Bay Area companies’ abortion coverage promises fall short

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On June 24, the day the Supreme Court formally overturned Roe v. Wade, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff tried to reassure Salesforce employees outside of San Francisco and the bay area that it would help defend their reproductive rights.

“I believe CEOs have a responsibility to take care of their employees no matter what. Salesforce moves employees when they feel threatened or experience discrimination,” Benioff tweeted. “To our Ohana – we always make sure you get the best benefits and care, [and] we will always support you. Still.”

Because basic health services are so often tied to employment status in America, unlike most other developed countries, employers here play a particularly important role in protecting basic health care for their workforce. work. In recent months, based on the leaking of a draft Roe v. Wade, stories in the press have accumulated on how dozens of well-known US companies provide coverage for abortion services, including but not limited to travel expenses for people who must leave their home country for a legal abortion. But these public statements do not tell the whole story. Benioff’s “Ohana,” a Hawaiian word for family or community, doesn’t appear to include a number of Salesforce employees: contractors who work full-time for the company but are legally employed by third parties.

An aerial view shows a statue of Eureka, part of the Pioneer Monument, in front of City Hall in San Francisco on May 22, 2020.

JOSH EDELSON/AFP via Getty Images

Many of America’s best-known businesses rely heavily on contract workers, either independent contractors who receive 1099s or full-time employees of outside recruitment agencies. It is impossible to know the exact number of entrepreneurs nationwide, although it certainly numbers in the millions. In fact, contract workers are almost always left out of corporate workforces, despite their invaluable role in keeping those businesses afloat. Google, for example, refers to its direct employees as “Googlers” and its contractors as “TVCs” (temporaries, vendors, or contractors). An estimate 2021 showed that Google actually has more TVCs than Googlers.

“There are often white-collar workers doing the exact same job – a contractor and an employee sitting next to each other, working on the same projects – but with different employers and different salaries and benefits,” says Jessie HF Hammerling, a researcher at the UC Berkeley Labor Center.

Because third-party agencies go unnoticed, they have far fewer public incentives to treat their workers as well as people directly employed by, say, a company like Google. This results in serious disparities: lower wages, fewer vacations, less overtime, fewer career advancement options, and less robust health care options, even between people doing identical jobs. and working the same hours. Worse, according to a study per TechEquity Collaborative, contract employees “are more likely to belong to underrepresented racial, ethnic, and gender groups than the direct tech workforce,” a trend that almost certainly applies beyond of the world of technology.

A woman is holding a

A woman holds an ‘Abortion is health care’ sign as abortion rights activists gather outside the Lloyd D. George federal courthouse in Las Vegas, Nevada on June 24, 2022 to protest against the overturning of Roe Vs. Wade by the Supreme Court.

RONDA CHURCHILL/AFP via Getty Images

Recently, SFGATE contacted 25 companies – some based in the Bay Area, some based in California, some based elsewhere in the United States, all of which touted their commitment to abortion services. We asked them a simple question: Are they devoting those same resources to their contractors?


Only one of the 25 companies we contacted claimed it offered abortion care coverage to all of its contributors — and unsurprisingly, it turns out that this company doesn’t even use full-time contractors. .

Below, we’ve listed each company’s responses, or lack thereof, in an effort to illustrate a growing healthcare crisis in a post-Roe America: as long as companies outsource vital work to agencies nebulous third parties, they also outsource abortion rights and protections to these third party agencies as well.

“There’s a lot of visibility and a lot of public scrutiny of what a big company like Google or Apple is doing, but not a lot of visibility for what their contractor companies are doing,” Hammerling told SFGATE. “There’s less pressure on them, or it’s harder to put pressure on them, to improve their conditions.”

The Adobe Systems World Headquarters in downtown San Jose, California.

The Adobe Systems World Headquarters in downtown San Jose, California.

Lisa Werner/Getty Images

Adobe

An Adobe spokesperson did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Amazon

An Amazon spokesperson did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Apple

An Apple spokesperson did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Box

A Box spokesperson confirmed that “this benefit will not be extended to contractors and third-party employees.”

disney

A Disney spokesperson did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

DoorDash

A spokesperson confirmed that “independent contractors” – namely delivery drivers – are not eligible for abortion coverage through DoorDash. (DoorDash does not regularly publish statistics on the number of “Dashers” it has, but approximate estimates indicate that there are millions in the United States and Canada alone.)

The sign on Google's offices in New York on December 26, 2020.

The sign on Google’s offices in New York on December 26, 2020.

Richard B. Levine / Sipa USA 2020

Google

A Google spokesperson did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

resume

A spokesperson sent a statement outlining its ‘commitment to gender equality and access to health services’ for workers directly employed by HP, but declined to say whether contractors were included in the coverage. of abortion.

impossible foods

A spokesperson for Impossible Foods did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Intuitive

A spokesperson sent a statement about out-of-state reproductive health services for workers directly employed by Intuit, but declined to say whether contractors were included in abortion coverage.

Levi’s

A Levi’s spokesperson did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

In this file photo, the Lyft logo is displayed on screen at the Nasdaq offices in Times Square on March 29, 2019 in New York City.

In this file photo, the Lyft logo is displayed on screen at the Nasdaq offices in Times Square on March 29, 2019 in New York City.

Don Emmert/AFP via Getty Images 2019

Lyft

A Lyft spokesperson sent a previously released statement on abortion coverage for directly employed Lyft workers, but noted that drivers do not receive these benefits. There is, conservatively, at least one million Lyft drivers in the USA.

Matching group

A spokesperson for Match Group, which includes Tinder, Hinge and Match.com, did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Meta

A spokesperson for Meta declined to say whether contractors were included in abortion coverage.

In this Wednesday, February 3, 2021, file photo, the Microsoft company logo is displayed at its offices in Sydney.

In this Wednesday, February 3, 2021, file photo, the Microsoft company logo is displayed at its offices in Sydney.

Rick Rycroft/Associated Press

Microsoft

A Microsoft spokesperson declined to say whether contractors were included in abortion coverage.

netflix

A spokesperson confirmed that abortion coverage only applies to workers employed directly by Netflix.

Nike

A spokesperson sent a previously released statement about health care for workers directly employed by Nike, but declined to say whether contractors were included in abortion coverage.

Patagonia

Patagonia was the only company to answer our questions, while specifying that it does not employ “permanent” contractors.

“All of these benefits are available to full-time and part-time employees, whether regular (employed on a continuing basis) or what we call ‘term’, who are employees whose termination date job is known,” wrote a spokesperson.

PayPal

A PayPal spokesperson asked to speak on the phone, then never responded to repeated requests for comment.

Reddit

A Reddit spokesperson confirmed that abortion coverage only applies to workers employed directly by Reddit.

People are seen inside the Salesforce Tower on Dec. 1, 2020 in San Francisco.

People are seen inside the Salesforce Tower on Dec. 1, 2020 in San Francisco.

Stephen Lam/Getty Images

Selling power

A Salesforce spokesperson referred SFGATE to the following tweet from CEO Marc Benioff:

“I believe CEOs have a responsibility to take care of their employees no matter what. Salesforce moves employees when they feel threatened or experience discrimination. At our Ohana, we always make sure you get the best benefits and care, and we will always support you. Always.”

SFGATE repeatedly asked if Benioff included contract workers as “employees” or “Ohana” in his statement. We haven’t had a response.

Starbucks

A spokesperson wrote that Starbucks franchise stores (of which there are about 6,000) are owned and operated by a licensee, and therefore these employees are not eligible for Starbucks’ health care plan, which includes abortion coverage.

Working 20 hours a week in Starbucks-owned stores qualifies employees for health insurance. However, the spokesperson declined to say how many part-time and full-time workers at Starbucks locations are enrolled in the company’s health care plan. The spokesperson also declined to say whether contract workers on the company side of Starbucks are eligible for the company’s health care plan.

You’re here

A Tesla spokesperson did not respond to repeated requests for comment, and the company still does not appear to have a public relations team.

Uber

A spokesperson for Uber did not respond to repeated requests for comment.

Yelp

A Yelp spokesperson confirmed that “contractors do not receive health care or PTO benefits through Yelp.”

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