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Google employees lead the way in workers rights in tech by forming a union

Google
(Image credit: Shutterstock / rvlsoft)

The tech industry and Silicon Valley specifically have been known for their incredible work environments, from slides to daily meals. Recently however, workers at these mega-tech firms like Google and Facebook have pointed to underlying toxic behaviour on the part of their employers that is glossed over with these so-called perks. 

In response to concerns about the direction that Google is taking, employees have formed the first union in the company's history. 

“This union builds upon years of courageous organizing by Google workers,” said Nicki Anselmo, Program Manager in a statement by the union.

“From fighting the ‘real names’ policy, to opposing Project Maven, to protesting the egregious, multi-million 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.”

All Alphabet employees, no matter their rank or status are invited to join the union. This even includes contract workers. 

The union forms part of the Coalition to Organize Digital Employees project which aims for overall organisation of digital employees in the US. 

As a result of being an Alphabet union, the organisation covers all Alphabet umbrella employees, such as those from other brands owned by the company such as Fitbit.

“This is historic—the first union at a major tech company by and for all tech workers,” said Dylan Baker, Software Engineer. 

“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.”

Google has responded by saying they respect the labor rights of their staff but will continue addressing issues directly with them moving forward. 

Leila Stein

Leila Stein is an experienced multimedia journalist and content producer with a special interest in data journalism. she is skilled in news writing, editing, online writing and multimedia content production and have a Bachelor of Journalism  from Rhodes University and an Honours in Historical Studies from University of Cape Town.