Google data centre worker suspension reversed after union ruling
09 April 2021 | Antony Savvas
Google and its data centre contracting companies have been ordered by a US labour tribunal to allow workers to organise, after a worker was suspended for discussing wages with her colleagues.
Google contractor Modis E&T – part of the Adecco Group – were taken to Region 10 of the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) after Shannon Wait was suspended from her job at Google's Moncks Corner data centre in South Carolina.
Wait was fully reinstated, and the Board has confirmed to Modis that staff have the right to join a union and that neither Google nor Modis should interfere in workers organising and discussing wages, hours and working conditions.
The settlement was reached after Communications Workers of America (CWA) Local 1400’s Alphabet Workers Union filed an unfair labour practice charge against Google parent company Alphabet, Modis and Adecco on behalf of Wait – a data centre technician and union member.
This is the first NLRB settlement involving the Alphabet Workers Union, which was only established about three months ago.
Wait said of the outcome: “It’s a huge win for me and all contract employees at Google and other Alphabet companies. 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.
“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.”
Google and Modis have not commented on the dispute. The Alphabet Workers Union represents full-time staff, temporary employees and contractors in the US and Canada.
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