Google has fired five employees within one month for trying to organize labor

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Google has fired five employees within one month for trying to organize labor Empty Google has fired five employees within one month for trying to organize labor

Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Dec 17, 2019 8:10 pm

When news broke in November that Google had hired an anti-union consulting firm to handle mounting labor unrest at the company, a 21-year-old security engineer named Kathryn Spiers decided to take action. As part of her job, Spiers creates pop-up notifications informing workers about policy changes at the company. After she learned that Google had hired the anti-union firm, Spiers wrote a few lines of code that created a pop-up message asserting Google employees’ labor rights whenever her co-workers visited the consulting firm’s website or Google’s community guidelines. The message reads: "Googlers have the right to participate in protected concerted activities." The pop-up would have been visible to anyone at Google.

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On Friday, Google fired Spiers—after two weeks of suspension and three separate interviews, she said.

“Following the hiring of the union busting firm, I wrote the code because I thought all Googlers could benefit from knowing their rights,” Spiers told Motherboard. “Google said they were firing me because I violated security policy as well as standard of conduct. I’ve read those policies, and I don’t think I did. I feel this is pretty clearly retaliation for organizing work.”

Before implementing the code, Spiers said she followed the standard three-pronged process for code changes at Google, which involves approval from three people. (In this instance, Spiers said she was one of the three people who had the authority to grant herself approval.)

Spiers is the fifth Google employee involved in labor activism at the company who has been fired for violating security policies within the past month. Three of the five recent firings have been transgender women, who have taken an active role in organizing to end Google’s relationship with immigration enforcement agencies, among other issues. “We make up a disproportionate number of the organizers at Google, but we’re also more vulnerable as members of the trans community,” Spiers said. “It’s easier to retaliate against us.”

https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/jgexe8/google-fired-an-engineer-who-wrote-code-telling-googlers-they-had-a-right-to-organize

This really pisses me off. I want to boycott Google for pulling this shit, but they've made it virtually impossible -- I'd have to change email addresses, which is a bigger pain in the ass than changing phone numbers, for one.

I'd have to stop using my phone, which runs on Google-owned Android. I'm not about to move to iPhone even if I did have the money to.

Google is in need of some AT&T-style monopoly busting -- it's gotten too big for its britches.

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Post by Maddog on Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:27 pm

So an employee took it upon themselves to write some new code, that wasn't authorized and got fired.

What a shock. Rolling Eyes

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Post by Ben Reilly on Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:28 pm

Maddog wrote:So an employee took it upon themselves to write some new code, that wasn't authorized and got fired.

What a shock. Rolling Eyes

Knew you'd say that Cool

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Post by Maddog on Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:33 pm

And in a similar vein..........


Vox Media is laying off hundreds of freelance writers and editors due to a new California law that was sold as a way to protect the state's contingent workforce. That law, AB5, was adopted in September. To comply, New York-based Vox Media would have had to reclassify many of the freelancers it uses for sports platform SB Nation as full-time staff.

Instead, the company decided to cancel the contracts of some 200 or so freelancers that now work for SB Nation. It will "replace them with 20 new part-time and full-time staffers," a "source familiar with the decision" told the Los Angeles Times.

AB5 "makes it impossible for us to continue with our current California team site structure because it restricts contractors from producing more than 35 written content 'submissions' per year," explained SB Nation's John Ness.

Vox Media's flagship publication, Vox, previously called the California legislation "a victory for workers everywhere."


A lot of folks are now describing freelancer firings as an "unintended consequence" of AB5. But this facet of the bill was well-known and discussed beforehand.


https://reason.com/2019/12/17/california-freelancers-suffer-from-totally-predictable-unintended-consequences-of-gig-worker-protection-bill/?fbclid=IwAR0YccpYXaWAxMbcMtoGmtfThG45QEfpeJ0F3HFduGQrDqPWCzC_FQQThHg


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Post by Maddog on Tue Dec 17, 2019 9:50 pm

Ben Reilly wrote:
Maddog wrote:So an employee took it upon themselves to write some new code, that wasn't authorized and got fired.

What a shock. Rolling Eyes

Knew you'd say that Cool

Look on the bright side. She can start her own company now and help her employees organize. It's a win for everyone.

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Post by Ben Reilly on Thu Dec 19, 2019 1:48 am

The lesson is, don't fuck with the man, right?

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Post by Maddog on Thu Dec 19, 2019 4:03 pm

Ben Reilly wrote:The lesson is, don't fuck with the man, right?

If the man is the government, yes.

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