Google And Apple To Pay $324 Million To Settle Lawsuit Alleging Hiring Conspiracy
Google and Apple have decided to settle a case that could have been a damning expose of the real culture of Silicon Valley. The case, which was brought by employees of the companies as well as other Silicon Valley giants, alleged that wage prices had been fixed by collusion, and that workers wee not being paid a fair price for their labor. The plaintiffs were originally seeking damages of $3 billion. Today, it seems, they have happily come away with half of that.
The companies, who are two of the world’s top three by market capitalization, will pay $324 million along with Intel and Adobe in order to settle the civil case.
Silicon Valley’s Dark Secret
Much of the philosophy surrounding the computing revolution that led to the establishment of Silicon Valley as the world’s most important tech hub was descended from an open sort of humanism. The computer revolution is supposed to add more to every person’s life, and leave them with easier access to more information, along with more options and time for leisure. That has not played out in full in Silicon Valley, and it appears that Google and Apple may have been standing in the way.
The case never went to court, so it seems we will never know for sure whether Google and Apple, and the other companies involved did try to keep wages low in Silicon Valley in order to supplement their own profits and keep their businesses stable. Collusion in order to suppress the negotiating power of labor is obviously illegal, though it is now impossible to prove the two tech giants were involved in anything of the sort.
The small pool of those with enough training and technical skill to operate at the top level of the tech industry means that wages are high, but an agreement like the one alleged to exist between Apple and Google could have kept them artificially low, keeping wages in the pockets of the two companies rather than their workers.
Apple Continues Labor Crisis
Apple is well known for the substandard conditions its subcontracted manufacturing staff work in, but the company’s staff in Silicon Valley are generally thought to be quite well off. They are, at least in comparison to the average American, doing well, but their actual worth may not have been expressed in their pay check because of agreements between Silicon Valley giants.
Apple has had trouble in recent years trying to keep its retail staff from organizing, and the company’s efforts have drawn the attention of media outlets. Both companies have executives that have proclaimed a love for the free market in the past. It appears that those rules might only apply to other people.