Sunday saw almost 174,000 new cases of coronavirus. Hospital beds fill across the country, and most of California is returning to lock down (with a bizarre exception for retail establishments). As Rund reported on Friday, November saw the slowest rate of jobs growth since unemployment rates begun improving mid-summer. And the existing repertoire of pandemic aid programs are due to expire within the month: both Pandemic Unemployment Assistance and Pandemic Emergency Unemployment Compensation expire in most states on December 26th, and all Paycheck Protection Program disbursements will conclude by December 31. The Century Foundation reports that these expiries will push 12 million people off employment benefits. Finally, the Federal eviction moratorium will expire on December 31. The congressional stand-off for a coronavirus relief package persists, although the deadlock shows signs of waning as more GOP senators express support. The $908 billion 4-month package features a renewal of unemployment benefits, budget relief for state and local governments, and support for small businesses. It also protects businesses from liability in covid-related lawsuits.
The National Labor Relations Board issued a complaint Wednesday charging the company with violating federal labor law for its 2019 termination of Laurence Berland, Kathryn Spiers, and others. The complaint alleges that the company unlawfully monitored and questioned several workers who were then fired for protesting against company policies, thereby “interfering with, restraining, and coercing employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed in Section 7” of the National Labor Relations Act. The company, the complaint alleges, uses “terminations and intimidation in order to quell workplace activism.”
Both of the workers featured in the complaint were terminated after attempting to organize opposition to the technology giant’s retention of IRI Consultants, “a firm notorious for its anti-union agenda.” Laurence Berland alleges that he was fired in retaliation for his attempt alerting his coworkers of Google’s relationship with the consulting firm. Kathryn Spiers claims that she was fired because she created a pop-up message informing company employees who visited IRI’s website of their “right to participate in protected concerted activities.” Google defends both of the terminations on the basis of the fact that both of the employees had “violated company policy.”