Tech Layoffs Fueling Union Activity

by | Feb 23, 2023 | Bargaining/Negotiations, CWA, Industry, Strikes, Tech - Media, Union Organizing

Surely, you have heard about recent tech industry layoffs, which reportedly exceed 200,000 workers and have sparked renewed interest in the smallish Alphabet Workers Union, part of the CWA. Those workers hail from Google’s parent company, which recently laid off 12,000 tech workers, and one wonders if the AWU-CWA will now become more than an outlier in the union world.

The CWA has been busy, especially where Alphabet/Google is concerned. The tech-hungry union has been organizing YouTube workers as well as Google “raters” in charge of developing the Internet’s almighty algorithm. The union also sent Google store workers to rally over the company’s layoffs, and the CWA spurred dozens of YouTube Music contractors to threaten a strike over a return-to-office policy.

Those particular YouTube contractors are formally employed by Cognizant and wish to have the company declared as a joint employer with Google. The workers also filed for a union election last October, and they claim that in November, they were told to report to the company’s Austin offices in February 2023 or be terminated.

Also in Austin: Engineers and production support staff at Findhelp filed for a union election to join the Office and Professional Employees International Union.

In the publishing realm, 250 striking HarperCollins workers ended their three-month strike in New York. Reportedly, the resulting UAW contract raised starting annual salaries $5,000 and promised one-time $1,500 bonuses. Considering that this doesn’t even begin to account for three months off the job, it’s no wonder that some Harper Collins workers do not see meaningful results coming their way.

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