Google workers launching union with Communications Workers of America
San Francisco, CA – On January 4 workers at Google and other Alphabet companies announced the creation of the Alphabet Workers Union with support from the Communications Workers of America (CWA). It will be the first union open to all employees and contractors at any Alphabet company, with dues-paying members, an elected board of directors, and paid organizing staff.
The new union is part of CWA’s CODE-CWA (Coalition to Organize Digital Employees) project, and the workers will be members of CWA Local 1400. It follows successful union drives by other Google workers – like HCL contract workers in Pittsburgh and cafeteria workers now with UNITE HERE! in the Bay Area – as well as unions formed by workers at other tech companies like Kickstarter and Glitch.
The Alphabet Workers Union, however, will be the first open to all employees of Alphabet, regardless of their role or classification.
“This is historic – the first union at a major tech company by and for all tech workers,” said Dylan Baker, a software engineer.
Google began as a small tech company with a “Don’t be evil” mantra, but has quickly become one of the most influential companies in the world. Alphabet, Google’s parent company, now has more than 120,000 workers. It is responsible for vast swaths of the internet, controlling tools used by billions of people across the world, with subsidiaries as varied as Waymo, Verily, Fitbit and Wing.
Yet half of Google workers at Alphabet companies are hired as TVCs – temps, vendors, or contractors -without the benefits afforded to full-time employees. Executives have been awarded tens of millions of dollars in exit packages after documented sexual harassment against others at Google. And the company has taken on unethical government contracts, like drone targeting for the military, yet kept the nature of that technology secret even to the Googlers working on those projects. It has removed its past motto from its mission statement.