On Friday, googlers staged a workplace rally demanding the reinstatement of two suspended co-workers who'd been involved in workplace organizing against collaboration with ICE and tolerance for homophobia; on Monday, four of the organizers of the rally were fired.
Google management circulated a memo to all employees that accused the fired employees of "clear and repeated violations" of the company's data-handling practices.
Googler organizers say that this is a pretense and that the data-handling violations were routine within the company and nothing more than looking at documents outside of your immediate job-scope — something the company only made a firing offense after googlers discovered that the company was secretly planning to launch a censored Chinese search-engine.
The organizers say the firings were retaliatory, and targeted their dismissed colleagues because they were involved in union organizing.
The New York Times reported last Wednesday that amid the rising tensions, Google has for several months been working with IRI Consultants, a firm that specializes in union-busting efforts. The company also started using a tool in October that flags meetings with more than 100 participants; critics accused Google of launching the tool as a way to prevent unionization efforts.
Mo< Google reached a settlement with the US National Labor Relations Board in September in the wake of Stapleton's and Whittaker's departures. The agreement requires the company to set and post clearer policies for employees, including explicitly allowing employees to form, assist, or join a union or "act together with other employees" for their collective benefit. The posted policy also explicitly reminds workers that they have the right to discuss "wages, hours, and working conditions with other employees, the press/media, and other third parties."
Google fires four employees at center of worker organization efforts [Kate Cox/Ars Technica]