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Google Walkout, One Year Ago Today

A year ago today, more than 20,000 Google employees walked off their jobs in a one-day protest over the company’s massive payouts to former executives accused of harassment. 

The passage of time hasn’t done much to cool resulting tensions between Google’s rank-and-file and senior leadership. In an all-hands meeting just last week, CEO Sundar Pichai admitted his team was “genuinely struggling” to maintain a culture of trust and transparency with its growing workforce. An audio tape of the meetings was leaked to the Washington Post and published one day later. 

It’s hard to predict where Googlers and execs go from here. Talk of unionizing has been buzzing in recent weeks, but the word is they are in very early stages. Some employees tell us they expect opposition to heat up should the company throw its hat into the upcoming bidding process for the U.S. Customs and Border Protection’s latest cloud project. 

If Google pursues the contract, just how it handles the expected backlash will be fascinating to watch and could foreshadow the company’s approach to controversial projects moving forward.

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