Over its 25 year history, Google has amassed a fortune and conquered the top layer of the internet thanks, in no small part, to human workers who test and oversee the company’s numerous search and ranking algorithm The proper functioning of those tools are paramount to the tech giant’s success, but the laborer responsible for that work are often contractors lacking the same pay and protections afforded to other full time Googlers. These members of the company, according to the Alphabet Workers Union, are referred to as “ghost workers.”
Dozens of those raters petitioned the company in early February, claiming they made poverty wages, despite helping create some of Google’s most profitable products. In the petition the raters claimed they and their colleagues, who work exclusively for Google, did not receive health care, family leave, or paid time off benefits.
“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,” Google Rater Michelle Curtis said in a statement sent to Gizmodo. “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,” Curtis added.