On January 27th, 2021, Shannon Wait made the following Facebook post:
“My employer told us who do heavy lifting and manual labor that if we lose our bottle of water or cap that they will not be replacing it DURING A PANDEMIC but you can’t take extra breaks to go get water so just stay thirsty and be glad you have a job.”
Earlier during the pandemic, she and other data center workers were promised bonus pay, but when she asked about that bonus, she was told by a manager via email that “It is never ok to discuss compensation with your peers”.
Watch Shannon share her story:
After asking members of Alphabet Workers Union to help her file an unfair labor practice against Google and Modis, a settlement was reached, which includes Shannon’s suspension being overturned and Google posting a document in her data center that states, “You have the right to discuss wage rates, bonuses, and working conditions”.
Shannon knew her rights. If you’re a data center worker and want to learn more about your rights as a worker, join us for an informational event:
FTEs and TVCs are welcome!
Before publicly announcing the Alphabet Workers Union on January 4th, 2021, our union has been involved in affecting change at Alphabet. We will continue to take action when there are injustices in the workplace and when we believe Alphabet isn’t living up to our values.
Over the course of 2020, we’ve created space to give Alphabet workers opportunities to voice their concerns, such as by holding listening events on the one-year anniversary of the firings of the “Thanksgiving Four” and speaking out in chatrooms about Dr. Gebru’s firing.
We will continue to share our efforts here and defend our fellow workers!
In the early summer of 2020, people around the world came together to protest the disproportionate rate of police violence against Black people. During this time, many public organizations gave vague statements in support of Black lives. Many of us felt that the response by Alphabet leadership was dismissive of the role Alphabet plays in the systemic oppression of Black people. We needed a way to demand deeper, structural change in response to these outcries.
We felt it was unsafe to discuss subjects like this on corporate mailing lists without the risk of retaliation. Some union members were already working to create a space for safe communication among workers: Alphabet Off-Corp (formerly known as Whiteboard Erasers). We decided that part of that space should discuss the formation of anti-racist systems, and created Googlers Against Racism. Though the name says Googlers, this space is inclusive of all Alphabet workers, whether they are full-time employees or TVCs (temporary employees, vendors, contractors). We accept all who want open and deep conversations about how we can make meaningful changes to create a more anti-racist company and society.
It is important to use our corporate power to pressure police departments to be better. We determined the simplest and most direct way is for our company to refuse to make any direct contracts with police departments until meaningful reform of our criminal justice structure has been made.
This led a group of us to write the go/no-police-contracts petition. We decided to use this call for change as a way to also invite people to Googlers Against Racism. Alphabet has not gone far enough to address our concerns, but we were able to successfully demonstrate that we can and must speak up when our leadership is poorly representing us.
Since our launch, we have had ongoing email discussions on the mailing list. We created a book club to help people educate themselves. We joined the global Strike for Black Lives and made a show of Alphabet support for the workers demanding better wages. We are fighting for meaningful recognition of caste discrimination, an ongoing problem that is affecting our South Asian community.
Join us to help fight for a safe and equitable experience at Alphabet, and eventually for the entire world.