More than 200 employees from Google’s parent company on Monday announced the formation of a union in what would be a first among tech giants and the latest move amid increasing disagreements with the company’s top executives. The Alphabet Workers Union was announced Monday in a New York Times op-ed by two Google employees, Parul Koul and Chewy Shaw. The pair, who serve on the union board, said that more than 200 employees have signed up for the union associated with Communications Workers of America. “For far too long, thousands of us at Google—and other subsidiaries of Alphabet, Google’s parent company—have had our workplace concerns dismissed by executives,” Koul and Shaw wrote in the op-ed. “Our bosses have collaborated with repressive governments around the world. They have developed artificial intelligence technology for use by the Department of Defense and profited from ads by a hate group. They have failed to make the changes necessary to meaningfully address our retention issues with people of color.”
The unionization comes after years of tension between workers and execs, including a 2018 letter that employees wrote to CEO Sundar Pichai to urge him to end a partnership between the tech company and the Pentagon. That same year, employees worldwide staged a walkout to protest the company’s handling of executives accused of sexual misconduct. Alphabet’s director of people operations, however, stressed in a statement that the company supports workers’ labor rights.“We’ve always worked hard to create a supportive and rewarding workplace for our workforce. Of course, our employees have protected labor rights that we support. But as we’ve always done, we’ll continue engaging directly with all our employees,” the director said in the statement.