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Photo: Mason Trinca/Getty Images

A group of more than 200 employees at Google's parent company announced on Monday that they've signed union cards with the Communications Workers of America, forming the Alphabet Workers Union.

Why it matters: This is the largest and most high-profile unionization effort among tech workers to date. The tech industry has historically eschewed unions, unlike other sectors like the auto industry.

  • Only a couple of small tech companies, like Kickstarter and Glitch, have recently unionized.

Details: The union would be open to all workers at Google and other Alphabet subsidiaries, regardless of their jobs. Some other small groups of Alphabet workers, like HCL contract workers in Pittsburgh and cafeteria workers in the Bay Area, have previously unionized.

  • The workers are seeking to form a minority union, which means it won't seek formal recognition from the National Labor Relations Board, won't need to win a formal election and won't be able to negotiate a labor contract with Alphabet.
  • This also means that contract workers can join the union despite not having the right to formally unionize under U.S. labor laws.

The big picture: Alphabet has faced growing employee discontent over company practices in the last few years.

  • The company's handling of sexual harassment sparked a large walkout in 2018. It has also received pushback on plans to potentially roll out a search engine in China and its work with the U.S. government to provide artificial intelligence analysis of drone footage.
  • The NLRB recently filed a complaint against Google, alleging the company illegally spied on workers who had organized protests and fired two of them in retaliation.

The other side:

We've always worked hard to create a supportive and rewarding workplace for our workforce. Of course our employees have protected labor rights that we support.  But as we’ve always done, we’ll continue engaging directly with all our employees.
Kara Silverstein, Google director of people operations.

Go deeper: Read the union organizer's op-ed in the New York Times

Editor's note: The story has been updated with a statement from Google.

Go deeper

The rebellion against Silicon Valley (the place)

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Smith Collection/Gado via Getty Images

Silicon Valley may be a "state of mind," but it's also very much a real enclave in Northern California. Now, a growing faction of the tech industry is boycotting it.

Why it matters: The Bay Area is facing for the first time the prospect of losing its crown as the top destination for tech workers and startups — which could have an economic impact on the region and force it to reckon with its local issues.

Perfect storm brewing for extreme politicians

Data: Axios research; Table: Jacque Schrag/Axios

Redistricting and a flood of departing incumbents are paving the way for more extreme candidates in this year's midterm elections.

Driving the news: At least 19 House districts in 12 states are primed to attract such candidates — hard partisans running in strongly partisan districts — according to an Axios analysis of districts as measured by the Cook Political Report's Partisan Voter Index (PVI).

Updated 21 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Fauci: "Confident" Omicron cases will peak in February — FDA OKs antiviral drug remdesivir for non-hospitalized COVID patients — Walensky: CDC language "pivoting" on "fully vaccinated".
  2. Vaccines: Annual COVID vaccine preferable to boosters, says Pfizer CEO — Team USA 100% vaccinated against COVID ahead of Beijing Olympics.
  3. Politics: Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates — Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" on anti-mask school policies.
  4. World: Beijing Olympic Committee lowers COVID testing threshold ahead of Games — Beijing officials urge COVID-19 "emergency mode" before Winter Olympics — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
  5. Variant tracker