Hands holding phone with google maps app on screen (l) Hand holding work bag with face mask in office (r)

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Google Maps contract workers win delayed return to office date

‘I have a history of respiratory issues and I’m at high risk if I contract Covid-19.’


Jacob Seitz


Google Maps workers in Washington won a 90-day extension on the company’s Return to Office (RTO) plan, according to a tweet.

The Alphabet Workers Union, which is unionized through Contract Workers of America, announced the extension on Twitter and said employees won the extension after threatening to strike. 

“We are so proud of our members who led this organizing effort alongside other impacted workers in order to secure the safe, flexible & fair working conditions all workers deserve,” the union said in a tweet thread.

Google Maps contract workers resisted management’s RTO plans last month, and over 70% of Google Maps workers signed a petition demanding the company work with them on an RTO plan that was “safe, flexible and fair for all workers—while providing minimal disruptions to Google Maps.”

Google Maps workers—who are employed by outsourcing firm Cognizant Technology Solutions—were told they must work in an office in Bothell, Washington, five days per week. However, full-time Alphabet employees were told they only needed to come in three days per week. The Cognizant employees would no longer have access to their work systems at home after the original RTO date of June 6, while the full-time Alphabet employees would.

The Alphabet Workers Union shared stories from workers calling for flexibility on the RTO date.

“I have a history of respiratory issues and I’m at high risk if I contract Covid-19,” one testimonial read. “I’ve gone 2 yrs in fear during this pandemic dodging gatherings as much as I can. I refuse to risk it for these unsafe conditions. I’m standing additionally with the other workers who like myself receive low pay and & have prohibitively long commutes and those who don’t even live in the state.”

This is the second time in the past year that Google contract workers have organized and created change with help from the Alphabet Workers Union. In October, contract workers in Iowa organized after the company stopped paying them a $200 weekly attendance bonus that was supposed to run from August until the end of the year. After the payments stopped in October over red flags raised by Google management, the workers organized, threatened a work stoppage, and were able to get payments reinstated with back pay for the unpaid weeks.

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