Google employees sign declaration against expanding vaccine authorization

Google CEO Sundar Pichai

Anindito Mukherjee | Bloomberg | Getty Images

several hundred Google Employees signed and circulated a declaration against the company’s vaccine authorization, which posed the latest challenge to leadership as it approached the critical deadline for employees to return to the office in person.

The Biden administration has ordered U.S. companies with 100 or more workers to ensure that their employees are fully vaccinated or regularly tested Coronavirus disease As of January 4. In response, according to internal documents reviewed by CNBC, Google has asked its more than 150,000 employees to upload their vaccination status to its internal system by December 3, regardless of whether they plan to enter the office. The company also stated that all employees who work directly or indirectly with government contracts must be vaccinated – even if they work from home.

Chris Rackow, Google’s vice president of security, wrote in an email sent near the end of October: “Vaccines are our key to getting everyone back to the office safely and minimizing the spread of Covid-19 in our community.

Rackow said the company is already implementing the requirements, so the changes in Biden’s executive order are “minimal”. His email set the deadline for employees to apply for exemptions due to religious beliefs or medical conditions as November 12, and said that the case will be decided on the basis of specific circumstances.

Google’s internal declaration has been signed by at least 600 Google employees, requiring company leaders to revoke vaccine authorizations and create a new authorization “including all Google employees”, believing that the leadership’s decision will have a huge impact on American companies. It also called on employees to “oppose this task in principle” and told employees not to let the policy change their decision if they have chosen not to receive the Covid-19 vaccine.

At the time of this announcement, most of Google’s employees were approaching the deadline return Starting from January 10th, we will arrive at the physical office 3 days a week.The company’s particularly outspoken employees have previously Government contract The food to the cafeteria changes.

A Google spokesperson said the company supports its policy. “As we said to all employees and the author of this document, our vaccination requirements are one of the most important ways for us to ensure the safety of our employees and the normal operation of our services. We firmly support our vaccination policy.”

Task dilemma

Vaccination is not only a dilemma for Google, but also a dilemma for American companies as a whole.According to reports, the Covid-19 virus has caused 772,570 deaths in the United States Johns Hopkins University data.Although it proves Effectiveness In terms of providing a high level of hospitalization and death protection, the country is struggle Persuade millions of people to get the first dose of the vaccine, because more than 60 million Americans are still unvaccinated.

In July, CEO Sundar Pichai announced that the company will Require Vaccinate people returning to the office. October, Pichai Said The San Francisco Bay Area office, located near its headquarters, has as many as 30% of the workforce, while in New York, nearly half of the employees have returned. He added at the time that employees who do not want to be vaccinated can continue to work remotely.

The company has also taken other measures to persuade employees to vaccinate. For example, according to the declaration, Google Data Center Vice President Joe Kawa announced that it will provide US data center employees with a $5,000 vaccination bonus point bonus.

In an email cited in the manifesto and viewed by CNBC, Google’s vice president of global security, Chris Rackow, stated that due to the company’s cooperation with the federal government, “today includes products and services that span advertising, cloud maps, workspaces, etc., “All employees who work directly or indirectly on a contract with the government need to be vaccinated – even if they work from home. He added that frequent testing is “not an effective option.”

The author of the manifesto strongly opposed.

“I believe that Sundar’s vaccine authorization is seriously flawed,” the manifesto said, calling the company’s leadership “mandatory” and the “opposite of inclusiveness.”

In the subtitle entitled “Respect for Users,” the author wrote, “It is forbidden for unvaccinated Google employees to disclose a private choice in the office and may embarrassingly expose a private choice, because it is difficult for Google employees not to reveal why they can’t come back.”

The author also argued that the authorization violated the company’s principle of inclusiveness.

“Such Google employees may never be comfortable expressing their true views on the company’s health policy and other unrelated sensitive topics. This has led to silent views and exacerbated the internal ideology that people inside and outside Google have observed over the years.’ Echo Chamber’.”

The manifesto also opposes Google’s recording of employee vaccinations.

“I don’t think Google should know the health and medical history of Google employees, and the vaccination situation is no exception.” According to internal documents, Google has required employees to upload their vaccination certificates to Google’s “Environmental Health and Safety” team, even if they It has been uploaded to One Medical, one of Google’s welfare providers.

The author then tried to argue that vaccine enforcement might be the beginning of a slippery slope, paving the way for other invasive measures—a common argument among people who oppose enforcement.

“It not only normalizes the mandatory normalization of medical interventions for Covid-19 vaccination, but also applies to future vaccines, and may even extend to non-vaccine interventions. It proves the principle of division and unequal treatment based on the personal beliefs and decisions of Google employees. The impact is chilling. Because of its presence as an industry leader, Google’s mission is to influence companies around the world to see these as acceptable trade-offs.”

The document said the organization had expressed these concerns to Google’s chief health officer Karen DeSalvo in an open letter.

According to the internal email chain seen by CNBC, at Google’s most recent all-hands meeting called TGIF, some employees tried to cause more questions about vaccines by asking colleagues to “reject” other issues in the internal system called Dory. focus on. The goal is to ensure that their problems can get enough votes so that executives are qualified to solve them.

Google’s health ambitions

Google is trying to make the healthcare industry its growing business ambitions—especially its cloud division, and resistance to vaccine enforcement poses new challenges to its leadership.

August, Google Disband Its health department is the official business unit of the health care department, and Dr. David Feinberg, who led the health care department of the search giant in the past two years, has left the company. Nonetheless, Google Cloud CEO Thomas Curry often mentions healthcare as a key focus area. In 2019, Google hired De Salvo, the former Obama administration as its first health director. Tell In CNBC’s “Squawk Box” program last month, the tech giant “still went all out.”

The company is trying to use the broader fight against the new coronavirus in a variety of ways. In the first half of 2021, the company spent nearly US$30 million Prompt for health, which one Listed In September, it was valued at USD 3 billion. Soon after, the company announced a separate partnership with Google’s cloud division to collect and analyze Covid-19 data with a view to predicting future variants.Google also cooperated with Apple to opt-in Contract tracking Hope to track Covid-19 software.


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