Topline

Google has fired another round of workers in the wake of sit-in protests against Project Nimbus, a cloud computing contract the company has with the Israeli government and military, according to news reports, after nearly 30 workers at the company were fired following similar demonstrations as Israel’s war with Hamas grinds on.

Key Facts

Google has fired at least 20 more workers in connection with protests at company offices in Sunnyvale and New York on April 16, the Verge reported.

The company has already fired 28 employees in connection with the demonstration last week.

Jane Chung, a spokesperson for No Tech for Apartheid — the activist group that organized the demonstration and is representing the workers — told the Verge the latest round of firings brings the total number of people fired in connection with the incident to more than 50.

The recent firings included “non-participating bystanders,” Chung said, telling the Washington Post the firings show Google “is attempting to quash dissent, silence its workers and reassert its power over them.”

A Google spokesperson confirmed to Forbes that the company had fired more workers as part of its investigation into the demonstration but stressed “every single one of those whose employment was terminated was personally and definitively involved in disruptive activity inside our buildings,” something the company “carefully confirmed and reconfirmed.”

“Our investigation into these events is now concluded,” Google’s spokesperson said.

Crucial Quote

The latest round of firings comes days after CEO Sundar Pichai addressed the unrest in a memo to employees. While it’s “important to preserve” Google’s “culture of vibrant, open discussion,” Pichai stressed Google is a workplace with clear policies and expectations for its workers. “This is a business, and not a place to act in a way that disrupts coworkers or makes them feel unsafe, to attempt to use the company as a personal platform, or to fight over disruptive issues or debate politics,” Pichai said. Google has a “duty to be an objective and trusted provider of information that serves all of our users globally” and Pichai urged workers to put disruption aside and put the “mission first” at this critically important time. “When we come to work, our goal is to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. That supersedes everything else and I expect us to act with a focus that reflects that.”

Key Background

The protests at Google come as companies, institutions and college campuses face protests against the Israeli government and military amid the country’s ongoing effort to exterminate Hamas in Gaza. Israel has been widely condemned by aid organizations and the international community as failing to take enough care to safeguard civilians and for stymying the flow of aid into Gaza, with the territory teetering on the edge of famine and tens of thousands of people dead. Both Islamophobia and antisemitism have surged globally since Hamas’ attack on Israel triggered the fighting and the war has threatened to spiral into a broader conflict across the Middle East.

Big Number

$1.2 billion. That’s the value of the Project Nimbus cloud computing and artificial intelligence contract Google has with the Israeli military and government. Google is partnering with Amazon to deliver the contract, which started in 2021. Details on the contract are not clear but Time has previously reported Google as claiming its work with the Israeli government to be largely for civilian purposes such as in healthcare, transportation and education and not involved in “highly sensitive or classified military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services.”

Further Reading

ForbesGoogle Fires 28 Workers Protesting Billion-Dollar Israeli Cloud ContractWashington PostGoogle fires more workers after CEO says workplace isn’t for politics
TIMEGoogle Contract Shows Deal With Israel Defense Ministry

link

By admin