Google Fires 28 Employees Who Protested Israel Contract

Steve Marcus/Reuters
Steve Marcus/Reuters

Google fired 28 employees late Wednesday after staff members staged protests against the company’s work with the government of Israel during the war in Gaza.

The terminations came after nine of the tech giant’s employees were arrested following 10-hour sit-in demonstrations at Google offices in New York City and Sunnyvale, California, on Tuesday. The workers involved in a group named No Tech for Apartheid say they were objecting to Project Nimbus—a $1.2 billion contract awarded to Google and Amazon in 2021 to provide cloud-computing services to the Israeli government.

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“They took over office spaces, defaced our property, and physically impeded the work of other Googlers,” Chris Rackow, Google’s vice president of global security, wrote in a companywide memo to staff announcing the firings, according to the New York Post. “Their behavior was unacceptable, extremely disruptive, and made co-workers feel threatened.”

“I’m furious,” one of the fired employees—who did not take part in the sit-ins but did help to organize the protest—told The Washington Post. “This is a wildly disproportionate response to workers standing up for morality and for holding Google accountable for its own promises. Firing people associated with an event they don’t like—it’s unbelievable.”

The former worker also said members of No Tech for Apartheid have spoken to an attorney about potentially bringing charges against Google for alleged breaches of labor law.

In a statement, the group denounced the firings as a “flagrant act of retaliation” which demonstrated that Google valued its contract with the Israeli government “more than its own workers.” “In the three years that we have been organizing against Project Nimbus, we have yet to hear from a single executive about our concerns,” the statement added. “Google workers have the right to peacefully protest about terms and conditions of our labor.”

Google told Reuters that its Nimbus contract “is not directed at highly sensitive, classified, or military workloads relevant to weapons or intelligence services.” No Tech for Apartheid pointed to recent reporting from Time on a Google document indicating that it is providing cloud computing services to Israel’s Ministry of Defense.

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