Google and Alphabet workers are forming an 'innovative' union in the U.S.

The formation of the union could further increase tensions between the company's engineers and the management.

What you need to know

  • A group of over 200 Google and Alphabet workers have formed a union.
  • The new "Alphabet Workers Union" is the first union at a major tech company "by and for all tech workers.'
  • It aims to give structure and longevity to activism at Google.

A group of over 225 Google and Alphabet workers have announced that they have formed a union, aiming to make Alphabet a better place for all workers. The union, called the Alphabet Workers Union, has been formed with help from the Communications Workers of America's Campaign to Organize Digital Employees.

Dylan Baker, a software engineer at Google, said in a statement:

This is historic—the first union at a major tech company by and for all tech workers. We will elect representatives, we will make decisions democratically, we will pay dues, and we will hire skilled organizers to ensure all workers at Google know they can work with us if they actually want to see their company reflect their values.

Unlike a traditional union, the Alphabet Workers Union doesn't aim to negotiate for a contract. Instead, workers say it is an effort to give structure and longevity to activism at Google. Chewy Shaw, a Google engineer and the vice chair of the new union's leadership council, told The New York Times that the union was a "necessary tool to sustain pressure on management so that workers could force changes on workplace issues."

Unions have traditionally not been very successful in Silicon Valley, but things have recently started changing. Unions at Kickstarter and Glitch were formed early last year. A few months later, HCL Technologies workers who contract for Google in Pittsburgh successfully formed a union.

The rift between employees and executives at Google has been widening over the last few years. Just last month, federal official said Google had violated labor law when it fired two employees involved in labor organizing. Timnit Gebru, a Black woman who worked as an artificial intelligence researcher, said last month that she had been fired by Google after she criticized the company's approach to minority hiring.

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