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Google employees formally launch new union after pushback from Alphabet

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More than 225 workers at Google have formally launched a company-wide union membership drive, following an increasing drive toward organization inside the company over the past several years.

All 120,000 people who work for Google parent company Alphabet, including temporary, contract, and part-time workers, will be eligible for membership in the Alphabet Workers Union, according to a joint statement from the union and the Communications Workers of America, of which it is a part...
 

..."Our company's motto used to be, 'don't be evil,'" the chair and vice chair of the new union wrote in a New York Times op-ed. "An organized workforce will help us live up to it."

They added, "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... Both of us have heard from colleagues—some new, some with over a decade at the company—who have decided that working at Alphabet is no longer a choice they can make in good conscience."

It is good to see something positive coming for the workers at Google. There have been a lot of issues coming out from Google with various scandals, how they have treated employees and even went after some when unionizing came up. Hopefully this is for the better and provides a turning point in the culture at google. Honestly, it has been a long time coming. 

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Unions, particularly trade unions, are viewed by corporate America as something Extremely Evil(TM) for their association with dictatorial politics. True, they have been abused by communists, and still are in a way in certain countries, but on the whole, unions are for the better of the company. You need to look no further then Scandinavia, Germany and the Low Countries to see what non-militant trade unions can achieve to further the position of employees while still take in account the needs of the company they work for. Their agreements are based on consensus, mutual respect and a strong sense of joint responsibility for not just the existence of the company but also society as a whole. The Anglo-Saxon model based on egocentric greed and implied disrespect for subordinates doesn't fly here. The economic results speak for themselves: it works :P

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14 minutes ago, Dutch_Master said:

Unions, particularly trade unions, are viewed by corporate America as something Extremely Evil(TM) for their association with dictatorial politics. True, they have been abused by communists, and still are in a way in certain countries, but on the whole, unions are for the better of the company. You need to look no further then Scandinavia, Germany and the Low Countries to see what non-militant trade unions can achieve to further the position of employees while still take in account the needs of the company they work for. Their agreements are based on consensus, mutual respect and a strong sense of joint responsibility for not just the existence of the company but also society as a whole. The Anglo-Saxon model based on egocentric greed and implied disrespect for subordinates doesn't fly here. The economic results speak for themselves: it works :P

It really depends on how realistic the union leaders are. Certain union leaders abuse their positions (as do company exec's) and some favor the employee's desires far more than they do the companies (to the detriment of the company).

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Only scummy companies are scared of unions because they know they won't be able to fuck their staff over anymore. In the UK unions have done a lot of good work especially these days. In the past some got a bad name but these days a lot of unions will really help you out. Companies think twice before fucking you over if you are part of a union. The US could really use with a lot more unions.

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2021 - the year of the revolution. It's begun.

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Unions have leverage in a closed national economy. I'm in favor of trade unions. But the problem is that with globalism, all Unions are good for is hastening both the outsourcing and insourcing (H1Bs) of cheap "slave-labor" wage employees. 

 

IBM (Indian Business Machines) is no better.

 

That's the problem with a lot of businesses stationed in the west. They want all the protection of a stable nation-state while having the benefits of a near-unlimited supply of a global talent pool. Any social burden as a result (under or unemployment) rests with the tax payer.

Personally, I think a breakup of 'Big Tech' is overdue to near monopolistic (more like oligopoly) hold on a greater percentage of the economy.

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1 hour ago, Dutch_Master said:

Unions, particularly trade unions, are viewed by corporate America as something Extremely Evil(TM) for their association with dictatorial politics. True, they have been abused by communists, and still are in a way in certain countries, but on the whole, unions are for the better of the company. You need to look no further then Scandinavia, Germany and the Low Countries to see what non-militant trade unions can achieve to further the position of employees while still take in account the needs of the company they work for. Their agreements are based on consensus, mutual respect and a strong sense of joint responsibility for not just the existence of the company but also society as a whole. The Anglo-Saxon model based on egocentric greed and implied disrespect for subordinates doesn't fly here. The economic results speak for themselves: it works :P

Unions are political constructs and are thus wholly bound by the way the laws & structures under which they operate interact with reality. This is why "American Unions" are basically dead, except for the Public Sector. It's a deep and complex topic that requires a lot of historical analysis, but it basically boils down to a company is stuck in a cycle of "buying peace" at the cost of the ability to reinvest in itself. So rather than being "worker protection", it really looks more like paying off a racket. Then, depending on the industry the company is in, you can end up with a dozen different unions, at which point a company eventually runs out of money to buy them off. Unions are regularly pretty good at actually driving companies into non-existence.

 

Basically, because they were never willing (or desired) to change the laws to look more like countries where Unionize is sustainable, American Unions usually ends up looking a lot like a deal with a suicide bomber, for companies. While, at the same time, basically being a vehicle for the Karens inside of a company to acquire power while having little clue how to handle it and generally ruining everyone's day that has to deal with them. Much like the reasons for the "no politics" rules around these parts, American Unions basically make a work environment political the entire time, which has the effect of running off the employees with the best outside opportunities. This is why Silicon Valley, for as Progressive as it is, treats Unionization like an actual Plague. Because, for them, it would be.

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10 minutes ago, StDragon said:

Unions have leverage in a closed national economy. I'm in favor of trade unions. But the problem is that with globalism, all Unions are good for is hastening both the outsourcing and insourcing (H1Bs) of cheap "slave-labor" wage employees.

Of course, that doesn't always work.

 

As an example, where I live, the staff who work in train stations are unionised. Since their job is largely about providing assistance to passengers (e.g. directing them to the correct place, putting down ramps for wheelchair users etc.) it's not possible to just outsource them to somewhere in the far east. Therefore, the unions actually have some clout.

 

I do wonder if something similar applies to Google. Is the skill/talent that they require available through outsourcing?

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pythonmegapixel

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3 minutes ago, pythonmegapixel said:

Of course, that doesn't always work.

 

As an example, where I live, the staff who work in train stations are unionised. Since their job is largely about providing assistance to passengers (e.g. directing them to the correct place, putting down ramps for wheelchair users etc.) it's not possible to just outsource them to somewhere in the far east. Therefore, the unions actually have some clout.

 

I do wonder if something similar applies to Google. Is the skill/talent that they require available through outsourcing?

For Silicon Valley, neither the company nor the workers are fixed to the location. Makes a Union both hard to start and basically nonviable for the workers involved. Whenever everyone is a Mercenary, there isn't much desire to collectivize.

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First the states suing and now this. I would love to see Google disappear 

ƆԀ S₱▓Ɇ▓cs: i7 6ʇɥפᴉƎ00K (4.4ghz), Asus DeLuxe X99A II, GT҉X҉1҉0҉8҉0 Zotac Amp ExTrꍟꎭe),Si6F4Gb D???????r PlatinUm, EVGA G2 Sǝʌǝᘉ5ᙣᙍᖇᓎᙎᗅᖶt, Phanteks Enthoo Primo, 3TB WD Black, 500gb 850 Evo, H100iGeeTeeX, Windows 10, K70 R̸̢̡̭͍͕̱̭̟̩̀̀̃́̃͒̈́̈́͑̑́̆͘͜ͅG̶̦̬͊́B̸͈̝̖͗̈́, G502, HyperX Cloud 2s, Asus MX34. פN∩SW∀S 960 EVO

Just keeping this here as a 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Unions is like home insurance. It sounds like a great deal on paper, but once it's established and signed, you realize that you just pay and pay and pay and it's only useful when something goes wrong. But even there it might be useless. It's even worse for temp workers since they are usually not protected by the union and still have to pay union dues (I sure had to). They can also force you off work(strike) if their "negotiations"(unreasonable demands) don't go through.

 

But hey, if they believe it will get them better working conditions, the more power to them I guess. Though I'm not sure how well protected unions and employees wanting to start a union are in the US against corporate retaliation. 

 

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57 minutes ago, BuckGup said:

I would love to see Google disappear 

Anyone who's conscious of what they're doing and has any sense of integrity or morality would think the same.

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The better solution would be to force Alphabet or Google to turn Employee Owned.

Unions as stated above can be a love / hate, they can be militant or beneficial. Unions eventually outdate themselves and though they started with good intentions become the militant organization they very commonly do. An Employee-owned company provides better and complete equilateral representation rather than relying on those that would position themselves for self-attaining purposes.

 

 

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Who's had positive or negative experiences with Unions in their workplaces? I'm a college student so I can't say I'm informed.

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8 hours ago, Dutch_Master said:

Unions, particularly trade unions, are viewed by corporate America as something Extremely Evil(TM) for their association with dictatorial politics. True, they have been abused by communists, and still are in a way in certain countries, but on the whole, unions are for the better of the company. You need to look no further then Scandinavia, Germany and the Low Countries to see what non-militant trade unions can achieve to further the position of employees while still take in account the needs of the company they work for. Their agreements are based on consensus, mutual respect and a strong sense of joint responsibility for not just the existence of the company but also society as a whole. The Anglo-Saxon model based on egocentric greed and implied disrespect for subordinates doesn't fly here. The economic results speak for themselves: it works :P

Unions really are a double-edged-sword. They can force employers to provide better working conditions, but, they can also be abused. A local business, for example, had the employees form a union, and demand compensation that exceeds what the company could actually afford. In the end, the employer actually shut down, and all of the employees are now out of work.

 

It's also been known for companies to use the union to control employees.

 

Then there's cases where, for example, a teacher at a public school is completely unqualified to be a teacher, but the school is completely unable to fire the teacher, due to the union's involvement. When I was in high school, there was a scandal that broke from the other high school in town over a teacher getting filmed smoking marijuana while in the classroom, and the school refused to do anything due to the teacher's union. I think that law enforcement actually stepped in, and told the union that they had to remove the teacher, or the union would be prosecuted, not just the teacher (this was before marijuana was legal here). I believe 7 or 8 teachers, administrators, and the legal rep for that union were all fired, and several faced criminal charges.

 

I personally have mixed feelings about unions. They seem like good ideas, but the end result typically involves employees giving up all of their power to either their employer, or the union itself, as well as a chunk of their paycheck.

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39 minutes ago, SansVarnic said:

Unions eventually outdate themselves and though they started with good intentions become

So Unions are the HOA of the workplace.

 

16 minutes ago, thechinchinsong said:

Who's had positive or negative experiences with Unions in their workplaces? I'm a college student so I can't say I'm informed.

My only experience is being sat at a table the day of my employment, being told all the great things the unions can do for me and essentially being forced to sign into the union or else not get the job. Then paying dues to the union on each of my paychecks. The union never did anything for me while I worked there. Not like I needed anything in the first place. The only condescending people I've talked to at that job, were Union reps. My boss was great guy.

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28 minutes ago, thechinchinsong said:

Who's had positive or negative experiences with Unions in their workplaces? I'm a college student so I can't say I'm informed.

Every experience for me was negative, try to get a harassing and abusive coworker removed... they got moved to another area and a promotion, btw they threatened me with assault. The Union took care of those charges as well, beside the fact I had witnesses and two police officer witness. Thats the best prime example I can share.

I do have more.

My other best example is like @TetraSky comment above.

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47 minutes ago, thechinchinsong said:

Who's had positive or negative experiences with Unions in their workplaces? I'm a college student so I can't say I'm informed.

I've had only positive experiences because unions pay you unemployment benefits. 75% of your pay for 400 days.

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Being from a different part of the world, our Laws, Rules and other Regulations differ from what's customary in N-America. Union reps have no real power in a company, but employers have the Law to abide when it comes to termination of employment. The Law is fairly protective of workers and their rights, so getting fired is still a real possibility, but if you are you've basically only yourself to blame. Under normal circumstances, that is. There is (some) room for abuse, but on both sides so that cancels each other out, according to Lawmakers :P

 

My experience with Unions is neutral, but that's because I've experienced both benefits and downsides of a membership. I'm still a member though, even though I no longer work in that particular industry. (memberships are personal, not attached to an employer or even industry)

 

@thechinchinsong  My advise is to join a union, especially if it's mandated for the industry you want to work in, but it may harm your chances of getting the job as employers may not be so keen on hiring Union members in the first place. YMMV!

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im no marxist but i joined my union. It's the only way to get things done when in a very large company. A lot of people complain the union reps are dopey and useless but its better than the expense of resolving issues alone.

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1 minute ago, Dutch_Master said:

Being from a different part of the world, our Laws, Rules and other Regulations differ from what's customary in N-America. Union reps have no real power in a company, but employers have the Law to abide when it comes to termination of employment. The Law fairly protective of workers and their rights, so getting fired is still a real possibility, but if you are you've basically only yourself to blame. Under normal circumstances, that is. There is (some) room for abuse, but on both sides so that cancels each other out, according to Lawmakers :P

 

I know a useless worker, that no one wants to work with, who was caught smoking weed on a site. He was sacked as is our employers right. The union got him his job back but he has to go to a different site. He is already banned from another big customer that I work at because he used to work for them. He got sacked from my customer coz his job was to baby sit cheese in a cheese factory but he would go home to drink and smoke weed. Unions are a double edged sword.

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Just now, Mling said:

I know a useless worker, that no one wants to work with, who was caught smoking weed on a site. He was sacked as is our employers right. The union got him his job back but he has to go to a different site. He is already banned from another big customer that I work at because he used to work for them. He got sacked from my customer coz his job was to baby sit cheese in a cheese factory but he would go home to drink and smoke weed. Unions are a double edged sword.

Over here, that wouldn't happen. If company rules state he cannot smoke (never mind stuff he shouldn't smoke anyway) the company can sack him if he's caught (repeatedly and after several oral and written reprimandes, that's a hard requirement) and no union rep can give him his job back, simply because they don't have that power. Only a Judge could, and often they side with the employer with reasoning of "a heavily disturbed working relationship" as cause for termination even if the company is clearly at fault. (in which case the company has to pay, significantly*) And although employers are legally not allowed to discuss former employees with other employers, nor are those employers legally allowed to ask for that information, it still happens informally (regrettably) so that dude wouldn't have gotten that 2nd job after his antics got him fired from his first place of work.

 

*case in point: Easyjet. Not too long ago they closed their Dutch air base as punishment for their Dutch staff going on strike, A Judge deemed the actions from the company illegal and ordered it to pay serious compensation to the sacked staff. AFAIK they paid up, as failure to do so would lead to a "contempt of Court" verdict, which would leave the company open to some serious trouble and not just in NL. The Judge could then have ordered grounding of aircraft, even if Easyjet doesn't own them (for that reason) because Dutch Law includes an " economical usage" clause: If you use it to gain a benefit (financial or material), even if you don't legally own it, it can still be impounded. So the Judge could have ordered grounding of jets used by Easyjet, not only in NL, but Europe-wide. And believe me, most Gov't here would have happily complied as they're fed up with the frankly immoral antics of that Irish "dude" in charge of the airline. 🙄  OK, rant over :P

"You don't need eyes to see, you need vision"

 

(Faithless, 'Reverence' from the 1996 Reverence album)

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5 minutes ago, Dutch_Master said:

employers are legally not allowed to discuss former employees with other employers

my customers has a rule that a terminated emloyee is banned/tresspassed if they return. So the details of the sacking may not be discussed but the authority to enter the property trumps it. They have a history of terrorism threats, and every now and then vegan/environmental activists play their games.

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fire all of them, remove them before it's too late. The last thing the US needs is these legalised mafia style organisations. Don't make the same mistake we fell into.

One day I will be able to play Monster Hunter Frontier in French/Italian/English on my PC, it's just a matter of time... 4 5 6 7 8 9 years later: It's finally coming!!!

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1 hour ago, Dutch_Master said:

Being from a different part of the world, our Laws, Rules and other Regulations differ from what's customary in N-America. Union reps have no real power in a company, but employers have the Law to abide when it comes to termination of employment. The Law is fairly protective of workers and their rights, so getting fired is still a real possibility, but if you are you've basically only yourself to blame. Under normal circumstances, that is. There is (some) room for abuse, but on both sides so that cancels each other out, according to Lawmakers :P

 

My experience with Unions is neutral, but that's because I've experienced both benefits and downsides of a membership. I'm still a member though, even though I no longer work in that particular industry. (memberships are personal, not attached to an employer or even industry)

 

@thechinchinsong  My advise is to join a union, especially if it's mandated for the industry you want to work in, but it may harm your chances of getting the job as employers may not be so keen on hiring Union members in the first place. YMMV!

Yeah, the core of the issue is the Laws. In theory, the workers of a company having a way to easily enforce their agreements with the employer makes perfect sense. It's actually far easier for everyone involved if there's a baseline set of rules and everyone generally follows them. In practice, what matters is local cultures, tolerance for corruption, vested interests and the way the legal structure sets the interests.

 

In the States, Unionization started as something like a proto-Communist violent racket attempt. That lead to a lot of violence because it wasn't really about helping the other workers, it was simply a power play. I believe it was the Teamsters that got big because they figured out that selling (and delivering) better pay gets you a lot of support. That's when Unionization took off in the States. It's also what would be its undoing. First because the big pile of money from pension funds attracted the Mafia, leading to a massive takeover by organized crime, and then, because everyone had an interest in offering benefits that no one would have to be responsible for, creating a massive pile of IOUs with no one around to pay it.

 

In the functional state that most unions end up in, they really only protect the least productive employees, which results in the company seeming like the worst Group Project ever for the best employees. As a result, they leave because they have better options. Do this cycle of Good Leave/Bad Stay for a couple of years and suddenly a company is mostly staffed with the worst employees they've hired in the last 10 years. This, in turn, drives off potential new hires because they realize quickly they aren't wanted. This is actually the core reason Silicon Valley companies will move HQs if they think they'll get unionized. For any leading edge technology company, it's a death sentence.

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