Friday, February 3, 2023

Google employees protest job cuts and low wages

Google workers stage rallies against job cuts, low wages

 CAPE CANAVERAL: This week, Google employees organized protests on both coasts of the United States to raise awareness about the working conditions of subcontracted workers and to show their support for thousands of coworkers who were recently fired.

After Google announced the largest layoff in its history—12,000 positions, or 6% of its global workforce—the company held rallies on Wednesday at its headquarters in Mountain View, California, and on Thursday near its corporate offices in New York City. Microsoft Corp., Salesforce Inc., and Inc. are just a few of the major tech companies that have recently announced layoffs.

Just minutes after parent company Alphabet Inc. reported fourth-quarter results, including $13.6 billion in profit, the protest in New York drew about 50 Google employees outside a store on Ninth Avenue.

Software engineer Alberta Devor stated, "Today, Google has debunked its own rationale for laying off 12,000 of our coworkers." It is abundantly clear that the insignificant savings that the business is accumulating as a result of layoffs pale in comparison to the billions that were spent on stock buybacks or the billions that were earned in profits during the most recent quarter.

The labor group Alphabet Workers Union, a "minority union" without collective bargaining rights whose members include Google subcontractors and employees, organized both demonstrations.

Devor, an AWU member who has worked at Google for more than three years, stated in an interview, "Today shows that some of the issues we’re talking about affect all workers regardless of what their actual job title or job status is." Devor has worked at Google for more than three years.

Dozens of subcontractors spoke out against what they called substandard working conditions, including what they called "poverty wages and no benefits," at the rally on Wednesday in California. They are responsible for checking advertisements and YouTube clips for offensive or sensitive content, as well as reviewing content to assist in the training of the company's AI-powered algorithms. However, the employees claim that their compensation and benefits are significantly below Google's own minimum requirements for direct contract workers.

In a telephone interview, one of the subcontractors participating in the protest in California, Zai Snell, stated, "We would like to at least be able to have some chance of survivability with this job."

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