Tech industry labor organizers and rights advocates pledged solidarity on Tuesday with four Google employees who were reportedly fired for organizing their colleagues against the company’s complicity in human rights violations as well as its unjust workplace policies.
Engineers Rebecca Rivers and Laurence Berland were among the workers, dubbed the “Thanksgiving Four” by the Tech Workers Coalition, who were fired Monday after organizing petitions to end a Google contract with Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and protesting hate speech on Google subsidiary YouTube.
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Their termination was “meant to scare workers,” the Tech Workers Coalition advised other employees. “Don’t let it.”
Rivers and Berland were placed on administrative leave earlier this month for allegedly breaching new policies recently put in place after Google hired IRI Consultants, a consulting firm that has helped many companies fight unionization efforts.
The two engineers were accused of accessing documents they weren’t authorized to see, a charge they denied at a rally last Friday at Google headquarters in San Francisco. More than 100 colleagues joined the demonstration to show support for Rivers and Berland.
By accusing the employees of unauthorized access to documents, the organization Google Walkout for Real Change wrote in a post at Medium, the company is conducting “classic union-busting dressed up in tech industry jargon.”
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