)

    (fine as in punishment not as in splendid. But it's fine too)

    If you are found guilty (or if you settle, don't think you get off cheaply), you're not fined a fixed sum. You're fined a part (or even multiple) of your annual income. That can be quite substantial in case of corporations. Which is also the reason for the insane fines you hear about when some corporation gets slammed by the EU or a state around here again.

    Personally, I consider it a good system. Nobody can simply ignore the law because fines are a pittance to them. A year's income is a year's income, and losing that HURTS. Whether you make 4 or 7 digits (or in case of a corporation, 10+).

    The nice side effect is that this also means we have more people paying fines rather than sitting in some prison because they can't. Fines put money in the state treasury. People in jail cost money.

  • by bigpat (158134) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:13AM (#46979365)

    This is a case of criminal conspiracy that rippled through the economy. Where billionaires conspired to keep middle class wages lower because they wanted to make even more money for themselves. Not just people in these companies were affected. The illegally restrained salaries at these companies set the bar for millions of people in the industry. They need to pony up a few Billion more at least.

    These class action lawsuits themselves seem like blatant ways of companies limiting their own liability... they simply conspire with some lawyers to sue themselves, settle for pennies on the dollar and just a few individuals that proactively reject the settlement can ever get the full amount they are due. And the incentive of those so called lawyers who are getting a percentage commission is to settle for whatever makes them millionaires, not whatever will make people they don't really represent whole.

    I think in the future that the courts should require proactive agreement in writing from at least a majority of the class for the settlement to be accepted. And then let anyone that doesn't proactively accept the settlement sue later on. The opt-out system that we have now doesn't result in equitable resolutions.

  • It's nice to see all the anti-union rhetoric. Now find me a police dept that doesn't have a union. Interesting...
  • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:21AM (#46979453)
    What DOESN'T have pros and cons? Even vaccinations hurt a bit for a split second, and they're the closest thing to "something that is completely devoid of cons" that I can think of.

    With unions, I think history has shown they are good medicine for when the labor force is being abused by employers with government's blessing.

    Unfortunately, with both vaccinations and unions, after living with them for too long, people forget what life was like before they were around, and only notice the cons, and then listen to assholes telling them they're nothing but trouble. We then have to do a mini cycle where the old problems come back a little before people realize there are plenty of good reasons for unions or vaccines.
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:45AM (#46979653) Journal

    Which raises the question: Why does the legal system allow settling class action suits?

    If you look at the statistics, it's something like 80%~95% of lawsuits get settled, depending on the type of court.

    The legal system not only allows the settling of [any] law suits, it prefers them.
    Judges spend less time judging and more time signing/refereeing settlements.

    Settlements are the main means by which the law is imposed in the United States.

  • by JMJimmy (2036122) on Monday May 12, 2014 @11:58AM (#46979781)

    Everyone should know by now that the only people who get rich in ANY LEGAL actions are the lawyers.

    Fixed that for you.

    As someone who has intimate knowledge of a very successful law office (1000+/hour rates) the number of times they almost went bankrupt or had to risk their personal financial well being to support the business is crazy. The number of hours and stress level is beyond anything I'd consider putting myself through. At the end of the day they pull in a lot of money but one big case going sour at the wrong time can ruin them.

    One problem most people don't consider is that these companies have dozens or hundreds of employees (depending on the size), most of them have to be skilled because one mistake can derail a case; that means high pay for quality employees. Then you've got the issue of delays - many cases can drag on for years, even decades, which means you've got to plan your revenue stream based on best guess of if/when cases will pay out and how much they'll bring in. All the while the employees, rent, taxes, loans, etc. need to be paid - a medium sized firm (15-30 people) can have up to $250,000 in costs/month. That's a lot of money for such an uncertain business model.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday May 12, 2014 @12:46PM (#46980231)

    Settlements are the main means by which the law is imposed in the United States.

    Civil law, you mean.

    And I think it's deplorable. Settlements can and often have been used for intimidation and abuse. Look at the recent copyright troll suits for instance.

  • by fustakrakich (1673220) on Monday May 12, 2014 @02:14PM (#46981483) Journal

    Settlements for civil law and plea bargaining for criminal law. Both for the sole purpose of expediency, and intimidation and abuse.

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