Thousands of Google's cafeteria workers 'quietly unionized during the pandemic,' report says

Workers at the company's Atlanta office could be the next to join.

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Karissa Bell
September 5, 2022 4:00 PM
In this article: news, gear, google, union, alphabet
People eat in the cafeteria at the Google campus near Venice Beach, in Los Angeles, California January 13, 2012. The 100,000 square-foot campus was designed by architect Frank Gehry, and includes an entrance through an iconic pair of giant binoculars designed by Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen. Around 500 employees develop video advertising for YouTube, parts of the Google+ social network and the Chrome Web browser at the site.   REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson (UNITED STATES - Tags: SCIENCE TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS SOCIETY)
Lucy Nicholson / reuters

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, 4,000 of people who work in Google’s cafeterias have joined unions, according to a new report in The Washington Post. According to the report, “about 90 percent of total food services workers at Google” are now unionized. 

That number is particularly significant as the company’s cafeterias, like many of its peers, are overwhelmingly staffed by contract workers who don’t get the same benefits as full-time employees. Contractors across the company have pushed for higher wages and increased protections in recent months.

Cafeteria workers at Google’s Atlanta office could soon be the latest to join the ranks of unionized workers. Workers employed by a contracting firm called Sodexo reportedly told their manager they plan to unionize, and Sodexo said they would not block the move if “a majority” of workers supported it.

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It’s unclear when an official agreement may be reached but a spokesperson for Unite Here, the union representing Google’s cafeteria workers, told The Post they were “hopeful that we can quickly reach an agreement on a union contract.” Other cafeteria workers at Google have already seen significant benefits since joining Unite Here. According to The Post, “the average unionized worker at a Google cafeteria makes $24 an hour, pays little to nothing for health insurance and has access to a pension plan.” By contrast, the Sodexo workers in Atlanta make $15 an hour and can spend “hundreds” on health insurance.

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Thousands of Google's cafeteria workers 'quietly unionized during the pandemic,' report says