News: Google sued over claims of unfair labour practices

Employee Relations

Google sued over claims of unfair labour practices

The Alphabet Workers Union accused Google of firing workers for their affiliation with the union and to intimidate others from joining.
Google sued over claims of unfair labour practices

Google contract workers have filed several unfair labour practice complaints against Alphabet for allegedly firing them after they conducted union-related activities.

The Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) filed the complaints on behalf of two members who were working at Google’s data centre in Council Bluffs, Iowa. The employees were supposedly terminated after they tried to discuss their pay and working conditions at the facility. 

The AWU accused Google of firing the workers because of their affiliation with the union, as well as to intimidate others from joining. In an interview with Gizmodo, the group said this was the first instance that Google terminated employees for taking part in union activity.

Read more: Google wants a leaner budget for employee perks

Unfair labour practices

In one of the complaints, the AWU claimed that a member working at the Iowa data centre was the subject of intimidation by management after urging co-workers to hold a walkout. The move was supposed to be in protest of a new time clock policy for employees. 

When the company discovered the planned walkout, they pulled the AWU member aside and informed them that they were not happy. The AWU believes this was a case of intimidation on the part of management to prevent workers from engaging in a collective action.

“It doesn’t feel good to go to work and feel like I have to look over my shoulder. I want us to be able to express our grievances, whether something small like the time clock or something bigger like better salaries, and know we’ll be taken seriously,” said data centre technician and AWU member Elissia Cave.

“We shouldn’t have to worry about whether we will lose our job whenever we speak.”

Read more: Is Google getting ready for layoffs?

In another complaint, the AWU accused Google of revoking the security clearances of security guards in several data centres in North Carolina and South Carolina. The security personnel were campaigning to receive workplace benefits, according to the union.

Meanwhile, two other Google workers purportedly had their pay docked and were denied the renewal of their contracts after attempting to discuss workplace conditions.

Aside from Google, the AWU also identified Modis and Allied Universal in the complaints. Both companies serve as contractors for Google.

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Topics: Employee Relations, #IndustrialRelations

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