Google Walkout organizers: changes are a start, but not enough


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The 20,000 participants who took part in the Google Walkout for Real Change successfully compelled the company to rethink practices related to sexual harassment. In a note to employees, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said the company will no longer force workers to go into arbitration. Further, he promised greater transparency on sexual harassment reports, as well on how the company handles them. As the movement’s organizers note, though, Google’s response overlooked several of their core demands, particularly those meant to address the systemic racism and discrimination within the company. “Sexual harassment is the symptom, not the cause. If we want to end sexual harassment in the workplace, we must fix these structural imbalances of power,” they wrote in response to Pichai’s message.

The organizers are asking Google to give the chief diversity officer more power, and they’re also asking for an employee representative on the board. They’re demanding more benefits for contract workers — who are “largely people of color, immigrants and people from working class backgrounds” — that make up half of the company, as well. However, it sounds like the organizers are going to meet with Google leadership to hash things out and to work on trying to get the company meet all their demands.

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