In an article in TechCrunch by Taylor Hatmaker, a group of more than 600 Google employees is pushing the company to grow worker health benefits, rid itself of some political ties and bolster user privacy in light of the Supreme Court judgment to strip federal abortion rights.
The Google workers summoned the changes in a petition led by the Alphabet Workers Union (AWU), a labor union that began last year at the company and now has around 1,100 associates. The AWU advocates on behalf of full-time workers and temporary employees, vendors, and contractors (“TVCs”) at Google — a less perceptible slice of the company’s workforce evaluated to be more than 100,000 workers.
In the requisition, the group of Google workers asks the company to widen its reproductive healthcare travel assistance to protect its non-full-time workforce and to add additional sick days and more generous reimbursement stipends for that travel. The workers also summon that the company expands its support and vocabulary around reproductive healthcare to include transgender and non-binary employees who aren’t women but might require the same services.
After the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, several corporations announced they would pay the costs associated with traversing across state lines to obtain an abortion. In an internal letter in late June, Google pledged that its U.S. health benefits would cover out-of-state medical processes not available to workers in the state where they live.
“The discussion I’ve had, personally, with coworkers is one of concern,” AWU member and Google Data Center Technician Bambi Okugawa informed TechCrunch. “Many are worried about their own well-being and financial hardships they may endure if they require to seek reproductive or gender-affirming healthcare in different states without having the same security net that full-time employees are offered.”
The petition also anoints Google to make a transparency report describing how well the vendors that directly employ its contract workers concede with enhanced standards for wages and concessions, including a provision for reproductive healthcare.
Outside worker protections, the signees ask Google to take additional measures to protect the people who use its products “from holding their data against them,” like in the recent case of law enforcement exerting Facebook data to prosecute a Nebraska teen and her mother. The petition anoints for Google to immediately enforce new data privacy protections for any activity on the company’s derivatives and platforms related to health.
“… For instance, searching for reproductive justice, gender-affirming care, and abortion access information on Google must never be preserved, handed over to law enforcement, or feted as a crime,” the petition forms. It also calls on Google to control further instances of Maps search results pointing users toward anti-abortion centers rather than abortion providers after Bloomberg said the phenomenon.
“I feel if any tech organization, be it Google, Facebook, Apple, etc., decides to pride themselves on user privacy, then they should back that up with actions aligned with that rationale,” Okugawa apprised TechCrunch. “I feel this is a wonderful possibility for Google to take the initiative and be a role model to other tech firms to take user privacy seriously and truly set the bar on superb user experience and relations.”
To enforce the changes, the signees ask that Google form a reliable taskforce akin to the company’s team assembled to handle the COVID-19 crisis.
The complete text of the petition the AWU sent to Google executives is below.
Protect our worker’s rights
We, the undersigned, recognize that all Alphabet workers, of all genders, are impacted by the overturning of Roe v. Wade and are disappointed in Alphabet’s response and influence on this ruling.
Alphabet has continued to make access to reproductive and gender affirming healthcare a “women’s issue” by only providing women@ Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) with listening sessions, and using gendered language in their communication with workers when this is an issue that affects all of us.
In order to align with Google’s core values (go/3-google-values), we demand that Alphabet acknowledges the impact this Supreme Court ruling has on all its workers and to immediately do the following:
In order to meet these demands, we call on Alphabet to create a dedicated task-force with 50% employee representation, responsible for implementing changes across all products and our company, just like Alphabet did for handling the COVID-19 pandemic