Aug 18, 2022 - Politics & Policy

Google employees press for abortion protections after Supreme Court ruling

A signage is displayed outside Google's new Bay View campus on June 16, 2022 in Mountain View, California

Google's Bay View campus on June 16 in Mountain View, Calif. Photo: Zhang Yi/VCG via Getty Images

Google employees are asking the tech giant to protect data for users seeking information about abortions, among other demands, per a petition signed by more than 650 workers and sent this week to CEO Sundar Pichai.

Driving the news: The petition also called on the company to halt donations to any political action committees and politicians, saying "these politicians were responsible for appointing the Supreme Court justices who overturned Roe v. Wade."

  • The petition, sent by representatives from the Alphabet Workers Union, also asks for protections for users and customers "from having their data used against them ... as it pertains to abortion services and other reproductive healthcare services."
  • The petition asks for "immediate user data privacy controls" for all health-related activity, including when searching for gender-affirming care or abortion access information.
  • The employees are also asking for the company to offer abortion benefits to contractors.
  • Google did not immediately respond to Axios' request for comment.

The big picture: Alphabet Inc., Google's parent company, had about 174,000 full-time employees at the end of June, the Wall Street Journal reports.

  • The petition request comes as tech companies, including Google and Facebook, have come under increased scrutiny in the wake of the Supreme Court's abortion ruling as they collect enormous volumes of personal data.
  • States that have made abortion a crime are making anyone who miscarries a potential target for a police data demand, Axios' Ina Fried and Margaret Harding McGill report.
  • The petition is the first large-scale organizing movement at Google in response to the Supreme Court ruling, per the Washington Post.

Between the lines: The Alphabet Workers Union is a special kind of worker organization that, unlike traditional unions, doesn't represent a majority of the company workforce and lacks the power to collectively bargain with an employer.

What they're saying: "In order to meet these demands, we call on Alphabet to create a dedicated task-force with 50% employee representation, responsible for implementing changes across all products and our company, just like Alphabet did for handling the COVID-19 pandemic," the petition says.

Go deeper... Tech companies may surrender abortion-related data

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