– 4th. January 2021, 5:15 p.m. UTC
More than 225 Google employees have officially started company-wide union membership after the organization within the company has been promoted increasingly in recent years.
All are 120, according to a joint statement from the union and Communications Workers of America. 000 people who work for Google’s parent company Alphabet, including temps, contract workers and part-time workers, are eligible for membership of the Alphabet Workers Union, of which it is a part.
« Our company’s motto used to be » Don’t be angry, « » the chairman and vice chairman of the new union wrote in a statement for the New York Times. « An organized workforce will help us to cope with that. «
They added, « For far too long, thousands of us at Google – and other subsidiaries of Alphabet, which is Google’s parent company – have dismissed our executive workplace concerns. . . We’ve both heard from colleagues – some new, others with more than a decade at the company – who have decided that working at Alphabet is no longer a decision to be made in good conscience. «
At the time the Alphabet Workers Union went public on Monday, 226 workers had signed union cards, management said.
« Of course, our employees have protected the labor rights we support, » said Kara Silverstein, head of human resources at Google, in a statement responding to the union movement. « But as always, we will continue to work directly with all of our employees. «
In both their statement and press release, union leaders cite several incidents over the past three years in which Alphabet employees came together to protest management decisions. For example, in 2018 more than 4. 000 Google employees objected to the company’s « Project Maven » drone contract with the Department of Defense, including at least 12 who have resigned. Google finally decided not to renew the contract.
Later in 2018 around 20. 000 Googlers went on strike to protest against the company’s (incorrect) handling of allegations of sexual misconduct. Several executives who left the company on charges of misconduct were forced to retire with tens or hundreds of millions of dollars in compensation packages, which eventually led to a shareholder lawsuit against Alphabet.
The final straw for many employees seems to have been Google’s recent firing of respected AI ethics researcher Timnit Gebru, who described the company’s decision to block publication of its research paper as part of a pervasive stance within Google to seek marginalized voices to silence. including women and people of color (Gebru itself is black).
Google has not received organized opposition from its workforce well in the past. In 2019, the company enlisted the services of the infamous anti-union company IRI Consultants. Later that year, it laid off several technicians who were prominent in-house organizers.
The National Labor Relations Board recently found that several of the layoffs in 2019 were unlawful retaliation against proprietary efforts of the workforce organization, alleging that Google had « interfered with, detained and coerced employees in protected organizational activities » in the past.
WIRED Media Group
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World News – US – Google employees start union membership for 120. 000 employees
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