Google contract workers in Pittsburgh are unionizing as the company’s ‘shadow workforce’ continues to fight for the same pay and benefits as full-time employees

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Katie Canales/Business Insider

  • A group of Google contract workers in Pittsburgh is unionizing, according to a statement released Thursday.
  • More than 66% of employees at a tech contractor signed their support for a plan that could bring them fairer wages and more benefits.
  • The union filing comes as Google’s hefty contract workforce continues to push for the same benefits and pay as full-time employees.
  • Google’s temporary workers reportedly outnumber its force of full-time employees, but the “shadow workforce” experiences roadblocks and degraded overall treatment when compared to full-time workers.
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Google contract workers in Pittsburgh are unionizing, according to a statement released by the Pittsburgh Association of Tech Professionals (PATP) on Thursday.

More than 66% of employees with HCL, a tech contractor at Google’s Pittsburgh offices, signed their support for union representation that could bring the often-neglected sector of Google’s contract workforce fairer wages and more benefits.

Google’s temporary workers outnumber its force of full-time employees, according to a New York Times report, and the tech giant relies heavily upon them. But members of what is known as the “shadow workforce” hasn’t always received the same pay and benefits as full-time workers.

“HCL’s 90 employees work side-by-side with those of the giant corporation for far less compensation and few, if any, of the perks,” the union said in the statement released Thursday.

As Business Insider’s Nick Bastone previously reported, some temp workers are even barred from all-hands meetings and certain internal resources that could improve their job performance. They’re also required to wear red badges, which the company says is for security purposes, leading to a “sense of shame,” as one employee described it to Business Insider.

Read more: Google barred contractors from communicating with full-time Googlers on some internal Groups forums, and makes temps wear red badges that add to a ‘sense of shame’

Protests among Google contract workers in April led to the company granting them better pay and more benefits, like parental leave and better healthcare.

As The Verge reports, it’s uncommon for tech contractors to unionize, and if it proves to be successful, could have a ripple effect.