Google Urged the US To Limit Protection for Activist Workers (bloomberg.com)

Google, whose employees have captured international attention in recent months through high-profile protests of workplace policies, has been quietly urging the U.S. government to narrow legal protection for workers organizing online. From a report: During the Obama administration, the National Labor Relations Board broadened employees’ rights to use their workplace email system to organize around issues on the job. In a 2014 case, Purple Communications, the agency restricted companies from punishing employees for using their workplace email systems for activities like circulating petitions or fomenting walkouts, as well as trying to form a union. In filings in May 2017 and November 2018, obtained via Freedom of Information Act request, Alphabet’s Google urged the National Labor Relations Board to undo that precedent.

Citing dissents authored by Republican appointees, Google’s attorneys wrote that the 2014 standard “should be overruled” and a George W. Bush-era precedent — allowing companies to ban organizing on their employee email systems — should be reinstated. In an emailed statement, a Google spokeswoman said, “We’re not lobbying for changes to any rules.” Rather, she said, Google’s claim that the Obama-era protections should be overturned was “a legal defense that we included as one of many possible defenses” against meritless claims at the NLRB.

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