Fired Google workers plan labor complaint

Four workers fired from Google last week are planning to file a federal labor complaint against the company, claiming that it unfairly retaliated against them for organizing workers around social causes.

The former employees said Tuesday that they are preparing to file unfair-labor-practice charges with the National Labor Relations Board this week. All four were fired Nov. 25 for what Google said were violations of its data security policy.

Company officials wrote in a memo — without confirming the employees’ names — that the four were “searching for, accessing, and distributing business information outside the scope of their jobs.”

But the four workers say they believe they did not violate company policies and claim that Google is using the alleged violations as an excuse to terminate them for labor activity.

— Associated Press


Tariffs hitting solar industry, report says

The U.S. solar industry is losing out on the creation of about 62,000 jobs and $19 billion in investment thanks to Trump administration tariffs on imported panels imposed nearly two years ago, according to a report published Tuesday.

The industry’s top trade group, the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA), released the study two days before federal trade officials are due to hold a hearing to review the tariffs’ impact on solar panels.

If that regime is left unchanged, the solar industry will create 62,000 fewer jobs than it otherwise would have between 2017 and 2021, the SEIA said in the study.

The $19 billion in lost investment equates to 10.5 gigawatts in missed solar energy installations, enough to power about 1.8 million homes, according to the SEIA.

— Reuters


Store employees see rise in injury, illness

Employees at shopping malls and other outlets in 2018 were more likely to get sick or injured than in the prior year, making retail the only U.S. industry with a meaningful uptick.

The increase means retail-store workers are now worse off than those in the manufacturing sector. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 3.5 of every 100 retail workers suffered from illness or injury last year, up from 3.3 in 2017 and compared with 3.4 in manufacturing.

The uptick in nonfatal injuries, such as sprains, tears and general soreness, could mean higher costs for companies if employees require time off or are successful in an injury claim.

Some of the riskiest stores to work in include those selling home furnishings, used merchandise and building materials, as well as tire dealers and supercenters. The most precarious are pet supply stores, where about 7 in 100 employees experience nonfatal injuries, according to the data.

— Bloomberg News

Also in Business

Cleveland-Cliffs will buy AK Steel in a stock deal valued at about $1.1 billion. The companies say the tie-up will create a vertically integrated company that pairs Cleveland-Cliff’s iron ore pellet production with AK Steel’s rolled and stainless steel operations. Cleveland-Cliffs is the largest producer of iron ore pellets in North America.

Nokia Oyj Chairman Risto Siilasmaa will step down after eight years in the role, the second high-profile figure to leave the network equipment-maker since an October profit warning. He will be replaced in April by Sari Baldauf, a former head of its networks division, the company said in a statement. Siilasmaa founded computer security company F-Secure and joined Nokia’s board in 2008. Nokia shares have lost more than a third of their value this year.

— From news reports

Coming today

8:15 a.m.: Payroll processor ADP reports how many jobs private employers added in November.

10 a.m.: Institute for Supply Management releases its service sector index for November.