Monday, January 4, 2021 [Tweets] [Favorites]

Google Workers Announce Plans to Unionize

Zoe Schiffer (Hacker News):

A group of Google workers have announced plans to unionize with the Communications Workers of America (CWA). The Alphabet Workers Union will be open to all employees and contractors at Google’s parent company. Its goal will be to tackle ongoing issues like pay disparity, retaliation, and controversial government contracts.

[…]

Arranged as a members-only union, the new organization won’t seek collective bargaining rights to negotiate a new contract with the company. Instead, the Alphabet Workers Union will only represent employees who voluntarily join, as reported by the New York Times. That structure will also allow it to represent all employees who seek to participate — including temps, vendors, and contractors (known internally as TVCs) who would be excluded by labor law from conventional collective bargaining.

Previously:

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“ That structure will also allow it to represent all employees who seek to participate — including temps, vendors, and contractors (known internally as TVCs) who would be excluded by labor law from conventional collective bargaining.”

That last part is darn important. Afaik, Google’s workforce is > 50% TVCs. Which is ridiculous. I’m currently a “contingent worker” at FB and it’s a ridiculous 2nd class citizen setup which I can only imagine is to optimize for dodging taxes or some other dubious business reasoning.

Richard:
>Afaik, Google’s workforce is > 50% TVCs

Holy crap. How is that even legal?

>which I can only imagine is to optimize for
>dodging taxes or some other dubious business
>reasoning

The purpose is to avoid all the pesky laws that protect employees.

Anonymous Coward:
>The first union in history formed to demand
>greater surveillance of workers

Where do they demand anything like that?

Lukas: I searched for a bit, and I can't find any reference to such a demand. The closest historical occurrence I could find was:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Working_Men%27s_Party_(New_York)

which almost certainly isn't the "first union in history" (and never claimed to be), nor was it a single union, nor were the NYC unions formed for this purpose, and nor were they quite for "surveillance of workers" in the modern sense:

> The mass meeting passed a resolution promising not to work past the current "just and reasonable" 10 hour standard and indicating that the names of violators of this restriction would have their names published in the press as enemies of labor.

As none of the 4 parts of the that sentence is technically true, you've got to squint pretty hard to interpret events that way. But I haven't found anything else which could even possibly fit. Does anyone know what that tweet is referring to?

Yeah, tracking work hours is something unions tend to be in favor of, since it prevents employers from forcing people into unpaid overtime through systemic means (e.g. you can't leave work until the boss leaves, because that makes you look like you're not a team player). So in that sense, unions have always been in favor of greater surveillance. But I'm pretty sure that's not what the tweet is referring to.

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