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Google terminates 28 employees after multi-city protests: Read the full memo

๐ŸŒˆ Abstract

The article discusses Google's termination of 28 employees following protests against the company's contract with the Israeli government and military to provide cloud computing and AI services, as well as concerns over labor conditions.

๐Ÿ™‹ Q&A

[01] Google Terminates Employees

1. What led to Google terminating 28 employees?

  • Google terminated 28 employees after a series of protests against the company's labor conditions and its contract to provide cloud computing and AI services to the Israeli government and military.
  • The protests involved sit-ins at Google offices in New York and Sunnyvale, California, including a protest in the office of Google Cloud CEO Thomas Kurian.
  • Nine Google workers were arrested on trespassing charges during the protests.

2. What were the workers protesting?

  • The workers were protesting Google's $1.2 billion "Project Nimbus" contract to provide cloud computing services, including AI tools, data centers, and other cloud infrastructure, to the Israeli government and military.
  • They were also protesting their labor conditions, including "harassment, intimidation, bullying, silencing, and censorship of Palestinian, Arab, Muslim Googlers" and the "health and safety crisis workers, especially those in Google Cloud, are facing due to the potential impacts of their work."

3. How did Google respond to the protests?

  • Google terminated the employment of 28 employees found to be involved in the protests, stating that their behavior was "unacceptable, extremely disruptive, and made co-workers feel threatened."
  • Google said the protesters "physically impeded other employees' work and prevented them from accessing our facilities," which was a "clear violation of our policies."
  • The company stated it would continue to investigate and take action as needed.

[02] Concerns over Google's Military Contracts

1. What are the concerns raised about Google's military contracts?

  • Some Google employees, like Cheyne Anderson, are opposed to Google taking any military contracts, regardless of which government, because "there are always going to be people on the receiving end... represented in Google's employee base and also our user base."
  • Former Google employee Ariel Koren, who resigned in 2022 after leading efforts to oppose the Project Nimbus contract, said Google's attempts to suppress voices of opposition are "not only not working but actually having the opposite effect" and are "creating more agitation, more anger and more commitment."
  • Protesters argued that by working with the Israeli government and military, Google is "aiding in this genocide" and that they have a "responsibility to act against it."

2. How has Google responded to the concerns over its military contracts?

  • Google stated that its "Google Cloud supports numerous governments around the world in countries where we operate, including the Israeli government, with our generally available cloud computing services."
  • However, Google also said this work is "not directed at highly sensitive, classified, or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services."
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