Thousands of Google contractors just got a raise after union protested against low pay and benefits

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The Alphabet Workers Union said on Monday that thousands of contract employees assessing the quality of Alphabet Inc.’s Google search and advertising won a raise that brought workers’ wages up to $15 an hour, following a Bloomberg report documenting allegedly inadequate pay and benefits.

The AWU estimated that as many as 5,000 workers received the raise, which it said resulted in “millions in collective salary increases for workers,” according to a press release. The pay hike came after AWU, which lacks collective bargaining rights, staged rallies on both US coasts to call attention to labor conditions and delivered a petition demanding that all workers receive the benefits Google publicizes in its minimum standard of benefits for its extended workforce.

“We are so thrilled to see our collective efforts win another pay increase,” Michelle Curtis, a Google contractor and member of AWU said in a statement. But Curtis added that Google and Appen Ltd., which employs the workers receiving the raise, could still do better. The pay hike is set to go into effect by the end of 2023, according to an email announcement that the workers received, which was viewed by Bloomberg. “It is now time for Appen and Google to ensure every rater can take a sick day and have access to basic health insurance,” she said.

Appen didn’t respond to a request for comment. In an earlier statement to Bloomberg, Google said it relied on suppliers to manage the employment terms for contract workers, including pay and benefits.

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