FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
November 6, 2023 3:30 PM
(San Francisco, CA) – In a groundbreaking victory, workers who develop content for Google Help pages overwhelmingly voted to unionize with the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA in a 26-2 victory. Workers are jointly employed by Google and the subcontractor Accenture and first announced their intent to unionize on June 8, 2023. Shortly after, Google and Accenture announced retaliatory layoffs impacting more than 80 of the 119 unionized workers. Today’s National Labor Relations Board election victory underscores workers’ perseverance in the face of continuous union-busting by Google and Accenture.
On August 3, 2023 the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA filed an Unfair Labor Practice charge against Google and Accenture on behalf of workers, citing the retaliatory layoffs against organized Google Help workers. When asked about Google’s decision to lay off recently unionized Google Help workers at a NLRB hearing, a Google manager shared that the company’s standard practice is to first incubate work in the US and then offshore the projects. As removing US based jobs is “standard practice” for Google, it is essential that workers organize in order to establish legal protections from future layoffs.
“Today’s victory proves what’s possible: when workers stand together, even Google cannot stand in our way. We organized so that we could have a say in our working conditions. In response, Google has tried to skirt its responsibility to us as our employer, while also laying off dozens of our team members. It is unjust that our jobs are being shipped off to workers who will be paid even less than us, and will have access to even fewer labor protections. We’re proud to win our union election today and will continue to organize until we receive our fair share. Google, we look forward to seeing you at the bargaining table soon,” said Jen Hill, Google Help Designer and member of the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA.
Workers initially unionized to establish better pay and benefits, along with establishing greater layoff protections and rebutting Google’s attempts to assign workers to work on its various AI projects. Prior to unionizing, workers had been pulled to work on Google Bard, the company’s AI chat bot, and were not given proper training or resources when dealing with obscene material.
On September 21, 2023 the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) Region 20-San Francisco Regional Director announced that it would recognize Google and Accenture as joint employers of the Google Content Creation Operations team. This decision recognizes the direct role Google plays in setting the working conditions for these workers. Additionally, 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.
A group of YouTube Music workers, unionized with Alphabet Workers Union-CWA, have also successfully proved Google’s role as their joint employer. 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.
The Alphabet Workers Union-CWA continues to call on Google to end its delay tactics, obey US labor law and meet unionized workers at the bargaining table.
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.