Nearly two years ago, contractors for Google’s Pittsburgh operations voted to join the United Steelworkers union to promote greater representation of workers’ rights. It was an early example of a build-up union movement for technicians from across the spectrum. But while other highly competitive struggles have been fought between blue-collar workers and white-collar workers alike, negotiations have continued on both sides. This week these finally revealed something more concrete.
Contract workers felt they were treating themselves as similar to others in the tech industry. At the time, it seemed like Google was hoping to stay out of the battle with HCL Technologies, the consulting firm that kept the workforce busy.
“We work with a lot of partners, many of whom are unionized and many of whom are not,” Google said after the first union vote. “As with all of our partners, it is between you and your employer whether or not HCL employees will unionize. We will continue to work with HCL. “
According to the USW, the 65 Pittsburgh-based workers have ratified the contract with HCL. It’s a three-year contract that covers working conditions, job security and wages, according to a union statement.
“After nearly two years of hard work, patience and solidarity from our members at HCL, we are proud of what we have achieved with this agreement,” USW President Tom Conway said in a press release on the news. “Our fight with HCL shows more than ever that all workers deserve the protection and benefits of a union contract.”
In a statement to The Verge last week, as the deal is nearing completion, HCL said, “During this process, HCL had meaningful and fair discussions in good faith with USW. We stand firm in our commitment to respect our employees’ right to unionize if they so choose. “
However, Renata Nelson, a member of the negotiating committee, noted in a USW press release some clear tensions in this process. “After ignoring our concerns, HCL tried to prevent us from unionizing. “Now, with a strong union and a contract, we are confident that our voices will be heard.”
We asked Google for a comment.