The Verge: "Google union pushes company to drop deadnames from ID badges"

The public petition is online and accepting signatures

In response to an anti-transgender policy at one of Google's South Carolina data centers that forces people to use their deadname* on their ID badge, the Alphabet Workers Union has launched a public "Drop the Deadnames" petition targeting Google's Chief Diversity Officer Melonie Parker, and managers Gerald Kaczor and Ron Scherba at Google contractor MNK. The petition pushes these decisionmakers to allow all Alphabet workers to use their chosen name on their employee ID badges. At the time that the Verge article was published on June 1, the petition had 165 signatures, but the count is now at nearly 1000. Although the petition is aimed primarily at Alphabet workers, it also includes an "Other supporter" category in its dropdown for "which best describes you?", implying that the petition authors can also accept signatures from anyone.

Strategically, we can note three positive things about the petition:

1. The petition names specific targets. Campaign design best practices recommend that the targets of a campaign should be specific, named decision makers who have the power to give you what you want. Naming them puts a face on the powerholder, intensifies the pressure on them since they're no longer anonymous, avoids the ambiguity of just calling on "Google" to do something, and gives the media somebody to pester for a statement: "So, Chief Diversity Officer Melonie Parker, are you going to fix the broken policy, or not?"

2. The petition is public. Public petitions are much less frustrating, and can gather more traction, than yet another news article about how "Google employees are circulating an internal petition that you can't read or sign, but this reporter saw a copy, trust me!"

3. Anyone can sign in support. This might actually be one of the first petitions launched by Alphabet workers that allows non-workers to express their support. Since the petition also asks for the signer's email address, the public approach also allows the union to grow a list of external supporters, who can later be asked to offer support for other union efforts.

I'll include some extracts from the Verge article, and from the petition itself, below.

- Bruce

* "Deadnaming", from PFLAG's glossary: "Occurs when an individual, intentionally or not, refers to the name that a transgender or gender-expansive individual used at a different time in their life. Avoid this practice, as it can cause trauma, stress, embarrassment, and even danger. Some may prefer the terms birth name, given name, or old name."


Google union pushes company to drop deadnames from ID badges

The move comes after a transgender man asked to have his deadname removed from his badge and was denied

By Zoe Schiffer, June 1, 2021 

The Alphabet Workers Union launched a campaign Tuesday to push Google to allow employees to use their chosen names on ID badges. The move comes after Phares Lee, a transgender man who works at a Google data center in South Carolina and is employed by security subcontracting firm G4S, asked to have his deadname removed from his badge and was denied.

Lee came out as transgender during his initial interview with G4S. “I was assured [Google] was inclusive, yet when I asked about a badge in my preferred name I was told that my badge had to reflect my legal name,” ...

Now, the Alphabet Workers Union is circulating a petition asking Google and G4S to adopt a chosen name policy for TVCs and full-time staff...


The petition site:

This Pride Month, We Call on Google and G4S to Drop the Deadnames and Create a Sense of Belonging for All Workers!

Melonie Parker, Chief Diversity Officer, Google 
Gerald Kaczor, Google, On site Google Security Manager, MNK 
Ron Scherba, Google, Site Operations Manager, MNK

We believe Google and G4S must build a better workplace. That means creating a workforce that is more representative of our users, and a workplace that creates a sense of belonging for everyone...

Google and G4S must make the following immediate corrective actions:

- Issue a valid ID badge to “Phares Lee” instead of only accepting the one with his dead name on it.

- Cease reverting his preferred name to his dead name after Phares attempts to update it within Google’s online systems (Teams/MOMA). 

- Communicate to all temporary, vendor, and contract workers (TVCs) that they are free and able to meet with ERGs during office hours and events during their working time—the same as Google full-time employees (FTEs). 

- Communicate to all TVCs that they are also permitted to communicate and participate with ERGs during non-working time—the same as Google FTEs. 

- Create a “Chosen Name Policy” that covers all FTEs and TVCs alike; ensures publicly displayed names reflect a chosen name where it differs from their legal name; allows pronoun stickers to be displayed on name badges, and protects the right to privacy of dead names. 


Phares Lee (pronounced like “Ferris” wheel) is a security worker employed by G4S, the security firm subcontracted by Google at their data center in Moncks Corner, South Carolina, where he’s worked since 2018. He is a trans man and a member of the Alphabet Workers Union...

He has requested repeatedly to remove his deadname from his name badge, only to be denied. He repeatedly changed his deadname to his chosen name on Google’s Teams/MOMA, only to have it revert to his deadname. Finally, he was told he’s not even allowed to talk to corporate-created Employee Resource Groups which were set up to support underrepresented communities...

A corporation like Google that publicly claims to value inclusion, can and must do better by its TVCs  Please sign the petition in solidarity with Phares and for all workers.


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