Google employees have announced plans to unite with Telecom Workers of America (CWA). Alphabet workers union will be open to all employees and contractors of Google’s parent company. Its aim will be to address persistent issues such as wage disparities, retaliation and controversial government contracts.
“This union is based on years of brave organization by Google employees,” said Nikki Anselmo, Director of Google. “From fighting the ‘real names’ policy, to opposing Project Maven, to protesting the massive millions of dollars in payments made to CEOs who have committed sexual harassment, we’ve seen first-hand that Alphabet responds when they act collectively.”
Google’s work on Project Maven, an attempt to use artificial intelligence to improve targeted drone strikes, sparked protests among employees who deemed the work unethical. In 2018, The company decided not to renew its contract with the Pentagon. The company too It ended its policy of forced arbitration After 20,000 workers went on strike to protest that former CEO Andy Robin got a $ 90 million exit package after he was credibly accused of sexual harassment.
Now that the union’s efforts are public, the organizers will likely launch a series of campaigns to garner votes from Google employees. Before the announcement, about 230 Google employees and contractors signed cards to support the union.
Google’s contractors have long complained about the unequal treatment compared to full-time employees. While they make up the majority of Google’s workforceThey often lack benefits for salaried employees. In 2019, Almost 80 Google contractors are based in Pittsburgh They voted to join the United Steel Workers’ Union.
The Alphabet Workers’ Union plans to join the CWA Local 1400 union, which represents workers in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and California.
This news comes a month after the National Council for Labor Relations filed a complaint, allegedly Google has unlawfully fired two workers who were organizing employee protests. The two employees, Laurence Berland and Kathryn Spiers, were organizing against the company’s decision to work with IRI Consultants, A company famous for its anti-union efforts.
It also comes after Tymnet Gibro, a prominent AI ethics expert, was fired in December. In a press release announcing the union, the Alphabet Workers Union wrote: “The dismissal has outraged thousands of us, including black and brown workers whose hearts were saddened by the company’s actions and unsure of their future at Google.”
Earlier this year, The staff of the crowdfunding platform Kickstarter voted to unite with the Bureau and the International Federation of Professional Staff 153, As reported by NBC. It was the first time that white-collar workers in the tech industry had joined unions.
If the union’s effort at Google is successful, members say they will stick to one percent of their annual wages to the union. The money will go to pay the legal fees and organize the staff.