Unable to afford commuting, the lowest-paid contractors for Alphabet's Google Maps business are rebelling against a mandatory return to office work in Seattle.

According to a New York Times report, about 60% of outsourcing company Cognizant's more than 200 employees have signed a petition refusing to comply with the requirement to be in the office every five business days as of June 6. From this date. , they will no longer have access to work-from-home systems.

"Currently, gasoline costs about $5 a gallon, and many of us in the office cannot afford to live near the office due to our low wages and high cost of housing in Bothell," they wrote, referring to a city in the Seattle subway. area where Cognizant has an office.

Note:- Recommended you read Google Maps workers say they can’t afford to return to the office.

Since the employees work for Cognizant, rather than Google directly, they can't take advantage of the tech giant's three-day workweek policy and ask for the same flexibility.

Workers play a vital role in updating addresses and destinations on Google Maps, a service used by more than a billion people a month, according to the newspaper.
Their demands are backed by the Alphabet Workers Union, which has more than 900 members employed by Google parent company Alphabet and its suppliers, the Times writes.

The open revolt highlights the industry's widespread use of independent contractors who lack many full-time staffing benefits despite working on similar projects, creating a kind of two-tier workforce.

Alphabet is estimated to have more than 100,000 temporary workers, vendors and contractors assigned to Google projects who officially work for other companies, according to the newspaper.

By comparison, employers like San Francisco-based Salesforce are willing to give top talent the option to work from virtually anywhere, as long as they're in the same time zone as most of their colleagues.

cost of living crisis

In remarks sent to The Times, Google said it gave third-party companies in Washington state 90 days' notice for workers to return to the office, leaving those contractors to decide how to act. Cognizant said that its decisions depend on the needs of its customers.

Google and Cognizant did not immediately respond to Fortune's request for comment.

Tyler Brown, a Google Maps operator, estimated that his trip from Olympia, some 73 miles away, would cost 28% of his salary.

"I get paid $19 an hour," he told the newspaper, adding that he would resign if the plan goes through. "That doesn't make sense to me."

As the economy slowly emerges from the pandemic, consumers in the United States and around the world are facing some of the highest rates of inflation seen in decades. The main driver of this cost of living crisis has been fossil fuels such as gasoline, natural gas and fuel oil.

The rise in prices was mainly driven by unprecedented levels of central bank stimulus that boosted the money supply at a time when events such as the war in Ukraine reduced the amount of goods available to buy.
Countries like Germany have responded in part by planning temporary fuel tax cuts, while others, like the UK, are debating imposing extraordinary taxes on energy company profits.