Employees of Google and other entities in its parent company Alphabet announced the creation of a union on Monday, intensifying a period of activism targeting giants in Silicon Valley.
The Alphabet Workers Union, affiliated with the Communications Workers of America, aims to represent well-compensated technicians as well as temporary employees and contractors, according to a statement.
The new working group focuses not only on wages and benefits like most unions, but also a role in ethical decisions by the technology giant and protection against arbitrary dismissals of activism.
“We hope to create a democratic process for workers to exercise decision, making power” promote social, Economic and environmental justice and put an end to the unfair differences between TVCs (temporary, suppliers and contractors) and FTEs (full-time employees)”” the union’s website said,
At the end of December, the union had about 200 members.
Large technology companies offering generous compensation to software engineers and other skilled workers have largely avoided labor, but in recent years have been exposed to growing unrest over workplace problems.
At Amazon, which has tens of thousands of warehouse workers, organizing drives has focused on working conditions and safety during the pandemic.
One of the catalysts at Google was the recent firing of Timnit Gebru, a black artificial intelligence researcher and overt diversity activist.
The company also faced a backlash from employees over its involvement in a Pentagon project known as Project Maven, which Google eventually ended.
“This union is based on years of brave organization of Employees of Google,” said Nicki Anselmo, a Google presenter and union member.
From” as opposed to Project Maven to protests against the multimillion-dollar payouts given to leaders who have committed sexual harassment, we have seen firsthand that the Alphabet responds when we act collectively.
Asked about organizing efforts, Google’s Director of Human Rights” Kara Silverstein said in a statement: “We have always worked hard to create a supportive and rewarding workplace for our workforce.
‘Of course, Employees of Google have protected the labor rights that we support. But as we have always done”, we will continue to engage directly with all of our employees.””
The move comes with Google and other tech giants under increased control of antitrust enforcers in the United States and elsewhere for their growing dominance of key economic sectors.