Barella Quoted on Alphabet Workers Union and Unionizing in the Tech Sector

Law360 Employment Authority

Labor and Employment Practice Group Leader Derek Barella was quoted on the announcement of the Alphabet Workers Union, the recently formed labor union of workers employed by Google’s parent company, Alphabet Inc., and the new landscape for unions in the technology industry.

"It's a new sector for organized labor, and it's one that they're definitely focused on," Derek said. "There's definitely been some emphasis on the sector, because there's a lot of opportunity there for unions."

Taking on a less traditional form, the Alphabet Workers Union will not seek official recognition from the company or negotiate a collective bargaining agreement.

“It seems like more of a different kind of union that they’re envisioning, at least at the outset,” Derek said, “It will be interesting to see whether that morphs more into what we consider to be a traditional labor union model."

However, Derek added that he expects more energy and resources will be applied to traditional organizing in the near term, noting that the Protecting the Right to Organize Act, an overhaul of the National Labor Relations Act that unions support, was recently reintroduced in the U.S. Congress.

"While I think that these types of innovative union arrangements, like the one we're seeing at Google, could certainly spark some imitation or similar efforts at other companies, I think what we're more likely to see is an increase in the traditional labor union organizing that leads to a collective bargaining relationship and collective bargaining negotiations in the wake of a new administration and a new push for changes in labor policy that would be favorable to organized labor," he said.

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