On this Monday something historic happened in the tech industry: The first union at Google was founded under the name “Alphabet Workers Union”. What was hardly conceivable a few years ago has become a growing movement among the large corporations in Silicon Valley. The union founder Dylan Baker spoke in a conversation with the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung” about the goals of the union and the downsides of the company.
The newly founded tech union currently has around 250 members and wants to organize protests and petitions in the future. In addition to traditional fields such as pay and social benefits, the ethical use of artificial intelligence in the union should also be up for debate.
Baker also wants to banish the image of the “spoiled software developer” from people’s minds. While he and other colleagues receive good salaries, part-time employees and external employees in particular earn “dramatically less” at the tech giant, as Baker emphasizes in an interview.
Many employees do not criticize out of fear
Sexism and racism are also repeatedly topics and fields that are insufficiently discussed in the company, as the software developer thinks. However, the problems with Google are not isolated cases, but are omnipresent in the industry. Baker therefore now hopes for more activism and growth. For now, however, the group wants to “move under the radar” until larger structures have grown and the group feels safe.
The subject of safety is particularly important for employees, as many are afraid of losing their job if criticized. Baker has already deleted a lot of personal information on Internet sites and set up a password manager, as he says in an interview with the “FAZ”.
Only recently, the AI researcher Timnit Gebru made serious allegations against Google. She was therefore fired from the company after criticizing the company in an internal email.
CEO Sundar Pichai is also unlikely to be too happy about the news that a union has been formed within his company.
Baker hopes the new merger will bring more equality and fairness in the company. “Ultimately, it is us, the employees, who make Google what it is, and not the management,” said the union founder.