Unions Stand Up to Google, End Up Winning

Unions Stand Up to Google, End Up Winning

(UnitedVoice.com) – For years, Google contractors and employees fought to unionize. Although Alphabet Inc, Google’s parent company, is one of the largest employers in the world, its employees had no collective bargaining rights. Many believed that left them with little recourse against the company.

In 2021, hundreds of workers voted to form a union. The Alphabet Workers Union had been secretly in the works for about a year. It is affiliated with the Communications Workers of America. Recently, contractors in Texas stood up to the big tech company and came out on top.

Workers Unionize

On Wednesday, April 26, a group of YouTube Music contractors based in Austin, Texas, voted to ratify a bargaining unit that would allow it to negotiate with both its employer, Cognizant, and Alphabet Inc together. The vote passed 41 to 0, and the National Labor Relations Board was on the scene to count the ballots.

Google has argued the vote to unionize isn’t fair because it isn’t the workers’ employer. The tech giant claimed Cognizant was the only company the workers should be allowed to negotiate with. The San Francisco Gate reported a spokesperson for Google said the company was fine with the vote but said Cognizant is the only employer of the contractors.

Maxwell Longfield, a contractor who voted for the agreement, said he and his colleagues “have spoken” and “have won a protected voice on the job to bring both Alphabet and Cognizant to the negotiating table.” He said all the workers want is to “win the fair working conditions [they] deserve.”

Alphabet Workers Union

The union accused Google and Cognizant of illegally interfering with the workers’ attempts to unionize before the vote. In a complaint filed in January, Alphabet Workers Union alleged the companies were using their return-to-work policies to stop the workers from unionizing.

HR Drive reported the union alleged one supervisor, Priya Ramani, told workers that they could “easily transferred to other offices in the case of an ‘emergency.’” The conversation was reportedly related to workers meeting to discuss organizing. Ramini also allegedly said the unionizing effort would come between her and her relationship with the workers and that she didn’t think a union victory would be good for everyone.

The union has hundreds of members across the United States and is growing. Employees at other tech companies have also tried to unionize. Days before the Alphabet Workers Union vote, employees for Sega of America also announced they are trying to form a union. They, too, are organizing through the Communication Workers of America and will call their union the Allied Employees Guild Improving SEGA (AEGIS-CWA).

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