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Google employees and shareholders are coordinating a joint demonstration at Alphabet’s shareholder meeting next Wednesday.
The groups will try to pressure company stakeholders and leaders to vote on proposals that ban non-disclosure agreements in harassment and discrimination cases and tie executive compensation to its diversity goals. Another includes a proposal to publish a human rights impact assessment for its potential search engine with China called Project Dragonfly.
The joint effort comes as Google employees and partners become increasingly vocal over company policies and government contracts. Shareholders haven’t spoken directly with workers at scale in the past, according to organizer Yana Calou, who said more people have expressed concern amid reports of retaliation.
Calou is a director of engagement and training for Coworker.org, a non-profit that facilitates employee petitions to leaders, including one that led to Google ending forced arbitration. Organizers expect a few hundred people at the Sunnyvale, California, meeting location on the 19th, but it’s unclear exactly how many will show up.
“There’s a very big gap in the company’s stated values and the lived experiences of those folks,” Calou told CNBC. “People are upset about the fact that if Google says they are really committed to preventing sexual harassment, why are they recommending a ‘no’ vote on a clawback proposal?”
Calou was referring to a proposal to force executives to return incentive compensation “following a material violation of law or company policy that causes significant financial or reputational harm.” The proposal specifically mentions a 2018 New York Times story reporting Google paid departing Android leader Andy Rubin $90 million despite credible accusations of sexual misconduct with employees. Rubin has said that parts of the story were inaccurate, and says he engaged only in consensual relationships and was never told of any misconduct.
Google janitorial staff and community group Silicon Valley Rising will also be there to vocalize their concern over wage gaps and the residential effects of its imminent expansion into San Jose.
The collective group has connected through phone calls up to three times a month for the last few months, Calou said. “Workers are definitely taking from the lessons of the last couple of years leading up to ending forced arbitration,” she said. “There’s now a massive amount of things workers are upset about.”