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CODE-CWA Press & Updates

Google Raters Participated in Historic Action at Google HQ to Demand Google End Poverty Wages for 5,000 Workers

01 Feb, 2023

(Mountain View, CA)— On Wednesday, February 1, 2023 at 11:45AM PST, dozens of Alphabet workers, called “raters” delivered a petition to Senior Vice President Prabhakar Raghavanan office at Google’s Corporate HeadQuarters in Mountain View, CA. Prior to the petition delivery, workers and allies met at Charleston Park in Mountain View, CA for a press conference calling on Google to pay workers the fair wages and benefits they are owed. The petition calls for Alphabet to end the exclusion of raters from Google’s own minimum standards and benefits that the company has set for its extended workforce. The petition also demands that Alphabet meet directly with workers to negotiate fair working conditions. The raters present are members of Alphabet Workers Union-CWA and were joined by their fellow AWU-CWA members who are full time employees at Google.


“I started working as a rater when my children were young because I needed full time work I could do from home. Since my time as a rater started, we have lost the ability to work full-time and were capped at 26 hours, and actually received a cut in our hourly pay. That did not stop the growing demands placed on us—we’ve been asked to do more work in the same amount of time and are increasingly exposed to violent and disturbing content. Today, I could work at Wendy’s and make more than what I make working for Google. That’s why we are here at Google headquarters to deliver a petition on behalf of 600 of our fellow workers, demanding Alphabet include raters in their standard minimum of benefits and meet directly with workers to ensure we receive our fair share,” said Michelle Curtis, Google Rater and member of Alphabet Workers Union-CWA.


Raters are often called “ghost workers” because they do the invisible labor of evaluating the quality of Google search and ads. Alphabet, Google's parent company, reports 81% of its total revenue from Search ads, built in large part from this unseen labor. However raters have previously made as little as $10.00 an hour, with no benefits. Late last year, AWU-CWA Rater members met with the CEO of Appen/Raterlabs, one of several rating companies. This meeting led to Appen raters receiving their first wage increase ever—from $10/hour to $14/hour. AWU-CWA estimates that the most recent raise to be more than a $10 Million dollar annual wage increase. This still does not not meet Google’s own minimum standard of $15.00 an hour.  


“Even though I’m working from home, I live tethered to my work computer. Right now, I am forced to spend hours everyday refreshing my work computer to see if there are any new tasks for me to do—if there are, I have to immediately work on them. I’m not paid for the hours I spend refreshing my computer. If Google wants me to be on standby, I deserve the bare minimum for my time.When I look to my future and retirement, I shouldn’t be facing a lot of unanswered questions. That’s why I’m proud to stand with my fellow raters and deliver this petition on behalf of the over 600 raters who signed it. It’s time Google grant raters their own minimum standard of pay and benefits, and meet directly with workers to negotiate our fair working conditions,” said Zaidah Snell, Google Rater and member of Alphabet Workers Union-CWA. 


Google has a history of utilizing a “two-tiered” employment system in order to cut costs and maximize profits. By splitting workers into “tiers,” the company limits workers’ access to certain levels of pay and benefits. 


“The experiences we’ve heard today of poverty wages, no benefits and no voice on the job is not the exception but the rule for contractors in tech. TechEquity Collaborative's Contract Worker Disparity Project has shown how temporary and contract workers are often doing the same work as their directly employed counterparts, while making less money, receiving fewer benefits and experiencing career immobility. Contract workers are also more likely to be women, workers of color or nonbinary. Alphabet can and should do better. We’re calling on Alphabet to set responsible contracting standards for all workers,” said Megan Abell, Senior Director of Advocacy TechEquity Collaborative.


 “I want to be clear, we’re talking about basic human rights. Being able to go to the doctor, being able to take a day off, being able to take care of your family—that’s what’s at stake. These raters are an inspiration to all workers fighting the rip off that is contract work. Alphabet’s exemption of these workers from their own standards contributes to low labor standards across the industry. The subcontractor model utilized by Google keeps workers in poverty and separates workers through punitive non disclosure agreements. While the raters are the most impacted, the conditions of this tiered employment system affects all workers over time. The Alphabet Workers Union-CWA serves as a powerful example of what’s possible when workers across lines of employment are brought together to organize,”said Roberto Clack, Executive Director of Temp Worker Justice. 


“Google is worth hundreds of billions of dollars—but that won’t stop them from firing thousands of their workers on a whim while giving other workers pennies. Raters are why Google search results are so good, they make sure that people like you and me get the information we need every time. Google’s minimum standards of benefits are just that—the minimum. The incredible workers who make this company what it is deserve so much more. That is why CWA is proud to support tech worker organizing happening at Google, with the Alphabet Workers Union. And that is why, it is time for Google to extend these minimum benefits to raters, and meet directly with workers to give them their fair share. Enough with the Google Greed—it’s time for Google Rater justice,”said Frank Arce, Vice President of CWA District 9. 


Raters will continue to organize with AWU-CWA, and call on Alphabet to include them in their minimum standards of benefits and meet with them to directly negotiate fair wages and benefits. 



Alphabet Workers Union - CWA unites full-time employees, temporary employees, vendors, and contractors at Google and other Alphabet companies in the United States and Canada in collective action to ensure that our workplace is equitable and that Alphabet acts ethically. We are members of Communications Workers of America Local 1400 and currently represent over 1,100 workers across Alphabet. Learn more at or follow us at @AlphabetWorkers.




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