Collective bargaining traditionally had no place in Silicon Valley. Unions are almost non-existent for white-collar workers, who usually have high salaries, comfortable perks and much job mobility due to their high demand.
Wendy Liu, editor-in-chief of the UK's New Socialist and former Google employee, says the protests as a whole were "unbelievably inspiring" as the idea of employee dissent in Silicon Valley spreads.
"For tech workers to see themselves as workers – with the consequence that their class interests may run counter to those of their bosses – is an exciting development," she says.
"Tech companies often try to get employees to see themselves as" team members "and part of a" family "that should feel love and even gratitude for their business."
She also felt that way with Google, she says, before she realizes how unhealthy that momentum was for the workers.
On Thursday, Google employees borrowed tactics from the historical work organization. In their demand, leading protest organizers joined forces with movements such as the West Virginia teachers' strike and the "Nearly $ 15" demonstrations of fast food workers.
The San Francisco demonstration even took place in Harry Bridges Plaza – Bridges was an influential trade union leader at the beginning of the 20th century – and speakers spoke of his and other examples of historical work organization. Protesters in San Francisco also talked about the simultaneous union strikes of Marriott employees.
In recent years, unions of major technology companies, such as Facebook's cafeteria staff and Bay Area security officials, have begun to organize. In another sign of the burgeoning "new resistance," the organizers of Google's protests were aware of integrating these contract workers into their demands.
Technology companies are increasingly hiring contractors, vendors and temporary staff (TVCs), which can increase profits and speed up hiring. However, these workers typically save less, carry higher cost of service and do not have the job security of direct employees. Earlier this year, Bloomberg reported the astonishing statement that Alphabet employed more TVCs than direct employees. No small matter, because at this time Alphabet had 85,050 direct employees.