By Levi Sumagaysay
Alphabet must let workers at data center in South Carolina talk about pay and conditions and discuss joining a union after suspension of pro-union contract worker led to NLRB complaint
Google must allow workers at one of its data centers in South Carolina to talk about their pay and inform them of their rights to organize under a settlement it reached with the National Labor Relations Board.
Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL)(GOOGL) and subcontractor Modis E&T have agreed to post notices telling employees, among other things, that they have the right to form, join or assist a union; discuss pay and working conditions; and that they would not be punished if they do so. The settlement, which was approved this week, marks one of the first victories for the Alphabet Workers Union, a minority union formed by Google employees in January. Affiliated with the Communications Workers of America, it represents hundreds of the company's workforce of a couple hundred thousand.
The AWU filed an unfair labor-practice charge against Google and parent Alphabet, and Modis and parent Adecco Group , after the suspension of worker Shannon Wait for her union support. The tech giant agreed to reinstate Wait last month, although she has since left the Moncks Corner, S.C., data center because her contract work expired.
"It's far too easy for contractors like Modis to make us believe that we aren't allowed to publicly discuss our working conditions or join unions, and Alphabet and Google turn a blind eye to this gaslighting," Wait said in a statement. "Now, because I had the support of my union to call them out on it, they'll be forced to inform us all of our rights."
Parul Koul, executive director of the AWU, called the decision "a huge win for Shannon, a huge win for TVCs (temporary, vendor and contractor), and a huge win for our union."
See: What can a small union for well-paid Google workers accomplish? (link)
Also: Google wrongfully spied on, terminated employees, NLRB complaint says (link)
Google and Adecco had not returned requests for comment Wednesday. The settlement was signed by attorneys for Google/Alphabet and Modis this month.
The settlement comes as another big tech company, Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN), is in the spotlight over a unionization vote in Alabama. In addition, the NLRB last week ordered Tesla Inc. to rehire a fired worker (link) and post notices at its Fremont, California, plant informing workers that Tesla (TSLA) was found to have violated labor law and of their rights to organize.
-Levi Sumagaysay; 415-439-6400; AskNewswires@dowjones.com
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03-31-21 1806ETCopyright (c) 2021 Dow Jones & Company, Inc.