AWU Letter Calls On Alphabet to Deliver Pay Parity For All Temporary Workers


September 15, 2021 at 8pm ET

Press contact: [email protected]

Dear Adrienne Crowther, Deepak Negi, Kent Walker, Ruth Porat, and Sundar Pichai, 

We believe that all workers at Google should receive the full wages they are legally entitled to and have earned. We demand that Google immediately pay back all Temps, Vendors and Contractors (TVCs) who have been knowingly-underpaid by Google.

It has recently come to light, as reported by The New York Times and The Guardian, that Google has knowingly underpaid TVCs across dozens of countries, in direct violation of pay parity laws across the globe. Google has consistently obscured its employees' salaries—and now, we know more about why.

Google’s deliberate exploitation of TVCs is a massive moral failing.

For much of Google’s workforce, “Don’t be evil” is a smokescreen. It’s a way to reap the financial rewards of unquestioning public faith, by assuring investors, users and government entities that Google is trustworthy and friendly—while successfully underpaying and mistreating the majority of their workers.

Google segregates its workers into a “two-tiered workforce.” By offering one tier, the Full-Time Employees (FTEs), high pay, excellent benefits and frequent morale-boosting mixers, Google presents itself as a benevolent company to its employees and thus, the world.

The second tier of 130,000 Temps, Vendors and Contractors (TVCs) are underpaid, frequently only offered unaffordable healthcare by contracting companies, and barred from Google-sponsored events. Unbeknownst to the public, TVCs can even be fired for publicly claiming that they work for Google.

The disregard for this majority of workers is perfectly reflected in the fact that it would cost Google $100 million to pay hundreds of contractors across the globe what they are legally owed—an insignificant amount considering Google’s trillion dollar valuation. Yet, Google has decided to prioritize avoiding negative press over improving wages and thus, quality of life, for thousands of their workers.

From its involvement in the military industrial complex to failing to hold executives accountable for their sexual misconduct, from misleading consumers about location data to relying on a “shadow workforce” to minimize operating costs, Google has continually shrugged its shoulders at the grave harms it causes for consumers and workers alike.

Google has the resources to treat all workers equally but it chooses not to do so in favor of further hoarding its already-astronomical financial resources. Their stated strategy to keep TVCs in a second class depends on our collective silence and isolation.

We recognize that while the US does not have pay parity laws to protect US-based TVCs, we know that with HR 7638 such legislation is possible. Understand that we reject our assumed silence and call for all workers to receive their fair share.

Recognizing Google’s legal obligation to fairly compensate workers for their labor, we request that you immediately pay back all Temps, Vendors and Contractors (TVCs) who have been knowingly underpaid by Google. We demand that Google create an immediate path to permanent employment for temporary workers and end its two-tiered perma-temp system.

In solidarity,

The Undersigned

We are Alphabet Workers who stand united.

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