Majority of tech workers wants companies to take a stand
Activists question why Salesforce hasn’t canceled contracts over immigration issues
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.”