Posts tagged Google
Summer of labor: Why unions win pay hikes and new clout
August 10, 2023 // This year’s bargaining sessions tell the story. The mere threat of a strike won longshoremen, UPS drivers, and other blue-collar workers big pay raises. The 11,000 members of the Writers Guild of America, by contrast, have been on strike since May. Last month, the actors union joined them on the picket line. It’s the first time the two have jointly struck the studios since 1960 and the most closely watched labor action of the year. Almost 3 in 4 Americans say they’re aware of the strike, according to a Los Angeles Times poll released Aug. 3. Among the issues are revenues from web streaming and the use of AI to generate actors’ likenesses.
ProPublica, lauded journalism nonprofit, is latest newsroom to unionize
July 31, 2023 // Reporters at investigative journalism nonprofit ProPublica announced Wednesday they are unionizing, bringing an industry wave of labor organizing to a somewhat unexpected corner of the media world. The announcement, timed to the 15th anniversary of ProPublica, comes as its corporate peers are grappling with layoffs and cutbacks that have stoked employee discontent. By comparison, ProPublica, a donor-supported nonprofit that counted over $57 million in assets on its most recently available tax forms, has been comparatively insulated from the economic challenges of the industry. In a statement, staffers said a union “is essential to preserving the best parts of working at ProPublica and ensuring our values do not waver regardless of leadership changes or turbulence within the industry.” The campaign could shift labor relations at ProPublica, which is one of few national news outlets of its size and distinction where staffers do not have union representation.
Google lays off contractors who unionized last month
July 17, 2023 // “Last week we received news that 80 of our nearly 120 recently unionized Google Help coworkers would be laid off,” said Julia Nagatsu Granstrom, Senior Writer and member of the Alphabet Workers Union- CWA. “We had exercised our right to organize as members of the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA in order to bring both Google and Accenture, a Google subcontractor, to the bargaining table to negotiate on several key demands, including layoff protections.” Nagatsu Granstrom describes the layoffs as “absolutely unacceptable,” given the timing of an active union campaign “with overwhelming support from workers.”
Google’s return-to-office crackdown gets backlash from some employees: ‘Check my work, not my badge’
June 15, 2023 // “Managers of non-remote Googlers who have been consistently absent from the office will be cc’ed on emails to these Googlers (subject to local requirements), so they can support Googlers in either ramping back to the office or exploring other flexibility options,” the document says. On Friday, YouTube held its own all-hands meeting with employees about the office policy update. At the event, executives presented the plans virtually, a paradox that didn’t go unnoticed.
Google Contract Staff That Helped Train AI Seek To Unionize
June 9, 2023 // The group is organizing with the Alphabet Workers Union, and said it has signed up the vast majority of its proposed bargaining unit, which includes about 120 writers, graphic designers and launch coordinators who create internal and external Google content, including all of the materials for Google Help support pages. They’ve also recently helped to review AI-generated content. The workers said they hope to bargain for changes including increased paid time off, control over accepting assignments outside the scope of their usual work and competitive pay that reflects their skill sets. The employees are asking management to voluntarily recognize and negotiate with the union. The workers contend Alphabet is a “joint employer” — a company with enough control over a group of employees to be liable for their treatment and obligated to negotiate if they unionize, even if it doesn’t sign their paychecks.
Push to unionize tech industry makes advances
April 28, 2023 // Organizing efforts are coming for office workers just as many tech companies are shedding staff, potentially giving employees new incentives to consider unions. The union pushes also come at a moment when workers in tech, as in many other fields, are feeling insecure about their future in the face of rapidly developing and increasingly capable AI-powered bots.
Google contractors vote to unionize in historic landslide election
April 27, 2023 // The unionization vote passed 41-0. The National Labor Relations Board representative counting the ballots said 49 workers were eligible to vote. The employees work for the subcontractor Cognizant on content operations for Google’s YouTube Music, resolving bugs and completing other tasks to ensure the streaming service runs smoothly. Google continues to argue that Cognizant is the workers’ sole employer and says the Mountain View-based tech giant should not be forced to negotiate with the workers. Held via mail-in ballot, the election creates a bargaining unit with the Alphabet Workers Union — an organization affiliated with the Communications Workers of America that, until now, has represented only one office of unionized Google workers, a contracted Fiber retail shop in Missouri. Those workers opted to drop Google from their petition.
YouTube Music Workers Strike in Austin Over ‘Anti-Union’ Return-to-Office Mandate
February 24, 2023 // Gossell and Marschner are upset that Google, whom they see as their employer, has deferred to Cognizant. “I’ve gone through Google training. I go through their security training. I go through their ethics training…. [But] if we want to negotiate over pay, they say, ‘Pay is based on the contract we have with Google, so we can’t bargain over that.'” Marschner says. The employees, affiliated with the Alphabet Workers Union, which has never held a strike, are awaiting National Labor Relations Board decisions on their election petition and the two Unfair Labor Practice complaints. “It’s going to be a long labor movement, because we’re not stopping until we have a union,” Gossell says. Referring to recent union activity at Amazon, Disney and Tesla, he adds: “I’m not saying we’re the tip of the spear, but we’re part of something bigger that’s going on in America. All you have to do is pick up a history book to see how this ends.”
Op-ed: Why Employers Forcing a Return to Office is Leading to More Worker Power and Unionization
February 23, 2023 // It's important to recognize that this turn to worker power is happening in the context of massive layoffs by tech companies, which are becoming less willing to offer perks like remote work to their workforce. In fact, there's evidence that some companies such as Twitter are using return-to-office mandates to get workers to quit voluntarily, to avoid paying severance. Employers are increasingly getting the upper hand, as workers who feel anxious about the economy are reluctant to make demands for more remote work. However, such strategies may well backfire against employers in the long term if they spur increases in labor union organizing; even though individual employees might be anxious about their jobs, together they can press their case, especially given an unemployment rate of 3.4%, the lowest in over 50 years. And even tech workers are finding new jobs in three months or so, pointing to the strength of the labor market despite some shift toward employer power.