Early childhood educators and caregivers who work at Google’s children’s centers say their relatively low salaries make it impossible to live near Google campuses, and the company’s refusal to help them cover their costs. transport reflects an undervaluation of their work.
Google employees who provide care and education for the children of staff members say the internet giant is summoning them to the office without restoring the shuttle service they rely on, and they are circulating a petition urging Alphabet Inc. unit to provide a transportation allowance to cover travel expenses.
“Passing this cost on to essential workers, who earn much less than the Googlers whose children they care for, is unacceptable,” according to the petition, written and released by members of the Alphabet Workers’ Union on Friday. “Google can be an amazing problem solver, but chooses not to solve this problem for its educators.”
The petition, which in its early hours had collected the signatures of around 200 Alphabet employees, says staff at Google’s children’s centers tried to raise the issue with managers, to no avail: ” the company was: “Transportation is only a benefit, not a benefit. ‘”
A Google representative said on Friday that the shuttle service would be available “as soon as it is safe,” but declined to give a schedule.
The company added that childcare staff were paid in full during the pandemic, when the Google Center was shut down, and like other Google employees, they received an additional allowance of $ 1,000 for work at home.
“We work hard to provide a positive, rewarding and fulfilling experience for all of our employees, including our Google educators at our children’s centers,” Google spokesperson Shannon Newberry said in a separate statement. “We appreciate the feedback and will continue to work with all employees who have concerns.”
Early childhood educators and caregivers work at four Google Children’s Centers near the company’s San Francisco Bay Area offices, with employee children in their care ranging from infants to 5-year-olds.
During the pandemic, they offered virtual activities such as yoga and reading books to children. In interviews, employees said their relatively low wages make it impossible to live near Google campuses and that the refusal to help them get around reflects an undervaluation of their work.
“These are Google babies and kids, and we support them, and yet our work is not seen that way,” said Denise Belardes, a local UWU official who earns around $ 25 an hour. as a Google child educator.
Employees said they had been trying for weeks to raise the transportation issue with managers and had to deal with it on their own through solutions like carpooling. “We feel so invisible,” said AWU member Katrina de la Fuente. “We are like stepchildren.”
Some employees are due to return to the office on Monday to prepare classrooms for the children to return later this month, according to Google Children’s Center employees.
While many tech companies have decided to make remote working more permanent, Google is inviting staff to return to its offices later this year, saying that working in person fosters innovation. The company redesigned its campuses to provide more space between people and create functionality for hybrid co-working, with a mix of office and home staff.
Earlier this week, Google changed its rules to allow more people to work from home or from different offices. After this fall, the company said 60% of its staff will be working onsite, a few days a week, while 20% will be able to work entirely remotely.
Alphabet CEO Sundar Pichai also told employees the company will continue in 2021 to provide “reset” days – additional paid time off that Google implemented during the pandemic.
The Alphabet Workers Union, a subsidiary of the Communications Workers of America, was officially launched in January. The group said it is not looking for formal recognition or collective bargaining with the company, but plans to tackle workplace issues through advocacy and protest.
A complaint filed by AWU with the National Labor Relations Board in February on behalf of an employee of the outsourced Google data center in South Carolina resulted in a settlement, in which Google promised to obey the law federal government by not silencing workers about their wages.