FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 01, 2021 at 8pm ET
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The Alphabet Workers Union is calling on Google and G4S, a Google security contractor, to stop requiring trans workers to use their deadnames on company badges and internal communications. The union launched a petition internally throughout Alphabet on Tuesday demanding Google create a “chosen names policy” for all workers—contractors and full-time employees—that allows them to choose their displayed names.
The petition also calls on Google to let temps, vendors, and contractors (TVCs) meet with employee resource groups, a right currently reserved just for full-time employees (FTEs).
The campaign was launched after the union learned of the experience of Phares Lee, a contractor for Google, employee of G4S in South Carolina, and union member, who’s tried multiple times over the years to get his deadname dropped from his badge and internal communications system.
He’s taped over his badge and tried using a “nickname” field to display his chosen name, but he was told to remove the tape and had his display name reverted back to his deadname. He was misgendered repeatedly as a result. When he and other trans workers brought the issue to management and HR, they were told there was no remedy, though direct Google employees are permitted to order new badges with their chosen names.
“I’ve been facing workplace issues that feel like discrimination to my gender identity, but it’s not just about me as an individual,” said Phares Lee, a G4S security contractor for Google and AWU-CWA member. “Google and G4S need to make changes so that no one else has to go through what I’ve had to.”
“It’s appalling that Alphabet and its contractors are still enacting such regressive policies regarding deadnames in the workplace,” said Raksha Muthukumar, an AWU member. “No one should face this kind of emotional violence every day at work, especially considering what a public spectacle Alphabet makes of being LGBTQ-friendly. As a queer employee, I’m publicly asking Alphabet & G4S to do better.”
Alphabet has majority temporary, vendor, or contractor (TVC) staff, resulting in a two-tiered workforce in which the majority of workers are paid less, access less comprehensive benefits, and suffer from more numerous workplace disparities, such as this.
The Alphabet Workers Union was created specifically to fight for the rights of all workers at Alphabet—full-time employees and TVCs alike. The union is fighting to end the disparity between full-time employees and TVCs. Alphabet is a trillion-dollar company. It can afford to give all workers, regardless of classification, the same rights and benefits.