Ma­jor­ity of tech work­ers wants com­pa­nies to take a stand

Ac­tivists ques­tion why Sales­force hasn’t can­celed con­tracts over im­mi­gra­tion is­sues

The Mercury News Weekend - - BUSINESS - By Levi Su­ma­gaysay lsuma­gaysay@ ba­yare­anews­

More than half of tech em­ploy­ees want their com­pa­nies to take a stand against gov­ern­ment work if it con­flicts with com­pany val­ues, ac­cord­ing to a new sur­vey. A poll con­ducted by Blind, an anony­mous work­place app, shows that 59 per­cent say they want their com­pa­nies to take a stand, with 38 per­cent say­ing com­pa­nies should can­cel their gov­ern­ment con­tracts and 21 per­cent say­ing com­pa­nies should try to ne­go­ti­ate with gov­ern­ment agen­cies. If re­sponses from Mi­crosoft em­ploy­ees had not been not in­cluded, the re­spon­dents who fa­vored tak­ing a po­lit­i­cal stand against gov­ern­ment work would have been 63 per­cent.

Forty- one per­cent of the 7,631 em­ploy­ees who took the sur­vey said their com­pa­nies should stay neu­tral even if gov­ern­ment con­tracts con­flict with com­pany val­ues.

The sur­vey re­sults come af­ter a protest Mon­day at San Fran­cisco-based Sales­force, which has faced pres­sure to can­cel a cloud-ser­vices con­tractwithU.S. Cus­toms and Bor­der Pro­tec­tion amid out­rage over the Trump ad­min­is­tra­tion’s de­ten­tion, de­por­ta­tion and sep­a­ra­tion of im­mi­grant fam­i­lies at the U. S.Mex­ico bor­der.

Sales­force CEO Marc Be­nioff tweeted the day be­fore the protest: “Sales­force al­ways will be true to our core val­ues. We don’t work with CBP re­gard­ing sep­a­ra­tion of fam­i­lies. CBP is a cus­tomer & fol­lows our TOS. We don’t have an agree­ment with ICE. I’m Proud of the Men & Women who pro­tect & serve our coun­try ev­ery day & I’m Proud of our Ohana.”

Last week, Be­nioff also tweeted that Sales­force do­nated $1mil­lion to or­ga­ni­za­tions help­ing fam­i­lies sep­a­rated at the bor­der.

Dur­ing Mon­day’s protest, ac­tivists won­dered why Sales­force — which is known for phi­lan­thropy and has a rep­u­ta­tion for speak­ing out about pro­gres­sive causes — is not stand­ing up for im­mi­grants by can­cel­ing its con­tract with the gov­ern­ment.

“Why is it that Sales­force would take a stand against anti-LGBT poli­cies in In­di­ana

but they will not take a stand for com­mu­ni­ties of color and the Latino com­mu­nity?” asked Kevin Or­tiz of the Latino Demo­cratic Club, ac­cord­ing to Fast Com­pany.

The ac­tionMon­day in front of the new Sales­force Tower drew a few dozen pro­test­ers.

“We re­spect the right to peace­ful protest,” a Sales­force spokes­woman saidTues­day. “To­day and ev­ery day, Sales­force is com­mit­ted to lead­ing with our core val­ues of trust, cus­tomer suc­cess, in­no­va­tion and equal­ity.” Other tech com­pa­nies have dealt with push­back from their em­ploy­ees about their ties with the U.S. gov­ern­ment. For ex­am­ple, thou­sands of Google em­ploy­ees protested in May over Google’swork­with the Pen­tagon and con­cerns that the com­pany’s ar­ti­fi­cial in­tel­li­gence could be used to im­prove drone strikes. Google later said it will not re­new the Project Maven con­tract when it ex­pires next year, and CEO Sun­dar Pichai vowed in newly drawn-up prin­ci­ples that the com­pany’s AI tech­nol­ogy would not be know­ingly used for harm. Mean­while, Mi­crosoft em­ploy­ees have urged the com­pany to sever its ties with Im-

mi­gra­tion and Cus­toms En­force­ment. The com­pany has a con­tract to pro­vide ICE with Azure cloud ser­vices. The com­pany said last month that it does not know of its tech­nol­ogy be­ing used in the sep­a­ra­tion of fam­i­lies at the bor­der.

The Blind sur­vey was con­ducted June 28 to July 8, with at least 50 re­spon­dents each from tech com­pa­nies such as Face­book, Ap­ple, Google, Ama­zon, Lyft, Adobe and more.

Blind users en­gage anon- ymously on the app, but it re­quires users to regis­ter us­ing their work email ad­dresses, a spokes­woman said Tues­day. Users’ com­pany names are also at­tached to their ac­tiv­ity on the app.

Con­tact Levi Su­ma­gaysay at 408-859- 5293.


Sales­force CEO Marc Be­nioff tweeted the day be­fore the protest: “Sales­force al­ways will be true to our core val­ues.”

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