Google fired 28 workers who protested its Nimbus contract with Israel


SAN FRANCISCO — Google fired 28 staff on Wednesday who have been concerned in a protest towards a contract with the Israeli authorities the cloud-computing big shares with its competitor, Amazon.

The firings got here after 9 staff have been arrested Tuesday whereas collaborating in sit-in protests at Google workplaces in Sunnyvale, Calif., and New York City. The workers have been held for a number of hours earlier than being launched, staff mentioned.

The staff, a part of a gaggle referred to as No Tech for Apartheid, have been writing letters and staging protests towards Google’s deal to promote expertise to Israel since 2021. The stress over the cloud-computing contract, referred to as Nimbus, amongst staff at Google and Amazon has elevated for the reason that Israel-Gaza warfare started in October. The undertaking’s critics say it would bolster the Israeli authorities’s surveillance of Palestinians and result in additional displacement and discrimination.

In an e-mail assertion, a Google spokesperson mentioned the workers have been fired for “physically impeding other employees’ work and preventing them from accessing our facilities,” which is “a clear violation of our policies, and completely unacceptable behavior.”

“After refusing multiple requests to leave the premises, law enforcement was engaged to remove them to ensure office safety,” the e-mail mentioned. “We have so far concluded individual investigations that resulted in the termination of employment for 28 employees, and will continue to investigate and take action as needed.”

The 28 fired staff, who have been locked out of their work gadgets Tuesday night and realized of their termination over e-mail that morning, mentioned they have been shocked and angered by the corporate’s resolution.

“I’m furious,” mentioned one of many fired staff who helped set up the sit-in however didn’t immediately take part. “This is a wildly disproportionate response to workers standing up for morality and for holding Google accountable for its own promises. Firing people associated with an event they don’t like — it’s unbelievable.”

“This is a huge escalation and a change in how Google has responded to worker criticisms,” added the worker, who spoke on the situation of anonymity for authorized causes.

The worker mentioned members of the No Tech for Apartheid group have spoken with a lawyer about bringing costs towards Google for allegedly violating labor regulation.

During the sit-in at Google’s headquarters in Sunnyvale, Calif., on Tuesday, workers occupied the workplace of Google Cloud CEO Thomas (*28*). But staff who participated within the motion, movies of which have been posted to Instagram, denied that they impeded anybody else at Google from working.

“Even the workers who were participating in a peaceful sit-in and refusing to leave did not damage property or threaten other workers,” Jane Chung, a spokesperson for No Tech for Apartheid, mentioned in an e-mail. “Instead they received an overwhelmingly positive response and shows of support.”

Amazon additionally holds a Nimbus contract with Israel, and Amazon staff participated within the No Tech for Apartheid actions on Tuesday, however there have been no experiences of Amazon workers being arrested or fired. Amazon didn’t instantly reply to a request for remark. Amazon founder Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post.

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