On Monday, workers at Integral Care, a non-profit agency that raises awareness about mental health issues and provides high quality mental health care in Travis County, Texas, announced that they are forming a union, the United Workers of Integral Care, with CWA. A group of more than 20 employees including social workers, mental and behavioral health care professionals, and support staff gathered with supporters at Integral Care’s South Austin headquarters to deliver copies of their new union’s mission statement, signed by nearly 90 of their coworkers. The workers are organizing to form a union to address major challenges at the company, including understaffing and high turnover. They will continue to mobilize to win voluntary recognition from the company.
The Alphabet Workers Union (AWU), CWA Local 1400, has filed a new unfair labor practice complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against Modis, a Google subcontractor, on behalf of an employee who was terminated for speaking up about the company’s unfair holiday pay policy. The policy dictates that workers be employed for at least six months before being eligible to receive the bonuses for holiday shifts. In March, as the result of a separate labor complaint at the same location, Google and Modis were forced to reinstate a fired worker and agreed not to silence workers discussing pay.
Because current labor law does not impose substantial penalties on companies that violate workers’ rights, many companies repeatedly intimidate and fire workers who speak out. The Biden Administration’s Build Back Better Act, currently under consideration in the U.S. Senate, would protect workers by fining employers up to $50,000 for each labor law violation, with fines increasing to $100,000 for repeat offenders. Company executives could also be held personally liable for breaking the law.