The battle to reform Google is just getting started.
Hours after Google CEO Sundar Pichai emailed employees a plan to end forced arbitration in cases involving sexual harassment and assault at the company, organizers of last week's global Google walkout responded with a statement of their own. The letter, signed by nine employees, was clear: There's more work to be done.
"We commend this progress, and the rapid action which brought it about," read the statement in part. "However, the response ignored several of the core demands — like elevating the diversity officer and employee representation on the board — and troublingly erased those focused on racism, discrimination, and the structural inequity built into the modern day Jim Crow class system that separates ‘full time’ employees from contract workers."
The walkout organizers say that they're frustrated by Pichai's failure to address key elements of their complaint – for example, widespread pay discrimination.
"[The] company must address issues of systemic racism and discrimination, including pay equity and rates of promotion, and not just sexual harassment alone," continued the statement.
The walkout, which took place on Nov. 1, saw approximately 20,000 employees leave their Google offices around the globe at 11:10 a.m. local time. The coordinated effort followed reports that Google paid Android creator Andy Rubin $90 million after it had determined that allegations of sexual misconduct levied against him were credible.
While we’re thrilled to see progress on sexual harassment, we will not let up on the demands most urgent for women of color: an employee representative on the board, elevating the chief diversity officer, greater transparency on & an end to opportunity inequity at Google & beyond
— Google Walkout For Real Change (@GoogleWalkout) November 8, 2018
“We demand a truly equitable culture," organizer Stephanie Parker wrote in response to Pichai's Nov. 8 email, "and Google leadership can achieve this by putting employee representation on the board and giving full rights and protections to contract workers, our most vulnerable workers, many of whom are Black and Brown women.”
Organizers say they intend to meet with Google execs in pursuit of getting all — not just some — of their demands met. This means the ball is once again in Pichai's court.
Time will tell if he drops it.
Organizers of the massive walkouts at Google last week are — rightfully so — not letting up on their demands. Earlier this morning, Google CEO Sundar Pichai responded to some of their demands, outlining how Google is getting rid of forced arbitration for sexual harassment and sexual assault claims, offering more transparency around those investigations and more.
While Google did make some changes, the company did not address all of the organizers’ demands. For example, Google failed to elevate its chief diversity officer to report directly to Pichai and also ignored the organizers’ request to add an employee representative to the board of directors.
In the Medium post today, the organizers commended Google’s process while also noting how Pichai’s response did not address many of the core demands. In the post, they write:
However, the response ignored several of the core demands — like elevating the diversity officer and employee representation on the board — and troublingly erased those focused on racism, discrimination, and the structural inequity built into the modern day Jim Crow class system that separates ‘full time’ employees from contract workers. Contract workers make up more than half of Google’s workforce, and perform essential roles across the company, but receive few of the benefits associated with tech company employment. They are also largely people of color, immigrants, and people from working class backgrounds.
“The process by which we build a truly equitable culture must center the voices of black women, immigrants, and people of color — those who too often pay the most in the face of these intersecting problems,” Google employee and walkout organizer Demma Rodriguez said in the Medium post. “We are committed to making this happen, because true equity depends on it.”
The worldwide walkout of 20,000 Google employees and contractors came in response to a damning New York Times report regarding Google’s handling of sexual harassment investigations. Moving forward, the organizers say they will not let up on the demands “most urgent for women of color: an employee representative on the board, elevating the chief diversity officer, greater transparency on and an end to opportunity inequity at Google and beyond” and looks “forward to meeting with Google leadership in working to meet all of our demands.”