Canadian interns letter
*** IMPORTANT***: Please read carefully all the information parts before signing the letter. The goal here is really not to get everyone we know to sign to pump up the number of signatures. It is a delicate situation and we must proceed carefully.
*** GENERAL INFO***:
- Only sign this letter if you are a Canadian intern. This is a message on our behalf and we want to be able to say that every signature here is from a concerned intern to put weight on it.
- Do not sign many times, we want to keep the numbers legitimate.
- You should sign it before February, 21 23:59 EST since we want to send the letter at the beginning of next week.
- You should sign this letter even if you didn't receive your updated letter yet because for now every Canadian offer has gone through this pay cut and we plan on sending this letter soon because the deadlines for the first letters are coming soon.
- Spread this letter to other Canadian interns through word of mouth (personal communications) and do not post it (facebook/ reddit/ discord/ etc.) since we want to keep under control.
- If for any reason you want to remove your signature, you can reach us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Just tell us your name and we will do it. You could then resign with another signature mode (see below) if you wish.
*** SIGNING SYSTEM***: We know that signing this letter comes with a potential risk for a retaliation from Microsoft, hence we set up the following process:
- If you want to sign openly, meaning your name will appear at the bottom of the final document, use the "comments" box to write "openly" or "show my name" or something alike
- If you want to sign openly ONLY if there is at least 50 open signatures on the document, use the "comments" box to write "only if 50" or something alike
- If you want to sign anonymously, no matter how many signatures appear, use the "comments" box to write "anonymously" or leave that box empty (to prevent problems, empty comments are treated as anonymous)
- Whatever signature mode you choose, you will count toward the total signature amount
- Whatever signature mode you choose, fill the "name" field with your complete name. If a name is fake, like "Superman", we will delete that signature.
- Whatever signature mode you choose, uncheck the "Show my name in the online signature list" checkbox so that only us, the petition owners, can see it. This will prevent exposure of anyone before the final letter is ready.
*** PERSONAL STORIES*** : We feel personal stories about the impact of that paycut (financial projects, feelings toward Microsoft, anything) would help decision makers better understand the impact of that choice
- If you want to share a personal story, simply add it in the comment box after your choice of signing mode (see above)
- Whatever signature mode you choose, your stories will be transmitted anonymously, since this is more personal.
*** START OF THE LETTER***
The purpose of the current document is to expose the situation of Canadian interns for the summer of 2021. If you have received this document, it is because we believe that you are able to make a difference and to help us.
Some of us are returning interns. For the summer of 2020, we first received an on-site internship offer. Then, as everyone knows, COVID came and deeply changed the way we work. We then received a revised internship offer to work remotely. Since the Canadian interns were now working from Canada, salaries and other benefits were converted, at the then current exchange rate, to Canadian dollars.
Everything went well, we loved the internship and even had the chance to get a return offer for summer 2021. Other members that got a similar 2021 summer offer are new interns or interns that were “promoted” from Garage or Explore internships. This internship offer, like the initial offer for 2020, was for an on-site internship. However, we were told that it was likely (given that the COVID situation was not under control) that the internship would eventually take place remotely and that we would have an update at this level over the coming months.
In November, we learned, unsurprisingly, that the summer 2021 internship would finally be held remotely and that we would be receiving our revised internship offers. A few days ago, we began to receive these revised internship offers and have found, to our surprise, that this time around our salaries and other benefits have not been converted at the current exchange rate. Instead, our salaries have been reduced by almost 50% and our signing bonus, for returning interns, has been reduced by 45%.
This is an unexpected and troubling change, as no communication has been made to notify us of this drastic change and no explanation has been provided along with the revised offer. Since then, we have been able to collect fragmentary information here and there in order to understand what happened and it would seem, a priori, that this follows from the fact that this year our salaries are based on calculation grids varying according to the level of competition from where we study. We are also reminded that this offer is non-negotiable and that we must sign it within 2 weeks.
Using the local competitive level calculation grid makes sense when interns can explore other offers and compare them. This is not our situation since we signed our initial offer several months ago and it is now far too late to solicit further offers from other companies.
During previous internships, Microsoft was able, through various events, to instill its culture in our minds. It is a culture based, among other things, on trust, respect and inclusion. We felt this culture and found that the organization upholds these principles in its interactions with its employees. We have also found out that Microsoft values interns, a lot. Several incredible events are reserved for us and allow us to flourish personally and professionally. You put effort in us because you know that if we like our experience as an intern, we will be interested in continuing our experience with you after our studies are completed so that we can, in our turn, share this pleasure with future interns. It is a virtuous circle that should be implemented in every business. And it works! We are proud to wear your merchandise, to talk about our experience at Microsoft, we sincerely love the culture of the company and the organization has carved out a place for itself in our plans for the future.
If the Microsoft we have come to know had consciously decided to cut the salaries of its Canadian interns in half, we think we would have been warned early on, since it has been known for over 3 months that the internship would be done remotely. Given that there was a precedent during the 2020 summer internship and that the interns were therefore potentially going to believe that the equivalence between the initial offers and the final offers would be the same this year, the Microsoft we have come to know would also have accompanied the warning with detailed explanations on this choice.
With the data we have so far and in the face of the apparent inconsistency between Microsoft's culture and the current situation, we can only suspect that this stems from an honest, unconscious mistake and that the impact wasn’t fully understood. We just want our message to be heard by those with the power to change this decision or the knowledge to explain it to us.
We are not in a position to negotiate. Negotiation would imply that we have leverage when, in this case, we do not. It is far too late to find us another competitive internship at this time. Many of us will probably accept this offer. However, it is disheartening to know that we will be working alongside our American intern counterparts, on the same projects and as part of the same teams for half their salary.
For some of us, this poses an unexpected financial burden. Not in that the updated salaries aren’t still generous, but in that we had made plans and commitments based on the former contracts that we had signed. Microsoft’s adjustments to at-will contracts in the face of the early pandemic last year gave us precedent to believe such a clause wouldn’t be a cause for concern. Some of us have already turned down competitive offers at other companies, signed new leases, or expressed excitement to family members about finally being able to pay off our student debt. More importantly, others were counting on this financial independence as a means to escape stressful and difficult home situations, or to make ends meet and pay for their tuition next year. It’s with particular emphasis on the situations of these individuals that we ask for more of an explanation.
Our confidence in Microsoft has been shaken by this sudden and unexplained change in our working conditions by an organization that, yet, runs on trust.
If you do not have the authority to change the decision or the knowledge to explain to us what changed between last year and this year, we would be grateful for you to forward this document to someone who you think might or at least a step closer to that person.
If you have that level of authority or knowledge, we would really appreciate it if you would consider readopting last year’s salary equivalence or, at least, providing us with a further explanation of the situation and the reasoning behind such short notice.