Google Employees Announce Significant Union Formation

The move by Alphabet’s US employees to unionise is the first of its kind among the nation’s tech giants.

More than 200 employees at Google and other Alphabet Inc units in the US have formed a workers’ union, becoming the first group at a Big Tech company to do so.

The Alphabet Workers Union was organised in secret and is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America, which represents workers in media and telecoms in the US and Canada, The New York Times first reported.

Unlike traditional US labour unions, the AWU is a “minority union” that will not necessarily be able to force the company to collectively bargain over wages or other rights issues, but will be able to include a wider range of workers, such as contractors.

The union has announced that it is open to all US and Canadian workers at Alphabet, including both full-time employees and temporary workers and contractors – unofficial employees who make up the majority of Google’s workforce, outnumbering direct employees at the company by roughly 135,000 to 115,000.

“This union builds upon years of courageous organising by Google workers,” said Nicki Anselmo, a program manager at Google, said in a statement. “Our new union provides a sustainable structure to ensure that our shared values as Alphabet employees are respected even after the headlines fade.”

Kara Silverstein, Google’s director of people operations, said on Monday that the company supports its employees “protected labour rights” and will “continue engaging directly with all our employees.”

Google has recently come under fire from the US labour regulator, which sued the company in December for alleged unlawful monitoring and questioning of employees for attempting to unionise. Google said it was confident that it acted lawfully.

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