After months of mobilization efforts demanding fair pay and working conditions, thousands of Alphabet contract workers won the first ever raises in the history of RaterLabs, a vendor whose only known client is Google. Workers, known as raters, are responsible for training, testing, and evaluating Google’s search algorithms. The workers were previously paid as little as $10/hour, directly contradicting the standard minimum pay and benefits Google had announced for its extended workforce workers in 2019. In May of 2022, the workers launched a petition on behalf of Alphabet Workers Union-CWA (AWU-CWA) and met with management in October of 2022 to demand that all of Alphabet’s extended workforce were included in Alphabet’s standards, and that these standards themselves are just.
Thanks to efforts led by AWU-CWA Local 1400 members, starting on January 1, 2023, workers will now be making $14.00 or $14.50/hour, based on years of experience. This is the first ever salary increase to be won by AWU-CWA workers and the second instance in which members of AWU-CWA received their fair share with support from AWU-CWA. In 2021, AWU-CWA members organized and led workers at Modis data centers to win back hundreds of thousands of dollars in hazard pay.
Lake Michigan Credit Union
South Division branch workers at Lake Michigan Credit Union (LMCU) in Grand Rapids, Mich., voted last week in favor of forming a union with CWA in an official National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) election, the first successful NLRB election in the financial services industry in decades. The workers, who organized with the Committee for Better Banks-CWA, join more than a hundred banking and credit union workers at CWA including workers at Beneficial State Bank and Genesee Co-Op Federal Credit Union, who won voluntary recognition for their unions. With their new union and a voice on the job, LMCU workers are looking to improve working conditions, transparency, and communication at their branch. Read more here.
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette Strike
Striking CWA members at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette launched a new radio ad last week which features two supporters expressing their solidarity for the striking workers by canceling their subscription and withholding their advertisements from the paper. The supporters featured in the ad also condemn the company for cutting workers’ healthcare and denying workers a raise for 15 years despite the owners of the paper being worth millions of dollars. This is the latest effort by the striking workers who remain strong on the picket lines and continue to encourage readers to stand with the workers in their fight for dignity, respect, and fair treatment. For more information on how to support the striking workers, visit cwa.org/ppg and check out their strike paper at unionprogress.com.
The NewsGuild Elects New Executive Council
On Saturday, delegates to the NewsGuild-CWA’s 2023 Nominating Conference met virtually to nominate candidates for the NewsGuild’s Executive Board. Because all candidates were running unopposed, they were elected by acclamation.
Jon Schleuss was elected to a second term as president. Schleuss is a member of the Media Guild of the West, TNG-CWA Local 39213. He was a data and graphics reporter at the Los Angeles Times prior to becoming president in 2019. Marian Needham was elected to a third term as executive vice president. Needham is a member of the Buffalo Newspaper Guild, TNG-CWA 31026. She was the administrative officer in Buffalo and hired by the international union in 1990, first as director of contract administration, and later as a sector representative. Diane Mastrull was elected for a first term as sector chairperson. Mastrull is an editor at the Philadelphia Inquirer and president of The NewsGuild of Greater Philadelphia, TNG-CWA Local 38010. She will replace Martha Waggoner, who served as chair since 2011.
The current members of the Executive Council will continue out their terms through the conclusion of the 2023 Sector Conference this July in St. Louis.