Google employees announced on Monday (4) the creation of a new union, the Alphabet Workers Union, which will be open to all employees and contractors of the parent company of Google. The initiative, unprecedented in Silicon Valley, aims to deal with recurring issues, such as wage disparity, retaliation and questionable government contracts.
The new union had been organized in secret for almost a year, and elected its leadership only last month. The group is affiliating with CWA Local 1400, the powerful Communications Workers of America, which represents telecommunications and media workers in the United States and Canada.
Union leader Nicki Anselmo, who is a program manager at Google, said the union’s goals are to “fight the ‘real names’ policy, oppose the Maven Project and protest the notorious, multi-million dollar payments that were given to executives responsible for sexual harassment ”.
What will the new Google workers union look like?
Unlike traditional unions, the new Alphabet Workers Union will not sit at a negotiating table with employers, for example, to conclude a wage agreement. The new union belongs to the modality called “minority union”, in which the union represents the more than 260 thousand employees of the parent company of Google.
The format chosen means an effort, according to workers, to give structure and longevity to union activism within the Mountain View company, rather than restricting itself to negotiating contracts. In a press release, the union says it will be a tool to put pressure on management “to force changes in workplace issues”.
The creation of the union in a historically anti-unionist region represents a new trend of growing activism for employees of technology companies based in Silicon Valley. Today, not only employees of Alphabet, but also Amazon, Salesforce and Pinterest have spoken out on issues such as diversity, wage discrimination and sexual harassment.