Senators have a list of demands for Google. Future Publishing/Getty Images Ten Democratic senators, including presidential hopefuls Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, have sent a letter to Google urging the tech giant to stop its “anti-worker practices.” The letter, dated July 25 and addressed to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, said the company’s 121,000 contract and temporary workers should be promoted to full-time status. Google’s business model relies heavily on contract and temporary workers, so much so that the population is larger than its full-time employees, Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio said in the letter obtained by The New York Times on Monday. Google’s temps and contractors outnumber full-time employees by 19,000 people.The senators’ demands for the workers also include prohibiting financial disincentives, wage and benefit parity, limit on the use of independent contractors and temporary workers to temporary or non-core work, prohibition of mandatory nondisclosure agreements, elimination of all noncompete clauses in contracts, and Google’s acceptance of liability for any workplace violations that occur with independent contractors or temp workers. The senators requested that Google respond before Aug. 9. The company responded Monday. “We are proud to create economic opportunities for both the people we employ directly and our extended workforce of vendors, temporary staff and independent contractors, and believe that our practices in this regard accord with the highest industry standards,” says a letter sent by Eileen Naughton, vice president of people operations, to the senators. “Respectfully, we strongly disagree with any suggestion that Google misuses independent contractors or temporary workers.” In the letter, Google said it engages “only a handful” of independent contractors when it wants to bring in highly specialized expertise. The company also said its temporary worker population makes up 3% of its total workforce. Along the same lines, vendors, which Google says accounts for the majority of its extended workforce, are hired for specialized uses too. “Being a temporary worker is not intended to be a path to employment at Google, and because we want to be clear and upfront, this is a part of our written policies and the training that all Google employees managing temporary staff must take,” Naughton said in the letter.In May, a group of temps who work on Google Assistant alleged wage theft against the tech giant. The group said Google pressured its contractors to work overtime without extra pay. After an internal complaint, Google fired the executive in charge of the project. In April, Google said it’d require the companies that supply the search giant with temporary and contract workers to provide them full benefits. The benefits would include health care, a $15 minimum wage and paid parental leave. The change came the same day 900 Google workers signed a letter demanding better treatment of the company’s temps, vendors and contractors. In its Aug. 5 letter, Google said these policies will go into effect at the beginning of 2020. The company said it expects the majority of its temporary staff and vendors to be covered under the standard by mid-2020. Originally published Aug. 5, 12:27 p.m. PT.Update, at 12:56 p.m. PT: Adds response from Google. Mobile Internet Internet Services Comments Tags Share your voice 14 Google
The Judge’s wife and son were shot at by their own security personnelCCO Public domainA 25-year-old police officer, who was a part of Punjab Chief Minister’s security team, was shot dead on early Sunday after he stopped a man from harassing women in the parking lot of a club in Phase XI of Mohali.The accused, identified as Charanjit Singh alias Sahil Sagar, fired three bullets at the victim, Sukhwinder Singh at 3:30 am. A bullet hit Sukhwinder’s chest, the second one brushed past the abdomen and the third missed him.Sukhwinder had joined the force in 2017 and is survived by his parents and two sisters. Sahil Sagar had visited the club with two male friends and one female friend. He was allegedly rubbing against other women on the dance floor even when they made their discomfort known, reported Times of India.Sukhwinder stepped in and a scuffle broke out between them. Sahil Sagar was removed from the premises by the bouncers a little after 2:30 am. However, he waited in the parking lot for Sukhwinder and the duo got into another fight which ended with Sahil shooting at Sukhwinder. The accused is still absconding. The police said there is no problem in arresting the accused since his identity and motive for murder are known. They identified him through the CCTV footage of the parking lot.”The identity of the accused is clear. We are questioning his accomplices and will arrest him soon. Teams have been formed to catch him,” Kuldeep Singh Chahal, Mohali’s senior superintendent of police told TOI.A case against Sahil has been filed under sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 25, 27, 53 of the Arms Act and 302 (murder) under the Indian Penal Code at the Phase XI police station.
TYLER PRATT FOR KUTThe Texas Supreme Court will hear oral arguments Wednesday in a case that challenges local government employee benefits for married same-sex couples.At stake is whether the 2015 U.S. Supreme Court decision legalizing same-sex marriage nationwide requires public agencies to provide taxpayer-subsidized benefits to same-sex spouses of government employees.Chuck Smith, executive director of the LGBT advocacy group Equality Texas, tells KUT’s Becky Fogel that he’s the first to admit there’s no constitutional right to employee benefits. But, he says, the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision is clear: When it comes to marriage, same-sex couples have to be treated the same as opposite-sex couples.“So if the City of Houston, or any employer, provides benefits to its married opposite-sex employees, it is obligated to extend those same benefits, on the same terms and conditions, to same-sex married couples,” he says. The Texas Supreme Court initially declined to hear the case, which challenged Houston’s benefits policy for married same-sex couples. In an 8-1 decision, justices let stand a lower court decision upholding benefits.But the state’s high court reversed course last month under pressure from top Texas Republicans. Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton filed an amicus brief in October asking the all-Republican court to reconsider. They also asked the court to clarify that the U.S. Supreme Court case legalizing same-sex marriage, Obergefell v. Hodges, does not “bind state courts to resolve all other claims in favor of the right to same-sex marriage.”Copyright 2017 KUT-FM. To see more, visit KUT-FM. Share
Harris County Office of Emergency ManagementHarris County recently hosted a meeting with more than 70 organizations that will participate in updating its multi-hazard mitigation action plan.Harris County has started updating its current multi-hazard mitigation action plan, for which it will collaborate with multiple jurisdictions and receive feedback from the public.Harris County is vulnerable to natural hazards such as flooding, tornadoes and hurricanes. The county, as well as the Flood Control District, municipalities, special purpose districts, private non-profits and several stakeholder organizations will participate in the partnership.Harris County has received federal grant funds to update the plan and recently hosted a meeting with 120 attendees from more than 70 organizations that will participate in the process.“Although the current plan doesn’t expire until 2020, our office starts working with our partners and the public well in advance. The overall goal is to update the plan to help minimize the impacts of future disasters and to make us eligible for federal hazard mitigation funds,” said Harris County Judge Ed Emmett.It takes approximately 18 months to complete the updates before the final plan is submitted to the State of Texas and FEMA for review. Once approved, each jurisdiction may adopt the plan, which will allow their communities to more readily access hazard mitigation and disaster recovery funds from FEMA when a disaster occurs.Harris County will provide several opportunities for public input and comments by publishing public notices of meetings, hosting public input workshops, posting the draft plan online for public review; and seeking stakeholder and subject matter expert input.The steering committee will consist of 16 jurisdictions and 16 stakeholders that represent the entire planning partnership and oversees the planning process.All steering committee meetings will be open to the public. The first meeting will take place on October 18th, 10 a.m. to noon at Houston TranStar, 6922 Katy Road, Conference Room 120-A, Houston, Texas 77024.Future meetings will be posted at https://www.readyharris.org/mitigation. Share
Wallace D. Loh says UM’s Byrd Stadium should be renamed.University of Maryland at College Park President Wallace D. Loh recommended changing the name of the university’s football stadium from Byrd Stadium, which honors a longtime university president who was a staunch advocate against integration, to Maryland Stadium.The recommendation was made to the University System of Maryland’s Board of Regents, which has oversight of building names. The Board of Regents will consider this request at a hearing on Dec. 11.“This is a difficult and emotion-laden issue,” Loh said in a campus-wide email announcing his decision on Dec. 7. “Any outcome will likely please few.”Harry C. “Curley” Byrd was a former football player who taught English and history and served as athletic director, eventually rising to university president. Byrd was president from 1935 until 1954, a time when the campus grew significantly.President Loh states in his campus-wide email that “President Byrd is rightly regarded as ‘Father and Builder’ of UMD over a 43-year career here, retiring in 1954. He dramatically increased enrollment, faculty, funding, and the size of the campus. He laid the foundation for today’s achievements. He earned his place in our University’s history.”But he is also very well known for his opposition to racial integration in the beginning stages of the civil rights movement.When Baltimore’s Parren J. Mitchell filed a lawsuit to be admitted to the university’s graduate school in 1950, Byrd issued an order to set up classes for him in Baltimore in hopes of thwarting the lawsuit. A court ordered that Mitchell be granted full status in College Park.Mitchell went on to earn a master’s degree from College Park, teach at Morgan State, work in politics and win the election to Congress in 1970, where he would lead the Congressional Black Caucus. He died in 2007 at age 85.In October, the Board of Regents unanimously approved renaming the Art-Sociology Building in his honor. On Dec. 3, the university held a ceremony to celebrate the newly renamed building in Mitchell’s honor. On hand that day was senior sociology major and activist Colin Byrd, who is not related to the stadium’s namesake. Byrd, with the aid of a megaphone, challenged President Loh referencing that only 1 percent of the university’s contracts in 2014 were given to Black vendors with Minority Business Enterprise status, which he described as a form of economic injustice. “That’s not acceptable, and I know you’re not going to answer, but I have to say this because you need to call this out for what it is, this is B.S.” Byrd said according to the Diamondback.In an interview with the AFRO Byrd said “I think it [the campus-wide email] goes down in the history of the University of Maryland as a turning point. Where we tell our athletes and recruits going forward that no longer will you have to play the sport you love within the symbolic shadows of someone who would have hated you.”The outrage of buildings and monuments being named after pro-segregationist individuals on campuses is not isolated to the University of Maryland. On Nov. 18 the Black Justice League, a student organization at Princeton University, organized a 32 hour protest to improve race relations on campus which included occupying university president Christopher Eisgruber’s office. One of their primary demands was the removal of the name of President Woodrow Wilson, one of the university’s most honored alumni and a former university president, from buildings and schools on campus. Martin A. Mbugua, a spokesperson for Princeton, told the Washington Post that Eisgruber is listening to the students demands and that, ”The conversation about that [removing Wilson’s name from the building] will continue.”
Kolkata: IIT Kharagpur, the oldest and largest one in the country, has initiated a pilot project to protect the rich cultural heritage of the cities and towns along the Hooghly river. The project would focus on five former trading posts and garrison settlements near Kolkata along the Hooghly river – Bandel, Chinsurah, Chandernagore, Serampore and Barrackpore, an IIT KGP statement said .The pockets bear traces of Portugese (Bandel), Dutch (Chinsurah), British (Barrackpore), French (Chandernagore), Danish (Serampore) presence, as well as India’s own rich culture. The pilot project has been initiated by IIT Kharagpur’s department of humanities and social sciences, in association with the University of Liverpool, UK, the statement said.Principal Investigator on behalf of IIT KGP, Prof Jenia Mukherjee said, “These places, being peripheral cities surrounding Kolkata, are not getting enough exposure. And yet, in these cities too, heritage buildings are making way for apartments, multiplexes and so on.”Among the top priorities of the project is the conservation of centuries-old buildings, which are mainly private houses, she said.Lack of funds makes maintenance difficult for even those willing to preserve their properties, Mukherjee said adding, “We will be seeing if it is possible to build up a public-private-partnership for the upkeep of these structures.” The project is being jointly funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council, UK, and the Indian Council for Historical Research and the idea is to involve the people of the region as “owner-custodians” of this heritage, she said. The project team recently held an exhibition at Chandernagore with the Institut de Chandernagore which got an overwhelming public response. The Institut de Chandernagore is one of the oldest museums of the region and boasts a collection of French antiques.
Narendra Modi and those who still have faith in him, in his policies and style, have every right to feel overwhelmed over the high-octane Wembley show. They also have a right to feel proud about the fact that Modi became the first Indian to address the British Parliament. Modi and his admirers can also take pride in Modi’s stay at the country house retreat of the Prime Minister of United Kingdom—Chequers Court—to the south of Aylesbury in Buckinghamshire at the foot of the Chiltern Hills, and his first ever meeting with Queen Elizabeth-II over lunch at Buckingham Palace, where he arrived riding a Jaguar. Also Read – Gateway of criminal justiceBut, then these very people owe us answers to certain pertinent questions raised during the visit of the Prime Minister of India to the United Kingdom which houses the “mother of Parliaments”. Why is it that for the first time the Palace of Westminster in London bore a large image of India’s Prime Minister wielding a sword with a logo behind him of the symbol “Om” slowly transforming into the Swastika? Why splashed across the image were the words in bold letters “Modi not welcome”? Why did Indian activists oppose the visit of the Prime Minister of their own country by projecting an image that stayed on the British Parliament’s building for eight and a half minutes on a Sunday night? Also Read – Turning a blind eyeFor the first time an Indian Prime Minister had to face questions in his joint press conference by British media such as “Prime Minister Modi, India is becoming an increasingly intolerant place. Why?” Should we not feel deeply concerned about the fact that a responsible British newspaper—The Guardian—chose to publish an article written by a local journalist of Indian origin under the title “India is being ruled by a Hindu Taliban”? Why has the international community started to look at India with suspicious eyes in matters related to social harmony? During his performance at Wembley event, even singer Jay Sean underlined the need to respect each other’s differences. After completing his first song, he began to narrate his personal story and told the audience that his real name is Kamaljit Singh Jhooti. Moreover, the singer said he takes pride in the fact that this country has recognised his talent ignoring all the considerations for caste and creed. Why should Jay Sean feel it necessary to express such sentiments between the two romantic songs he sang on the occasion, including his most famous “Down”?Wembley could have been a great gala event for Modi’s fans. But the basics of diplomatic visits should not be allowed to be wrapped up under the heavy curtains of pop singer Sonna Rele “Every day with Love”—the title song of the film Cinderella, or the fusion by Jyotsna Srikant, Geeta Patel, and Shiamak Davar. The hard questions cannot be answered through Vidya Patel’s Kathak or Dandiya and Garba dances. The realities of diplomatic successes depend on the solid outcomes of the serious efforts made by any government and not on the decibel level of “Modi-Modi” chants. The funniest, rather insulting, part of the Wembley event was when British singer Navin Kundra sang “Bachna Ai Haseeno, Lo Mai Aagaya” just before the arrival of Modi and then tried to merge it with the songs like “Mere Desh Ki Dharti”, and Slum Dog Millionaire’s “Jai Ho”. But for the national anthem sung by Kanika Kapoor and a meaningful short speech delivered by British Prime Minister David Cameron, it would have been better if there was no Wembley event at all.Ignoring developments such as the protests held by the Nepali people can come at a huge price. It is also for the first time that our neighbours flocked the streets on foreign soil, carrying placards reading anti-India slogans. UK Chapter of Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA), Prabasi Nepali Manch-UK, and Nepali Janasamparka Samiti UK, among three dozen Nepali organisations, took part in the protest to express solidarity with their cause. We will be drastically failing in our diplomatic responsibilities if the sentiments strongly expressed during Modi’s UK visit by the South Asia Solidarity Group, Sikh Federation of UK, South Hall Black Sisters, Dalit Solidarity Network of UK, Indian Muslim Federation, Indian Workers Association, Muslim Parliament, and Voice of Dalit International are not addressed properly.Parallel to the notes of Wembley music there were strong doses of analytical pieces in the British media on Modi’s fast decreasing popularity, which has been proven by the outcome of Bihar Assembly elections. “The loss is more personal than a party loss,” noted The Guardian, “since Narendra Modi took a personal interest in the Bihar state Assembly polls and he almost became the face of the campaign”. The report further said, “India’s ruling party has conceded defeat in a provincial election seen as a test of the vote-winning abilities and political strategy of Modi”. Leila Nathoo of The Independent wrote, “Instead of relying on local BJP leaders to fight the election on local issues, Mr Modi, a crisply dressed, and highly skilled orator, personally took control of the campaign in the hope that his reputation and charisma would seal the victory.”The destiny of one-sixth of humanity lies in the honest efforts of making India a nation based on its true values—tolerance, inclusiveness, and equality to all. India’s destiny does not lie in gimmickries like opening up a branch of Madame Tussauds’ wax museum in New Delhi and getting a copy of the Magna Carta for touring displays in India for the 2017 cultural exchange or firecrackers in Wembley.(Author is Editor and CEO of News Views India. The views expressed are strictly personal)