In the previous month, approximately 80 subcontractors from Google Help, who are employees of Accenture and had recently voted to unionize under the banner of the Alphabet Workers Union-Communications Workers of America (AWU-CWA), discovered they would be let go. The union has since lodged a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against both Alphabet and Accenture, citing retaliatory dismissals which infringe upon labor laws, as stated in a press release by AWU-CWA.
“Following our declaration of unionization, which received extensive backing, both Google and Accenture management declined to recognize us,” declared Anjail Muhammad, a general writer at Accenture and Google. “Shortly thereafter, they proclaimed their counteraction, which involved laying off numerous employees. These positions are not disappearing, however, we are simply being asked to train our overseas replacements.”
Alphabet essentially disassociated itself from the issue when the layoffs were initially declared, stating that “Google has no influence over [the contractor’s] terms of employment or work conditions,” and described the situation as “a concern between them and their employer, Accenture.” This stance was reiterated in a statement to Fortune, where Alphabet added that the layoffs were solely for the purpose of cost savings and efficiency, and it “meticulously selects its partners and staffing agencies, constantly checking their adherence to its Supplier Code of Conduct.”
In their original union proposal, workers identified Google and Accenture as joint employers “owing to the significant role both companies have in determining work conditions,” as expressed in the original unionization declaration. “We asserted our right to unionize as members of the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA with the aim of bringing both Google and Accenture, a Google subcontractor, to the negotiation table to deliberate on several crucial demands, including protection against layoffs,” stated senior writer and union member Julia Nagatsu Granstrom in July.
The team, whose work primarily involves content creation, will be downsized from 130 individuals to roughly 40. They were reportedly ordered to train replacements from India and the Philippines. Contractors have formed the majority of Google’s workforce since 2018.
In April, contractors for YouTube Music unanimously decided to unionize, following a significant legal triumph with the NLRB that compelled Google to negotiate their union contract. Nevertheless, Alphabet implied that it would still refuse to negotiate with the workers, stating it doesn’t view them as employees — an indication that this issue is likely to end up in federal court.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about labor law violations
What are the allegations made by Google Help subcontractors against Alphabet and Accenture?
The Google Help subcontractors, who are employed by Accenture, allege that Alphabet and Accenture have violated labor laws. They claim that the companies are engaging in retaliatory layoffs after the workers decided to unionize.
Who are the Alphabet Workers Union-Communications Workers of America (AWU-CWA)?
The Alphabet Workers Union-Communications Workers of America (AWU-CWA) is a union organization under which the subcontractors of Google Help employed by Accenture decided to unionize.
How did Alphabet respond to the allegations of labor law violations?
Alphabet responded by distancing itself from the issue. They stated that Google does not control the employment terms or working conditions of these contractors, as the matter is between them and their employer, Accenture.
What did the workers want when they decided to unionize?
The workers wanted both Google and Accenture, identified as their joint employers, to come to the bargaining table to negotiate on several key demands, including protections against layoffs.
What is the status of the workers’ unionization?
The team, mostly involved in content creation, will be reduced from 130 people to about 40. They were reportedly instructed to train replacements from India and the Philippines. As of April, contractors formed the majority of Google’s workforce. Following a landmark legal victory, YouTube Music contractors decided to unionize, but Alphabet indicated that it wouldn’t negotiate with the workers, signaling that the issue could end up in federal court.