Google broken promises: Subcontractors paid $10/hr in spite of Google policy which claims $15/hr minimum

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(Mountain View, CA) —In 2019, after sustained internal pressure from workers, Alphabet publicly announced “that vendor and staffing partners working with Google and other Alphabet subsidiaries in the U.S. will be required to provide a new benchmark of benefits for their workers, including a $15/hour minimum wage, 12 weeks of paid family leave, eight days of paid sick leave, $5000/year in tuition reimbursement, and comprehensive healthcare.” Google did not clarify that their own internal policies would prevent hundreds of workers from accessing these benefits. Through the use of various loopholes, including Google’s refusal to allow certain workers access to work email addresses, many workers are paid as little as $10/hour. In particular, workers at RaterLabs, who provide critical feedback to Google’s AI in order to improve the effectiveness of search rankings and ads on Google Search, YouTube, Google pages and more, are denied access to the claimed $15/hr pay, paid family leave, paid sick leave, health benefits, and tuition reimbursements.

“It is unacceptable that Google would claim to be setting a new standard for contract workers with a $15 dollar an hour minimum, while knowingly establishing obvious loopholes that allow both Google and subcontractors to exploit workers. At a company valued at hundreds of billions of dollars, no worker should be making poverty wages. Not only is the $15 dollar an hour wage not a dignified wage—it is a minimum made inaccessible to critical workers. Google must work directly with impacted workers to establish a new minimum for all workers and end the loopholes that deny hardworking people their fair share,” said Christopher Colley, RaterLabs worker and member of the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA.

Workers who are exempt from these benefits include workers who work less than 30 hours a week, workers who do not have an access badge, and workers who do not have an work email address. Workers at RaterLabs are not supplied with an email address, and are capped at a maximum of 26 hours a week. Thus, RaterLabs workers do not qualify for Google’s publicized benefits for temporary, vendor, and contract workers. Instead, RaterLabs workers earn slightly above the state minimum wage, with pay as low as $10/hr, even as they work to improve Google’s most successful products. For hundreds of workers, including those at RaterLabs, Google’s claimed minimum benefits do not apply.

Google also invites workers to reach out to learn more about what benefits they should receive, and to file complaints about mistreatment at work. Yet workers are not given direct access to the resources needed to learn more about expected benefits or the process for filing complaints.

“Google is not an equitable workplace. Temporary, vendor, and contract workers are explicitly denied access to the same pay, benefits, and resources made available to full-time workers—even when they complete the same work. We have heard of workers forced to work while in their hospital bed after childbirth because they do not have access to paid sick leave. Other workers are working 26 hours a week while balancing a full student course load because they are denied tuition reimbursements. This is unacceptable. Google must immediately end all loopholes that deny workers access to the minimum benefits they have so loudly published without full implementation,” said Ashok Chandwaney, a software engineer at Google and member of the Alphabet Workers Union.

The Alphabet Workers Union-CWA invites any Alphabet contractor who has been denied access to Google’s publicized benefits to reach out and calls on Google to extend these benefits to all Alphabet workers without qualifications.

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