Foto: Damien Maloney, The New York Times. Chewy Shaw, Google’i insener, videokoosolekul teiste töötajatega. Ta ütleb, et ametiühing saab juhtkonda survestada.

The New York Times write in two articles on January 4 how hundreds of Google employees unionized, culminating years of activism.

Extracts from the article We Built Google. This Is Not the Company We Want to Work For:

To those who are skeptical of unions or believe that tech companies are more innovative without unions, we want to point out that these and other larger problems persist.

Each time workers organize to demand change, Alphabet’s executives make token promises, doing the bare minimum in the hopes of placating workers.

It’s not enough. Today, we’re building on years of organizing efforts at Google to create a formal structure for workers.

We are the workers who built Alphabet (Google’s parent company). We write code, clean offices, serve food, drive buses, test self-driving cars and do everything needed to keep this behemoth running. We joined Alphabet because we wanted to build technology that improves the world. Yet time and again, company leaders have put profits ahead of our concerns. We are joining together — temps, vendors, contractors, and full-time employees — to create a unified worker voice. We want Alphabet to be a company where workers have a meaningful say in decisions that affect us and the societies we live in. 

Extracts from the article Hundreds of Google Employees Unionize, Culminating Years of Activism:

Chewy Shaw, an engineer at Google in the San Francisco Bay Area and the vice chair of the union’s leadership council, said the union was a necessary tool to sustain pressure on management so that workers could force changes on workplace issues.

“Our goals go beyond the workplace questions of ‘Are people getting paid enough?’ Our issues are going much broader,” he said. “It is a time where a union is an answer to these problems.”

In response, Kara Silverstein, Google’s director of people operations, said: “We’ve always worked hard to create a supportive and rewarding workplace for our work force. 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.”

At this point, the parallels with the academic sector can be drawn:

  • The academics, working with the sense of mission, love their academia and wish the academia reflects their values opposed to conforming to the values academia dictates.
  • The scepticism of unions in regard to the belief the sector, because of its special nature, does not need unionization.
  • The scepticism is often shared by the higher management who are emphasize there are already mechanisms in place to engade and protect the employees.
  • The trust among the activists that unions are the main vehicle to summon the changes sought.