Google Staff Plan to Form Union; What Are the Employees' Complaints?

The employees of Google have announced their plans to unionize with the Workers of America (CWA). The Alphabet Workers Union has welcomed all the employees as well contractors that are associated with Google's parent company. The goal would be to handle severe issues at the workplace such as pay inequality, retaliation and controversial government contracts.

"This union builds upon years of courageous organizing by Google workers. From fighting the 'real names' policy, to opposing Project Maven, to protesting the egregious, multi-million dollar payouts that have been given to executives who've committed sexual harassment, we've seen first-hand that Alphabet responds when we act collectively," stated a Google program manager Nicki Anselmo.

Now that the union plans are on the table, it seems likely that the organizers will launch a bunch of campaigns in order to get votes from the workers of the tech conglomerate. Already more or less 230 employees and contractors of Google have signed their support to the union.

The Alphabet Workers Union is looking to unionize with CWA Local 1400, which represents workers in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont and California.

The Employees' Grouse

Google employees and contractors have complained about a whole lot of issues related to the workplace since a long time. Some of them as follows:

  • Earlier, Google had started on something called Project Maven, which was designed to improve targeted drone strikes. Several employees protested against it, as they saw the project as unethical.
  • In another instance, the tech giant decided to discontinue its contract with the Pentagon In 2018.
  • Google had to end its forced arbitration policy following a raging walkout protest of its 20,000 workers against the company's former executive Andy Rubin receiving a whopping $90 million exit package, even after he was credibly accused of sexual harassment.
  • Just about last month, Google faced a complaint from the National Labor Relations Board. They alleged that the tech giant violated parts of the National Labor Relations Act. Allegedly Google surveilled the company staff, and also restrained and coerced the employees in the exercise of their rights guaranteed by Section 7 of the National Labor Relations Act.
  • The contractors of the company had also complained about the company's different treatment towards them than the full-time employees. Although the contractors are the majority workforce of the company, most of the times, they don't get the similar benefits as the full-time staff. In 2019, around 80 contractors of Google had voted to join the United Steelworkers union in Pittsburgh.

Before Alphabet, Kickstarter workers had also voted to unionize. They plan to unionize with the Office and Professional Employees International Union Local 153. This was the first instance where white-collar tech employees in the industry had unionized.

The members have also said that if Google's union effort is successful, they will donate one percent of their annual compensation to the union fund.