Google is a great place to work, unless you aren't doing tech work and get treated like human garbage.
The Second Class Citizens of the Google Cafeteria
As a contract worker, Cardenas' access to the basic perks of Googleplex—patient zero of pampered tech industry employees—are also limited:
He says he usually stands in the lot for eight hours and gets a lunch break. That gives him a chance to dive into Google's famous free gourmet food buffet; he would like to bring a few snacks home for his 5-year-old daughter, but as a contract worker, he can't.
"I see people taking to-go boxes," he says. "They give you to-go boxes if you ask for them, but we weren't allowed to do that."
Cardenas says it is strange being on Google's campus, watching the regular employees drive around on company-supplied bikes and scooters and taking food home.
"You feel like you're different," he says. "Even though you're working in the same place, you're still like an outsider. And it's weird because you're actually protecting these people."
Imagine getting your hand slapped away from a to-go box in a campus that boasts "beach volleyball, a bowling alley, a climbing wall, over 25 cafeterias, more than 100 micro-kitchens and seven fitness centers."
Cardenas is not alone. The SEIU-USWW is in the process of trying to unionize more than 5,000 Silicon Valley security officers struggling with low pay. They put out a report in April saying that tech companies purposefully limit hours to avoid paying benefits. While Silicon Valley boasts the second-highest concentration of wealth, the median hourly wage for a security officer there is $14.89 an hour, with many making $9–$12 an hour