Google Union success: transgender contractor Phares Lee wins his demand for basic respect

"Drop the Deadnames" campaign partial success after just two weeks

On June 10 we mentioned the recently-launched "Drop the Deadnames" campaign and petition to pressure Google, and Google contractor MNK, to issue a properly-named ID badge to transgender employee Phares Lee, and allow him to participate in Google's Employee Resource Groups. Phares had previously reached out to the Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) for support, and the resulting petition garnered over 1000 signatures, along with crucial public media coverage.

On June 14, Phares emailed an update to petition supporters, which AWU has republished in its Twitter feed, noting that "we have won much of what we asked for!" It's not clear at this point whether the company-wide demands of the petition, such as "Create a 'Chosen Name Policy' that covers all FTEs and TVCs alike" have been met, however the update letter makes a clear request for a postmortem and for corrections to systemic policy failures. I'll include some extracts below.

- Bruce

Drop the Deadnames - Campaign Update
(emailed June 14, 2021)

Dear Campaign Supporter,

As a transgender man, I had to live with my deadname on my name badge while working at Google for the past three years. I asked repeatedly for this to change through all the proper channels. It never changed, and my deadname remained on my badge... I was told by my managers I couldn’t even talk to other Google employees in Employee Resource Groups (ERGs), so I was led to believe this problem would not be resolved internally. I was told that a sense of belonging in ERGs at Google was a ‘privilege’ reserved for Full Time Employees, not for TVCs (temps, vendors, and contractors) like me.

So, I joined the Alphabet Workers Union as soon as I could. We took action together as a group. We started a petition campaign that quickly reached more than 1,000 supporters like you all over the world. We were featured in national news, and now I’m proud to say that we have won much of what we asked for!

I’m now being issued a new name badge with my chosen name on it, and have been told I can participate in ERGs just like a Full Time Employee can...

My individual issues are now being fixed...  But, our work together isn’t done. We need to ensure what happened to me never again happens to any other worker... We call on Lynne Williams, Director of Risk for Extended Workforce Solutions at Google to review what went wrong and fix the broken systems. We ask Lynne to consider including the global leadership of the Trans@ ERG for specialized support in that review...  

In Solidarity,
Phares Lee (He/Him)
Regional Security Operations Center Operator, MNK Data Center
G4S Allied Secure Solutions


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