A few hundred Googlers have come together to form a rare union in the tech industry. It's called the Alphabet Workers Union and the union said, "Our company's motto used to be 'Don't be angry'. An organized workforce will help us live up to that."
The union’s goals, according to the website, are:
- Ensure that working conditions are inclusive and fair,
- Perpetrators of harassment, abuse, discrimination and retaliation will be held accountable
- Protect the freedom to refuse to work on projects that do not meet the values of the union.
- Regardless of their employment status, all employees can receive the same benefits.
According to the website, the union currently has 200 members, but the New York Times says the number goes up to over 400. In relation to the current workforce, this is around 0.15% of the workforce.
What does the Alphabet Workers Union want? They wrote, "We are not organized by a list of requirements or specific issues. We are an organization working to build a structure for creating worker power. This work is about creating a system for creating change, a power structure that enables us and empowers. " Support the demands of ERGs and previous organizing efforts, and continue to drive new changes to make Alphabet a better place for workers. Some of the special things we've helped organize in the past include post Thanksgiving 4 support through CWA, the Googlers Against Racism corp forum, legal support for laid-off workers, organization alongside TVCs after offices close in the Pandemic and resource provision for Dr. Timnit Gebru and her team. "
It's honestly interesting to see and I wonder if this union can get enough support and membership from the Google workforce to make a difference.
Things at Google seem to have changed over the years. It's not the early 2000s anymore when Google was a smaller, more principled company. I'll be honest, I always felt like Google spoiled its employees in the early days. The staff had done everything for them from laundry to transportation to ridiculous things for their offices. I always felt like the Google employees were incredibly spoiled. However, Google wanted employees to focus on the job, not something outside of the job. I don't know now. Not all staff are happy and there has been a lot of tension over the past few years.
However, I look forward to watching this union and seeing what the union can change within the organization.
Will this affect changes in search? It's hard to know.
Here is her first tweet:
We are alphabet workers. We have been organizing for over a year and are finally ready to share why.
This morning we're announcing #AWU, the first union open to * all * workers at an alphabet company.
Every worker deserves a union – including technicians.https: //t.co/m2Qmjwz32V
– Alphabet Workers Union (@AlphabetWorkers) January 4, 2021
As said on this WebmasterWorld thread, "it will be interesting to see if the change starts from within or from above." That is, within through the union or through regulation by the DOJ and the government.
Forum discussion on Twitter.