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Hey Google — Don't Be Evil: Shareholders and Activists Call for Political Spending Transparency, Climate Change Leadership, and Better Treatment of its Workers

(Photo by Clive Darra)
(Photo by Clive Darra)
Groups Held Rallied Outside Google's Annual Shareholder Meeting  and Presented Shareholders With Proposals

By Public Citizen
Shareholders and activists from around the country and region [rallied] at Google’s shareholder meeting, calling on the tech giant to stay true to its stated commitments to transparency, an open Internet and climate action by disclosing its lobbying spending and leaving the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) – two powerful groups that oppose those values. They are also urging Google to support good jobs for subcontracted security officers on its own campus, many of whom struggle to make ends meet despite the company’s staggering wealth. Groups will be using the hashtags #DontFundEvil and #DontBeEvil.

This morning and the previous two mornings, activists handed out fliers to Google employees at bus stops informing them of the company’s prodigious political spending on lobbying and its funding of groups that oppose taking action on climate change. Advocates also shed light on the company’s footprint in the local Bay Area community, where the eviction and affordability crises are escalating as companies like Google draw more high-income people to the region without supporting the right of longtime residents to stay. In San Francisco, Google is also perpetuating a two-tier system that privileges private over public transportation.

A shareholder proposal filed by Walden Asset Management, Connecticut pension funds and others, calls on Google to disclose how much it spends on lobbying and how much it contributes to associations like the Chamber, by far the largest corporate lobbying group, and ALEC, which pushes corporate-friendly model legislation through state governments.

Rally participants included Public Citizen’s U.S. Chamber Watch, Forecast the Facts, Common Cause California, Eviction Free San Francisco, Service Employees International Union-United Service Workers West (SEIU-USWW), the Sunflower Alliance, Sierra Club SF Bay Area Chapter, 350 East Bay, 350 Silicon Valley, and the Raging Grannies. After the rally, activists planned to use proxies to enter the shareholder meeting to ask questions of Google’s top management and formally present the shareholder proposal.

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