A Google Maps employee says they don’t have the money to go back to the office.


Google Maps contractors, who have to return to their Washington state offices, recently circulated petitions asking them to continue working from home because some people can’t afford to commute, posing another challenge to Google’s plans to fill offices and restore campus life. presented.

The issue affects more than 200 people employed by outsourcing firm Cognizant Technology Solutions, which has mandated a five-day week in Voxel’s offices starting June 6th. Employees play an essential role in updating routes and destinations on Google Maps. , services used in the above 10 billion people a month.

About 60% of 200 workers signed the petition. They demanded that managers stop their return-to-office schedule and address the employee’s financial, health and childcare issues first.

A Cognizant employee wrote, “Gasoline currently costs around $5 per gallon, and many of us in the office cannot afford to live near the office due to low salaries and high cost of living.” The petition was backed by Alphabet’s union, which has more than 900 members employed by Google’s parent company, Alphabet.

A full-time Google employee working in a white-collar job was instructed to come three days a week. In interviews, Cognizant employees demanded the same flexibility. As of June 6th, you will no longer have access to your work system from home.

This policy highlights the gap between Google’s direct employees and contractors. It is estimated that Google has over 100,000 temporary, supplier and contract workers who spend time on Google projects, but officially work for other companies. Google does not disclose the number.

Cognizant said in a statement that return-to-office policies depend on the kind of work employees do and the needs of customers. Jeff DeMarrais, Cognizant’s chief communications officer, said in an email, “The health and safety of our employees is our top priority and we need them to be vaccinated to return to our offices in the United States.

Google spokeswoman Courtenay Mencini said in a statement that the health of the community, including its contract workers, is the company’s priority. Google gave a Washington state supplier 90 days’ notice to allow employees to return to the office, and the supplier has decided how to implement the policy, she said.

Contractors in Washington say most earn between $16 and $28 an hour, far less than the average Google full-time employee. The recognizing manager denied the request for a gas card or other financial offset. They said they didn’t get Google’s private bus service, a popular perk in Silicon Valley to facilitate commuting.

Map operator Tyler Brown, hired during the pandemic, estimated that driving a 2006 Toyota Sienna from home to an office in Olympia, Washington would cost $280 of its $1,000 every other week on gasoline.

“I’m getting $19 an hour,” Brown said. “It makes no sense to keep going.” He plans to quit once plans to return to the office are in progress.

Geospatial data expert William Houser also said he was concerned about long and expensive commutes. A daily round trip of 100 miles from Puyalup, Washington, takes over 4 hours total. He started working in April 2021, 13 months after Google closed its offices.

Cognizant employees expressed other concerns. They said managers gave direct notice to work 40 days in advance rather than the promised at least 60 days. This means less time to find or move to child care. And they are afraid of getting infected with COVID-19 in the office.

This is of particular concern to policy trainer Shelby Hunter, who has undergone four lung surgeries. He said his boss said he had no medical waivers on his return to office plan.

“I like to know that what I do makes a difference,” said Hunter. “I think I was treated rudely.”

After expanding its office space during the coronavirus pandemic, Google used perks like free electric scooters and pop star Lizzo’s concerts to lure 164,000 employees back to campus. Search giants approved 85% of employee requests to work remotely or to move to another location last year.

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