Nafta negotiations reveal the need for public oversight of trade deals

Nafta negotiations reveal the need for public oversight of trade deals and other policies that will affect workers in the US and abroad. Google says it can compete for Pentagon contracts without violating principles…

Nafta negotiations reveal the need for public oversight of trade deals

Nafta negotiations reveal the need for public oversight of trade deals and other policies that will affect workers in the US and abroad.

Google says it can compete for Pentagon contracts without violating principles

Google’s handling of corporate policies towards the underprivileged, minorities and the disabled is affecting how the company does business in the United States and internationally. But despite some pushes by activists, Google says it can continue to compete for military contracts without betraying its core values.

A trove of Google employee documents detailing these policies of inclusion and diversity, that have deeply concerned employees and investors, was released to the public on Monday. But even as the documents were released, Google said it was happy with its representation of women and people of color in its technology work force.

“We were grateful to see so many of our employees share what they feel are important principles, and we’re working to meet the needs of the communities in which we operate,” said a Google spokesperson in an email.

The world is divided as Google reveals how far it is from living up to its values Read more

Employees had some concerns about the future of diversity and inclusion policies, written by Google management in an internal communication sent in May. The diversity and inclusion “Google Pledge” stated Google’s commitment to balance its tech workforce of nearly 33,000 employees. But it did not say Google will consider approaches that would help to ensure those who are underrepresented in the industry are hired and mentored into tech jobs.

Rather, the pledge reaffirmed Google’s traditional positions on giving free rides to for-profit private companies by receiving government contracts, but if Google does work on the government side, its diversity and inclusion practices and practices must be in compliance with federal law.

Google was founded in 1986 by a group of brilliant Stanford students who came together to solve complicated engineering problems. During its first two decades, Google was just a technology company. But it has grown rapidly and now, more than ever, Google is a public company whose financial success, political speech and privacy practices are overseen by a federal government agency.

The pledge policies have set off a heated debate about Google’s various governance and transparency policies, in which the company has defended itself against pressure from investors and critics, telling them not to buy its stock.

Some major US corporations also have been increasingly using federal contracts to hire armies of low-paid low-skilled laborers without protections against discrimination, as reported by Mother Jones.

Google said its practices in hiring, speaking out against sexual harassment, refusing bonuses to white executives who wanted to boost Google’s racial and sexual diversity numbers, and specifically regarding its inclusion and diversity policies, are being considered by government regulators on the supply side – contracts with the Pentagon, NASA, the Department of Homeland Security and more – and online.

“While much of what was in the letter has been acknowledged publicly, we disagree with other points that could limit Google’s participation in important procurement programs for good government, and we look forward to sharing our proposals on these areas,” a Google spokesperson said.

Several groups, including Color of Change, the Movement for Black Lives, the Institute for Policy Studies and the NAACP, have urged that Google reconsider its participation in the US government’s Defense Logistics Agency.

The US Defense Logistics Agency’s contracts to contract manufacturers allow the department to use low-cost, standardized components to shape military forces for future conflicts, and the company is now one of the largest DOD manufacturers.

Why Google is suddenly increasing its gender and race diversity. Read more

With a workforce of about 40,000, Google is the largest DOD manufacturer by far, and the company has used its role as a supplier to hire and train hundreds of people for military-related positions. Employees told Politico that Google has been involved in a project that produces microwave technology for non-lethal means, and that it is working with the Pentagon on drones.

Google CEO Sundar Pichai has made voluntary diversity and inclusion provisions a key issue of his management tenure. He agreed that the company “must not tolerate workplace harassment or discrimination of any kind” in August, and that Google will “recruit, hire, develop and retain an inclusive, diverse and more equitable culture.”

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