Tech

Intel engineers, led by a hopeful Congress, demand a union


Intel, both the largest semiconductor company by revenue and the largest private employer in Oregon, is facing a clear bid for consolidation in its exhausted engineering workforce. mine. During a press conference Wednesday afternoon led by incumbent engineer and congressional hopeful Matt West, he described the job arrangement at Intel as “expecting it to be called all the time.”

“For too long, my fellow engineers have worked more than 80 hours per week, arbitrarily switching between day and night shifts as required by management. We always call as much as you need. manager approval for more than two hours from the factory,” West said as he stood in front of the aforementioned plant in Hillsboro, Oregon, surrounded by colleagues and local labor leaders.” If you get a call at 2 a.m. on a Saturday, and you have to take the day off and if you don’t answer the phone within 30 minutes, they’ll call your manager. And there will be consequences.”

Organizing efforts have been underway for more than a year, but had not been made public until today, according to a West spokesman. The engineering unit, which includes more than 350 workers, is “the largest consolidation effort Intel has ever faced,” the spokesperson wrote.

“I used to work more than 80 hours a week for three months straight. In total I only had three days off during that time,” West said. “I had a mental breakdown. Both my mind and body were affected. And at that time, the doctor asked me to take two weeks of emergency leave to recover.” When he returned to work, he said he “was officially notified for not informing my manager in advance of my urgent medical leave.”

In addition to being required to work long hours – more hours than Oregon law allows, according to West’s office – and being required to be available to people with disabilities, West also accused Intel of knowingly hiring from a pool of fresh graduates. college or graduate school to have leverage over them. All of this, he says, is doubly felt by the engineers working through H1B Visas. “They feel trapped,” West said, paraphrasing conversations he’s had with colleagues, “They say they can’t bring up these issues on their own for fear of them and their families being deported.” export.”

In addition to his own experience, West has read several anonymous reports from his colleagues that recount similar problems. One claimed that on “most days I work 10 to 16 hours,” while another said they were required to “work a 14-hour night, a seven-night shift.” A third person wrote that “there is no right path to promotion for high-performing engineers.” (Transparency around pay and promotions is another issue unions are organizing.)

West called on Intel to sign a neutrality agreement (in effect, saying the company would not interfere with organizational efforts, force workers to send anti-union messages, participate in targeted meetings, etc.) detention or other familiar tactics) and ask the company to voluntarily recognize the union. While it’s unclear what alliance the engineers plan to join – or if, like Amazon workers on Staten Island they had the intention of starting their own from the start – a West spokesperson confirmed the Intel cohort has been in contact with the US Communications Staff.

As mentioned, West – in addition to his work at Intel and organizing activities – is voting to run for the House of Representatives for Oregon’s 6th district. That election takes place less than a week from today.

Engadget has reached out to Intel for comment and will update if we receive a response.

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