Workers at BDS Connected Solutions, a contractor for Alphabet's Google Fiber internet service, are seeking union recognition and bargaining power with Alphabet, according to a petition filed with the National Labor Relations Board on Tuesday.
At a Kansas City Google Fiber store, 10 of 11 employees signed union cards to join the Alphabet Workers Union, filing a petition with the NLRB requesting bargaining rights. The petition specifies that employees are seeking to bargain both with BDS Connected Solutions and Alphabet itself. The claim Alphabet is a “joint employer,” meaning it has enough control over the employees to be liable for their treatment and must negotiate with their union.
The move is a significant shift for the Alphabet Workers Union, which hadn't previously sought formal recognition and operated as what's known as a minority union or solidarity union. Winning bargaining rights would force Alphabet to recognize the 800-member workers union as the bargaining unit for employees.
As a vast number of Alphabet's employees are contract workers, getting bargaining rights at the Google Fiber operation could pave the way for the company to be recognized as a joint employer for thousands of contractors and temporary workers.
"We are proud to be standing alongside Google contractors demanding bargaining rights against a billion-dollar tech giant who refuses to treat all workers equally," said Parul Koul, Google software engineer and executive chair of AWU. "We are inspired by our colleagues in Kansas City for bringing the union to the National Labor Relations Board and for paving the way for AWU-CWA members to have bargaining rights and a seat at the table."