When we organize, we win! Here are some of the ways that Alphabet Workers Union-CWA has already made positive change in the workplace.
In a blowout victory, the YouTube Music Content Operations Team, subcontracted by Alphabet through Cognizant, won their union election with a unanimous 41-0 vote. The unit consists of workers responsible for music content on YouTube. Despite contributing to the platform's success, workers face low wages and minimal benefits. In response to the workers' unionization efforts, Cognizant issued a retaliatory Return-To-Office mandate, leading to the first ever Google strike by workers. The election victory paves the way for negotiations with Alphabet to improve working conditions and pay.
Google announced a new external speaker policy in response to concerns raised by the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA and other employees. The policy aims to prevent future speaker events from undermining Google's culture of inclusivity. The change follows objections raised by workers about a talk by Rajiv Malhotra, a far-right Hindutva figure known for promoting caste supremacist and violent views against marginalized groups. AWU-CWA and other workers continue to urge Google's CEO and executives to address the issue of caste discrimination and expand anti-discrimination policies to include caste as a protected category globally.
Google Maps contract workers with Cognizant, based in the Google-owned office in Bothell, WA, informed management that they planned to go on strike due to the unsafe working conditions imposed by the June 6 Return to Office (RTO) date. Shortly after, workers received an email that “Cognizant has been granted a 90-day extension on our return to office date.” This is another historic victory for Google temporary, vendor, and contract workers who are organizing to secure all workers the flexible, safe, and fair working conditions that they deserve.
Watch these workers share their organizing efforts and give us first-hand experience about organizing a strike at Alphabet on Youtube.
Your experience working at Alphabet can vary greatly depending on your manager. A toxic manager can affect your promotions, bonuses, the type of projects that you work on, and your work location. An unsupportive manager can limit your career and technical development. If you try to leave to another team, they can block you from transferring.
By coming together as a team, full-time employees at Google organized their coworkers to report managers who shouldn’t be responsible for leading Alphabet workers.
Nearly a dozen Google contract workers won back tens of thousands of dollars in back pay owed to them by Artech, a subcontractor of Accenture, which is a major subcontractor of Google. Workers discovered a discrepancy between their pay stubs and the amount designated by Accenture to be paid directly to Artech employees. The lack of pay transparency is an issue rampant amongst temporary, vendor, and contract workers at Alphabet, and Alphabet must do more to ensure all workers are able to clearly understand their pay floor and salary raises opportunities.
So far, 13 workers have received over $50,000 in back pay. If you’re an Alphabet worker subcontracted via Artech and want to learn if you’re owed back pay, let us know!
We helped datacenter workers win back a bonus that was promised to them by Modis, a company that contracts with Google. In October, Modis announced that they were cancelling a $200 per week attendance incentive bonus that was promised to datacenter workers in September and was supposed to run through December. Workers had stopped receiving the attendance bonus without any explanation at the beginning of October.
Datacenter workers are the backbone of Google. They have continued working in person throughout the global pandemic. Modis workers, including AWU members, reached out to AWU staff and leadership and immediately began to organize. Within just 2 days, Modis announced that they would be reinstating the bonuses, along with back pay.
Read more about this story in how Google Temps Fought Loss of Pandemic Bonus. And Won.
As a transgender man, Phares Lee had to live with his deadname on his name badge while working at Google for the past three years. He asked repeatedly for this to change through all the proper channels. It never changed, and his deadname remained on his badge until he took collective action with AWU-CWA. He has now been issued a new name badge with his chosen name on it, and been told that he can participate in ERGs just like a full-time employee can. His individual issues are now being fixed, which sets a precedent for others with similar issues. But, our work together isn’t done. We need to ensure that what happened to Phares never again happens to any other worker.
Read about our continued efforts to fix the broken system.
We helped Google BOLD interns convince the company to give them a $5,000 stipend for housing and other needs during the COVID-19 pandemic. Read about how Google interns fought for more cash—and won!
On January 27th, 2021, Shannon Wait made the following Facebook post:
“My employer told us who do heavy lifting and manual labor that if we lose our bottle of water or cap that they will not be replacing it DURING A PANDEMIC but you can’t take extra breaks to go get water so just stay thirsty and be glad you have a job.”
Earlier during the pandemic, she and other data center workers were promised bonus pay, but when she asked about that bonus, she was told by a manager via email that “It is never ok to discuss compensation with your peers”.
Watch Shannon share her story on YouTube.