Google contract workers accuse Alphabet and Accenture of violating labor laws | Engadget

    Last month, around 80 Google Help subcontractors employed by Accenture — who recently voted to unionize with the Alphabet Workers Union-Communications Workers of America (AWU-CWA) — found out that they will be laid off. Now, the union has filed a complaint against Alphabet and Accenture with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) alleging retaliatory layoffs in violation of labor laws, the AWU-CWA wrote in a press release. 

    “When my coworkers and I announced our union with overwhelming support, Google and Accenture management refused to acknowledge us,” said general writer at Accenture and Google, Anjail Muhammad, in a statement. “A few short weeks later they announced their response — that they would be laying off dozens of employees. These jobs aren’t going away though, we’re just being asked to train our replacements abroad.” 

    Alphabet effectively washed its hands of the issue when the layoffs were first announced, saying that “Google does not control [the contractor’s] employment terms or working conditions” and that the situation was “a matter between them and their employer, Accenture.” It reiterated that position to Fortune, adding that the layoffs were for savings and efficiency and no other reason, and that it “chooses its partners and staffing agencies carefully and reviews their compliance with its Supplier Code of Conduct.”

    In their original union application, workers listed Google and Accenture as joint employers “due to the direct role both companies play in shaping working conditions,” they said in the original unionization announcement. “We had exercised our right to organize as members of the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA in order to bring both Google and Accenture, a Google subcontractor, to the bargaining table to negotiate on several key demands, including layoff protections,” said senior writer and union member Julia Nagatsu Granstrom back in July. 

    The team, which largely works in content creation, will be reduced from 130 people to around 40. They were reportedly instructed to train replacements working from India and the Philippines. Since 2018, the majority of Google employees have been contractors.

    In April, YouTube Music contractors voted unanimously to unionize, after winning a landmark legal victory with the NLRB forcing Google to the bargaining table to ratify their union contract. However, Alphabet indicated that it would still not negotiate with workers, saying it doesn’t consider them as employees — meaning the issue is likely to wind up in a federal court. 

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