Google and its parent company have announced the formation of hundreds of staff unions

Google and its parent company have announced the formation of hundreds of staff unions—Alphabet Workforce Union, a rare development for the internet sector, which is the greatest and most organizational threat to the senior management of the corporation so far.

At a news conference, Google software engineer Dylan Baker said, “This is historic.” “This is the first trade union established in a large technology company and composed of scientific and technical personnel.” He proposed that they would elect delegates and pay A number of acts such as membership dues, hiring an organizer, etc., let all Google employees know, “If you really want to see the company reflect its values, then they should join in.”

It is reported that the organization was initiated by more than 200 employees. At present, 226 members of the organization have signed a union card with the Communications Workers Association of America (CWA), one of the largest unions in the United States.

Call for an inclusive and fair working environment

On the Alphabet Workers Union webpage, employees wrote: “We must use our strength to ensure that: our work environment is inclusive and fair; the perpetrators of harassment, abuse, discrimination and retaliation will be held accountable; we have the right to refuse to engage in Projects where our values ​​do not match; all workers, regardless of employment conditions, can enjoy the same benefits.”

Union executive chairman Parul Koul and vice chairman Chewy Shaw posted an article in the media that 226 people have signed a union card with CWA. “This is the first step in negotiations to win the recognition of American law.”

In the article, they claimed that Alphabet punishes internal critics on important topics of public concern, such as antitrust lawsuits against the company. They also said that Google executives consolidate power at the expense of minorities such as blacks and disabled workers.

Shaw and Koul wrote: “Our union will work hard to ensure that employees know what they are doing and can complete their work with a fair salary without fear of abuse, retaliation or discrimination… I hope Alphabet will become such a company : Employees can have a meaningful voice in decisions that affect us and society.”

The statement also said that the union will be open to all Alphabet employees, and about half of Google’s employees are temporary or contract workers . Compared with full-time employees, although they are doing the same thing, they get lower wages, fewer benefits, and insufficient job stability. They are also more likely to be people of color. This segregated employment system makes half of the company’s employees become “second-class employees.” “Our alliance will try to eliminate this serious inequality.”

They also emphasized that Alphabet, as a technology giant, is responsible for a large number of Internet businesses, used by billions of people all over the world, and has the responsibility to prioritize public interests.

Not officially approved to negotiate with Google or restricted

This union represents Silicon Valley, as well as Google employees in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Seattle and other cities, and will provide protection and resources for employees who join the union. Union members will contribute 1% of their total compensation to the union. It is reported that the union has been secretly organized for most of the past year, and the leadership was elected last month. The organization is affiliated to the Communications Industry Workers Association of America (CWA).

In an election organized by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), when most employees vote for the establishment of a union, the union can obtain federal certification. When a worker chooses a union as the collective bargaining representative, the employer must recognize the representativeness of the union and conduct collective bargaining with it.

In response to the establishment of Google’s union, CWA Public Relations Director Beth Allen said that Google employees have chosen other (established) methods. “At least for now, this method is not expected to be officially recognized.”

But this does not rule out the possibility of the union seeking formal recognition in the future, but until then, union members will not be able to get the support of a collective bargaining agreement with Google. Beth Allen believes that the union may need to adopt other strategies to promote Google’s changes, such as promoting media coverage, pressure Congress to require new legislation and oversight, or lodge a complaint with the NLRB.

It is reported that only a few small trade union organizations have succeeded in the field of science and technology in the past. Employees of crowdfunding website Kickstarter and app development platform Glitch formed a union last year. A small number of contract workers in Google’s Pittsburgh office became unions in 2019. Thousands of employees at an Amazon warehouse in Alabama will also vote on union formation in the coming months.

Veena Dubal, a professor of law at the University of California Hastings School of Law, said that the Google Union was a “powerful experiment” because it brought unions into a large technology company and bypassed obstacles. Obstacles to this organization.

She said: “If this union continues to grow, it will not only have a huge impact on employees, it will also affect the broader topic of social science and technology.”

Google promises to maintain direct contact with employees

Over the years, Google employees and company executives have been conflicting about the company’s business and operational decisions, including issues such as cooperation with the defense department and generous resignation compensation for executives who were dismissed for suspected sexual harassment. The previous handling of sexual harassment led to large-scale employee protests in 2018. In 2019, hundreds of employees launched a petition calling on Google not to serve the US immigration authorities. The demands made by the union now touch on many of these issues.

Some employees said that for a long time, the workplace concerns faced by thousands of employees of Google and other Alphabet subsidiaries have been ignored by executives.

Any members of the union found out that workers ought to be able to talk openly without thinking about workplace retribution. A former Google senior artificial intelligence researcher was earlier fired for questioning the diversity challenges of Google, which sparked strong protests against Google.

Google’s latest response is a pledge to notify staff. “We have always been committed to creating a working environment for our employees to provide them with support and rewards.” Kara Silverstein, Google’s director of personnel operations, said, “Employees certainly have the protected labor rights we support, and we will continue to maintain direct contact with them. s contact.”