A year ago today, at 11:10am local time, more than 20,000 Google workers walked out around the world, starting in Tokyo and Singapore and moving West. We were protesting misogyny, racism, unethical decision making, and systemic inequity.
Since then, a movement has grown, at Google and across tech.
While worker dissent and labor organizing were happening well before, the Walkout was the first time we showed real power. Thousands of people stepped up to contribute, with hundreds of local organizers taking the lead.
Since then, organizing has spread. Workers campaigned to end forced arbitration (and won for full time workers!); they fought for fair treatment and better benefits for TVCs (and won!); they pushed back on Dragonfly (and won!), the Advanced Technology External Advisory Board (and won!), CBP contracts, and YouTube’s disregard for the safety of the LGBTQ community. Contractors in Pittsburgh voted to unionize (and won by a 2:1 margin!). Google workers also organized against retaliation, and in the process created a support network to help workers who are often facing gaslighting, unjust performance reviews, and isolation.
And beyond Google, Riot Games, Wayfair, and Tableau workers organized their own walkouts (solidarity!). And workers from Amazon, Microsoft, Google, and 10 other tech companies joined the Climate Strike together, demanding an end to tech’s complicity in the climate crisis.
Surprising no one, Google executives don’t like this. While they publicly supported the walkout, two weeks later the company quietly filed a petition with the National Labor Relations Board asking them to take away workers’ right to organize using corporate digital tools, e.g., email, mailing lists, chat rooms — exactly what we used to organize the Walkout. Since then, Google has taken a page from the centuries-old anti-labor playbook, hoping to suppress legally protected organizing. They’ve tried to crack down on worker speech, avoid important questions, and stop worker-led meetings. And they retaliated against organizers, prompting us to host a Town Hall that over 15,000 people at the company viewed.
While it would have been nice if Google simply recognized the strength of our arguments, and met our common sense demands, history is clear: this is not how it works. But the growth of the movement, and the company’s pushback, is a sign that we’re winning.
We’re here, one year later, to make it clear: we’re committed to continuing for the long-term, organizing locally and connecting across global offices to continue building the strength we need to ensure real structural change at Google, and across the industry. We refuse to be exploited, harassed, and passed over at work. And we refuse to contribute to products, policies, and initiatives that cause harm to others inside and outside the company.
Thank you to everyone doing the work at Google, across the industry, and beyond. We’re proud to be a part of this movement.
Stay tuned to @GoogleWalkout on Twitter. Today from 11am-11pm EST, we’ll be posting a comprehensive Year in Review.