According to reports, Google is providing high-end real-time new coronavirus testing for full-time employees working from home, but contract workers still need to go to the office for testing and wait longer.
Google is allowing full-time U.S. employees and their families to apply for a new coronavirus test provided by Cue Health, and get the test results at home in just a few minutes. Contract workers would have to report in person at a Google office in order to perform a nucleic acid test provided by BioIQ, and then mail the surveillance samples to the lab, according to a tweet by the Alphabet Workers Union on Tuesday.
Easy access to high-quality coronavirus testing has become the latest sign of social inequality in the United States. At a time when the Omicron variant has led to a surge in new crown cases, there are long queues for people to be tested across the United States, and home monitoring is even rarer, and prices in the secondary market have risen sharply.
In light of this, the President of the United States on Monday even asked insurers to include the cost of home testing in their insurance coverage. He has also said that the government will soon provide 500 million tests for free.
Google’s direct employees have always been able to enjoy the company’s various benefits, while dispatching workers, temporary workers and contract workers, although not less than full-time employees, do not receive the same treatment.
Contract workers, for example, cannot request additional computer monitors through Google’s intranet, and their compensation packages do not include Alphabet stock. And in the United States, this inequality extends to health issues as well.
We offer many at-home and personal testing options to our employees and our workforce, including temporary and dispatch workers, free of charge, a Google spokesperson said in a statement. By offering such testing in-house, the company says it can relieve pressure on public testing resources.
Google’s parent company, Alphabet, has more than 150,000 direct employees, but the company does not disclose the total number of contract and dispatch workers. Google provides employees with a Cue device and 10 rapid home detection modules, which the average consumer needs to buy for $949.
This type of test is often more precise than antigen testing because it detects a small number of viral genes, rather than looking for specific proteins on the virus’s surface. Full-time Google employees don’t have to travel to the office to work, but can request up to 20 additional Cue tests per month for themselves and their relatives 2 and older via the intranet, one employee said. These employees can work from home indefinitely.
Workers working in select U.S. data centers, including contractors and temporary workers, can enjoy a one-time rapid test with Lucira Check It worth $75. Google said they can also get Cue test results in the office, but not at home. On-site testing is available to all employees, including contract workers, while working at large campuses in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York and Seattle, people familiar with the matter said.
Google software engineer Ashok Chandwaney, who sits on the executive committee of Alphabet’s union, said all employees deserve equal treatment based on their work. Google’s disparate responses to protecting its employees and communities are shocking, but not surprising, Chanwani said in a statement. and equity, delivering huge benefits to a small number of executives and investors.