On January 4, a handful of Google employees and contractors announced that they are forming a union. Typically when unionization comes to mind, better compensation and working environments become associated with the movement. However, big-tech companies, Google included, pays their employees on average six figures. That is why this new union centers around encouraging employee activism and the ability to speak without retaliation.
In the past decade, major walkouts have happened over controversial decisions. Most of which have been political choices that top executives made. From the company working with the Pentagon to establish targeted drone strikes to helping China censor their citizens’ searches, some employees do not always agree. In fact, they believe in the opposite ideologies. Alphabet Workers Union has partnered with these employees with opinions that stray from the company’s own. AWU strives to protect employee activism. According to their company website, they “promote solidarity, democracy, and social and economic justice”.
Alphabet Worker’s Union is a minority union group, which organizes a small group of employees from different companies, including the independent contractors the company hires. Currently, this minority union consists of just a few hundred employees. However, as Google employs hundreds of thousands, this might change. There is an expectation for many other employees to join the cause in the upcoming weeks.
Minority unions forming in big-tech companies are not uncommon, however the campaigns that have happened have been largely unsuccessful. Forty software testers that were independently contracted by Microsoft attempted to form a minority union, nevertheless, their jobs were eventually eliminated. In other cases, those looking to unionize typically take buy-out settlements in exchange for their termination.
What do you think of the latest Google unionization news? Let us know down in the comments.
This article originally published on GREY Journal.