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Google child care workers petition for transportation stipend

Google child care workers petition for transportation stipend
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A group of Google workers who provide child care services and education for other employees' kids are circulating a petition urging the Silicon Valley giant to provide them a stipend to cover transportation costs.

Many of the 148 workers are being asked to return to in-person child care services this week after working online throughout the pandemic, but the shuttle transportation system remains offline.

“Childcare workers never expected or anticipated being called back to on-site work while Google’s transportation services are still suspended,” reads the petition, which is being circulated by the Alphabet Workers Union (AWU).

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Workers who asked for assistance say they were told “transportation is just a perk, not a benefit” by Google.

Nearly 100 Alphabet workers had signed the petition as of Friday afternoon calling for child care workers to get a $1,500 per month stipend until transportation operations resume.

Alphabet reported $17.9 billion in net revenue in the first quarter of 2021.

A spokesperson for Google told The Hill that the company welcomes "feedback and will continue to work with any educator who has concerns as we start to reopen and return regular services.”

The company operates four Google Children’s Centers near its Bay Area offices, serving employees' children ranging from infants to 5-year-olds.

Getting to those offices is a challenge for many of the workers without the scheduled shuttles.

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“Early childcare educators are in general undervalued and invisible, even at Google,” said Katrina de la Fuente, a member of the AWU who has worked in child care at the company for more than two years.

“It feels like Google has taken our role for granted, even though we’ve been caring for everyone’s kids in the middle of the most difficult year of our lives. All we’re asking for now is a reliable way to get to work.”

The petition, which was first circulated Friday morning, is another example of how the AWU has managed to put pressure on its employers without being a formal union. It has said it does not have plans to seek recognition from the National Labor Relations Board.

The Communications Workers of America-affiliate, which launched in January, filed a complaint that got Google and a contractor to post notices about worker rights at a data center in South Carolina and launched a petition last month calling for the company to bar employees who have harassment claims against them from managing others.

Updated: 8:22 p.m.