(PoliticalLookout.com)- Google is finally about to feel the wrath of its employees, with a group of engineers working for the tech giant announcing on Monday that they had formed a new union. It’s a rare step for workers in the tech industry, and one that could dramatically change the relationship that thousands of employees have with Big Tech.
The new Alphabet Workers Union—a name that references the Alphabet company that owns Google—now has roughly 225 Google and Alphabet employees on board. While it’s just a small portion of the huge workforce behind Alphabet, and it also falls short of the number required to become an official union nationally, it is a step in the right direction for workers who feel that the company needs to be held accountable.
Despite not being officially recognized, the union has announced that it will be affiliated with the Communication Workers of America—an official and national union that will help the new union achieve its goals and grow. A statement said that the Communication Workers of America will be used as a “structure that ensures Google workers can actively push for real changes at the company.”
Members of the Alphabet Workers Union will also say that they want to collectively have a louder voice in the company on more than just wages, discrimination, and benefits, but to also influence broader ethical issues relating to Google.
In the years that Big Tech has controlled huge monopolies on areas like web search, social networking, online video, and social media, unionization has never had much of an impact on business. Google managed to stave off unionization for many years by giving workers access to free food at work, free shuttle rides to work, and a range of other benefits that meant few employees questioned the deal they got.
However, woke activists within the companies, as well as regular employees genuinely concerned about their wages and other issues, have become increasingly vocal in recent years.
Beth Allen, the communications director for Communication Workers of America, said that one of the reasons why it’s taken so long for tech workers to unionize is because the companies “did a good job of convincing workers they were these benevolent folks who were going to provide for them, kind of a paternalistic model.”
“That got them a long way,” she said, before explaining that workers have realized in recent years that they must “come together and build power for themselves and have a voice in what’s going on.”
Until the new union reaches at least 30% of the employees within their job classification or location, however, it will not be officially recognized by the National Labor Relations Board.
Nonetheless, it’s a big step towards that. And by then, Big Tech will be much more accountable to employees.