Some Google employees andoutside activists contend the company, which is on track to makemore than $30 billion in profit this year, can easily afford totreat everyone who works in its offices the same. (Photo:Shutterstock)

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A group of Google employees wrote to Chief Executive OfficerSundar Pichai demanding better conditions for the thousands of contractors that make up more thanhalf of the internet giant's work force.

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Last month, Alphabet Inc. overhauled the way it handles allegations of sexual harassment and assault,but the updated policies largely left out temporary, vendor and contractworkers. On Wednesday, a group of full-time and contract workerssent a letter to Pichai asking for that to change. They also listedother requests, such as access to companywide emails and town hallstaff meetings, better health care and benefits, and a moretransparent process for applying for full-time jobs.

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Related: Google walkout: A new kind of workeractivism

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“We will continue to be mistreated and ignored if we staysilent,” the workers wrote in the letter. “Google has the power–andthe money–to ensure that we are treated equitably.”

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This is the latest example of Google employees speaking out, ata time when the company is being criticized for its handling ofsexual misconduct, contracts with the U.S. military and a plan tobuild a censored search engine in China. Google has said it hasstrict rules for how vendors and suppliers respond to misconduct,and investigates when a contractor makes a complaint against aGoogle employee.

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U.S. corporations often use contractors. But some Googleemployees and outside activists contend the company, which is ontrack to make more than $30 billion in profit this year, can easilyafford to treat everyone who works in its offices the same.

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In July, Bloomberg wrote about Google's “shadow workforce” andrevealed that earlier this year, for the first time, temporary,vendor and contract workers made up more than half of the company'stotal staff.

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The workers, known internally as “TVCs,” do all sorts of jobs,from serving meals and piloting self-driving cars to writing codeand managing teams. Unlike full-time workers, they aren't givenstock, and many struggle with inadequate health care. They aren'tallowed in some buildings or at certain company meetings. They areoften employed by outside agencies, including Adecco Group AG,Cognizant Technology Solutions Corp. and Randstad NV.

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Several TVCs interviewed recently by Bloomberg News describedfeeling like second-class citizens compared with full-time Googleemployees. They asked not to be identified for fear of losing theirjobs.

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When a shooting happened at YouTube's campus in San Bruno,California, in April, TVCs didn't get some communications updatingworkers on the situation, which left them feeling unsafe, the TVCssaid.

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The workers are often on teams with full-time employees and saidtheir contributions are indistinguishable from the better-placedcolleagues. One contractor, who works 50 to 60 hours a week inGoogle's marketing division, said TVCs are treated as “collateraldamage” who can be hired and fired on short notice to help thecompany achieve business goals quickly and cheaply.

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Another TVC described full-time staff asking her to move from anoffice desk or cutting ahead of her in line for coffee because shewas a contractor and therefore not as important.

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Another contract worker said when he took a job doing userresearch for Google, a manager told him he would be able toeventually convert the position into a full-time role. Two yearslater, that hasn't happened, and he's largely given up on that everhappening.

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