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About 80 Contracted Google Employees To Join United Steelworkers Union

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - About 80 contracted Google employees voted to join the United Steelworkers union.

The workers voted in favor of unionization at the East Liberty Carnegie Library on Tuesday.

The vote came in with 49 in favor and 24 against. Of the 80 employees, 73 took part in today's vote.

The workers are employed by Google contractor, HCL Technologies in the Bakery Square office.

"To my knowledge, there is not another all tech-local in the United States," USW organizer Damon DiCicco said.

"If you ask me, I would say in 10 years we're going to see a lot more efforts like this."

Ben Gwin has worked for HCL for about a year and a half, and he started the efforts to unionize earlier this year. He claims the contractors do similar work to their Google colleagues, but they get paid less and don't have as many benefits like sick time.

"Pay aside, it would be great to take the day off when I'm sick or when my daughter is sick," he said while looking for support in East Liberty.

"A lot of my fellow co-workers make $10,000 more than me for doing the exact same task," fellow coworker Francesca Baisden said about their pay disparity.

Gwin said HCL tried union-busting tactics to prevent the workers from organizing.

"There's been a lot of manipulation, but I don't think a lot of it was super effective," he said.

HCL Technologies issued a statement and said:

"We respect the decision of a unit of Pittsburgh based employees who have voted in favor of being represented by United Steelworkers. We remain dedicated to continuing to provide an inclusive and open office culture for our team members."

Google issued this:

"We work with lots of partners, many of which have unionized workforces, and many of which don't. As with all our partners, whether HCL's employees unionize or not is between them and their employer."

"We're excited to get to the bargaining table and get a contract that works for everybody," Gwin said after the vote.

There were about one-third of the employees who voted no. Steve Grygo has worked there for 3 years. He said the process was rushed and it could impact their contract with Google.

"If the unionization effort impacts our competitiveness, and the cost of operations for our business, that may impact how we are able to negotiate for those things," he said to KDKA.

Grygo said most of the no voters agree there are problems that need to be addressed but a union may not be the best answer.

"There are certain details about how a union works with a contracting work space that I'm not totally comfortable with."

HCL now has two weeks to appeal. They can form a bargaining committee.

Stay with for the latest on this developing story. 

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