After a year of secret organizing, more than 200 Google workers launched their unusual minority union on Monday, citing their collective disillusionment with the company’s claims that it does good for the world and its workers. More than 225 Googlers signed union cards with the CWA, formally creating the Alphabet Workers Union and marking the official birth of one of just a few unions in the tech industry.
Is it any surprise that employees at Google felt the need to unionize?
The newly elected union leaders have written an opinion piece for The New York Times that is concise and clear in their objectives:
Everyone at Alphabet — from bus drivers to programmers, from salespeople to janitors — plays a critical part in developing our technology. But right now, a few wealthy executives define what the company produces and how its workers are treated. This isn’t the company we want to work for. We care deeply about what we build and what it’s used for. We are responsible for the technology we bring into the world. And we recognize that its implications reach far beyond the walls of Alphabet.
Nice to see someone — about 226 people as of today — at Google wants to be accountable and responsible for the work they’re doing.
Also from the NYT, just over a year ago:
Google has hired an anti-union consulting firm to advise management as it deals with widespread worker unrest, including accusations that it has retaliated against organizers of a global walkout and cracked down on dissent inside the company. […]
There does not appear to be any serious effort underway at Google to create a formally certified union, but employers sometimes bring in firms like IRI to pre-empt unionization amid widespread discontent among workers.
And yet they couldn’t stop it.