Google contractors who recently joined the union say their jobs are slowly being moved to Poland,media The Verge reported. On Thursday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint listing allegations against HCL America, a engineering and IT contractor working with Google in Pittsburgh.
Complaints obtained by Motherboard argue that the jobs were outsourced in retaliation for the union’s legitimate activities. In particular, the NLRB said, these actions occurred “because employees form, join, and assist unions and engage in concerted activities and prevent employees from engaging in these activities.”
None of the affected workers are legitimate Google employees, but they specialize in engineering and IT tasks for HKL. The contractors voted in 2019 to form a union, organized under the United Steelworkers union. According to the complaint, the company did not negotiate with the newly established unit and transferred the work previously undertaken by the team to workers in Krakow, Poland.
Google did not respond to a request for comment.
Contractors have been an important aspect of Google’s employee motivation, including a public memo issued by full-time employees in March calling for better treatment of contractors.
Temporary workers, suppliers and contractors outnumber Google’s full-time employees and often face lower wages and fewer job security. In May, Google abruptly cancelled more than 2,000 entry contracts, citing cost-cutting measures fueled by the global pandemic. Since these workers have not yet entered into contracts, these measures are not legally considered layoffs and workers are therefore not eligible for unemployment insurance.