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Hundreds sign petition as Google Cloud announces layoffs in an attempt to cut costs by turning full-time employee positions into contractor roles while also spending $5.4 Billion on acquisition of Mandiant
(Mountain View, California) — Today workers at Google, with support from Alphabet Workers Union - Communication Workers of America local 1400, delivered a petition addressed to CEO of Google Cloud Thomas Kurian, VP of Google Cloud Support Atul Nanda, VP of Google Cloud Customer Experience John Jester, VP of Human Resources Tracey Arnish and VPs of Engineering Ben Treynor and Ronaldo Ama with over 1400 signatures from fellow full-time and contingent workers.
On March 2, 2022 Googlers in various Google Cloud support roles including Technical Solutions Engineers, their managers, Program Managers, and more were informed that their roles would be eliminated and that these workers would be terminated if they could not find and transfer to a new role within 60 days. Considering the barriers to transfer that many workers face, including those faced by Googlers with visas tied to their employment, Google workers are demanding that Google extend the transfer window to 180 days and provide a better-documented and -structured transfer process, as existing processes are geared towards engineers already in a similar role.
Workers are particularly outraged regarding the lack of transparency around this announcement. Some workers were informed of the pending layoffs in one-to-one meetings with management, while others found out after the news had already been announced to the media. Google has refused to be transparent around the total number of workers impacted, and support from People Operations (HR) has been non-existent. Instead, Google has continued to maintain that workers are simply being offered an opportunity to transfer. This ignores the reality that many workers do not qualify for currently available roles and the complexity of the transfer process means that most workers are facing the termination of their livelihood in under two months. Additionally, just days after announcing layoffs, Google announced their intent to acquire Mandient, a cyber defense company, for $5.4 billion dollars on March 8, highlighting Google’s commitment to expansion even as 100+ workers are left with little information and few resources in order to secure their livelihoods.
“We have been an essential part of Google Cloud’s function by improving user experience and growing customer trust with Google Cloud products. To be informed that our jobs are on the line while Google spends billions on another acquisition shows a complete disregard for the workers who have been essential to Google Cloud’s success. We are asking that Google extend the transfer window to 180 days and make the transfer process clearer to prove their commitment to their workers. Google can do more to ensure all workers have the resources to successfully transfer and maintain their livelihood and it is clear from the 1400 Googlers who support our demands to Google that our colleagues stand with us with these demands,” said an anonymous impacted worker.
Google announced that it would eliminate the roles of around 100 Google Cloud workers and transfer many of these roles to vendors and contractors. This continues Google’s long trend of eliminating well-paying employee roles in exchange for hiring temps, contractors, and vendors who will be expected to perform the same labor for less pay and with lower-quality or non-existent rights and benefits.
“Google wants to keep its reputation for treating its workers well but doesn’t want to pay for it, so it is turning employee roles into contract work, stripping workers of the quality working conditions they deserve. Google’s current employee workforce and those at pending acquisitions are watching Google’s behavior and recognizing the need to take collective steps to protect our jobs. Google can and should be a company where all workers enjoy the rights, benefits, and pay on the job that they have earned,” said David Newgas of the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA and Program Manager at Google.