A large number of customer service representatives for Google Fiber, operating from a store in Kansas City, Missouri, have signed the Union Card in hopes of negotiating their first contract with their boss. They are organized under the auspices of the Alphabet Workers Union, an age-old division of American Communication Workers that seeks to represent all levels of employees and contractors at Google’s parent company.
Since Union Drive began in October, 11 employees – 10 of whom have signed the card – have been jointly hired by Google and a stuffing agency called BDS Connected Solutions. It’s not out of the ordinary, since the staff has been arranged with the alphabet: a 2019 story New York Times Available in temps and contractors Most The tech giant’s workforce, while a Record Report The same year indicates that these second-class workers earn significantly less than Google’s own full-time employees. According to two BDS staff members who spoke to Engadget, customer representatives are feeling away from the main conversation about stuffing and security protocols, and communication with management has deteriorated.
“We just started by asking, ‘Hey, how do you feel about this idea? Do you think you have enough to say in the situation you’re working in?’ We’ve basically got a consensus, ‘No, I don’t think we do,’ “Emris told Adair Engadget. “It’s not always like that,” said Mike Knox, who has been Google Fiber’s representative for several years. Kansas City was too The first market Google Fiber was launched almost a decade ago.
What makes this push somewhat unusual for the formation of a bargaining unit, however, is the decision to apply directly to the National Labor Relations Board. Typically, when an employer voluntarily refuses to recognize a union, this is a longer, more difficult option. But, according to Adair, neither Alphabet nor BDS have tried to cancel Union Drive, nor have they expressed a desire to recognize it. “No recognition, no pushback. No response yet,” they said. Google and BDS did not respond to a request for comment from Engadget.
Like many workplaces in recent years, these service representatives have cycled through shutdowns, reduced hours, and occasionally needed to work isolated and remote when a colleague tested positive for COVID-19. Although they weren’t interested in giving too much precise information about what they wanted to secure in the first contract, one of the benefits they wanted to get was the risk pay. “As far as actual Covid warnings go, they’ve worked pretty well,” Adair said. “Our main concern is that we are still working in private stores in the epidemic, which is a risk no matter what you do.”
It may be months or years before the NLRB decides on the right of these workers to form a bargaining unit. In the meantime, Knox hopes it can outperform others in Google Fiber. “We really hope it inspires that,” he said. “We hope this is a flashpoint where other people can see it and decide to give more input.”
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