A group of Google contract workers who help train the company’s Bard AI chatbot and write Google Help articles voted overwhelmingly to form a union on Monday. Workers who are contracted to work for Google through Accenture have unionized to secure better working conditions and safety.
The contractors will join the Alphabet Workers Union, the labor organization that represents employees at Google and its parent company Alphabet. He first began unionizing efforts in June after being assigned to work on the then-unannounced Bard chatbot. According to one report, as part of his efforts to help train the bot, he was asked to “handle obscene, graphic and offensive prompts.” bloomberg,
When a contractor filed a complaint about the content with Accenture’s human resources department, bloomberg According to reports their work was outsourced to Accenture workers in Manila. Just weeks after contract actors announced their unionization campaign, dozens of contractors were laid off, leaving only 40 out of 120 workers with jobs.
“We organized so we can have a say in our working conditions,” Jane Hill, a Google Help designer and member of the Alphabet Workers Union, said in a statement. “In response, Google has attempted to shirk its responsibility to us as our employer by firing dozens of our team members.”
Contractors classify Google as a “joint employer” with Accenture
Contractors classify Google as a “joint employer” with Accenture, meaning both companies work together with workers and can be held responsible for their treatment. However, Google says it is not a direct employer.
“We have no objection to these Accenture workers choosing to form a union. We have long had many contracts with unionized suppliers,” explains Google spokesperson Courtenay Mancini. the verge, “However, as we made clear in our active appeal to the NLRB [National Labor Relations Board]We are not a joint employer because we do not control their terms of employment or working conditions – that is a matter between the workers and their employer, Accenture.
In its appeal to the NLRB, Google says that Accenture “single-handedly” determines employees’ work schedules, job classifications, time-off requests, and pay. Accenture spokeswoman Deirdre Blackwood says the company “recognizes the right of our people to form or join unions” and that it “will continue to participate in the NLRB process.”
Google has faced criticism over its treatment of contract workers for years, and more of them across all areas of Google are starting to unionize. A group of contractors working on YouTube Music voted to form a union in April following the NLRB’s ruling that Alphabet should be classified as a joint employer, a decision that would give Google a seat at the bargaining table. Will force you to take it. However, the NLRB says Google refuses to negotiate with workers as part of the contract bargaining process. Since Google is already pushing the claim that it is a joint employer of Accenture workers, we are likely to have another legal battle ahead of us.