MOUNTAIN VIEW (KCBS)— Over one hundred protesters convened outside Google’s annual shareholder meeting at the tech company’s Mountain View headquarters Wednesday afternoon.
The protesters ranged from housing rights advocates from San Francisco to consumer watchdogs concerned about Google’s tax policies. About five of the protesters had proxies who went in to speak at the meeting.
The group Eviction Free San Francisco opposes evictions and has been working on behalf of residents at an apartment building at 812 Guerrero Street.
They claim Jack Halprin, an attorney who works for Google, purchased the building and is evicting residents under the Ellis Act.
Claudia Tirado was on hand to represent Eviction Free SF and lives in the building purchased by the lawyer.
“I just want to let Google know that this one person who is representing Google is affecting seven people’s lives,” she said.
The Ellis Act is a provision in California law that provides landlords with a legal way of “going out of business” short of selling property to another landlord. Seen as a way out of municipal rent control provisions, it has been the topic of much debate in San Francisco, with the current affordable housing crisis.
Members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) were also out in force. They’re trying to unionize Google’s security guards because they claim they don’t get enough hours or money to get by.
David Huerta, an SEIU spokesman, said Google needs to apply its workplace standards to the security contractor as well.
“It’s time for them to be responsible. Act responsibly with their contractors,” said Huerta. He added that a contractor’s policy should be implemented at Google.
Members of corporate watchdog group, SumOfUs, were in attendance as well. Their focus was on holding corporations accountable for their actions and to “forge a new, sustainable and just path for the global economy.”
A group of Google investors claim the tech company is not paying its taxes, instead transferring billions in revenues into an overseas shell company. They are calling for Google to overhaul its tax policy, and to pay $2 billion in taxes it owes around the world.
Others called for more transparency when it comes to Google’s lobbying and political funding
Reverend Jesse Jackson, who has spent the week in the Bay Area, is calling for Silicon Valley tech companies to recruit more minorities, to help diversify board rooms in the region.
Google did not responded to KCBS for comment on the protesters or the issues they raise. However, they did announce an about face during Wednesday’s meeting to release statistics on the diversity of their workforce for the first time.
The company had previously resisted calls to share the diversity data compiled by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, as is required of major U.S. employers, although the companies don’t have to publicly share that information.
Rev. Jackson applauded the company for its concession.
Google, which employs nearly 50,000 people, said they will make the diversity information available sometime in June.
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