A prominent Google employee said today that workers had pledged more than $100,000 for a strike fund, an amount she would also match, following more news about the company’s controversial plans for China.
Earlier today, The Intercept published a new report about Google’s plans to build a censored search engine in China. The report detailed executives’ response to internal dissent about the project, and included concerns from engineers who said they felt the security and privacy process had been sidelined.
In response, Liz Fong-Jones, a Google worker and employee advocate, said on Twitter that Google employees should consider how workers would respond if executives overrode recommendations from the safety and privacy team. “Google’s S&P teams must have our backs,” she wrote.
I firmly suggest that my current fellow colleagues think about what they’d do if the red line were crossed and an executive overrode a S&P launch bit, or members of the S&P team indicated that they were coerced into marking it green.
Google’s S&P teams must have our backs.
— Liz Fong-Jones (@lizthegrey) November 29, 2018
The considerations, she wrote, should include “thinking about what a strike fund would look like and what a mass resignation mutual support fund would look like, especially to provide cover to folks on H1B visas.” She offered to match the first $100,000 raised, and in only a few hours, she said $100,000 had been pledged. She noted to The Verge soon after that $115,000 had been pledged from 19 current employees and two former ones.
“Okay, the full $100k has been raised,” Fong-Jones wrote in a tweet. “Watch this space for more details once I’ve spoken to legal counsel and more experienced labor organizers.”
Google has been roiled by employee dissent in recent weeks, and not only over the China project. Earlier this month, more than 20,000 employees walked out to protest the company’s handling of sexual harassment following a bombshell New York Times report. In response, the company agreed to some, but not all, of the workers’ demands. But employees creating a strike fund suggests workers at the company are far from finished organizing.
Update, 7:24PM ET: Includes new figures from Fong-Jones.