On Ambedkar Jayanthi and during Dalit History Month, members of the Alphabet Workers Union are making history by demanding caste protections from one of the largest, most powerful corporations in the entire world.
Equality Labs’ Executive Director, Thenmozhi Soundararajan, said:
“I cannot overstate the importance of this moment. It is an incredible victory in the battle for caste civil rights for Alphabet workers to demand that caste be included in their anti discrimination policy and integrate caste into their equity practices. This is the largest workers statement in the tech sector and it affirms definitively that the battle against caste apartheid is a workers rights issue.
“Since last year, through confidential reporting, we have received hundreds of testimonials from Dalit and Bahujan workers in US-based tech companies, attesting to the microagressions, shame, and blatant casteist violence they have endured in the industry.
“It is critical that Alphabet workers in the US are ensured caste discrimination protections and have caste-competent HR departments should they choose to report these instances of harm. For the Alphabet Workers Union to come out in support of Dalit and Bahujan tech workers in the US, particularly on Ambedkar Jayanti when we celebrate Dr. B R Ambedkar as a Dalit icon for caste abolition, is nothing short of historic. As the company has already made firm commitments to racial justice, so too must it commit to ending caste bias and discrimination within their offices.”
“Caste is so deeply alive in the diaspora and it impacts so many parts of the Indian American experience. Our report showed the prevalence of caste discrimination with 1 in 4 dalits experience physical assaults, 2 out 3 work place discrimination, and 1 in 3 discrimination in education. Our data and personal stories of caste oppressed people point to this urgent problem.
“We urge Alphabet and other tech companies across the sector to listen to the demands of its workers and pass the urgent caste protections needed to protect all of its workers. The only way to solve the problems of caste hostile workplaces is with institutional interventions that begin with caste as a protected category. We hope this first step will open the dialogue in Alphabet to give caste the serious attention it deserves and make it an institutional priority to build caste protections, competency, and investments to not only create a caste equitable workplace but for them to be on the right side of history.”