A group of Google employees has announced plans to integrate with Communications Workers of America (CWA). Alphabet Workers Union is open to all employees and contractors of Google’s parent company. Its goal is to address persistent issues such as wage inequality, retaliation, and controversial government contracts.
Why Google Workers Announce Plans to Form a Union?
“This union is based on a long-term, courageous organization of Google employees,” said Nikki Anselmo, Director of Google. “From fighting the ‘real name’ policy to opposing Project Maven and protesting the massive millions of dollars in payments made to CEOs who have been sexually harassed, Alphabet will respond to us.
Google’s effort at Project Maven, an effort to improve targeted drone attacks using artificial intelligence, sparked protests among employees who deemed the effort unethical. In 2018, the company decided not to renew its contract with the Ministry of Defense. The company also forced former CEO Andy Robin, after a strike of 20,000 workers, to protest that he received $ 90 million in retirement benefits after he was accused of sexual harassment. The arbitration policy has been terminated.
Now that the union’s efforts are publicized. The organizers may launch a series of campaigns to collect votes from Google employees. Before the announcement, around 230 Google employees and contractors signed the card to help the union.
The new organization is organized as a membership union and does not seek collective bargaining rights to negotiate new contracts with the company. Instead, the Alphabet Workers’ Union represents only employees who participate voluntarily. This structure could also represent all employees seeking to participate, including temps, vendors, and contractors (internally called TVCs) excluded from traditional group negotiations under labor law.
Google contractors have long complained about unequal treatment compared to full-time employees. They make up the majority of Google’s employees, but often don’t get the benefits of paid employees. In 2019, nearly 80 Google contractors voted to join the United Steel Workers’ Union in Pittsburgh.
Alphabet Workers’ Union will join the CWA Local 1400 Union. Which represents workers in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, and California.
From Where this News comes out?
The news comes a month after the National Labor Relations Council filed a complaint alleging that Google had illegally dismissed two workers who were organizing employee protests. Two employees, Lawrence Burland and Kathryn Spires were organized in opposition to the company’s decision to work with an IRI consultant renowned for its anti-union activities.
It also happens after renowned AI ethics expert Symnet Gibro was fired in December. In a press release announcing the union, Alphabet Workers Union wrote:
Earlier this year, NBC reported that employees voted for the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter and joined a union with the Bureau and the International Federation of Professional Employees No. 153. It was the first time a white-collar worker in the tech industry had joined the union.
If the union’s efforts at Google are successful. Members say they stick to 1 percent of their annual income to the union. The money is used to pay legal fees and organize staff.