Nearly two years ago, Google operations contractors in Pittsburgh voted to join the United Steelworkers Union in an effort to secure more worker rights representation. It was an beforetime example of a union-building movement for tech workers across the spectrum. But as other uphill battles erupted between blue-collar workers and white-collar workers alike, the two sides continued to conduct piecemeal negotiations. This week, those finally came up with something more realistic.
Contract workers have stuck to what they believe is similar treatment as others in the tech industry. At the time, Google seemed to be hoping to stay out of the oppose with HCL Technologies, the consulting firm that the workers work for.
“We work with a lot of partners, many of whom have union workforces, many of whom don’t,” Google said following the initial union vote. “As with all of our partners, whether HCL employees are affiliated or not is between them and their employer. We will persevere to partner with HCL.”
According to USW, 65 workers in Pittsburgh have ratified the contract with HCL. It’s a three-year deal covering working conditions, job security and wages, under a memorandum from the union.
“After nearly two years of firm work, tolerance and solidarity from our members at HCL, we are elated of what we have achieved in this agreement,” USW President Tom Conway said in a statement linked to the news. “Our struggle with HCL shows more than ever that all workers deserve the protection and benefits that a union contract provides.”
Last week, as the deal neared completion, HCL said in a statement provided to The Verge, “Throughout this process, HCL has actively engaged in meaningful and sincere discussions with the USW in pleasing faith. We have been steadfast in our commitment to respecting our employees’ right to pursue unions if they choose to do that “.
In a statement from the USW, negotiating committee member Renata Nelson noted some obvious tension in the process. “After ignoring our concerns, HCL attempted to forbid us from forming a union, and when it failed, the company delayed the negotiation process while sending our jobs overseas in retaliation,” Parks said in the statement. “Now, with a powerful union and contract in place, we are confident that our voices will be heard.”
We have reached out to Google for comment.