Google Contractor Fired for Being “UnGoogley”—Workers Fight to End Retaliation For Discussing Wages


December 01, 2021 at 1:30pm ET_

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CWA Local 1400’s Alphabet Workers Union filed Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) charges on Wednesday alleging that Google Modis Engineering retaliated against TVC worker Tuesday Carne for protected concerted activity.

Today, Communications Workers of America Local 1400’s Alphabet Workers Union (AWU-CWA), on behalf of Tuesday Carne, filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against Modis Engineering, a subcontractor that provides data center services for Google. Carne is one of countless Alphabet workers unfairly classified as temps, vendors, or contractors (TVCs). Modis Engineering has been the site of ongoing TVC worker organizing due to the unfair wages and strenuous working conditions facing workers.

Carne was fired two weeks ago after she asked about holiday pay for herself and other workers at a biweekly meeting between employees and management. In the termination letter, Carne was informed by her manager that her conduct was “ungoogley,”— a vaguely defined term used within Google, often used as a catch-all for having a ‘bad attitude’. This is not the first time a woman engaged in protected concerted activity has been actively disciplined or fired by Modis or Google for being “ungoogley”.

“I drove 700 miles for this job, relocating my entire life, and consistently performed above average in my first few days at Modis. I was committed to my work, and then was retaliated against for simply asking about holiday pay. I found Shannon Wait’s story online and was inspired to also fight back against retaliation as a Google contractor. Alphabet and Google can do better to ensure that all workers, including their contractors, are not retaliated against for discussing their pay. In a corporation worth over a trillion dollars it is not ‘ungoogley’ for workers like me to discuss our pay.” said Tuesday Carne.

Carne’s firing and efforts to hold Modis and Google accountable by filing an Unfair Labor Practice charge, follows a year-long history of worker organizing at Modis. In February, Shannon Wait was suspended after raising concerns on behalf of herself and other workers regarding the working conditions at the Modis data center, which included a prohibition on speaking about salaries and refusal to replace damaged water bottles for workers, even as workers are expected to perform hard manual labor. With the help of CWA Local 1400 AWU-CWA, Wait also filed a ULP against Modis and Google and successfully won her job back. In October, Modis workers were informed that they would no longer be receiving the $200 weekly attendance bonus that they had previously received for continuing to work in the midst of the COVID pandemic. Workers organized and won back their missing payments in November.

Workers at Alphabet have noticed an alarming trend as the workforce has shifted from majority direct employees to majority TVC staff. This has led to growing disparity in pay, benefits, and access for thousands of workers who are central to Alphabet’s functioning. Alphabet Workers Union-CWA is committed to standing in solidarity with all workers at Alphabet to ensure that our workplaces are equitable and transparent.

“We, the workers of the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA, stand in full support of Tuesday Carne and all Alphabet workers who simply want fair pay for fair work,” said Alphabet Workers Union member Rachael Sawyer. “As a TVC worker and AWU member, I am organizing to put an end to Alphabet’s segregated, two-tiered employment system. We will continue to support Tuesday, the other workers at Modis and all Alphabet workers against unjust working conditions and fear mongering from management.”

The ULP charge alleges that Modis management illegally retaliated against Carne for discussing wages.

“Tuesday Carne’s experience shows that even within a company that has faced accountability regarding their worker retaliation, management is often encouraged to continue to silence workers seeking to exercise their legal right to discuss pay in the workplace,” said Don Trementozzi, the president of CWA Local 1400. “It is clear that Google must do more to make sure the rights of TVC’s are no longer trampled on and we are proud to stand with Tuesday and all other Alphabet TVC’s.”

We are Alphabet Workers who stand united.

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