A union aiming to represent both contingent and full-time workers at Google announced a settlement last week in a National Labor Relations Board claim against Google and Modis, its staffing provider.
The Alphabet Workers Union said the settlement requires Google and Modis, a division of The Adecco Group, to post notices informing workers at the Moncks Corner data center in South Carolina that they have the right to join a union. In addition, neither Google nor Modis will interfere in the organization of workers, according to the union.
It also said the suspension of Elisabeth (Shannon) Wait has been rescinded and removed from her personnel file. A contingent worker at the South Carolina site, Wait had been suspended after she complained about a ban on discussing salaries and refusal by the company to replace water bottles.
“This is a huge win for Shannon, a huge win for [temporary, vendor and contractor staff], and a huge win for our union,” said Parul Koul, the executive chair of the Alphabet Workers Union. “Within weeks of announcing our union, we were able to help a member who came to us after being suspended get her job back. Now, in our third month, we’ve forced Google and its subcontractor to remind all workers at this center that they cannot trample on [the workers’] rights.”
The settlement was reached after the Communications Workers of America Local 1400’s Alphabet Workers Union filed an unfair labor practice charge against Alphabet (Google’s parent company) and Modis.
In its complaint, the union said the companies prohibited employees, including Wait, from discussing pay with co-workers, suspended Wait for supporting the union and told her that she was not allowed to join the union because of her status as an employee of a Google contractor. This is the first NLRB settlement involving the Alphabet Workers Union.
“I’m ecstatic at this settlement, it’s a huge win for me and all contract employees at Google and other Alphabet companies,” said Wait, a data center technician and Alphabet Workers Union member. “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.”