Can an Alphabet employee be fired?
Google employees are now organizing in unions
At the end of 2019, Google came under fire for allegedly firing two employees after trying to set up a union. The dismissal of the well-known AI researcher Timnit Gebru in December last year sparked further protests. Thousands of employees asked for clarification and criticized the handling of Gebru. Now the Google employees are organizing themselves in a union, they announced on Monday.
The newly founded Alphabet Workers Union should be open to all employees and contractors of Google's parent company Alphabet. Problems such as inequality as well as government contracts that are worthy of criticism are to be tackled. "This union builds on years of courageous organization by Google employees," explains Google employee Nicki Anselmo in relation to "The Verge".
Over the years it has become clear that Alphabet only reacts when the employees organize themselves as one, according to Anselmo. As an example, she cites Project Maven, the attempt by the US government to use artificial intelligence for more precise drone attacks. Google's involvement in this sparked protests among employees who viewed the project as unethical. As a result, there was no renewal of the contract with the Ministry of Defense.
230 employees are already part of the union, but the number of members is likely to increase further shortly. Because subcontractors have long complained about the unfair treatment compared to full-time staff, according to "The Verge". It is precisely these that should make up the majority of the workforce.
If the effort is successful, members will want to give one percent of their annual income to the union - money that would be used to pay legal fees and organize staff. (red, 4.1.2021)
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