Google plans to reduce the equity packages for Durham, North Carolina; Des Moines, Iowa; and Houston, Texas, in January 2022, according to an Alphabet Workers Union petition circulating today that demands a reversion to pay and equity cuts.
The Research Triangle area, where the Durham, North Carolina, office is located, was also moved from the "National" pay band to a "Discount" pay band in late 2020, according to the AWU petition. The union said it would affect 300 workers there, but that Google plans to expand to 1,000 employees in the coming years.
The company has targeted the region for growing its workforce and touted the location as valuable in its efforts to recruit students from historically Black colleges and universities and hire workers with diverse backgrounds. Many workers relocated there before the changes in pay and equity were made, the union wrote.
"Our goal is to always pay at the top of the local market, including in the Raleigh-Durham area. In our annual review, we found that our compensation guidelines in the Research Triangle region exceeded the market pay benchmarks, so we made adjustments to align with the local market. Employees working there have not seen a reduction in salary or in their existing equity grant," a Google spokesperson wrote in an email to Protocol. "As we continue to invest in the region, new employees and those who transfer from other offices will still be paid at the top of the local market, and all employees have the potential to be rewarded further based on performance and promotion opportunities."
The petition claims that Google's plans to scale equity reduction in January 2022 will apply only to the Research Triangle, Des Moines and Houston areas, meaning equity packages for all other offices in the U.S. would remain the same.
"Although Google claims that they pay based on the local market, this is *lower* than the surrounding, less populated areas," the union wrote in the petition. "They are reaching out to local HBCUs to tell students about the upcoming opportunities at the new hub, without telling them about the pay disparity."
Tech companies have battled for talent over the past year in an increasingly favorable labor market. Many, including Google and Apple, have publicized efforts to recruit from locations like Durham and Atlanta, where a broader range of diverse workers might be interested in living and where a number of HBCUs are located.