Waymo's cafeteria workers are forming a union

4,000 other Google food service workers unionized during the pandemic.


The cafeteria workers at Waymo's offices are forming a union, according to NBC News. As the news organization notes, that makes them the latest group of people to organize at one of Silicon Valley's most prominent companies. Waymo's food service personnel are also following in the footsteps of the 4,000 Google cafeteria workers who quietly unionized during the COVID-19 pandemic. The autonomous driving tech company used to be an experimental unit under Google before it became an Alphabet subsidiary.

Like Google's other food service workers, Waymo's are employed by contracting firm Sodexo. Workers cited the high cost of living in the Bay Area where Alphabet's offices are located as the reason why they want to unionize. They said their $24-per-hour pay isn't enough to live adequately in the city, where rents are astronomical, and that their health plan is prohibitively expensive. The workers are also asking for better treatment and benefits, since they don't enjoy the same perks as full-time Alphabet employees.

Organizers for the unionization efforts at Waymo told NBC News that they've already gathered signatures from majority of the workers. Sodexo said that it "respects the rights of [its] employees to unionize or not to unionize" but didn't say whether it will voluntarily recognize the union. If it does, the workers will have to file for an NLRB election to be able to join the other Alphabet cafeteria workers at Unite Here.