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Google can't hide documents showing 'Antiunion campaign', NLRB judge rules

Google can't hide documents showing 'Antiunion campaign', NLRB judge rules

A judge appointed by the National Labor Relations Board has ruled that Google must return nearly 180 documents related to an internal campaign by employees to fight union organizing efforts. According to a document called Project Vivian, a Google attorney described ongoing efforts between 2018 and 2020 to "engage employees more positively and convince them that unions are worthless".

The documents are part of a case by the NLRB brought against Google in December 2020, alleging that the internet giant violated US labor law and spied on protesting and unionizing workers and fired them. were trying to make. Lawrence Berland, a former Google employee who was fired in 2019, was organizing against hiring IRI consultants at the company, which is known for its union-busting efforts. He said he was fired for viewing the calendars of other employees, which was breaking Google's policy that the NLRB found illegal. And Catherine Spears, a former Google employee, said she was fired after creating a pop-up for Google employees visiting the IRI Consultants website. The company claimed that Spears had violated security policies, but the NLRB found that her firing was also illegal.

Google attempted to claim attorney-client privilege to protect some of the documents presented in the case. But Administrative Law Judge Paul Bogas said Google's "broad claim, to put it charitably, is an exaggeration," according to a January 7 order The Verge received following a Freedom of Information Act request. Bogas wrote in his decision that IRI had provided Google with an "antiunion messaging and message amplification strategy" that was consistent with Google's workforce, but that IRI did not provide Google with legal advice that was protected by attorney-client privilege. . have to go

He said Google has CC'd its legal advisor on documents that would not otherwise be considered a privilege, which appears to be an attempt to keep the documents private. He added that Google "cannot turn the fact of a nascent organized effort among employees into a 'litigation' - like a straw cut into gold - that gives it the right to hide every aspect of its adversarial campaign in privilege."

Google spokeswoman Jennifer Rodstrom said in an email to The Verge that it considers the underlying issue to be unrelated to unionization efforts, but rather that it "violates explicit security protocols for improperly accessing confidential information and systems." " It's about the employees." He added that IRI was one of "dozens of external consultants" with which Google works.

If Google loses the case, it could be forced to refund Burland and Spears' salaries and re-hire them.

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