Google Help subcontractors, hired via Accenture and who recently moved to unionize with AWU-CWA, have been hit with impending layoffs. This has spurred the union to file a complaint against both Alphabet and Accenture, alleging that the move is a retaliation violating labor laws, as highlighted in an AWU-CWA press release.
Anjail Muhammad, an employee at both Accenture and Google, expressed dissatisfaction with the management of both companies, which failed to recognize their union. She added, “Our positions aren’t being eliminated, but we’re expected to onboard our overseas replacements.”
Google, distancing itself from the situation, emphasized that it does not dictate the employment conditions or terms of these contractors, thereby placing the onus on Accenture. The tech giant informed Fortune that it selects partners and agencies prudently, ensuring their compliance with Google’s Supplier Code of Conduct.
Earlier in their union drive, these workers identified both Google and Accenture as collaborative employers, attributing both for influencing their working conditions. Julia Nagatsu Granstrom, a senior writer and union member, emphasized their goal of urging both companies to the negotiation table, mainly to discuss protections against layoffs.
The content creation team, originally comprising 130 members, is set to be trimmed to around 40. The departing employees have been directed to train their successors from India and the Philippines. Notably, since 2018, contractors have constituted the majority of Google’s workforce.
Responding to the situation, Google’s spokesperson, Courtenay Mencini, reiterated that these employment terms fall under Accenture’s jurisdiction. She further affirmed Google’s neutral stance on their decision to unionize.
Back in April, a unanimous decision to unionize was taken by YouTube Music contractors. This move followed their groundbreaking legal victory with the NLRB, pushing Google into discussions to validate their union contract. Yet, Alphabet resisted acknowledging them as employees, hinting at a potential courtroom showdown.
[Note: The article was updated to include Google’s official statement.]