December 06, 2019

Google accused of sacking workers to deter unionism

[ by Kavita Krishnan ]


The Communications Workers of America (CWA) union filed a federal labor charge against Google on 5 December 2019, alleging that the company unlawfully fired four employees to deter workers from engaging in union activities.

The complaint would trigger a National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) investigation into whether Google violated the four individuals’ right to collectively raise concerns about working conditions.

According to Laurie Burgess, an attorney at Messing Adam & Jasmine who worked on the NLRB filing, the CWA union, representing 700,000 North Americans working at AT&T Inc, Walt Disney Co and companies in several other industries, has been trying to organize workers at Google. She further stated that if at the end of its investigation the NLRB finds Google has a case to answer, the union could seek to reach a settlement or, ultimately appeal to a court.

According to the filing, Google fired the four employees in order to discourage employees from engaging in protected concerted and union activities. With a view to defeat unionism, Google has hired services of a consultancy firm.

It was the allegation by three of the sacked workers that they had publicly signed a petition urging Google to reject business from three U.S. immigration agencies that had allegedly mistreated migrants. The fourth fired worker had allegedly protested Google policies that appeared to undermine its support for people who were identified as gay, lesbian or transgender.

When the NLRB finds violations, it typically tries to help accusers and companies reach a settlement.

In September Google had announced such a settlement after an employee accused the company of firing him for his conservative political views. The company is known for listening to employee feedback and even adjusting course on the spot based on ideas at all-staff meetings.

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