A group of more than 200 Google and Alphabet employees announced their efforts to form a union. With the help of the Digital Workers Movement (CODE-CWA) organized by the American Union Communication Workers, the Alphabet Workers Union seeks to open up to employees and contractors.
So far, of the approximately 227 workers who have signed to support the union, they have pledged to allocate 1% of their annual salary to pay union dues. Most of the contracted workers are mainly in offices in the San Francisco Bay Area and Cambridge.
Dylan Baker, a software engineer at Google, said in a statement: “This is historically significant. This is the first union established by a large technology company and the first for all technical workers.”
“We will elect representatives. We will make decisions in a democratic way, we will pay dues, and we will hire skilled organizers to ensure that all Google employees know if they can work with us if they really want to see their company reflect them the value of.”
At the beginning of last year, after technology companies Kickstarter and Glitch established a union, they began to unionize Google and Alphabet. In addition, the HCL Technologies workers who signed with Google in Pittsburgh last year and the Bay Area technology company cafeteria workers formed a union.
“You have an industry made up of a workers-a new generation of workers, and this industry, especially the technology and gaming industries, is growing exponentially with young people,” CODE-CWA union organizer Wes McKenney previously told TechCrunch why we will see more technology company organizations. “Some of them make a lot of money and work in companies that do really bad things. I think their social position is enough.”
In the past few years, Google has been the center of many labor issues. Between the Google strike, reported retaliation against the strike organizer, and Dr. Timnit Gebru’s recent departure, it is not surprising that the people of the company decided to make their organization more formal.
In the press release, the workers also pointed out that more than half of the people working for Alphabet are contract workers and therefore lack many benefits. In addition, workers are also facing the issue of paying huge salaries to executives accused of harassment, as well as issues with certain company government contracts, such as contracts surrounding military drone targeting.
At the same time, just last month, the National Labour Relations Board filed a complaint against Google, alleging that the company violated certain provisions of the National Labor Relations Act by monitoring its employees and was exercising.
The complaint stated that the NLRB also accused Google of discouraging “its employees from forming, joining, assisting in unions or engaging in other protected concerted actions.”
These are just some of the reasons why workers want unions and obtain the legal right to collective bargaining under workplace conditions. Nevertheless, there is still a lot to do before the Alphabet Workers Union is fully realized.
Up to now, these 227 or so employees still need to hire other Google and Alphabet employees to attract the vast majority of people to support the union. As of September 30, 2020, Alphabet has 132,121 employees. Then, the next step is to seek approval from the Alphabet.
The last part can be difficult. Example: Kickstarter. When workers asked Kickstarter for voluntary recognition in 2019, the company leadership refused to do so despite the majority of the workers’ support.
Instead, the Kickstarter leadership forced workers to hold formal elections in the National Labor Relations Committee.
In the end, all this was solved for Kickstarter workers, but it took about ten months from the public listing to the recognized Kickstarter alliance. Once official, the Alphabet Workers Union will become part of CWA Local 1400.
Nicki Anselmo, Google’s program manager, said in a statement: “This alliance is built on the brave organization of Google employees for many years.” “From the opposition to the “real-name” policy to the opposition to the Maven project to executives protesting sexual harassment, it’s amazing. With millions of dollars in payments, we witnessed Alphabet’s first response when we responded. Collective action. Our new union provides a sustainable structure that can even after the headlines disappear Make sure to respect our shared values as employees of Alphabet.”