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            谷歌也有了工會,這能讓谷歌變得更好嗎?

            谷歌也有了工會,這能讓谷歌變得更好嗎?

            Danielle Abril 2021年04月14日
            隨著越來越多的技術人員開始與其強大的雇主較量,谷歌內部也有了工會。

            南卡州谷歌數據中心技師沙農·懷特從沒想過能遇到如此荒唐的事情:她因為一個水壺而陷入了麻煩。1月,她因在Facebook上抱怨谷歌未能替換其公司發放的水壺而被谷歌停薪,這個水壺的蓋子在長時間使用之后開始松動,然后不見了。在受到這一處罰之前,她還向經理反映,自己以及同行承包商與新冠疫情相關的高危補貼發放出現了延遲。然而,在發布水壺事件貼文后,懷特被從數據中心樓層帶到了一個電話會議室,在這里,她被指控違反了谷歌的保密協議。她說:“我當時真的笑的不行了,因為水壺毫無專屬性可言?!?/p>

            在獲悉這一事件之后,代表谷歌母公司Alphabet員工與承包商利益的Alphabet工會迅速采取了行動。工會將谷歌和聘請懷特的承包商德科(Adecco)告到了全美勞工關系委員會(National Labor Relations Board)。訴狀稱,懷特的停職是不公平的,而且這兩家公司哈試圖阻止員工討論其薪酬。約兩周后,在政府對上述投訴做出任何裁決之前,懷特獲準回到了崗位,并拿到了欠付工資以及一個新水壺。

            Alphabet工會領導人說:“這是我們嘗試做的工作。像懷特這樣的故事每天都在發生?!?/font>

            谷歌員工2018年抗議高管性侵的示威游行推動了工會組建動議。圖片來源:Original Photo: Michael Short—Bloomberg/Getty Images

            工會的成立以及圍繞懷特事件與谷歌的對峙說明,科技行業的員工行動主義正日漸盛行。很多公司此前被視為烏托邦,高薪,可以免費吃喝,但它們如今卻逐漸遭到其部分員工的詬病。

            Facebook雇員曾舉辦了一場虛擬罷工活動,抗議公司對時任特朗普總統有關其服務的暴力貼文采取的不聞不問政策。3月,亞馬遜阿拉巴馬州的倉儲員工在公司的極力反對下,圓滿完成了有關是否成立工會的投票。盡管這一舉措未能獲得足夠的支持,但組織方并不打算就此放棄。與此同時,眾籌服務公司Kickstarter的雇員已經成立了工會。

            康奈爾大學勞動力研究中心“員工研究所”行政主任帕特里西亞·坎珀斯·梅迪納表示:“這是人們對這些巨型公司對員工生活影響力的一種反作用力?!?/font>

            工會招聘的雇員類型因公司而異。在一些情況下,例如亞馬遜一樣,招聘的是藍領員工,而在其他公司,例如谷歌,其吸納對象還包括高薪工程師。

            Alphabet工會于1月成立,但這一舉措的萌芽據稱源于三年前。當時,有消息稱,谷歌正在為中國開發一款帶有審查權限的搜索引擎,項目名為“蜻蜓”。很多雇員抱怨稱,該項目以金錢為出發點,犧牲了自由言論。最終,該項目在員工的批評聲中被擱置。

            不久之后,2萬名谷歌員工再次罷工,抗議公司對高管性侵指控的處理方式。谷歌最終同意了部分員工的要求,例如廢除谷歌要求對性騷擾和性侵犯事件進行強制仲裁的規定。

            除了改善員工的工作環境之外,新成立的工會希望給谷歌施加壓力,要求其僅從事有助于公益事業的科技研發。盡管工會規模很小——僅有900名成員,而Alphabet全球員工總數達到了13.5萬名,但工會領導者稱,他們對于當前的發展態勢感到十分欣慰。

            作為一個“少數群體工會”,它的權力十分有限,而且無法逼迫Alphabet就勞動合同進行磋商。該工會是美國通訊業工人協會的一員,后者代表著全美70萬名員工,其中大多數都集中在電信、媒體和航空行業。

            羅格斯大學工人組織創新中心簡尼斯·范恩認為,盡管谷歌的工會為少數群體工會,但依然有其權力。例如,它可以公開披露任何其視為不道德的谷歌項目,或組織停工斗爭,并幫助聯邦和州政府持續開展其有關谷歌的反壟斷調查。范恩說:“要說破壞公司的聲譽,內部員工有得天獨厚的優勢?!?/font>

            Alphabet工會執行理事會成員奧尼·阿桑表示,工會新成員的招募速度說明,員工認為他們可以改變谷歌的現狀。要成功地與這家巨型公司打交道,工會承認自身要具備隨機應變的能力?!拔覀儽仨毑捎梅浅R幍姆椒?,并另辟蹊徑,”阿桑說,“我們如何才能找到痛點,并從不同的方向進行進攻?”

            谷歌拒絕了《財富》雜志的采訪請求,而是提供了一份聲明。谷歌人力運營部門總監卡拉?西爾弗斯坦說:“當然,我們的雇員保護了谷歌所支持的勞工權益。然而,就像我們一直做的那樣,我們將繼續直接接洽公司的所有雇員?!?/font>

            到目前為止,就采取行動而言,工會已經譴責谷歌的子公司YouTube對美國國會山騷亂之后人們對其服務的“仇恨”缺乏應對政策。工會還批評了今年早些時候瑪格麗特·米切爾的停職事件,后者是谷歌道德人工智能團隊的領導人,她隨后被谷歌開除。此前,還有一名知名研究人員提姆尼特·戈布魯也被谷歌炒了魷魚。

            然而如今,組織方稱,工會大多專注于創建分支業務,并培訓成員如何吸納新成員??紶栒f:“這些都是今后很長一段時間內為保持工會戰斗力所必須要做的事情?!?/font>

            最終,評判工會的影響力是一件很困難的事情。對于公眾來說,讓數據中心的一名承包商回歸原職可能看起來是一件微不足道的事情。然而對于這位承包商來說,這是一場巨大的勝利。懷特說:“工會自1月才開始運作,而且已經扭轉了一名員工的命運。試想一下,如果工會在五年前就已開始運行,會帶來多大的影響?”

            ****

            科技行業工會現狀

            谷歌員工并非是唯一在近期推動企業工會化的科技公司雇員。

            Kickstarter

            2月,這家初創融資服務企業的雇員同意在辦公室與職業雇員國際工會領導下組建工會。

            Medium

            這家線上出版平臺的員工最近嘗試成立工會,但這一動議并未得到多數人通過。工會支持者自此之后停止了其工會組建活動。

            Glitch

            在于2020年3月加入美國通訊業工人協會之后,這家軟件公司的雇員通過與管理層約1年的談判,達成了一項協議。

            視頻游戲

            一些游戲行業的雇員正推動工會組建舉措,以阻止工作過度勞累現象。去年,美國通訊業工人協會對這一舉措給予了支持。(財富中文網)

            譯者:馮豐

            審校:夏林

            南卡州谷歌數據中心技師沙農·懷特從沒想過能遇到如此荒唐的事情:她因為一個水壺而陷入了麻煩。1月,她因在Facebook上抱怨谷歌未能替換其公司發放的水壺而被谷歌停薪,這個水壺的蓋子在長時間使用之后開始松動,然后不見了。在受到這一處罰之前,她還向經理反映,自己以及同行承包商與新冠疫情相關的高危補貼發放出現了延遲。然而,在發布水壺事件貼文后,懷特被從數據中心樓層帶到了一個電話會議室,在這里,她被指控違反了谷歌的保密協議。她說:“我當時真的笑的不行了,因為水壺毫無專屬性可言?!?/font>

            在獲悉這一事件之后,代表谷歌母公司Alphabet員工與承包商利益的Alphabet工會迅速采取了行動。工會將谷歌和聘請懷特的承包商德科(Adecco)告到了全美勞工關系委員會(National Labor Relations Board)。訴狀稱,懷特的停職是不公平的,而且這兩家公司哈試圖阻止員工討論其薪酬。約兩周后,在政府對上述投訴做出任何裁決之前,懷特獲準回到了崗位,并拿到了欠付工資以及一個新水壺。

            Alphabet工會領導人說:“這是我們嘗試做的工作。像懷特這樣的故事每天都在發生?!?/font>

            工會的成立以及圍繞懷特事件與谷歌的對峙說明,科技行業的員工行動主義正日漸盛行。很多公司此前被視為烏托邦,高薪,可以免費吃喝,但它們如今卻逐漸遭到其部分員工的詬病。

            Facebook雇員曾舉辦了一場虛擬罷工活動,抗議公司對時任特朗普總統有關其服務的暴力貼文采取的不聞不問政策。3月,亞馬遜阿拉巴馬州的倉儲員工在公司的極力反對下,圓滿完成了有關是否成立工會的投票。盡管這一舉措未能獲得足夠的支持,但組織方并不打算就此放棄。與此同時,眾籌服務公司Kickstarter的雇員已經成立了工會。

            康奈爾大學勞動力研究中心“員工研究所”行政主任帕特里西亞·坎珀斯·梅迪納表示:“這是人們對這些巨型公司對員工生活影響力的一種反作用力?!?/font>

            工會招聘的雇員類型因公司而異。在一些情況下,例如亞馬遜一樣,招聘的是藍領員工,而在其他公司,例如谷歌,其吸納對象還包括高薪工程師。

            Alphabet工會于1月成立,但這一舉措的萌芽據稱源于三年前。當時,有消息稱,谷歌正在為中國開發一款帶有審查權限的搜索引擎,項目名為“蜻蜓”。很多雇員抱怨稱,該項目以金錢為出發點,犧牲了自由言論。最終,該項目在員工的批評聲中被擱置。

            不久之后,2萬名谷歌員工再次罷工,抗議公司對高管性侵指控的處理方式。谷歌最終同意了部分員工的要求,例如廢除谷歌要求對性騷擾和性侵犯事件進行強制仲裁的規定。

            除了改善員工的工作環境之外,新成立的工會希望給谷歌施加壓力,要求其僅從事有助于公益事業的科技研發。盡管工會規模很小——僅有900名成員,而Alphabet全球員工總數達到了13.5萬名,但工會領導者稱,他們對于當前的發展態勢感到十分欣慰。

            作為一個“少數群體工會”,它的權力十分有限,而且無法逼迫Alphabet就勞動合同進行磋商。該工會是美國通訊業工人協會的一員,后者代表著全美70萬名員工,其中大多數都集中在電信、媒體和航空行業。

            羅格斯大學工人組織創新中心簡尼斯·范恩認為,盡管谷歌的工會為少數群體工會,但依然有其權力。例如,它可以公開披露任何其視為不道德的谷歌項目,或組織停工斗爭,并幫助聯邦和州政府持續開展其有關谷歌的反壟斷調查。范恩說:“要說破壞公司的聲譽,內部員工有得天獨厚的優勢?!?/font>

            Alphabet工會執行理事會成員奧尼·阿桑表示,工會新成員的招募速度說明,員工認為他們可以改變谷歌的現狀。要成功地與這家巨型公司打交道,工會承認自身要具備隨機應變的能力?!拔覀儽仨毑捎梅浅R幍姆椒?,并另辟蹊徑,”阿桑說,“我們如何才能找到痛點,并從不同的方向進行進攻?”

            谷歌拒絕了《財富》雜志的采訪請求,而是提供了一份聲明。谷歌人力運營部門總監卡拉?西爾弗斯坦說:“當然,我們的雇員保護了谷歌所支持的勞工權益。然而,就像我們一直做的那樣,我們將繼續直接接洽公司的所有雇員?!?/font>

            到目前為止,就采取行動而言,工會已經譴責谷歌的子公司YouTube對美國國會山騷亂之后人們對其服務的“仇恨”缺乏應對政策。工會還批評了今年早些時候瑪格麗特·米切爾的停職事件,后者是谷歌道德人工智能團隊的領導人,她隨后被谷歌開除。此前,還有一名知名研究人員提姆尼特·戈布魯也被谷歌炒了魷魚。

            然而如今,組織方稱,工會大多專注于創建分支業務,并培訓成員如何吸納新成員??紶栒f:“這些都是今后很長一段時間內為保持工會戰斗力所必須要做的事情?!?/font>

            最終,評判工會的影響力是一件很困難的事情。對于公眾來說,讓數據中心的一名承包商回歸原職可能看起來是一件微不足道的事情。然而對于這位承包商來說,這是一場巨大的勝利。懷特說:“工會自1月才開始運作,而且已經扭轉了一名員工的命運。試想一下,如果工會在五年前就已開始運行,會帶來多大的影響?”

            ****

            技行業工會現狀

            谷歌員工并非是唯一在近期推動企業工會化的科技公司雇員。

            Kickstarter

            2月,這家初創融資服務企業的雇員同意在辦公室與職業雇員國際工會領導下組建工會。

            Medium

            這家線上出版平臺的員工最近嘗試成立工會,但這一動議并未得到多數人通過。工會支持者自此之后停止了其工會組建活動。

            Glitch

            在于2020年3月加入美國通訊業工人協會之后,這家軟件公司的雇員通過與管理層約1年的談判,達成了一項協議。

            視頻游戲

            一些游戲行業的雇員正推動工會組建舉措,以阻止工作過度勞累現象。去年,美國通訊業工人協會對這一舉措給予了支持。(財富中文網)

            譯者:馮豐

            審校:夏林

            Shannon Wait, a technician at a Google data center in South Carolina, never thought something as inconsequential as a water bottle could get her into trouble. But in January, she was suspended without pay for complaining on Facebook that Google wouldn’t replace her company-issued water bottle, which was missing its cap after it had loosened over time. The punishment came after she had also talked to managers about a delay in promised COVID-related hazard pay for herself and fellow contractors. But after posting about the water bottle, Wait was escorted from the data center floor to a conference call, during which she was accused of violating Google’s nondisclosure agreement. “I could do nothing but laugh, because there is nothing proprietary about a water bottle,” she says.

            After hearing about the incident, Alphabet Workers Union, which represents employees and contractors of Google parent Alphabet, sprang into action. The union filed a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board against Google and Adecco, the contracting company that had hired Wait. It alleged that Wait’s suspension was unfair and that the companies had tried to stop workers from discussing their pay. About two weeks later, before any government ruling on the complaint, Wait was allowed to return to her job—with back pay and a new water bottle to boot.

            “That’s the kind of work we’re trying to do,” says Parul Koul, the Alphabet union’s leader. “And stories like hers are coming up every day.”

            The union’s founding and its face-off with Google over Wait are examples of growing worker activism across the tech industry. Once considered to be utopias, with high pay and free food, many technology companies are now increasingly seen by some of their staff as adversaries.

            Facebook employees held a virtual walkout protesting the company’s lax stance on then-President Donald Trump’s inflammatory posts on its service. In March, Amazon warehouse workers in Alabama wrapped up voting on whether to unionize amid the company’s intense opposition. The unionization effort failed to garner sufficient support, but organizers plan to challenge the result. Meanwhile, employees at crowdfunding service Kickstarter have already formed a union.

            “This is a reaction to the level of power these megacorporations are having on people’s lives,” says Patricia Campos-Medina, executive director at Cornell University’s labor research center, the Worker Institute.

            The type of employee being recruited by unions varies by company. In some cases, as at Amazon, it’s blue-collar workers, while elsewhere, such as at Google, the push includes high-paid engineers.

            The Alphabet union made its public debut in January, but its roots arguably date back to three years ago. That was when news leaked that Google was working on a censored search engine for China, called Project Dragonfly. Many employees complained that the project, ultimately shelved amid the uproar, prioritized money over free speech.

            That episode was followed by a walkout of 20,000 Googlers who were upset about the company’s handling of sexual misconduct allegations against executives. Google ultimately agreed to some employee demands like eliminating forced arbitration for sexual harassment and assault cases.

            In addition to improving working conditions, the new union hopes to pressure Google to work only on tech that serves the public good. Although the union is small—it has just 900 members out of 135,000 Alphabet employees globally—its leaders say they are pleased with how things are going.

            As a “minority union,” it has limited power and can’t force Alphabet to bargain over a labor contract. The union is part of the Communications Workers of America, which represents 700,000 workers nationally, mostly in the telecom, media, and airline industries.

            Janice Fine, director of Rutgers University’s Center for Innovation in Worker Organization, argues that Google’s union, despite its minority status, has power. For example, it could publicly expose any Google projects that are deemed unethical, organize work stoppages, and help federal and state governments with their ongoing antitrust investigation into the company. “Who better to do reputational damage than people who are on the inside?” Fine says.

            Auni Ahsan, an executive council member for Alphabet’s union, said the pace of recruiting new union members demonstrates that workers believe they can change the status quo at Google. To succeed against such a huge company, the union admits that it must be nimble. “We’re going to have to be unconventional and creative,” Ahsan says. “How can we find pressure points and attack from different directions?”

            Google declined Fortune’s request for an interview and instead provided a statement. “Of course our employees have protected labor rights that we support,” says Kara Silverstein, Google’s director of people operations. “But as we’ve always done, we’ll continue engaging directly with all our employees.”

            So far in terms of taking action, the union has condemned Google’s YouTube subsidiary for a “lackluster” policing of hate on its service following the U.S. Capitol riots. The union also criticized the suspension earlier this year of Margaret Mitchell, a leader of Google’s Ethical A.I. team who was later fired, following the ouster of another high-profile researcher, Timnit Gebru.

            But for now, organizers say the union is mostly focused on setting up operations and training members how to grow their ranks. “That’s what’s going to be necessary to keep the fight up for many years,” Koul says.

            In the end, judging the union’s impact is difficult. To the public, reinstating one contractor at a data center may seem relatively minor. But for that one contractor, the win is huge. “The union has only been around since January, and they’ve already made a difference in one person’s life,” Wait says. “Imagine if they had been around the last five years.”?

            ****

            State of the tech union

            Google workers aren’t the only tech employees who have recently pushed to unionize.

            Kickstarter

            In February, employees of the startup funding service agreed to organize under the Office and Professional Employees International Union.

            Medium

            Workers at the online publishing platform recently tried to form a union, but the drive failed to win a majority. Union supporters have since paused their organizing activities.

            Glitch

            After joining the Communications Workers of America in March 2020, the software company’s employees negotiated and approved a contract with management in about a year.

            Video gaming

            Some of the gaming industry’s employees are pushing to unionize to stop from being overworked. Last year, the Communications Workers of America backed the effort.

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