Google employees, Alphabet shareholders push for accountability

Mountain View, CA, May 16, 2019: Ahead of Google’s annual shareholder meeting on June 19, Google employees, shareholders, and community stakeholders today launched a joint effort to push for corporate accountability on major concerns regarding harassment and discrimination, human rights, corporate governance, and diversity and inclusion.

This year, a record number of shareholders of Google’s parent company Alphabet have filed proposals concerning working conditions and ethics as Googlers brought these issues to light.

Google employees and shareholders are urging shareholders to support critical shareholder resolutions, including:

  • Proposal #5: A proposal to ban forced non-disclosure agreements (NDAs) in harassment and discrimination cases and put an end to non-compete pacts (NYC Comptroller Scott M. Stringer’s Office on behalf of four City Pension Funds).
  • Proposal #13: A proposal to tie senior executive compensation to sustainability and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) metrics, including the impact of Google’s real estate development on neighboring communities (Zevin Asset Management). Pg. 80 of Proxy Statement
  • Proposal #15: A proposal to allow the recovery of senior executive compensation in the event of misconduct or failing to properly manage or monitor conduct (Service Employees International Union) Pg. 84 of Proxy Statement
  • Proposal #11: A proposal for a non-executive employee representative be nominated to the Board of Directors (CtW Investment Group) Pg. 75 of Proxy Statement
  • Proposal #14: ​​A proposal to publish a Human Rights Impact Assessment for Project Dragonfly, a potential censored and surveilled search product in China (Azzad Asset Management) Pg. 76 of Proxy Statement

 

Despite this past year’s challenges, ongoing crises, and broad support among both employees and shareholders for structural change, Alphabet’s Board of Directors is keeping to its long-standing track record of unilaterally opposing even proposals that merely seek to study such issues. For example, last year the Board opposed proposals to publish a report on the gender pay gap, to publish a report disclosing annual lobbying expenditures, or to study tying executive bonuses to improvements in diversity and inclusion. Yet, in the year following the rejection of these proposals, Google has faced increased backlash over payouts to senior executives over sexual harassment, a global employee walk-out citing discrimination within the company, and a failed AI Ethics Board due to major political backlash.

Over the past few years, employees at Google have led the extremely valuable work of helping Google tackle its largest and most urgent problems. Googlers led efforts to overturn the practice of forced arbitration in the case of sexual harassment for many workers on Google’s campuses – setting off a chain reaction across the industry. Employees have been the leading proponents around ethical accountability, mass surveillance, and recently won improvements to working conditions for Google’s temporary and contracted workforce, including for service workers such as janitors, bus drivers, and food service workers, a predominantly low-wage and immigrant workforce. Efforts like these continue to grow at the company and have brought together Googlers of all job types and employment statuses, centering the most marginalized to ensure equitable and systemic changes across all of Alphabet’s employees and suppliers.

Now, a coalition of Alphabet shareholders​, Google employees and community stakeholders are working together to support  meaningful action around their concerns, due to the risks posed to human rights, workers’ wellbeing, and shareholder value.

Please contact proposal filers below for information on their proposals.

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Press contact: Yana Calou: yana@coworker.org or 646-453-9816

Press contacts by proposal:

Proposal #5: Hazel Crampton-Hays –  hcrampt@comptroller.nyc.gov

Proposal #13: Pat Tomaino – Pat@zevin.com or 617-910-8005

Proposal #15: Sara Lonardo –  Sara.Lonardo@SEIU.org or 202-412-2153

Proposal #11: Rachel Cohen – racohen78@gmail.com or 917-370-8464

Proposal #14: Joshua Brockwell  – joshua@azzad.net or 571-551-6865

Alphabet proxy ballot for 2019

 

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