Google employees circulate petition demanding abortion benefits for contractors

More than 650 Google employees have signed a petition calling on the company to extend abortion-related health benefits to contractors and better protect user privacy in the wake of a Supreme Court decision overturning Roe v. Wade in June.

“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,” employees wrote.

After the Supreme Court decision, Google’s chief people officer Fiona Cicconi told employees their health insurance would cover out-of-state medical procedures and said they could apply for relocation without justification.

But the benefits do not extend to Google’s temporary, vendor, or contract workers (TVCs), who make up roughly half of the company’s workforce, according to employees.

“I think for a long time, TVCs have been doing a lot of really important work for Google and getting 0 percent of the recognition, pay, or benefits that Google claims to give employees,” says Emrys Adair, a Google contractor and AWU member. “There’s a lot of disrespect there and a lot of negligence.”

Now, workers are asking that Google extend travel-for-healthcare benefits to TVCs and add seven additional sick days “because workers will need to travel for significant periods to obtain health services.”

On July 1st, Google published a blog post promising to delete location history data for users who visited abortion clinics, domestic violence shelters, and addiction treatment facilities “soon after they visit.” The company also said it would push back on “overly broad demands from law enforcement.”

But employees want the company to go further and ensure Google searches related to abortion access are “never saved, handed over to law enforcement, or treated as a crime.”

The news comes after Facebook gave law enforcement agents in Nebraska private messages between a mother and daughter who allegedly carried out an illegal abortion — leading to felony charges.

The signatories represent less than one percent of Alphabet’s global workforce. But their voices are part of a growing chorus of tech workers who are openly dissatisfied with how their companies have responded to the Supreme Court ruling. At Meta, employees were told to stop discussing Roe v. Wade on internal forums after abortion-related conversations caused “significant disruptions in the workplace,” according to the New York Times.

Read the full petition from Google workers 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 [email protected] 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:

1. Protect all workers’ access to reproductive healthcare by setting a reproductive healthcare standard in the US Wages and Benefits Standards (go/alphabet-tvc-benefits-standards) including:

a. Extending the same travel-for-healthcare benefits offered to FTEs to TVCs.

b. Adding minimum of 7 days of additional sick time because workers will need to travel for significant periods to obtain health services.

c. Increasing FTE & TVC reimbursement amounts for travel to $150 per night. $50 is NOT a viable reimbursement for a hotel stay in most states, and does not address childcare or lost wages.

d. Publishing a TVC transparency report, detailing vendors’ compliance to the Alphabet/Google US Wages and Benefits Standards. For example, details on why certain roles are exempt, and timelines for vendors to come into compliance.

2. Protect our government from corporate influence. Alphabet must stop lobbying politicians and any political organizations, through NetPAC or any other means because these politicians were responsible for appointing the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade and continue to infringe on other human rights issues related to voting access and gun control.

3. Protect our users and customers from having their data used against them and addressing the disinformation and misleading information as it pertains to abortion services and other reproductive healthcare services on all Alphabet platforms and products by:

a. Instituting immediate user data privacy controls for all health-related activity, for example, searching for reproductive justice, gender-affirming care, and abortion access information on Google must never be saved, handed over to law enforcement, or treated as a crime.

b. Fixing misleading search results related to abortion services by removing results for fake abortion providers.

c. No longer working with publishers of disinformation related to abortion services who violate AdSense’s publishers policies related to unreliable and harmful claims about a major health crisis.

d. Providing transparency into ad revenue sharing with Google custom search so that abortion services that pay for Google ads don’t inadvertently have their ad revenue go to organizations that are actively working against them.

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.