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Google contractor accused of offshoring jobs in retaliation for union campaign

Google contractors who recently unionized say their jobs are being slowly shipped to Poland. On Thursday, the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) filed a complaint laying out the allegations against HCL America, an engineering and IT contractor that works with Google in Pittsburgh.



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Obtained by Motherboard, the complaint argues the jobs are being outsourced in retaliation for legitimate union activity. In particular, the NLRB says the conduct took place “because employees formed, joined and assisted the Union and engaged in concerted activities, and to discourage employees from engaging in these activities.”

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None of the affected workers are legal employees of Google, but they specialize in engineering and IT tasks for HCL. The contractors voted to unionize in 2019, organizing under the United Steelworkers union. According to the complaint, the company has failed to bargain with the newly formed unit and has transferred work previously undertaken by the team to offshore workers in Kraków, Poland.

Google did not respond to a request for comment.

Contract workers have been a significant aspect of employee activism at Google, including a public memo sent in March by full-time employees in March demanding better treatment for the contract workforce.

Temporary, vendor, and contract employees outnumber full-time Google employees, and typically face lower wages and less job security. In May, Google abruptly rescinded more than 2000 incoming contracts, citing cost-cutting measures spurred by the global pandemic. Because the workers were not yet under contract, the measures were not legally considered to be layoffs and the workers were ineligible for unemployment insurance as a result.

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27 Unlicensed Contractors Accused Of Fraud: Hillsborough Sheriff

SUN CITY CENTER, FL — Twenty-seven unlicensed contractors were arrested in Sun City Center by the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office during a 10-day sting, authorities said. The suspects include a high-risk sexual offender among those arrested in a crackdown on home remodel scams.

Each suspect faces charges of unlawful acts while in the capacity of a contractor.

Deputies said the undercover operation was conducted from Sept. 21 through Oct. 2 in an area where many elderly residents often fall victim to cons and scams, including construction fraud.

A high-risk sexual offender and unlicensed contractor, Keith Hall, 49, was among the 27 men arrested, investigators said.

Hall was currently on GPS-monitored felony probation after being convicted of lewd and lascivious molestation on a victim 12 to 15 years of age, lewd and lascivious molestation on a victim less than 16 years of age and promoting sexual performance of a child when he offered to remodel a walk-in shower for $1,600, authorities said.

According to law enforcement officials, the unlicensed contractors offered to replace or remodel bathrooms, doors, windows and said they could pour sidewalks around the property.

Quotes the suspects gave the undercover deputies who posed as homeowners ranged anywhere from $320 to $13,000, said police.

“When you hire a contractor, you expect professionalism and complete accountability,” said Sheriff Chad Chronister. “By hiring someone who does not have the proper credentials, you don’t know who you’re allowing into your home or the damage they could potentially cause to your property. During the ongoing pandemic, many people are in the house more often and looking for ways to fix up their homes. We urge homeowners to do their research before committing to an expensive service that requires professional training and experience.”

Anyone who believes they are a victim of contractor fraud is

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Muncie man accused of confining DCS contractor

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Michael Hoover (Photo: Photo provided)

MUNCIE, Ind. — A Muncie man is accused of refusing to allow a contractor for the Indiana Department of Child Services to leave his home.

Michael G. Hoover, 34, was arrested Saturday, preliminarily charged with criminal confinement, battery and interference with the Department of Child Services.

A woman “who works with a company through (DCS)” told Delaware County sheriff’s deputies when she went to Hoover’s home — in the 3700 block of North Harvest Drive — on Friday, he was engaged in activity that violated an agreement with DCS.

Court documents did not specify what that behavior was.

After she told Hoover she would have to report the incident to her supervisor, she said, he grabbed a back pack she was wearing and pulled her back into his residence. She said he then blocked her access to steps on a porch for three to four minutes.

He then followed her to her car and for a time stood next to the vehicle.

The woman told deputies Hoover “didn’t want her to leave in fear that (he) would lose his children.”

He was later released from the Delaware County jail after posting a $10,000 bond.

Hoover was arrested in June after he was accused of battering a 13-year-old boy at his ex-wife’s Randolph County home.

His trial in that case — on counts of domestic battery and battery on a child — is set for Oct. 26 in Randolph Circuit Court.

In other crime news:

Hospital disturbance: A Muncie man was arrested after he allegedly caused a disturbance in the emergency department at IU Health Ball Memorial Hospital, in the process threatening to harm a hospital police officer.

Bobby A. Chapman, 43, of the 900 block of East Dunn Avenue,

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Defense contractor who gave to Susan Collins accused of defrauding her business loan program

A Hawaii defense contractor who has donated to U.S. Sen. Susan Collins and whose business operates in Maine faces federal charges alleging he defrauded the Paycheck Protection Program, the small business loan program championed by the senator.

Martin Kao, the CEO of Martin Defense Group, formerly known as Navatek LLC, allegedly inflated the number of his employees his business had and how much they made to get a $10 million loan, then deposited $2 million into his personal bank account, according to a criminal complaint filed in U.S. District Court in Hawaii on Tuesday.

He then allegedly applied for a second loan. Kao, 47, is set to make an initial appearance in federal court in Honolulu on Thursday, according to U.S. Attorney Kenji M. Price’s office. He is facing two charges of bank fraud and five charges of money laundering.

The defense contracting company, headquartered in Honolulu, Hawaii, said it grew to employ 40 engineers and scientists in Portland and Bangor offices this summer. It has offices in six other states and primarily designs ship hulls for the U.S. Navy. Kao appeared with Collins at a company event in Portland last year after his company won an $8 million Navy contract.

Kao allegedly flaunted ties to U.S. senators in conversations with officials at a Hawaii-based bank in loan conversations, noting in an April 2 email his company operates in multiple states and saying he “work[s] very closely” with senators from those states who “championed” the March coronavirus relief bill that included the loan program, according to the criminal complaint. 

It does not name the lawmakers with whom he allegedly talked. Collins spokesperson Annie Clark said Thursday morning the Republican senator had not spoken with Kao since August 2019 and no one in her office had contact with him or his

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Hawaii defense contractor accused of $12.8M in fraud coronavirus PPP loans

A Hawaii defense contractor has been charged with bank fraud and money laundering for stealing more than $12.8 million in Paycheck Protection Program money meant to assist businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic, federal authorities alleged Wednesday.

Martin Kao, CEO of Martin Defense Group LLC, formerly known as Navatek LLC, transferred more than $2 million into his own personal accounts, a criminal complaint said.

Kao also submitted at least two fraudulent loan applications, authorities said.

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“According to the charges, Kao falsely inflated the number of employees on the loan application and falsely certified that the applicant and its affiliates would not receive, and had not received, another PPP loan,” the U.S. attorney’s office in Hawaii said in a statement.

Congress authorized the Paycheck Protection Program, known as PPP, in March to provide emergency financial assistance to those suffering economic effects of the pandemic through forgivable loans to small businesses for job retention and other expenses.

Investigators talked to an executive and a former employee who said the company wasn’t affected by the pandemic, according to the criminal complaint.

The executive learned details about Kao’s loan application in July when he read a news article about Navatek being one of the largest PPP recipients in Hawaii. The company hired employees and opened branch offices during the pandemic, the executive told investigators.

Authorities describe Navatek as a “research, engineering, design, and innovations company that specializes in novel systems for the Department of Defense and other partners in academia and other scientific fields.”

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Kao’s first court appearance is scheduled for Thursday.

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