Google contractors who work on Search and Bard win union vote
Several Google contractors, including those who have worked on Search and Google’s artificial intelligence chatbot Bard, have successfully voted to unionize.
They claimed Google asked them to help train the generative AI answers offered in Search and Bard, and that they felt underprepared for the task. Google contractor Accenture filed for unionization in June. Reports indicate that one of the tasks was to handle “obscene and graphic” content.
The Alphabet Workers Union alleges that the layoffs were retaliatory after the group filed for unionization, which included 120 writers, graphic designers, and coordinators.
As a minority union, Alphabet Workers Union teamed up with Communications Workers of America in 2021.
In June, the AWU-CA asked the U.S. Labor Department to recognize Alphabet as a joint employer to Accenture, meaning the search giant would be responsible for workers’ treatment. According to an NLRB spokesperson, this week’s ruling found that both organizations are joint employers and have the responsibility to bargain over terms and conditions of employment.
The NLRB confirmed Monday night that workers in the group voted 26-2 in favor of union representation.
Google has appealed the NLRB’s decision to classify it as a joint employer with Accenture, which it believes is inaccurate.
Alphabet Workers Union-CWA member Jen Hill, who works on Google Help’s support staff, called it a victory and said the group looks forward to negotiating with Google.
It is today’s victory that proves what’s possible: when workers stand together, even Google cannot stand in our way,” Hill said in a statement.