Google’s Contract Workers Seem Not To Understand What Contract Worker Means

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A group of – no one knows how large a group of – Google’s contract workers have decided to agitate against their terms of employment. That’s fine of course, we’ve all the right to make our own decisions about our employment – argue, accept, move on, whatever. But for all that Google’s supposed to be where all the smart people go to work these guys do seem to be more than a little ignorant. For their major demand rather ignores the very point and definition of contract workers in the first place. That, you know, the terms of employment are different?

It’s thus rather less than an outrage that people hired on different contract terms gain different contract terms:

In an open letter to CEO Sundar Pichai, members of Google’s “shadow workforce” of temporary workers and contractors is demanding higher wages and equal benefits.

Benefits are a huge part of employment costs these days. Not having to pay those costs is rather the point, often enough, of hiring contract workers:

Last month, Alphabet Inc. overhauled the way it handles allegations of sexual harassment and assault, but the updated policies largely left out temporary, vendor and contract workers. On Wednesday, a group of full-time and contract workers sent a letter to Pichai asking for that to change. They also listed other requests, such as access to companywide emails and town hall staff meetings, better health care and benefits, and a more transparent process for applying for full-time jobs.

Ask for what you like folks. Here’s their actual letter, and the part that makes the least sense:

An end to pay and opportunity inequity for TVCs. We demand better pay and access to benefits that meet the full-time employee standard, including high-quality healthcare, paid vacations, paid sick days, holiday pay, family leave, and bonuses. This must also include a consistent and transparent conversion process to full-time employment, as well as adoption of a single badge color for all workers.

The very point of having contract workers is to not have to pay all those overheads of full time and permanent employees. So, now the question becomes, what part of “contract worker” is it that Google’s contract workers don’t understand? For such allegedly bright people they’re being remarkably ill-informed on this point.