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The past year has seen increased social activism by technology company employees and shareholders. Employees at the Alphabet network of companies formed the Alphabet Workers Union, the first union for tech workers at a major tech company. Amazon employees in Alabama are voting on whether to become the first unionized Amazon warehouse in the United States. Board diversity legislation and litigation are also on the rise. In 2020, shareholders brought derivative actions against the boards of Facebook, Qualcomm and other tech companies alleging that they breached their fiduciary duties by failing to include diverse directors on their boards, despite publicly stating their commitment to diversity and inclusion. With the Biden Administration in place and expected to be supportive of unions and diversity efforts, this may be an eventful year for technology companies.
Our speakers will discuss:
- Recent unionizing efforts at technology companies (10 minutes);
- How employees’ focus on social activism may affect companies that are developing controversial products and services, such as facial recognition and other AI technologies (15 minutes);
- Changes at the NLRB since the beginning of the Biden Administration (5 minutes);
- The derivative actions filed against technology companies based on the alleged lack of diversity at the board level (15 minutes); and
- What these developments may signal for technology companies and for diversity and inclusion efforts (15 minutes).
Leeza Garber, Drexel University Thomas R. Kline School of Law
Gail Gottehrer, Law Office of Gail Gottehrer LLC
Effie D. Silva, Cargill, Inc.