FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 22, 2023 3:39 PM
San Francisco, CA – Alphabet Workers Union–CWA is thrilled to announce a major victory for workers' rights as the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 20-San Francisco Regional Director issued a groundbreaking Decision and Direction of Election on Thursday, September 21, 2023. This decision recognizes Google and Accenture as joint employers of the Google Content Creation Operations team. This is the second unit of AWU-CWA members that the NLRB has recognized as jointly employed by Google and a subcontractor, pointing to a pattern of misclassification by Google.
“The NLRB's determination validates what we as Alphabet Workers Union-CWA members and workers behind the Google Help pages have long known – that Google and Accenture share responsibility for our working conditions. This decision, along with the NLRB’s decision recognizing Google as the joint employer of our YouTube Music colleagues, makes clear that Google has a pattern of misclassifying workers. When you untangle the Google web of contracting, what becomes clear is the direct line of control Google exerts of our working conditions. We look forward to winning our union election and to forcing Google to recognize that every Google worker deserves their fair share,” said Emma Shibley, technical writer at Accenture and Google and member of the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA.
On Thursday, August 3, 2023 the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against Google and Accenture for their retaliatory layoffs against Google Help workers who had announced their desire to unionize on June 8, 2023. When workers filed for a union election with the National Labor Relations Board, over 70% of the eligible 119 workers had signed union authorization cards. Google and Accenture announced layoffs impacting over 80 Google Help workers subcontracted through Accenture on Thursday, July 6, 2023.
“Google and Accenture responded to our unionization effort with union-busting layoffs. They claim that these layoffs are part of Google’s broader strategy of incubating in the US and offshoring to workers with even fewer labor protections aboard. It is clear that Google is not invested in workers and sees US workers as disposable. We call on Google to end its retaliatory layoff policies and will continue to organize to protect US based jobs and ensure every Google worker receives the fair wages, benefits and job security we deserve,” said Tahlia Kirk, general writer at Accenture and Google and member of the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA.
Mail-in ballots for the upcoming Google Help election will be sent out to workers on October 10, 2023, and the ballots will be counted on November 6, 2023 at 2 PM PST. Alphabet Workers Union-CWA is fully committed to ensuring that every voice is heard, and every vote is counted. This election represents a critical opportunity for workers to determine their collective future and the terms under which they work.
Earlier this week, on September 20, 2023, around 30 YouTube Music workers conducted a one day Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) strike against Google and its contractor, Cognizant. After workers unanimously voted to unionize with Alphabet Workers Union-CWA (AWU-CWA) in April, the NLRB announced that it would uphold a previous ruling that found members of the YouTube Content Operations Team to be jointly employed by both Google and Cognizant. This decision requires Google to join workers at the bargaining table alongside Cognizant. In response, Google has announced that the company will not bargain with workers, in direct opposition of the NLRB’s decision recognizing Google as the employer of these workers. Workers held a press conference and action at the Google Austin offices, in addition to their ULP strike, to protest Google and Cognizant’s unlawful refusal to bargain.
Alphabet Workers Union-CWA will continue to hold Google accountable to all Google workers—including the tens of thousands of contract workers that make up a near majority of the Google workforce. As workers critical to Google’s success, AWU-CWA believes that every worker should have the right to organize and that Google should agree to bargain with unionized workers.
The misclassification of contract workers has long been a long term concern of tech workers, and the recent NLRB decisions underscores the truth of Google’s responsibility to its workers, including members of its extended workforce.
Alphabet Workers Union - CWA unites full-time employees, temporary employees, vendors, and contractors at Google and other Alphabet companies in the United States and Canada in collective action to ensure that our workplace is equitable and that Alphabet acts ethically. We are members of Communications Workers of America Local 9009 and currently represent over 1,400 workers across Alphabet. Learn more at alphabetworkersunion.org or follow us at @AlphabetWorkers.