TRAVELLING

Google Search Contractors Will Send Petition to SVP Prabhakar Raghavan

  • More contractors for the Alphabet subsidiary Google plan to demand increased pay this week. 
  • Google “raters” who test and evaluate search quality say they aren’t fairly compensated.
  • The fresh demands come amid mass layoffs and numerous advertising headwinds for the search giant.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, faces another challenge from its contract workforce after the union representing it announced dozens of workers would participate in an action Wednesday calling for an end to “poverty wages.”

Called “raters,” these workers are part of a team at Google tasked with providing feedback to the company’s artificial intelligence to improve the effectiveness of search rankings and ads. They work for third-party firms, including Appen’s RaterLabs. This means the raters are not technically Google employees, even though they are tasked with improving its services.

In this latest action, workers in the Alphabet Workers Union have organized a visit to Google’s headquarters to deliver a petition addressed to Prabhakar Raghavan, the senior vice president at Google overseeing search. The petition will demand that the company compensate its raters in line with the minimums the company previously set for its extended workforce.

In 2019, Alphabet enacted a policy requiring that contracting firms working for the company pay staff a minimum wage of $15 an hour, on top of various benefits. The AWU says rater pay increased from $10 to $14 or $14.50 an hour after it met with RaterLabs late last year, but Google has implemented loopholes to prevent workers from receiving more, such as by capping working hours and not providing them with “@google.com” email accounts.

Alphabet declined to comment. RaterLabs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

“This action from the AWU is a small but important step in holding management to account,” Wendy Liu, a former Googler who has

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