More than half of Aussie men report experiencing sexual difficulties

Many men were concerned about climaxing too quickly or lacking interest in sex.Krista MangulsoneOne in two Australian men aged 18 to 55 have experienced sexual difficulty in the past 12 months, accord...

Jennifer Power, Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University - avatar Jennifer Power, Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University

Sanders, Harris, Biden... can anyone beat Donald Trump to become the next US president?

No sooner had the US midterm elections for Congress concluded than jockeying began for the presidential elections in 2020. Barring either impeachment, which seems unlikely, or a health crisis, Donald ...

Dennis Altman, Professorial Fellow in Human Security, La Trobe University - avatar Dennis Altman, Professorial Fellow in Human Security, La Trobe University

As many Muslims return to mosques today, they will need ongoing support

A worshipper lights candles at a makeshift memorial at the Al Noor mosque in Christchurch.AAP/Mick Tsikas, CC BY-SAToday, many Muslims in New Zealand will be returning for Friday prayers. Some might f...

Fatima Junaid, Lecturer, Massey University - avatar Fatima Junaid, Lecturer, Massey University

'It's real to them, so adults should listen': what children want you to know to help them feel safe

Children and young people told us they were often overwhelmed by the risks that surrounded them.from shutterstock.comIn recent months, we have been confronted by events that make the world seem unsafe...

Tim Moore, Associate Professor and  Deputy Director, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia - avatar Tim Moore, Associate Professor and Deputy Director, Australian Centre for Child Protection, University of South Australia

A brief history of science writing shows the rise of the female voice

Women played a role as both readers and authors in the history of science writing.Shutterstock/Africa StudioThree centuries ago, when modern science was in its infancy, the gender disparity in educati...

Robyn Arianrhod, Adjunct Associate , School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University - avatar Robyn Arianrhod, Adjunct Associate , School of Mathematical Sciences, Monash University

Cannibalism helps fire ants invade new territory

Fire ant stings can be deadly to people who have an allergic reaction to their venom.Forest and Kim Starr/Flickr, CC BY-SATropical fire ants (Solenopsis geminata), originally from central and South Am...

Pauline Lenancker, PhD student in biology and ecology, James Cook University - avatar Pauline Lenancker, PhD student in biology and ecology, James Cook University

We've let wage exploitation become the default experience of migrant workers

Australia’s Fairwork Commission has so far this year examined more than a dozen cases of wage theft. Those cases involve hundred of workers and millions of dollars in underpayments.And it’...

Joo-Cheong Tham, Professor, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne - avatar Joo-Cheong Tham, Professor, Melbourne Law School, University of Melbourne

Jobs but not enough work. How power keeps workers anxious and wages low

The unemployment rate is 4.9%, but the underemployment rate is 8.1%ShutterstockThis is the third in a three-part mini-symposium on Wages, Unemployment and Underemployment presented by The Conversation...

Barbara Pocock, Emeritus Professor University of South Australia, University of South Australia - avatar Barbara Pocock, Emeritus Professor University of South Australia, University of South Australia

What Parkland's experience tells us about the limits of a 'security' response to Christchurch

In the days before the mass shootings in Christchurch I was visiting Parkland, Florida, where 17 people were killed in a school shooting on Valentine’s Day 2018. I was recording a story about ho...

Amanda Tattersall, Postdoc in urban geography and Research Lead at Sydney Policy Lab. Host of ChangeMakers Podcast., University of Sydney - avatar Amanda Tattersall, Postdoc in urban geography and Research Lead at Sydney Policy Lab. Host of ChangeMakers Podcast., University of Sydney

Friday essay: images of mourning and the power of acknowledging grief

These images of Cherine Fahd's grandfather's funeral were tucked away in a brown paper envelope for decades. As a society, we too often keep grief hidden from view. Author providedBefore her death in...

Cherine Fahd, Director Photography, School of Design, University of Technology Sydney - avatar Cherine Fahd, Director Photography, School of Design, University of Technology Sydney

Local Māori urge government to address long-running dispute over rare cultural heritage landscape

Supporters of the campaign to stop commercial development at Ihumaatao.Qiane Matata-Sipu , CC BY-SAAn escalating crisis at Ihumaatao, near Auckland’s airport, is challenging the commercial devel...

Tim McCreanor, Professor Race Relations, Health and Wellbeing, Massey University - avatar Tim McCreanor, Professor Race Relations, Health and Wellbeing, Massey University

Grattan on Friday: Shorten's not getting ahead of himself, but the tape measure is out

With the election likely to be called in about a fortnight – the weekend after the April 2 budget - behind the scenes Labor is “measuring the curtains” of government.Any sign of hubr...

Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra - avatar Michelle Grattan, Professorial Fellow, University of Canberra

Will the New Zealand gun law changes prevent future mass shootings?

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has announced a ban on certain military-style weapons.AAP/David AlexanderAs she foreshadowed in the aftermath of the Christchurch massacre last Friday, New Ze...

Rick Sarre, Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, University of South Australia - avatar Rick Sarre, Professor of Law and Criminal Justice, University of South Australia

NSW election: where do the parties stand on brumby culling?

Feral horses have severely damaged the landscape in Kosciuszko National Park.Travelstine, CC BY-SAThe future management of New South Wales’s national parks is one of the issues on the line in Sa...

Don Driscoll, Professor in Terrestrial Ecology, Deakin University - avatar Don Driscoll, Professor in Terrestrial Ecology, Deakin University

Confused about aged care in the home? These 10 charts explain how it works

Home care providers' profits are growing but many older Australians are missing out on quality care.The Conversation / ShutterstockThis week, the Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Safety hea...

Fron Jackson-Webb, Deputy Editor/Senior Health + Medicine Editor - avatar Fron Jackson-Webb, Deputy Editor/Senior Health + Medicine Editor

Jobs but not enough work. How power keeps workers anxious and wages low

The unemployment rate is 4.9%, but the underemployment rate is 8.1%ShutterstockThis is the third in a three-part mini-symposium on Wages, Unemployment and Underemployment presented by The Conversation...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

We've let wage exploitation become the default experience of migrant workers

Australia’s Fairwork Commission has so far this year examined more than a dozen cases of wage theft. Those cases involve hundred of workers and millions of dollars in underpayments.And it’...

The Conversation - avatar The Conversation

A new procedure may preserve fertility in kids with cancer after chemo or radiation

A 12-week-old baby female macaque, named Grady, was born from frozen testicular tissue. Oregon Health and Science University, CC BY-SACancer in children was often a death sentence in decades past, but...

Kyle Orwig, Professor of OB/GYN and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh - avatar Kyle Orwig, Professor of OB/GYN and Reproductive Sciences, University of Pittsburgh

March Madness: With gambling legal in eight states, who really wins?

The odds of more legal betting are good. AP Photo/John LocherMarch means springtime, but also breathless headlines of Cinderellas, busted brackets and buzzer beaters. This year, it’ll also inclu...

John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society, Pennsylvania State University - avatar John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society, Pennsylvania State University

Will more genetically engineered foods be approved under the FDA's new leadership?

Will food laws change as more GM foods are created?Zerbor/Shutterstock.comThe world of food and drug regulation was rocked earlier this month by the news of a change in leadership at the Food and Drug...

Ana Santos Rutschman, Assistant Professor of Law, Saint Louis University - avatar Ana Santos Rutschman, Assistant Professor of Law, Saint Louis University

We need more teachers of color, so why do we use tests that keep them out of the classroom?

Teacher license exams often fail to predict which teachers will be the best, research shows.michaeljung from shutterstock.comStudents of color seldom see teachers who look like them. This is because m...

Emery Petchauer, Associate Professor, Michigan State University - avatar Emery Petchauer, Associate Professor, Michigan State University

Niger has the world's highest birth rate – and that may be a recipe for unrest

While fertility levels have declined rapidly in most parts of the world, many countries in the sub-Saharan African region of the Sahel have seen their reproductive rates go down very slowly, and only ...

John F. May, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University - avatar John F. May, Adjunct Professor, Georgetown University School of Nursing and Health Studies, Georgetown University

Nuns were secluded to avoid scandals in early Christian monastic communities

Margareta, head of the women's community at Lippoldsberg (in modern-day Germany) clasps hands with an Augustinian monk as he hands her a book.Lippoldsberg Evangeliary. Kassel, Landesbibliothek, MS the...

Alison I. Beach, Associate Professor of History, The Ohio State University - avatar Alison I. Beach, Associate Professor of History, The Ohio State University

That 20,000 Google employees walked off the job last week is a watershed event, a hugely significant symbolic development for labour relations in the 21st century.

Granted, the action itself was limited. More than seven out of every 10 Google employees did not take part. The walkout was for just a few hours, and the protesters returned to their desks with nothing resolved in their favour. Their only win was Google’s chief executive agreeing to meet with organisers to “review a plan that would address” their key demands.

But this is Google, supposedly the best company to work for in a sector renowned for luring the brightest and best with large salaries and excellent conditions. Google’s median salary (US$161,409) is the highest of any company. Like most high-tech workers, very few have seen any need to join a trade union.

Their walkout, which surpassed organisers’ expectations of 1,500 participants, shows collective organisation is still needed for employees to get a real say in their workplaces.

It also underlines a few important lessons for the labour movement. First, there is a change in the issues that younger workers care deeply about. Second, new technology has huge potential for labour organising.

Cracks in the Google veneer

Google consistenly tops rankings as the best place to work or the most sought after employer. A less attractive truth beneath the veneer has been revealed.

The spark leading to the walkout from 40 Google offices around the world was a New York Times article revealing the kid-glove treatment given to three Google executives accused of sexual misconduct. One case included a US$90 million golden handshake.

What incensed Google employees in particular is the company’s use of “mandatory arbitration”. This is when employment contracts prevent workers from seeking remedies in a court of law, forcing them to use company procedures instead. The Google case confirms what common sense tells us: internal channels will be more favourable to the company than to employees.

Read more: Why Google's employees walked out and what it could mean for the future of labor

Mandatory arbitration clauses have become a significant issue in US employment relations in the past 20 years. More and more employees are excluded from full access to employment law protections.

Furthermore, even complaining often invites retribution. According to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, retaliation by an employer is by far the most common form of workplace discrimination, accounting for 41,097 of the 84,254 charges the agency received in fiscal year 2017.

At Google, employees say human resources policies have disadvantaged complainants and enabled management to brush sexual harassment issues under the carpet.

“We’ve waited for leadership to fix these problems, "but have come to this conclusion: no one is going to do it for us,” the Google walkout organisers explained. “So we are here, standing together, protecting and supporting each other.”

Millennial values

Many of Google’s employees are in their twenties and thirties. The protest underscores the values younger people are bringing to work. Consider their five key demands:

  • an end to forced arbitration

  • a commitment to ending pay and opportunity inequity

  • a clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct

  • promote the company’s Chief Diversity Officer to answer directly to the CEO

  • appoint an employee representative to the company’s board.

These concerns show a generational shift in attitudes. It’s one reason the #MeToo movement has caught on.

Read more: Holding big tech companies to account: do their employees have the power?

A Deloitte survey of 10,000 “Millennials” (born between 1983 and 1994) shows they expect organisations to be ethical, to want to enhance their employees’ lives and careers, and to make a positive impact on society and the environment. They value a diverse and inclusive workplace.

Self-organisation

In echoes of other recent tech protests at Uber and Deliveroo, Google’s un-unionised workforce self-organised the walkout using message boards, messaging apps and social media – ironically the very tools made by Google and the other tech giants.

I’ve written about “digital unionism” before. The scale of what the Google walkout organisers managed in a few days without outside assistance underlines both the opportunity and threat of new technology. Unionism is also being “disrupted” in the new economy. Like other “old economy” businesses, unions have to adapt to survive. If they don’t perfect digital unionism, others will step in and do it themselves.

Collective bargaining ain’t dead

The bottom line is that human resources policies that purport to be there for the benefit of employees must be genuine. No one likes a one-way street, least of all when a unilateral process is purportedly a mechanism for employee voice. People want a genuine say over their working conditions.

Even from a completely self-interested perspective, companies that ignore this risk unpredictable blow-ups. Think Uber, Deliveroo and now Google.

Read more: How Google's employee walkout will strengthen the company's reputation

Maybe it’s time for Google to follow in the steps of other tech companies that have negotiated collective agreements with their workers.

In Sweden, the services union Unionen has signed a collective agreement covering the most unlikely workers: YouTubers, the people who generate YouTube content, to ensure they receive reasonable compensation. That agreement was not negotiated with YouTube but with the United Screens talent development agency.

If YouTube content generators, who are not even employees, can have a collective say over their working conditions, surely Google’s white-collar office workers can too.

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/the-google-walkout-is-a-watershed-moment-in-21st-century-labour-activism-106353