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Federal Labor Board Accuses Google Contractor of Shipping Work Overseas to Bust Pittsburgh Union

The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint this week against HCL America that accuses the Google contractor of violating its employees’ labor rights through a bevy of union-busting tactics. The complaint alleges that the company, a subsidiary of the India-based contracting titan HCL Technologies, illegally pressured its Pittsburgh workforce not to unionize and retaliated against their efforts by partially shifting their jobs overseas.



a large green field in front of a building


© Screenshot: HCL Technologies | YouTube


Last fall, a group of roughly 80 Google contractors became among the first in the company’s history to unionize after voting to become affiliated with North America’s largest industrial union, United Steelworkers. Following the vote, the labor board alleges that HCL began siphoning off the team’s responsibilities, which included data analysis and machine learning training under a contract with Google, to its employees in Poland.

“Most egregiously, HCL has been eroding its Pittsburgh workforce by brazenly moving work done here to its facility in Krakow, Poland, to retaliate against workers for exercising their right to choose union representation,” Joshua Borden, who serves on the union’s negotiating committee, said in a press release. “Management would rather break the law than negotiate in good faith for a fair contract.”

HCL and Google did not immediately respond to Gizmodo’s request for comment. The complaint claims that HCL higher-ups violated federal labor laws by threatening to withhold wages and promotions if contractors at Google’s Bakery Square headquarters continued to push for unionization. Management also promised to come down on rule violations more strictly if a union was formed, according to the labor board.

The company allegedly began limiting job training opportunities and instituting periodic “quick check” quizzes for workers in retaliation, per the New York Times. In the year since the vote, employees say more than a dozen positions that belonged to the

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Labor Board Accuses Google Contractor of Violating Union Rights

A federal agency issued a complaint this week against a contractor hired by Google and accused it of violating its employees’ labor rights, marking the latest flash point in a long-running struggle between workers and technology companies.

In the complaint, the National Labor Relations Board asserts that HCL America, a subsidiary of an Indian contracting giant, illegally discouraged workers from belonging to a union, and of failing to bargain with the union in good faith.

HCL and Google did not immediately respond to requests for comment. The case does not accuse Google of wrongdoing.

A group of about 90 HCL employees in Pittsburgh who do work such as data analysis under a contract the company has with Google voted to unionize last fall. They affiliated with the United Steelworkers union.

According to the complaint, managers at the company interrogated workers about the organizing activities of their colleagues, told them that promotions and wages were being delayed because of the union campaign and threatened to enforce work rules more strictly if the union was created, in violation of federal labor law.

After the employees voted to unionize, the labor board asserts, the company began shifting some of the work that they performed to Poland. HCL also limited their ability to participate in training sessions and required employees to take periodic “quick check” quizzes, according to the complaint.

“Sending work out of the country during a pandemic was especially kind of an unconscionable action,” said Joshua Borden, an HCL worker active in the union. “They were trying to take jobs away from us in retaliation for organizing to have a fair workplace.”

HCL also unilaterally altered policies relating to breaks, vacation, family leave, and 401(k) contributions, according to the complaint, even though it is supposed to bargain over them with the union.

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Trump accuses Chris Wallace of siding with Joe Biden in first debate

President Trump in his first tweet following Tuesday’s first presidential debate accused moderator Chris Wallace of siding with his Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.

The wordless tweet simply features an image of Trump on the left opposed by Wallace and Biden together on the right, in the style of an old arcade game’s character-select screen — down to the abbreviation “VS” in the font of the “Street Fighter” series.

Throughout the chaotic first debate at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Fox News host Wallace repeatedly chastised both candidates — but particularly Trump — for interrupting him and each other.

President Donald Trump and Moderator Chris Wallace
President Trump and moderator Chris WallaceUPI/Backgrid

Each candidate was guilty many times over of cutting off his opponent mid-sentence, including during what were supposed to be the two uninterrupted minutes to which they were entitled at the start of a new segment.

“You’re debating him [Biden], not me,” Wallace cracked at one point to Trump, who saw it a different way.

“I guess I’m debating you, not him,” replied Trump. “But that’s OK, no surprise.”

The result was a stop-and-go contest that often descended into petty personal attacks at the expense of substantive points on policy.

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