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Google Maps makes use of greater than 200 workers of Cognizant Know-how Options, which desires them to begin working 5 days per week in Bothell, Wash., subsequent month.Credit score…Andrew Testa for The New York Occasions Google Maps contract workers who’re required to return to their workplace in Washington State just […]

Credit score…Andrew Testa for The New York Occasions

Google Maps contract workers who’re required to return to their workplace in Washington State just lately circulated a petition to maintain working from residence since some can’t afford their commutes, presenting one other problem to Google’s plan to refill places of work and restore campus life.

The difficulty impacts greater than 200 staff who’re employed by the outsourcing agency Cognizant Know-how Options, which mandated that they work in an workplace in Bothell 5 days per week beginning on June 6. The employees play a vital function updating routes and locations on Google Maps, a service utilized by a couple of billion individuals a month.

About 60 p.c of the 200 staff signed the petition. They demanded that managers droop the return-to-office timeline and first tackle workers’ monetary, well being and youngster care considerations.

“Gasoline is round $5 per gallon presently, and many people within the workplace should not capable of afford to reside near the workplace as a consequence of our low salaries and the excessive value of housing in Bothell,” the Cognizant workers wrote. The petition was supported by the Alphabet Employees Union, which has greater than 900 members employed by Google’s father or mother firm, Alphabet, and its suppliers.

Full-time Google workers with workplace jobs have been instructed to come back in three days per week. In interviews, the Cognizant workers referred to as for a similar flexibility. Beginning June 6, they’ll now not have entry to work methods from residence.

The insurance policies spotlight disparities between Google’s direct workers and contractors. Google is estimated to have nicely greater than 100,000 non permanent, vendor and contract staff who spend their time on Google tasks however formally work for different firms. Google doesn’t disclose the quantity.

Cognizant mentioned in an announcement that its return-to-office coverage relied on the form of work workers did and the wants of its purchasers. “The well being and security of our workers stays our prime precedence, and we require our workers to be vaccinated to return to our places of work in the USA,” Jeff DeMarrais, Cognizant’s chief communications officer, wrote in an e mail.

Courtenay Mencini, a spokeswoman for Google, mentioned in an announcement that the well being of its neighborhood, together with contract staff, was an organization precedence. Google gave its suppliers in Washington State 90 days’ discover for staff to return to the workplace, and people suppliers determined tips on how to execute that coverage, she mentioned.

Credit score…Christie Hemm Klok for The New York Occasions

The contractors in Washington mentioned most of them made between $16 and $28 an hour, far lower than typical full-time Google workers. Cognizant managers denied their requests for fuel playing cards or different monetary offsets. They mentioned they hadn’t been provided Google’s personal bus providers — a preferred perk in Silicon Valley — to ease their commutes.

Tyler Brown, a maps operator who was employed through the pandemic, estimated that he must spend $280 of his $1,000 biweekly pay on fuel to drive his 2006 Toyota Sienna to the workplace, 73 miles away from his residence in Olympia, Wash.

“I’m getting paid $19 an hour,” Mr. Brown mentioned. “It doesn’t make sense for me to proceed to do” the job. He plans to stop if the return-to-office plan goes forward.

William Houser, a geospatial knowledge specialist, additionally mentioned he was cautious of an extended, costly commute. His 100-mile spherical journey every day from Puyallup, Wash., would take greater than 4 hours complete. He began the job in April 2021, 13 months after Google closed its places of work.

The Cognizant workers expressed different considerations. They mentioned managers had given them 40 days’ discover to work in particular person, not a promised 60-day minimal. Which means much less time to search out youngster care or transfer. And they’re afraid of contracting Covid-19 within the workplace.

That’s of explicit concern to Shelby Hunter, a coverage coach who has had 4 lung operations. He mentioned his bosses had instructed him that the return-to-office plan had no medical exemptions.

“I like realizing the work I do makes a distinction,” Mr. Hunter mentioned. “It simply appears like I’ve been disrespected.”

Google, which expanded its workplace footprint all through the coronavirus pandemic, has used perks like free electrical scooters and a live performance by the pop star Lizzo to entice 164,000 workers to return to campuses. The search large accredited 85 p.c of workers’ requests to work remotely or switch to a unique location final 12 months.

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