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Google Walkout call for end to forced arbitration

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google walkoutTroy Wolverton/Business Insider
  • Organizers of last year’s Google Walkout, where thousands of employees left their desks to protest the company’s handling of executive sexual misconduct cases, are launching a social media campaign called “End Forced Arbitration.” 
  • Forced arbitration is an employment practice whereby workers are required to settle any disputes with management out of court, privately. 
  • The campaign will debut Tuesday, Jan. 15 at 9 am EST, and will feature interviews on Twitter and Instagram with sexual harassment and assault survivors, as well as experts.
  • The ‘public education’ campaign is meant to be an effort that sparks change throughout the industry, at Google and beyond.

Organizers of last year’s Google Walkout are not done yet. 

After November’s headline-making march, where thousands of Google workers across the world all left work in protest of the company’s handling of executive sexual misconduct cases, some organizers are taking it one step further with a new effort called “End Forced Arbitration.” 

Forced arbitration is a widespread practice where employers require that workers resolve disputes with management privately, outside of a court of law. 

In response to the Google Walkout, tech companies across the industry, including eBay, Airbnb, Facebook, and Google itself, made forced arbitration optional in cases of sexual assault. However, organizers believe that the change “provided no meaningful gains for worker equity nor an actual change in employee contracts or future offer letters,” and calls on in the industry to ban the practice entirely in all cases, according to their statement. 

The organizers claim that they’ve confirmed that Google and Facebook are still sending out offer letters to prospective new employees with its old arbitration policy fully intact. 

Google and Facebook did not immediately respond to request for comment on Monday morning. 

On Tuesday, January 15 starting at 9 am EST, the social media handle “@endforcedarb” will share interviews with sexual harassment survivors and experts as well as “facts about forced arbitration” throughout the day on Twitter and Instagram

The campaign will feature stories from inside Google, but will not be limited to it: people from academic institutions, advocacy groups and government agencies sent in their own employment agreements, too, organizers say. 

“Ending forced arbitration is the gateway change needed to transparently address inequity in the workplace,” the statement said. 

Tweets about what forced arbitration means will be shared on End Forced Arbitration’s Twitter handle every hour on the hour, and interviews with survivors and experts will be posted on its Instagram every hour on the half hour.

Got a tip about what it’s like to work at Google after the walkout? Contact this reporter via email at mgebel@businessinsider.com or by Twitter DM @MeiraGebel

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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