On January 4th, 2021, Google workers and contractors announced they were forming a union with the Communications Workers of America. It’s the latest move in an ongoing fight between Google workers and management, and it could have big implications for the future of the tech industry.

But we didn’t get here overnight. Google workers have been standing up against executives for years. They’ve protested Google’s decision to work with the Pentagon on targeted drone strikes, build a censored search engine for China, and pay Android founder Andy Rubin $90 million in severance after he was accused of sexual harassment.

Now, the union hopes to create a structure for all of those demonstrations. Crucially, it wants to unite the interests of Google contractors with those of full-time employees. To really understand how this came together and what it could mean for the future of tech, we have to look at the big picture.