Google employees gets free COVID testing, but union notes unfair access

3 mins read

At-home COVID-19 tests were made available by Google for its full-time employees and their families, but thousands of contractors and temporary workers of the company are not getting the same benefit, a Google engineer said, San Francisco Chronicle reported.

In an email, a Google spokesperson confirmed that the company has indeed made at-home and in-person testing free for its employees and also for vendors and temporary workers.

But there is an inequality for Google’s depended workforce, Google software engineer and Alphabet Workers Union member Ashok Chandwaney said.

“Right now all full time Google employees, even if they are exclusively working from home, have been offered at-home COVID tests,” Chandwaney said.

The engineer said that several of the contract workers, temps, and vendors in the company does not have access to mail-in or on-site testing like on-site workers do.

Early in 2021, the union initiated change on Google and Alphabet, raising several labor and social concerns.

The omicron variant has made it hard to secure virus tests in the Bay Area. Testing kits are short on pharmacies while laboratory testing requires long hours to bear results.

According to Google spokesperson, its employees, as well as the temps, contractors and vendors or what it called the “extended workforce” can obtain at-home virus tests via nasal swabs.

Google aims to make accessible and free at-home and in-person testing for its workforce members as well as its families.

“We offer free Cue rapid at-home tests for our employees and an onsite Cue testing program available to Google’s extended workforce at our data centers,” the spokesperson said.

The “extended workforce” of the company involves those under different sections that range from engineering to catering.

The work-from-home arrangement has been adopted by some of the workers during the pandemic, which cut the need for some workers like caterers and vehicle drivers.

In its Twitter page, the union published a message it said was from Google. The message says the free testing is available to Google employees, interns, and their dependents at home.

Added to this, the document said at-home tests were accessible “Any members of the extended workforce on assignment to Google who are currently eligible to work on-site.”

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