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Google Employees Form a Union

Employees at Alphabet formally announce a union to present a united voice for fairness and against discrimination and harassment in the workplace.

Google Employees Form a Union

After a tumultuous year of trying to affect change by working within the system at Google, workers have formed a union. The union is focused on justice issues related to sexual harassment, discrimination and ending retaliation against employees for speaking up.

What is the Alphabet Workers Union?

The new union is called the Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) and is formed as part of the Communication Workers Union. The Communications Workers Union has typically represented workers in the telecommunications industry but is increasingly representing workers in the technology sector.

The Alphabet Workers Union is open to all workers at the Alphabet subsidiaries, which of course means Google but not limited to Google.

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Membership is open to technology and non-tech workers.

The cost of membership is 1% of wages. Member dues are a standard part of belonging to a union and go to help fund the main union organization.

AWU membership is open to workers in the United States and Canada. According to the AWU they are also reaching out to worker organizations around the world.

Why Did Googlers Form a Union?

The union has been organizing for over a year in response to multiple incidents of poorly handled sexual harassment and discrimination issues.

The Alphabet Workers Union (@AlphabetWorkers) formally tweeted an announcement today, listing all the reasons why the new union exists.

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“The past few years at Google have been tumultuous: secret military AI projects, multi-million dollar payouts to execs who sexually harassed our coworkers, profiting from hate speech, & more.

Coworkers who’ve voiced concerns have even been fired, illegally, as retaliation.”

The announcement listed achievements made by workers who organized, including the cancellation of AI military projects and a $15 minimum wage for contractors.

The AWU then stated that more work needs to be done. It tweeted all the reasons why a union needs to exist.

Goals of Alphabet Workers Union

The official AWU website indicates that their goals are aligned toward justice for workers and more accountability. Creating these kinds of justice related changes is top of their agenda, unlike other unions that are focused on collective bargaining for wages.

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According to the AWU:

We want to wield our power to ensure:

  • Our working conditions are inclusive and fair,
  • Perpetrators of harassment, abuse, discrimination, and retaliation are held accountable,
  • We have the freedom to decline to work on projects that don’t align with our values,
  • All workers, regardless of employment status, can enjoy the same benefits.”

Alphabet Workers Union is Small

As of December 2020, union membership is at 200 members. It’s not a company-wide union as in traditional unions.

The AWU is a different kind of union at this time called a Minority Union that does not need formal recognition from the National Labor Relations Board.

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