Google Employees Are Petitioning for Abortion Rights: What to Know

Rachel Curry - Author
By

Aug. 18 2022, Published 11:47 a.m. ET

Employees at Google data centers and other locations of parent company Alphabet Inc. (GOOGL) across the U.S. have banded together to petition for abortion rights.

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The petition is a product of hundreds of Google workers who have signed on, asking corporate management to reevaluate employee rights pertaining to abortion access.

Google employees have signed a petition seeking fair abortion access.

abortion
Source: Google

Google Data Center in Douglas County, Georgia

When the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, the high court opened up direct routes for states to ban and criminalize abortion within its own borders. Many corporations responded with employee assistance when they need to cross state lines to receive an abortion. Google was one of those companies.

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In late June, Google announced it would let U.S. workers move from states where abortion is banned to states where it’s legal without penalty. The company also said it would pay for out-of-state procedures and travel as necessary. The company wrote in a statement, “To support Googlers and their dependents, our U.S. benefits plan and health insurance cover out-of-state medical procedures that are not available where an employee lives and works.”

However, only full employees at Google receive these benefits. Contract laborers are excluded. Tennessee-based Google data center technician Bambi Okugawa told reporters, “Some of my TVC [temporary vendor contract] coworkers are scared.” She added, “Some told me they have been seeking sterilization options because they know there won’t be access to abortions in the state.”

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Will Google expand its abortion benefits policy to include contract workers?

A 2019 report states more than half of Google’s workforce falls under the TVC category. Today, the number of full-time employees to temporary workers is closer to 175,000 and 100,000, respectively. Still, that’s a substantial number of people without access to highly publicized abortion benefits that Google has benefited from through a public relations lens.

That’s why the Alphabet Workers Union-CWA wrote a letter to the company stating, “We demand that Alphabet acknowledges the impact this Supreme Court ruling has on all its workers and to immediately do the following: Protect all workers’ access to reproductive healthcare by setting a reproductive healthcare standard in the US Wages and Benefits Standards [...] including: Extending the same travel-for-healthcare benefits offered to [full-time employees] to TVCs.”

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According to Okugawa, the demands make sense. She says, “It's only right we display a sense of compassion, empathy and fairness with anyone contracting with the company who should get the same protections and sustainability of life offered to regular employees.”

Google has 35 office locations throughout the country, most of which welcome full-time employees on a corporate level, and most of which are in blue states like California and Oregon. Even the Austin, Texas location is in a more advantageous position than other Texas areas due to a city-based decriminalization effort.

However, Google’s 14 U.S. data centers are primarily centered in red states where abortion is more likely to be banned or criminalized. Contract workers in Tennessee, Alabama, Georgia, South Carolina, and more work for a company that doesn't provide them with the same well-publicized benefits as its other, full-time employees. For that, Google works are petitioning — and it could take a lot for the company to release its stronghold on the budget and extend abortion rights to TVC workers.

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