The Real Deal New York

Googlers call for company to become a more socially conscious real estate buyer

Request was made as part of a resolution asking for reform in multiple areas
January 30, 2019 06:00PM

Google looming over the San Francisco skyline

A resolution from Google shareholders and employees calls on the company to reform multiple aspects of the way it does business, including doing more to address the displacement of poorer residents in areas where it buys real estate.

The resolution also calls for Alphabet, Google’s parent company, to address racial and gender diversity and criticizes the way contract staffers are treated, according to Bloomberg. It says Alphabet has responded inadequately to key demands that workers made in a massive November walkout and wants the board’s compensation committee to look into adding metrics like executive diversity into its bonus system.

Major tech companies have recently started to address the role they have played in rising housing prices in a more direct way. Earlier in January, Microsoft announced that it would invest $500 million for affordable housing in Seattle. Facebook and other tech companies in the Bay Area followed suit about a week later, preparing a $500 million investment fund to help coordinate solutions to the severe housing shortage in the area.

Irene Knapp, a senior software engineer at Google who helped write the resolution, told Bloomberg that she felt obligated to try making a positive difference at the company.

“At this point, with so many other Googlers whose work I respect having left over diversity and ethics concerns, the only way I’m able to justify staying is that I still believe I can make a positive difference,” she said. [Bloomberg]Eddie Small