In late September of this year, a large group of Google contract workers voted to unionize with the United Steel Workers, under the name “Pittsburg Association of Tech Professionals” (PATP). This vote to unionize by Google employees is one of the first instances of unionizing “white collar” information technology (IT) workers and may very well impact the tech industry at large. Damon Di Cicco, an organizer with United Steelworkers that assisted in the creation of PATP, said that it would encourage others across the country in the tech industry to pursue a similar route towards unionization.
The recent vote seemingly reflects a shift in the mindset of tech industry workers. Perhaps because an increasing number of individuals employed in the technology field are classified as contractors, who often are offered less protection than full-time employees, there is a now greater fear of exploitation and a desire for greater collective security. Many Google employees cited vast disparities in income and benefits between contractors and employees with essentially the same roles as a reason why unionizing was necessary. The most troubling aspect reported by contract workers at Google, however, was the lack of job security for these roles. Often times Google contract workers were staffed to projects with durations as short as two weeks. They could not, as such, settle into their roles as projects were often discontinued and replaced with new, different projects that required distinct specializations.
Furthermore, through unionizing Google employees hope to achieve the benefit of additional paid days off. While Martin Luther King Day and Presidents Day, among many other holidays, are days that full-time Google employees have as paid days off, many Google contract workers were forced to use personal days for these holidays. If the movement to unionize is successful, the PATP has a great possibility of changing the rights and protections for employees within the technology industry for years to come. At BLG we are seeing more and more consulting agreements as a result of this new rapidly adapting workplace, and noting the pros (flexibility) and cons (inconsistency) so we can best serve our clients with balanced agreements. #BLG#letustaketheworryoutofyourwork