Google workers forms union, passed 700 members
The Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) passed 700 members on Monday, growing from roughly 230 at launch on January 4th. The group, which is open to employees and contractors at Google’s parent company, includes workers from 35 offices in the US and Canada.
AWU organized in secret for almost a year, before going public with an op-ed in The New York Times last week. The news prompted an outpouring of support from tech workers in Silicon Valley. “We were excited to see the response of the public and employees,” says Alan Morales, a Google engineer. “Now we’re welcoming all of our new members and hearing their motivations for joining.”
As a minority union, AWU can’t force Google management to come to the table to negotiate. But it can try to pressure executives by rallying members toward a cause. That’s exactly what happened last week when AWU called on YouTube to permanently ban Trump in the wake of a raid on the US Capitol on January 6th.
According to the union, it comprises dues-paying members, an elected board of directors, and paid organising staff. It’s open to all employees and contractors at any Alphabet company.
“This union builds upon years of courageous organising by Google workers,” program manager Nicki Anselmo said in a statement.
“From fighting the ‘real names’ policy, to opposing Project Maven, to protesting the egregious, multimillion-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.
“Our new union provides a sustainable structure to ensure that our shared values as Alphabet employees are respected even after the headlines fade.”
In announcing the new union, the group pointed to Google’s roots, saying the behemoth began as a small tech company with a “Don’t Be Evil” mantra, but it has since become one of the most influential companies in the world.
“Alphabet, Google’s parent company, now has more than 120,000 workers. It’s 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,” it added.