A couple hundred Googlers got together to start a rare union in the tech industry. It is called the Alphabet Workers Union and the union said “our company’s motto used to be “Don’t be evil.” An organized work force will help us live up to it.”
The goals of the union according to the web site are to:
- Ensure working conditions are inclusive and fair,
- Perpetrators of harassment, abuse, discrimination, and retaliation are held accountable,
- Protect the freedom to decline to work on projects that don’t align with the union’s values,
- All workers, regardless of employment status, can enjoy the same benefits.
According to the web site, the union has 200 members currently but the New York Times says that number is up to over 400. Based on the current workforce that is about 0.15% of the workforce.
What does the Alphabet Workers Union want? They wrote “we are not organized around a list of demands or specific issues. We are an organization working to build a structure to create worker power. This work is about forming a system to create change; a power structure that allows us to bolster and back up demands made by ERGs and previous organizing efforts, and continue to drive new changes to make Alphabet a better place for workers. Specific things we’ve helped organize in the past include post-Thanksgiving Four support via CWA, the Googlers Against Racism off-corp forum, legal support for fired workers, organizing alongside TVCs in the wake of the closing of offices in the pandemic, and offering resources to Dr. Timnit Gebru and her team.”
It is honestly interesting to see this and I do wonder if this union can gain enough support and members from the Google workforce to make a difference.
Things at Google has seemed to have changed over the years. It is not the early 2000s anymore where Google was a smaller and more principled company. I’ll be honest, I always felt Google pampered their employees in the early days. Employees had everything done for them, from their laundry, transportation, they were able to request ridiculous things for their offices, – I always felt the Google employees were spoiled beyond belief. But Google wanted their employees to focus on the job and not anything outside of the job. Now, I don’t know. Employees are not all happy and there has been a lot of tensions over the past several years.
Anyway – I am looking forward to watching this union and see what the union can change within the organization.
Will it impact changes in search? That is hard to know.
Here is their first tweet:
We’re Alphabet workers. We’ve been organizing for over a year, & we’re finally ready to share why.
This morning, we’re announcing #AWU, the first union open to *all* workers at any Alphabet company.
Every worker deserves a union—including tech workers.https://t.co/m2Qmjwz32V
— Alphabet Workers Union (@AlphabetWorkers) January 4, 2021
As said in this WebmasterWorld thread “it will be interesting to see if the change will start from within or from above.” Meaning, within via the union or through regulation from the DOJ and government.
Forum discussion at Twitter.