Google workers announced their intention to form a union, under the auspices of CWA Local 1440. The union is called The Alphabet Workers Union (Google maintains the legal and accounting fiction that it is a division of a holding company called "Alphabet").
Speaking of legal fictions, the union is opening membership to "TVCs" - temps, vendors and contractors - employees who have deliberately misclassified so as to avoid paying them benefits or extending normal workplace protections to them.
It's a bold move, a countermeasure to thwart the other commercial advantage from worker misclassification: by creating multiple categories of workers, bosses can pit employees against one another, by dangling privileges in front of one group but not the other.
But it comes at a high price: to gain official legal recognition, more than 50% of eligible workers must join the union. By including more workers, the union is setting a higher bar for official status.
But the union has momentum: a series of high-profile googler uprisings - driven by official tolerance for sexual misconduct, complicity in US military drone programs, secret collaboration with Chinese surveillance and censorship, and more - show how radicalized googlers are.
Google's management - who cultivated an air of participatory, cuddly collaboration - have arrived at a point where the contradictions between their "values" and the company's profits can no longer be reconciled.
In Dec 2020, Google fired Timnit Gebru, an eminent Black AI scientist who refused to retract a paper critical of its profitable Big Data research. Management compounded their sins by making false claims about Gebru's dismissal.
The unionization drive is under the CWA's #CODE (Coalition to Organize Digital Employees) project. Though CODE is no stranger to conflict, Google represents a serious challenge, thanks to its partnership with notorious union-busters IRI Consultants.
(IWI's tactics pale in comparison to the mercenaries that Amazon has hired to bust its unions: the Pinkerton company, who have spilled rivers of workers' blood in their murderous history):
For important context on the drive, check out Collective Action in Tech's article on the announcement, which explains why googlers have formed a "non-contract union" that does not yet have official recognition.
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