Google Back Under Investigation Over Labor Practices

Illustration for article titled Google Back Under Investigation Over Labor Practices
Screenshot: Google

For a company associated with fast access to the sum total of human knowledge, Google is certainly struggling to retain even the broad strokes of U.S. labor law.

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Just before Thanksgiving, Google abruptly dismissed four of its engineers, all of whom, incidentally, had been heavily involved in employee-led protests against the company’s behavior. The “Thanksgiving Four” as they’ve become known vowed to fight their firings via an unfair labor practices charge with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), and received the support of the Communications Workers of America union shortly thereafter.

According to CNBC, the NLRB investigation has begun. A verdict is expected to be rendered within approximately three months.

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Google reached a settlement with the NLRB just this past September, barring the company from threatening or retaliating against its own workers and allowing employees to freely speak to media about their workplace conditions. The company has come under fire for years for firing, pushing out, or disciplining activists within its ranks, has sought to limit worker access to organizing tools (like email), and was recently revealed to have not only attempted to cancel a union-led meeting at its Zurich campus but to also have hired on union-busting firm IRI as a consultant.

Reached for comment, Google couldn’t be bothered to write a new statement and sent the same one they sent Gizmodo and other outlets last week:

We dismissed four individuals who were engaged in intentional and often repeated violations of our longstanding data security policies, including systematically accessing and disseminating other employees’ materials and work. No one has been dismissed for raising concerns or debating the company’s activities.

If you have information about organizing within Google you’d like to share, send us a tip. We’re available on email, Twitter, Keybase, or SecureDrop.

Senior reporter. Tech + labor /// bgmwrites@gmail.com Keybase: keybase.io/bryangm Securedrop: http://gmg7jl25ony5g7ws.onion/

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DISCUSSION

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These poor workers. It’s well known that the Google offices contain some of the most inhumane working conditions on the planet. Free gourmet food and beverages, video games, nap pods, tabletop games, open concept state of the art architecture, floating schedules, the ability to yell at your boss in open forums ingrained in the company culture, $197,000 median salaries. On top of all that tyranny, Google was demanding these poor victims do a little more of their actual job and not spend all of their time stirring up shit in the company.

Good luck to these heroes.