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Googlers’ letter to staffing suppliers seeks end to forced arbitration

May 31, 2019

Staffing suppliers to Google were addressed in a post on Medium yesterday by a group identifying itself as Google employees and calling for the firms to end what it says is “forced arbitration” for temporary workers. The group is called Googlers for Ending Forced Arbitration.

“Today we’re starting with the ABCs of [temps, vendors and contractors] by directly appealing to Adecco, Bon Appetit Management Company and CDI Corporation,” according to the post. “These three companies supply thousands of workers to Silicon Valley and rake in billions of dollars in revenue, yet force their employees into arbitration.”

However, CDI, with the sale of its talent and technology business last year, does not serve Google at this time.

In its letter, the group notes Google stopped forcing arbitration for its own workers back in March. However, it says staffing firms still require it, and that forced arbitration is unfair to workers.

“The claimed benefits of arbitration being simpler, faster and cheaper for your workers are not supported by the facts,” according to the letter. “But even if you believe arbitration is a better process for workers, why force them into it? We are not asking Adecco to eliminate arbitration altogether, but rather to make arbitration optional for workers after a dispute arises.”

It says while workers are offered an opt-out of arbitration during a limited window of time, that singles out employees and leaves the vulnerable to potential retaliation.

“Google has taken a first step towards greater transparency, equity and accountability for its non-unionized workers by ending forced arbitration,” according to the letter. “We ask Adecco to do the same and lead suppliers across the nation in making arbitration optional post-dispute.”

The post also said the group contacted 25 US presidential candidates to ask them for their thoughts.

Google made news this week when a report by The New York Times said the company had more temporary workers than full-time employees. Another report out this week said the company was looking into allegations of unpaid overtime for temps.

However, Google in April announced it was mandating a $15 minimum wage for temporary workers and that they receive full benefits.

Last May, the US Supreme Court ruled employers can require individual arbitration agreements.

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