Google fires employees protesting $1.2 billion contract with Israel

A Bloomberg report has it that Google has fired 28 employees for their involvement in protests against Project Nimbus.

Project Nimbus is a $1.2 billion joint contract with Google and Amazon.com Inc. to provide the Israeli government with AI and cloud services.

The protests were led by the No Tech for Apartheid organization. The protests took place Tuesday across Google offices in New York City, Seattle, and Sunnyvale, California, according to the report. Nine of the protesters were arrested on trespassing charges.

Several workers involved in the protests, including those who were not directly engaged in the sit-in, received a message from the company’s Employee Relations group informing them that they had been put on leave.

On Wednesday evening, the workers were informed they were being dismissed by the company, according to a statement from Google staff with the No Tech for Apartheid campaign.

US labour law gives employees the right to engage in collective action related to working conditions. Tech workers will likely argue that this should grant them the ability to band together to object to how the tools they create are used, said John Logan, a professor of labor at San Francisco State University.

Beyond the protest, Google has struggled with how to manage internal debate about the Middle East conflict.

After the demonstration, posts on internal Google forums featured a mix of pro-Palestinian and pro-Israeli sentiment, with a number of other workers saying they felt the topic was inappropriate for the workplace.

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