Unionism in Silicon Valley - called it

Back in January I made the following prediction:

What do I think? Twitter, Facebook and Google offices in the USA are going to be hit with unionization efforts in the next 12 months, initially as a trial in the most favorable locations but if they succeed then this will be ramped up quickly nationwide. This will be framed as a push to align the companies to approved socially just policies - which their boards mostly favor already - but will be used to leapfrog the activist employees into union-endorsed and -funded positions of influence.

Sure enough, a bunch of Google staff walked out of work today, nominally to protest at ex-Android head Andy Rubin getting a cool $90M in severance after being accused of dubious behaviour with someone in a hotel room, which he denies:

Rubin said in a two-part tweet: “The New York Times story contains numerous inaccuracies about my employment at Google and wild exaggerations about my compensation. Specifically, I never coerced a woman to have sex in a hotel room. These false allegations are part of a smear campaign to disparage me during a divorce and custody battle. Also, I am deeply troubled that anonymous Google executives are commenting about my personnel file and misrepresenting the facts.”
For the record, Rubin sounds a bit sleazy even if you apply a high degree of scepticism to the exact circumstances of the event.

Let's look at the "official" walkout Twitter account, and wonder who's actually driving this organisation:

For posterity, the "demands" are:
  1. An end to Forced Arbitration in cases of harassment and discrimination for all current and future employees.
  2. A commitment to end pay and opportunity inequity.
  3. A publicly disclosed sexual harassment transparency report.
  4. A clear, uniform, globally inclusive process for reporting sexual misconduct safely and anonymously.
  5. Elevate the Chief Diversity Officer to answer directly to the CEO and make recommendations directly to the Board of Directors. Appoint an Employee Rep to the Board.
Points 1-4 seem pretty reasonable - but what does point 5 have to do with the rest of the list? And who would this "Employee Rep" be - a unionisation activist, perchance? $10 says I'm right. This is a classic tactic: take a reasonable area of complaint and use it as a Trojan Horse to sneak in the early stages of unionisation to the company.

Google allegedly employs very smart people. If only they exercised their critical faculties half as well as their intellects, they might be asking uncomfortable questions of the protest organisers about where point 5 came from and who the organisers have in mind to take on "employee rep" duties. I guarantee you that it's not Rob Pike or Jeff Dean.