Filter, a vendor company engaged by Facebook to provide "non-core" services, employs more than twenty Research Assistants (RAs) for Facebook Reality Labs (FRL, formerly known as Oculus). These workers, like many vendor workers, are highly trained in their field. In their case, they are skilled user researchers, many with advanced degrees, and work with engineers and research scientists to conduct work that is vital to FRL developing and building cutting-edge products.
However, their employer, Filter, doesn't see them that way. In December of 2018, the RAs submitted a collective demands letter requesting better pay, transportation vouchers, and a fixed number of holidays (or sick days), in addition to the typical accrued-PTO-only model used by Facebook's vendor and contracting companies. Their demands, by all objective measures, were entirely reasonable — Filter's response was not.
Workers were brought, one by one, to an undisclosed off-site meeting location where they were individually presented with sub-par offer letters in response to their collective letter. Further, the workers received email communication from Filter indicating that if they did not accept the terms of these offers, "we will assume you do not wish to continue your employment with Filter".
News of the RAs' letter, and Filter's ultimatum, went to the press and a few days later the official narrative chalked it all up to a "misunderstanding". Workers got nominal raises, gender wage parity, and a handful of other demands (and needless to say, kept their jobs), but Filter is still — months later — evading resolution on other demands.
Workers for Workers continues to support the RAs in their fight to resolve their collective demands made to their employer. We stand with all workers, at Facebook and across the tech industry, who are organizing to improve our shared working conditions and eliminate the disparity between contingency and full-time status.
Past Press: Julia Wong, The Guardian, "Facebook contractors faced Christmas ultimatum: accept wage offer or lose jobs".