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Google contractors in Pittsburgh say the majority is a trade union

A group of Google contractors in Pittsburgh is moving to a union, according to a statement released on August 29.

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Approximately 90 employees work for a Google technical contractor in the area called HCL, according to the statement, and 66 percent have signed unique cards, indicating that the plan is supported. The employees want to form a union with United Steelworkers, an organization that represents around 850,000 employees. The Pittsburgh Association of Tech Professionals, a trade union project, has filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board for a vote on the effort.

The way Google treats its contract staff has been controversial over the past year. The company relies on a huge group of contractors, temporary employees, and sales people who are believed to exceed the number of full-time employees at the company. But those employees have not always received the same benefits as full-time employees.

The situation led to protests at Google and in April the company agreed to require those employees to receive more benefits. Pittsburgh employees would not be the first contract workers to unite unions, including others Silicon Valley guards, have won contracts in the past – but the organization of technical contractors is rarer in the industry and, if successful, could lead to other efforts.

In the statement issued yesterday, the union said the "90 employees working side by side with those of the giant company for much less compensation and little or no benefits."

Google did not respond immediately to a request for comment.