Google employees call on management to get equal abortion benefits

Bambi Okugawa is a data center technician at one of Google’s data centers in a US state with one of the country’s strictest abortion bans: Tennessee. The state will ban abortions as early as six weeks, without exception for rape or incest, on Aug. 25 due to a “trigger law.”

If necessary, Okugawa could have an out-of-state abortion and could even request a permanent transfer to another Google office because of the health benefits she receives as a full-time employee. Google employee. However, his colleagues, many of whom are contractors, don’t have the same options.

“Some of my colleagues at TVC are scared,” Okugawa told CNBC, referring to a Google term that stands for temps, suppliers and contractors. “Some told me they were looking into sterilization options because they knew there would be no access to abortions in the state.”

Okugawa is one of hundreds of Google employees who signed a petition sent to company management this week calling for contractors to be given the same benefits for obtaining abortion and healthcare services after the The Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade.

The letter, written by members of the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA, is addressed to Google and Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai, Google Human Resources Director Fiona Cicconi, Bobby Dhanoa, who oversees the “main Google’s Broad Workforce, and Google’s Chief Diversity Officer, Melonie. Parker.

“In order to align with Google’s core values ​​(go/3-google-values), we demand that Alphabet recognize the impact of this Supreme Court decision on all of its employees and immediately take the following actions : protect all employees’ access to reproductive health care. establishing a reproductive health care standard in the U.S. wage and benefits standards (go/alphabet-tvc-benefits-standards), including: extending the same health care travel benefits offered to ETPs to TVCs” , indicates the letter.

In June, Google sent a enterprise-wide email about the landmark Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade, explaining how the company’s benefits plan and health insurance in the United States covers out-of-state medical procedures that aren’t available where an employee lives and works. While other tech companies have started offering similar perks for out-of-state abortions, Google has gone further, saying employees in affected states can request relocation without having to explain why.

However, all of these benefits only apply to full-time employees. The company had 174,014 full-time employees in July. It has over 100,000 contractors, known internally as “TVCs”.

“Their level of health care benefits is not as high as that provided to us as full-time employees,” Okugawa said of the contractors. Okugawa knows this because, until six months ago, she was still a subcontractor before the company hired her full time.

The employee petition also calls for a minimum of seven additional days of sick leave, as workers will have to travel for long periods of time to obtain health services.

“Google is probably one of the biggest known names when it comes to tech companies – when you search online you don’t say I’m going to search this, you say ‘I’m going to Google this'”, Okugawa said. “So it’s only right that we show compassion, empathy and fairness to anyone under contract with the company who should enjoy the same protections and life durability that are offered to regular employees.”

A Google spokesperson was not immediately available for comment.

The Alphabet Workers Union-CWA has more than 1,100 members in various parts of the company, but otherwise operates under a “minority union” model, meaning it has no bargaining rights with the direction.

The group hopes to score victories like it did in Kansas City, Missouri, where employees working on a Google product first unionized under AWU in March. Meanwhile, in June, Google Maps contractors won a 90-day extension on a return-to-office schedule after threatening to strike.

The petition also calls for an increase to $150 per night in travel reimbursement. “$50 is NOT a viable reimbursement for a hotel stay in most states, and does not address child care or lost wages,” the petition states.

The document asks the company to release a TVC “transparency report” detailing vendor compliance with Google’s U.S. pay and benefits standards.

And employees also demanded the company correct its search results for abortion services. Products like Google Maps have reportedly regularly led abortion seekers to pro-life religious centers. When users type the words “abortion clinic” into the Google Maps search bar, for example, crisis pregnancy centers made up a quarter of the top 10 search results in all 50 U.S. states, the data shows. from Bloomberg. collection.

Google said in July that it would work quickly remove location landmark for people visiting abortion and other medical sites following the Supreme Court’s overturning of Roe v. Wade.

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