Nearly two years ago, Google’s Pittsburgh operations contractors voted to join the United Steelworkers union in a bid to gain greater representation of labor rights. It was one of the earliest examples of a building union movement for tech workers across the spectrum. But as other fierce battles were fought among blue-collar and white-collar workers, the two sides continued negotiations. This week, those finally resulted in something more concrete.
Contract workers resisted what they believed to be similar treatment to others in the tech industry. At the time, it seemed like Google was hoping to stay out of the fray with HCL Technologies, the consulting firm that employed the workers.
“We are working with many partners, many of whom are union members, and many of whom are not,” Google said after the unions’ initial vote. “As with all of our partners, whether HCL employees unionize or not, it is between them and their employer. We will continue to work in partnership with HCL.
According to the USW, the 65 workers in Pittsburgh have ratified the contract with HCL. It is a three-year agreement that covers working conditions, job security and wages, according to a union memo.
“After nearly two years of hard work, patience and solidarity from our HCL members, we are proud of what we have accomplished in this agreement,” Steelworkers President Tom Conway said in a related statement. to the news. “More than ever, our struggle with HCL shows that all workers deserve the protections and benefits of a union contract. “
Last week, with the deal nearing completion, HCL said in a statement provided to The Verge, “Throughout this process, HCL has actively engaged in good faith in meaningful and fair discussions with the United Steelworkers. We have been steadfast in our commitment to respect the right of our employees to organize if they choose to do so.
In a statement issued by the Steelworkers, however, Renata Nelson, a member of the bargaining committee, notes an obvious tension in the process. “After ignoring our concerns, HCL tried to prevent us from forming a union, and when that failed, the company dragged the bargaining process while sending our jobs overseas in retaliation,” Parks said in the press release. “Now, with a strong union and a contract in place, we are confident that our voices will be heard. “
We have contacted Google for comment.