Contract workers working with Accenture who have been contracted out to work for Google have had enough. These folks were tasked to help train the Bard AI and write support documentation for Google. Monday, they decided in numbers to form a union. They want to secure better working conditions and protections for themselves and others.
The aforementioned contractors will be joining the Alphabet Workers Union. This union was organized to represent Google and Alphabet employees. The contractors first started their unionization efforts when they were tasked to “handle obscene, graphic and offensive prompts”.
Upon filing a complaint with human resources about the content they were going through, the work was then outsourced to Manila. Then, just after they announced their efforts to unionize, 80 of the 120 contractors were let go.
We organized so that we could have a say in our working conditions. In response, Google has tried to skirt its responsibility to us as our employer, while also laying off dozens of our team members.”
Jen Hill, a Google Help designer and Alphabet Workers Union member
While the contractors are classifying Google as a “joint employer” with Accenture, Google has been fighting back.
We have no objection to these Accenture workers electing to form a union. We’ve long had many contracts with unionized suppliers. However, as we made clear in our active appeal to the NLRB [National Labor Relations Board], we are not a joint employer as we simply do not control their employment terms or working conditions — this matter is between the workers and their employer, Accenture.”
Courtenay Mencini, Google spokesperson
Google has appealed to the NLRB that Accenture “alone” has the say in what the employees do, classify as, take their leave, and get paid. Accenture, on the other hand, has decided to play ball. Spokesperson Deirdre Blackwood stated that they acknowledge “the right of our people to form or join unions” and will “continue to participate in the NLRB process.”
This isn’t the first time Google has tried to distance itself for contractors. In April, YouTube Music contractors fought a similar fight and Alphabet lost that one. Looks like Alphabet will be in yet another fight.
Source: The Verge