Press Release

Appen Contractors Speak Out Against Contract Cancellation



January 22, 2024 2:00 PM

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(Mountain View, Calif.)—Last night, Alphabet informed the Australian data services company Appen that all contracts between the two companies would be terminated effective March 19, 2024. Since contracts with Google account for roughly one-third of Appen’s business revenues, this decision is likely to have a devastating impact on at least two thousand subcontracted Alphabet workers and their families in the US and Canada. These workers provide critical support that keeps Google’s flagship Search results and Bard AI safe and functional for the company’s billions of users. 

“This news should be a wake up call for workers in the tech industry and anyone concerned about the impacts of AI on working people. As subcontractors for Google we have been a canary in the AI coal mine calling out the precarious labor conditions we face being the human workers standing between large language models and their end users. This is what AI work looks like when workers have no say in the process. It is time that the world heard our voices before this situation repeats itself far and wide,” said Toni Allen, Executive Board Secretary, and member of AWU-CWA. 

Google AI raters subcontracted through Appen have been organizing for years with their coworkers in Alphabet Workers Union-CWA against poverty wages and harmful working conditions lacking sick pay and health benefits. Today, as Alphabet is heralded in the financial press as one of the “Magnificent Seven” companies driving the S&P Index to record highs, the company has decided to eliminate these roles en masse without severance benefits, transparency or accountability. Many Appen raters choose this work despite its downsides because they have obligations to care for family members at home, are themselves living with illness and disability, or live in economically depressed regions where better wages are unavailable. 


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 or follow us at @AlphabetWorkers.