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Why Google's employees walked out and what it could mean for the future of labor

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The recent walkout by thousands of Google employees at offices around the world was the first protest of its kind by well-paid and benefit-rich high-tech workers.

The collective action was triggered by a report that their employer had awarded several top male executives accused of sexual misconduct multimillion-dollar exit packages. But their list of demands suggests the roots of the crisis go much deeper.

To me, it’s a reminder of just how outmoded American labor laws are, a primary area of my research these days. In fact, the underlying grievances that motivated the Google employees to walk out are emblematic of what’s prompting millions of American workers to feel they have lost their voice.

And unfortunately, U.S. labor law no longer has their back. The walkout by these non-union professionals at Google, however, might change that.

Five demands

The brief walkouts took place in about 40 Google offices including New York, London, Singapore and the company’s headquarters in Mountain View, California.

They followed a New York Times investigation that found that the search giant gave Andy Rubin, the creator of its Android mobile software, a US$90 million exit package despite a credible claim of sexual misconduct. The report said two other executives received similar treatment.

The leaders of the walkout presented a list of five demands on an........

© International Business Times