Google’s ‘Shadow Workforce’ of Contractors Demand Equality in Letter to CEO
Google’s “shadow workforce”, known internally as temps, vendors, and contractors (TVC), published a letter addressed to CEO Sundar Pichai on Medium Wednesday demanding higher wages, equal benefits, and access to the same—sometimes life or death—information provided to full-time employees.
This comes a month after 20,000 Google Alphabet employees around the world staged a (managerially approved) walkout to protest how the company addresses sexual harassment—an act that led the company to change its policy and end forced arbitration. But while some celebrated this as a win, Bloomberg reports that the revised sexual misconduct policies didn’t include TVCs, who are employed by third parties to work alongside Googlers.
“We do essential work, from marketing, to running engineering teams, to feeding you and the rest of the Google staff — all without fair benefits or recognition,” TVCs, who Bloomberg reports make up half of the company’s workforce, wrote to Pichai.
Although Google TVCs perform the same role, the letter noted that they receive lower wages, worse health benefits, and also aren’t given access to town halls and internal communication.
“When the tragic shooting occurred at YouTube in April of this year, the company sent real-time security updates to full-time employees only, leaving TVCs defenseless in the line of fire,” the letter says, alleging that Google, “routinely denies TVCs access to information that is relevant to our jobs and our lives.”
Following the shooting, Google told CNBC that it provided parallel updates to both full-timers and TVCs, however some of those updates went through their third-party employers, which could explain the clogged flow of information.
“The exclusion of TVCs from important communications and fair treatment is part of a system of institutional racism, sexism, and discrimination,” the letter asserted. “TVCs are disproportionately people from marginalized groups who are treated as less deserving of compensation, opportunities, workplace protections and respect.”
Google declined Fortune‘s request for comment.
Although TVCs didn’t state what would happen if their demands for equality weren’t met, the letter did come with a warning: “Google cannot function without us.”