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Google under fire: four employees charge unfair labor practices

Google under fire: four employees charge unfair labor practices
[Photo: Kai Wenzel/Unsplash]

The PR team at Alphabet, the parent company of Google, is going to be busy this week—the four employees that Google fired last week are filing a complaint of unfair labor practices with the National Labor Relations Board and receiving extensive national press coverage for their efforts.

In a post on Medium this morning, the four former employees say that Google illegally fired them for labor organizing. “Google’s crackdown on organizers came right before the holiday, less than a week after news broke that they’d hired a notorious union-busting firm [IRI Consultants]. It’s clear that their draconian, pernicious, and unlawful conduct isn’t about us. It’s about trying to stop all workplace organizing.” U.S. federal law forbids firing employees in retaliation for labor organizing.

A Google spokesperson says that the company “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.”

All four employees vehemently deny these claims, and their organizing efforts have been widely supported, including in tweets by Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren.

Google, whose former “don’t be evil” ethos once attracted top employees, now faces a damaging international PR mishap, as well as staffers freshly invigorated to organize. The four employees closed their Medium post with a call for action: “Everyone working across the tech industry: Now is the time to organize, to join with your colleagues, and hold the bosses accountable. We will fight, and we will win. Join us.”

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