Jan 3, 2020

Google and Amazon employees claim to face retribution for decrying corporate moves

Ina Fried, author of Login

Photo: Ina Fassbender/AFP via Getty Images

New incidents are highlighting deepening tensions between tech giants and worker activists as employees and former workers at Amazon, Google and other companies publicly decry corporate moves.

Why it matters: These companies are struggling to reconcile idealistic images and rosy reputations with the more hard-nosed tactics big companies frequently adopt to discourage protests and labor organizing.

Driving the news:

  • A group of Amazon workers urging improved climate policies says some of their members were threatened with being fired for speaking out, per Vox.
  • A former top international relations employee at Google, now a U.S. Senate candidate in Maine, blasted the company in a Medium essay and Washington Post interview. Other current and former Googlers told CNBC that last year marked a turning point in the closing of the company's once tolerant corporate culture.
  • At least five workers at Google filed complaints with the National Labor Relations Board last month saying they were fired for what should have been protected activism. Google maintains the firings were based on violations of company policy.

Go deeper: Amazon and Big Tech can't escape climate pressure

Go deeper

Trump hits back at Mattis: "I gave him a new life"

President Trump speaks at the White House. Photo: Doug Mills - Pool/Getty Images

President Trump unloaded on his former defense secretary via Twitter on Wednesday, hours after James Mattis condemned him for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in his response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

What he's saying: "Probably the only thing Barack Obama & I have in common is that we both had the honor of firing Jim Mattis, the world’s most overrated General. I asked for his letter of resignation, & felt great about it. His nickname was 'Chaos', which I didn’t like, & changed it to 'Mad Dog'"

Obama praises young protesters, urges mayors to pursue police reforms

Former President Barack Obama called on all mayors to review their use-of-force policies and commit to policing reform in a virtual town hall Wednesday hosted by the Obama Foundation's My Brothers Keepers Alliance.

Why it matters: Obama has addressed the killing of George Floyd and the nationwide protests that followed on social media and in a Medium post, but this was his first time speaking about the past week's events on camera. His voice will add weight to the growing pressure on local, state and federal officials to pursue policing reforms.

James Mattis condemns Trump as a threat to the Constitution

Mattis on Fox in Septemnber 2019 in New York City. Photo: Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis condemned President Trump for making a "mockery of our Constitution" in a statement to The Atlantic on Wednesday, saying he was "appalled" at the president's response to mass protests in the wake of George Floyd's killing.

Why it matters: Trump’s former defense secretary had refrained from publicly criticizing his former boss since resigning in 2018.