Home Tech Workers accuse Google of ‘tantrum’ after 50 people fired over protest against Israel contract

Workers accuse Google of ‘tantrum’ after 50 people fired over protest against Israel contract

0 comment
Workers accuse Google of 'tantrum' after 50 people fired over protest against Israel contract

Google has been accused of throwing a “tantrum” after firing more than 50 workers in response to a protest over the company’s military ties to the Israeli government – ​​layoffs that have shed light on a controversial project and long-simmering tensions. time between staff and management. .

Workers were fired following protests at Google offices in New York City and Sunnyvale, California, organized by There is no technology for apartheid – an alliance of Google and Amazon workers who have been protesting a $1.2 billion contract with the Israeli government called Project Nimbus that they claim will make “it easier for the Israeli government to surveil Palestinians and expel them from their lands ”.

Initially, Google fired 28 workers over the protests and then fired more than 20 workers a few days later.

technology/2023/dec/01/google-intern-gaza-israel-military-contract-project-nimbus"},"ajaxUrl":"https://api.nextgen.guardianapps.co.uk","format":{"display":0,"theme":0,"design":0}}" config="{"renderingTarget":"Web","darkModeAvailable":false,"assetOrigin":"https://assets.guim.co.uk/"}"/>

The shootings are the largest since Israel’s military campaign in response to the Hamas terrorist attack of October 7, 2023, in which some 1,200 people were killed and more than 200 hostages were taken. Since then, more than 34,000 Palestinians have been killed in Gaza, including more than 14,000 children and 9,670 women.

Google has fired and reprimanded workers for participating in previous protests, such as a strike and a sit-in protest in 2018 over issues of sexual harassment at the company, but not before to this extent. In March, Google fired a cloud engineer who protested an Israeli tech event in New York City.

Emaan Haseem, a Google software engineer and No Tech for Apartheid organizer, was one of the laid-off workers. “Many of us had just been promoted recently. “I was the person who rose the fastest under my manager,” he said.

This was a peaceful protest, he said, “with high visibility, high transparency, that broadcast live. Everything and everyone could see what it was like.”

Haseem said the sit-ins were a response to Google’s refusal to address workers’ concerns.

“Look at the way Google has overreacted, so emotionally, and lashed out at 50 workers over this contract instead of providing more transparency, clarity, or trying to demonstrate that they are not specifically providing Israeli military resources to aid and abet their genocide. and continue their apartheid,” Haseem added. “They had every option to do so, but instead they chose to throw a tantrum and take it out on 50 workers, many of whom did not participate in the sit-in.

“It was done so emotionally, so irrationally, that Google also took off its mask in the process. They have shown their honest and true selves, how contradictory they are, how they really don’t care about doing the right thing, not being bad, their values ​​where we should speak up and report anything bad we see happening. in our work or in the workplace.”

Since the contract was awarded in 2021, Google and Amazon workers have been organizing in opposition to the corporations’ joint contract with the Israeli military and government.

The $1.2 billion contract to provide cloud services “enables increased surveillance and illegal data collection on Palestinians, and facilitates the expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements on Palestinian lands,” according to an op-ed written by the workers in 2021.

The layoffs have disrupted workers’ financial stability, Haseem said, but she and others affected have received significant support from co-workers and others. She also said that one of the biggest challenges of the campaign against Project Nimbus was outreach and educating others about these issues, something that Google’s layoffs had only facilitated.

Hasan Ibraheem, a Google software engineer in New York who was fired and arrested for participating in the protest, said he and other workers were placed on administrative leave, losing corporate access, and then fired the next day via email at mass.

“We don’t know anyone that HR has contacted. They didn’t ask us questions. There was no consultation with us. Nobody asked us anything. It was just a very cold mass email sent, now you’re fired, goodbye, because they don’t want to deal with us, they want to silence us and we’re not going to stay silent,” Ibraheem said. “We do not want our work to be used to aid in a genocide and that is why we took that action and we will continue to fight for this project to be abandoned.”

The workers declined to comment on possible legal proceedings they may take in response to the layoffs. No Tech for Apartheid called the layoffs “illegal” in a blog post in response to Google’s actions.

A Google spokesperson said in an email about the layoffs: “We are continuing our investigation into the physical disruption within our buildings on April 16, analyzing additional details provided by co-workers who suffered physical disruption, as well as those employees who took longer to identify yourself.” because their identity was partially concealed (for example, by wearing a mask without their badge) while they participated in the disturbance. “Our investigation into these events has now concluded and we have terminated other employees who were found to have been directly involved in disruptive activities.”

They denied firing any employees who were not involved. Google also denied protesters’ characterizations of Project Nimbus, stating: “We have been very clear that the Nimbus contract is for workloads running on our commercial cloud by Israeli government ministries, who agree to comply with our Terms of Service and Acceptable use policy. “This work is not directed toward military, classified, or highly sensitive workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services.”

You may also like