Google Contract Staff That Helped Train AI Seek To Unionize

A group of Alphabet Inc. contract workers is launching a unionization campaign, saying they need a greater voice at the company that has tasked them with work on its most high-profile products, including training generative AI answers in Google’s search engine and chatbot.

The workers, who are employed via the vendor Accenture Plc, are seeking to negotiate directly with Alphabet, which they argue is legally also their boss.

The group is organizing with the Alphabet Workers Union and said it has signed up the vast majority of its proposed bargaining unit, which includes about 120 writers, graphic designers and launch coordinators who create internal and external Google content, including all of the materials for Google Help support pages. They’ve also recently helped to review AI-generated content.

The workers said they hope to bargain for changes including increased paid time off, control over accepting assignments outside the scope of their usual work, and competitive pay that reflects their skill sets. The employees are asking management to voluntarily recognize and negotiate with the union. The workers contend Alphabet is a “joint employer” — a company with enough control over a group of employees to be liable for their treatment and obligated to negotiate if they unionize, even if it doesn’t sign their paychecks.

“We’ve spent two years organizing and are trying to get a fair shake,” said Laura Greene, a multimedia team leader with Accenture. “Basically, we decided that the only way to get real, lasting change is to formally unionize and, ideally, negotiate at the bargaining table.”