Google Employees Announce To Form Union
The union is available to all workers and contractors of Alphabet
A group of Google employees has revealed plans to syndicate with American communications workers (CWA). The Alphabet Staff Union will be available to all Google parent company employees and contractors. It will resolve ongoing problems such as wage disparities, retaliation, and contentious government contracts.
“This union builds on Google employees’ years of courageous organization,” said Nicki Anselmo, Google Program Manager. “From the struggle against ‘real names,’ against Project Maven, and the gruesome multi-million-dollar payouts given to managers of sexual harassment, we saw from scratch that Alphabet responds when we act together.”
Google’s work for Project Maven, an attempt to use AI to boost targeted drone strikes, has protested workers who found the work to be ethical. In 2018, the organization agreed not to extend its Pentagon contract. The organization has also terminated its mandatory arbitration policy after 20,000 employees have protested former executive Andy Rubin, who was credibly accused of sexual assault and was given a $90 million exit package.
Now that the union effort is public, organizers are likely to begin a series of efforts to get Google employees to vote. Around 230 Google employees and contractors signed cards in support of the union before the announcement.
The new group, formed as a union of members, would not pursue collective bargaining rights to negotiate a new deal with the corporation. The Alphabet Workers Union would now only serve employees who volunteer, as the New York Times reported. This arrangement also allows for the inclusion of all workers — including time, sellers, and contractors (known internally as TVCs), who are exempt from traditional collective bargaining by employment law.
Google founders have long complained about their unfair treatment of full-time staff. While they represent the majority of Google’s workers, they frequently neglect the benefits of employees. In 2019, nearly 80 Google contractors voted to join the United Steelworkers’ Union in Pittsburgh.
The Alphabet Employees Union is planning to join CWA Local 1400 in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and California.
The news comes one month after a lawsuit from the National Labor Relations Board alleging that Google had unfairly fired two workers who coordinated demonstrations by employees. The workers Laurence Berland and Kathryn Spiers organized against the decision of the organization to partner with IRI Consultants, a company renowned for its anti-union activities.
It also follows the dismissal in December of the leading AI ethical Timnit Gebru. The Alphabet Employees Union writes in a press release announcing the union: “Through thousands of us, including Black and Brown workers heart-breaked with the company’s actions and unsure of its future at Google.”
Earlier this year, workers of the Kickstarter crowdfunding site agreed to work together with the International Union Local 153 Office and Technical employees, as reported by NBC. That was the first time white-collar workers were unionized in the technology sector.
If Google’s syndicate efforts are successful, members say that they will give the union one percent of their annual pay. The money would be used for legal services and workers’ organizations.
In an e-mail statement to The Verge, Kara Silverstein, Google’s Director of Human Operations said: “We’ve really worked hard for our employees to build a welcoming and satisfying environment. Our workers are, of course, protected by our job rights. But as we have always done, we will continue to involve all our workers directly.”