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The Union of the Valley

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In early January, Alphabet employees announced they have formed a union in order to protest against the company. They complain of a lack of ethics on product development, reports of workplace misconduct being neglected, and rights of temporary workers being breached.

This is firstly interesting because such a move is rare in Silicon Valley. Employee turnover is high due to career-advancing reasons, and technologists are not generally very interested in this aspect of employment.

Secondly, it is relevant because this might have repercussions on one of Alphabet’s companies, Google. Google has already been met with claims of mishandling of cases of alleged sexual conduct over the years and more recently in 2018. With over 800 members now, doubling from its creation in January, it is likely that this union will grow even more, as there is strong support for the cause from various stakeholders.

This move presents a threat for Google, who now needs to prepare itself from future legal claims against the company. It will be interesting to watch how it responds to this interior threat, while also juggling external data protection and competition law pressures from various governments.

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