Google Maps contract workers are opposing a plan to restart in-person work, citing health concerns and the cost of commuting.

Employees have petitioned to continue working from home, which poses another hurdle to Google’s attempt to refill offices and restore campus life.

The problem affects more than 200 employees of the outsourcing firm Cognizant, which required that they work five days a week in a Bothell, Washington office from June 6. 

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The Cognizant employees wrote: “Gas is around $5 per gallon currently, and many of us in the office are not able to afford to live close to the office due to our low salaries and the high cost of housing in Bothell.”

The workers have a critical role in updating routes and destinations on Google Maps, which is utilized by over one billion people each month.

Approximately 60 percent of the 200 employees who signed the petition demanded managers pause the return-to-work deadline and first address employees’ financial, health, and childcare concerns.

The Alphabet Workers Union, which has over 900 members working for Google’s parent company, Alphabet, and its suppliers, endorsed the petition.

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Full-time Google employees with office employment, on the other hand, have been told to come in three days a week.

The policy shows the contrast between Google’s treatment of its permanent workers and contractors.

Google is estimated to have over 100,000 temporary, vendor and contract workers who spend their time on Google projects but officially work for other companies.

Source: The New York Times

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