Workers at Google announced on Monday that they’ve formed a union open to all employees of Alphabet, according to a press release published online. Dubbed the Alphabet Workers Union, the initiative was launched with the help of the Communications Workers of America. Members of the new union will also belong to CWA Local 1400.
The unionization effort comes on the heels of some high-profile firings at Alphabet, most recently Dr. Timnit Gebru, an artificial intelligence researcher who had criticised the company’s pathetic diversity programs. More than 1,500 Google employees signed a petition protesting Gebru’s termination.
The new union will be open to both full-time employees of Alphabet as well as contractors, according to the press release, though it’s not clear how such an arrangement will work. Contractors in industries like journalism typically aren’t allowed to join the predominant unions of a given industry since they aren’t full-time employees and are relegated to parallel freelancer unions.
There are still plenty of questions about how the Alphabet Workers Union will be organised and it’s not even clear whether Google will formally recognise the union, something that can often be an arduous process.
“This union builds upon years of courageous organising by Google workers,” union organiser Nicki Anselmo said in a statement posted online.
“From fighting the ‘real names’ policy, to opposing Project Maven, to protesting the egregious, multi-million dollar payouts that have been given to executives who’ve committed sexual harassment, we’ve seen first-hand that Alphabet responds when we act collectively,” Anselmo continued. “Our new union provides a sustainable structure to ensure that our shared values as Alphabet employees are respected even after the headlines fade.”
Google did not immediately respond to a request for comment early Monday morning. We’ll update this post if we hear back.
Editor’s Note: Release dates within this article are based in the U.S., but will be updated with local Australian dates as soon as we know more.