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This thread seems to have migrated a bit, but I'll put
my opinion in the boiler ...
There are companies that make virtually no distinction between
contractors and captives. Lucent Technologies - at least, the
facility (Westminster, CO) where I work is one of them.
I've been a contract TCer at Lucent for just under a year; thus
far, I've noticed two distinctions between contractors and captives.
The first? As a contractor, I wasn't allowed to get a free flu shot
last fall. (But last year was the first time this benefit was available,
and the people I talked to said they would likely offer this to
contractors this fall - either free or for a nominal fee.)
The second? When IBEW and friends threatened to strike Lucent
earlier this spring, as a contractor I was not given a "strike assignment."
Honest. That's it. I get paid for Lucent holidays. I'm allowed, even
encouraged, to take any internal training classes that take my
fancy. Don't even have to get permission. And the classes are
telephony technology, time management, and on and on. (To be
honest, I believe the paid holiday part was negotiated by my
In my group, contractors are sent to conferences and seminars just as
as captives are. We get the same quality of equipment as captives.
We attend department meetings, and department "events" (summer
picnics, holiday parties, and the like).
If I do something wonderful, I get an award. I've received sippy cups,
team shirts, jackets, cash awards ... more than some of my captive
The point, I guess, is that YMMV on contracting. And on the
negotiating ability of your contracting firm.