Silicon Valley Management Not Left-Wing Enough for Many Employees

Marc Benioff

Now we have another reason why corporations should welcome – and even seek – ideological diversity among their employees.

Because now the workers are telling their bosses who they can and cannot do business with.

In this case it is a number of companies in the largely leftist Silicon Valley tech industry, where many of the rank-and-file – who have been encouraged to speak their minds (if they are liberal, that is) – are complaining that the fruits of their labor benefit what they view as the odious U.S. Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and yes, the despicable Trump administration.

The employees’ outcry has been over the “inhumane” separation of illegal immigrant children from the adults they came to the U.S. border with, despite the fact that many – if not most – arrived with criminals, traffickers, or illegitimate asylum seekers who are not their parents.

Nonetheless the myths overtook the facts, which fed the burgeoning “Abolish ICE” movement.

“We believe that Microsoft must take an ethical stand, and put children and families above profits,” said an open letter by more than 100 Microsoft employees to CEO Satya Nadella, which was posted on the company’s internal message board. “As the people who build the technologies that Microsoft profits from, we refuse to be complicit. We are part of a growing movement, comprised of many across the industry who recognize the grave responsibility that those creating powerful technology have to ensure what they build is used for good, and not for harm.”

In another example, employees of Salesforce have urged their liberal activist CEO Marc Benioff to sever its contract with Customs and Border Protection, with hundreds of staff members signing a petition.

“Given the inhumane separation of children from their parents currently taking place at the border, we believe that our core value of equality is at stake and that Salesforce should re-examine our contractual relationship with CBP and speak out against its practices,” the petition said.

Benioff, who has tried to use his corporate influence to affect issues such as global warming and bathroom options for transgenders in the past, has been reluctant on this one.

“One of the greatest things about being part of the Salesforce family is that we proudly foster an open exchange of ideas and dialogue,” the company said in a statement. “We’re proud of our employees for being passionate and vocal, and will continue the conversation on this and other important matters.”

Benioff personally expressed his sympathy for the border families in a tweet, and pledged a $1 million donation to their cause, but rejected the idea of cutting off business with CBP because he said their software is not used in the family separations policy. That did little to dissuade the “principled” workers of Silicon Valley.

“Salesforce has the obligation both morally and ethically to actually stop all practice with CBP regardless of what the relationship is, in order to cripple CBP,” said tech worker Kevin Ortiz to NPR.

This corporate “resistance” isn’t limited to the tech world. For example, similar employee uprisings against doing business with U.S. immigration enforcement agencies include business consultancies Deloitte and McKinsey and Company.

“We believe that Deloitte must take a stand against the mistreatment of human beings as a result of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) and U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agencies’ continued family separation,” employees wrote to CEO Cathy Engelbert, adding that Deloitte “must question how its services and offerings to these agencies contribute to ongoing injustice.”

And the objections aren’t limited to the Trump administration’s border enforcement (authorized under laws enacted during previous administrations) either. Google employees lobbied CEO Sundar Pichai to end its contract for developing artificial intelligence for the Pentagon because the company “should not be in the business of war.” And Amazon workers have pressed leaders to stop selling facial recognition technology to government law enforcement agencies.

The bottom line is these protestations are more than policy-oriented; they are simply demands to stop doing business with President Trump, which shows the complaining employees’ ignorance to the fact there are two other branches of government that set laws and policy, in addition to the 10 million federal government workers who carry out the work related to it.

It also demonstrates the harms of fostering ideological homogenization in corporate culture, to the point where the workers feel empowered to intimidate and run off employees (like James Damore) who think differently, and even believe they can tell their bosses who they are allowed to do business with and get away with it.

The inmates are starting to run the asylums.