More than 200 workers from Google’s parent Alphabet have taken steps to form a union, a rare development plan for an American technology giant. They said the organization will give employees greater powers to express concerns about the company’s discriminatory work practices and how it handles online hate speech.
This move follows employee strikes and other actions in recent years. Google said it will “continue to have direct contact with all our employees.”
Kara Silverstein, head of personnel operations, said in a statement: “We have been working hard to create a supportive and rewarding workplace for our workforce.”
“Of course, our employees protect the labor rights we support. But, as we always do, we will continue to have direct contact with all employees.”
Google fired a high-profile black artificial intelligence and ethics researcher that caused an uproar.
The National Labor Relations Commission also recently ruled that the company illegally fired its employees for trying to form a union.
Employees also mobilized the company’s “Project Maven” work with the Ministry of Defense and the company’s handling of sexual harassment complaints.
Program manager Nicki Anselmo said in a statement: “This alliance is built on the brave organization of Google employees for many years.”
“From opposing the “real-name” policy to opposing the Maven project to protesting the astonishing, multimillion-dollar payments by executives who protested sexual harassment, we have witnessed Alphabet’s first response when we responded. Collective action.
“Our new union provides a sustainable structure that will ensure respect for our shared values as Alphabet employees even after the headlines disappear.”
This group is organized by software engineers but is open to all company personnel in the United States and Canada, including temporary workers and contractors.
It is affiliated with the larger labor organization, American Communications Workers, but it did not seek formal approval from the federal government, thus limiting its bargaining power.
It represents a small portion of Alphabet’s employees, as of September, this employee includes more than 130,000 people, with roughly the same number of contractors, suppliers, and temporary employees. The members who join will pay about 1% for this.
The organizer wrote on Twitter: “We want Alphabet to become a company that allows employees to have a meaningful voice in decisions that affect us and the society in which we live.”