Google Pushed to Limit Protections for Activist Workers: Bloomberg
Google—which has publicly supported employees who have spoken out against the company in recent years—privately urged the National Labor Relations Board to limit employees’ ability to organize online, according to documents cited in a Thursday report from Bloomberg News. The right to use company e-mails to organize has been protected for years by a 2014 decision by the NLRB—but in communications with the board defending itself from allegations of wrongdoing, the tech titan reportedly wrote that the decision “should be overturned.” If the NLRB were to follow the advice of Google’s lawyers, one employee activist told Bloomberg, “It would have a huge chilling effect.”
The activist noted that thousands of employees used their Google email to help plan and execute the worldwide November walkout over the company’s alleged mishandling of sexual-misconduct claims. “They can have a town hall and try to say soothing words and get people to not want to quit,” the employee said, “but then if in the background they’re not just rejecting carrying out most of the demands of the walkout, but also trying to tamp down our ability to even coordinate and talk to each other about these issues, that’s extremely concerning.” A spokesperson for the company claimed that Google was not actively trying to lobby the NLRB to make the change but simply proposing it as a possible defense to the board’s allegations.