With correction, added 1 February 2021, below.
Alphabet workers are announcing a new global union alliance to build a more ethical and accountable company.
Alpha Global, named in recognition of Google’s parent company Alphabet, was formed in coordination with UNI Global Union, the global union federation that brings together 20 million workers from multiple sectors in the service economy including those in Information, Communications, and Technology, and Services (ICTS). The alliance includes unions from 10 countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.
A joint statement announcing the alliance states that “[Google] is a place where many workers came to change the world—to make it more democratic—only to find Google suppressing speech and cracking down on worker organizing while consolidating monopolistic power.”
In order to make the company live it up to its stated ideals, the unions of Alpha Global are committed to:
- Creating a common strategy and supporting each other’s demands as well as our collective goals.
- Working side-by-side to build local organizations that reflect the values and interests of the employees.
- Fighting for the rights of direct Alphabet employees as well as temporary, vendor, and contract workers
- Calling on other trade unions to join our struggle and support our movement for Alphabet and all tech workers.
The alliance says that the company “has long lost its commitment to stick to their original mission:‘Don’t be evil.’ Well, we haven’t. Together, we will hold Alphabet accountable. Together, we will change Alphabet.”
Global union alliances allow workers in several countries to push for shared goals and to raise standards throughout a company’s entire operations. For example, UNI’s Amazon Global Union Alliance has spearheaded international actions around common demands. Alliances at ICTS companies like Orange and Telefonica help establish and enforce global principles—like respect for labour rights.
“The problems at Alphabet—and created by Alphabet—are not limited to any one country, and must be addressed on a global level,” said Christy Hoffman, UNI’s General Secretary. “The movement launched by tech workers at Google and beyond is inspiring. They are using their collective muscle to not only transform their conditions of employment but also to address social issues caused by increasing concentration of corporate power.”
The unions say that international action is particularly important now, as the company has ramped up retaliation against critics, hired “union avoidance” firms, and pushed back against organizing efforts, like the one in Zurich, Switzerland.
CORRECTION TO PREVIOUS VERSION: In our announcement of the Alpha Global alliance, UNI mistakenly included CODE-CWA and the Alphabet Workers Union (AWU) as members of the Alpha Global Alliance and a quote from AWU Executive Chair Parul Koul, without receiving proper authorization from CWA, the Alphabet Workers Union’s elected Executive Council, or Ms. Koul. We take full responsibility and have addressed this situation to prevent it from happening again.
UNI Global Union represents 20 million skills and services workers in 150 countries—including 3 million in the ICTS sector.