On November 1, thousands of Google employees worldwide walked off the job in a protest against the mishandling of sexual harassment allegations and discriminatory actions. Protesters walked out to support those who have been harassed in the workplace and to make sure those who have perpetrated inappropriate actions are properly charged. The “Google Walkout,” as the demonstration was dubbed, included workers from Tokyo, Singapore, Berlin, Zurich, New York City, and San Francisco. Google CEO Sundar Pichai says that he is listening to what the employees are saying and the company is going to improve its policies moving forward.
According to Fortune, workers at Google Shopping Express have joined the growing number of Silicon Valley workers eager to unionize. The 151 workers voted to join a local chapter of the Teamsters union. They say that they face poor working conditions—lack of ventilation, low wages, poor benefits, and damaged equipment. They are also currently being hired by an outside staffing agency that makes them sign contracts that limit them to two years working with the company.
The local they wish to join, Teamsters Local 853 (San Leandro, CA) already represents some workers at other high tech companies among them Facebook, Apple, and Yahoo, which have a habit of showering their engineers and executives with high salaries and other perks, while low ranking workers enjoy virtually no benefits.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the Canadian Court of Appeals has upheld worldwide injunctions requiring that Google remove search links from certain pirate sites around the world. It is highly unusual for a court to make an order that could place limits on expression in another country. Justice Harvey Groberman explains, “It has not been suggested that the order prohibiting the defendants from advertising wares that violate the intellectual property rights of the plaintiffs offends the core values of any nation.”
The court battle against Google began when a one-time distributor for Equustek Solutions Inc. relabeled Equustek’s products to pass them off as their own through their website. Equustek alleged trademark violations and misappropriation of trade secrets, and the judge told Google to remove a number of websites used by the defendants from its search indexes. Google removed the URLs from google.ca only, which led Equustek to complain of a “whack-a-mole” approach.
The International Federation of Film Producers Association and the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry have since joined with Equustek, bring their own arguments and calling for removal of pirating sites.
“Google raises the specter of it being subjected to restrictive orders from courts in all parts of the world, each concerned with its own domestic law,” writes Groverman. “… it is the worldwide nature of Google’s business and not any defect of the law that gives rise to that possibility.”