Last week, 97 companies – including some of the biggest technology firms – filed a legal brief that condemns President Donald Trump’s executive order on immigration. If you look at the list, you may notice a couple of significant cloud companies missing: IBM and Oracle.
IBM and Oracle are two companies that established early ties to the Trump administration, causing uneasiness among some employees who see it as counterproductive to their long-time commitments to diversity and inclusion.
Whatever your political views may be, it is interesting to consider the potential long-term effects of their actions. There are already reports of two employees from the respective companies resigning based on this reason alone. So far there is no evidence that cloud service providers are considering severing ties with vendors because of their views or affiliations with Trump.
So if Oracle and IBM are out of touch with the views of their employees, could it hinder their ability to attract top talent in the long-run? How will that impact their ability to compete in the market?
Last year IBM CEO Ginni Rometty said that the company has no problem attracting the best talent, and in addition to wooing people from Google and Facebook, gets almost a million and a half applications a year.
Subha Barry, vice president of Working Mother Media, told Bloomberg that companies that want to hold on to their best talent will have “have to explain and uphold the values their corporations espouse on everything from diversity to protecting the environment.”
A petition started by IBM employees calling out IBM CEO Ginni Rometty for her failure to affirm the company’s core values of diversity in open letter to President Donald Trump has reached nearly 2,000 signatures.
The petition, launched in December, has received signatures from 1,825 current and past IBM employees and community supporters at the time of writing.
“We are disappointed that IBM CEO Ginni Rometty's open letter to President-elect Donald Trump does not affirm IBMers' core values of diversity, inclusiveness, and ethical business conduct,” the petition says. “For our mutual aid and protection, we call on IBM to expand diversity recruitment programs, and we assert our right to refuse participation in any U.S. government contracts that violate constitutionally protected civil liberties. We call on IBM to demonstrate commitment to our Business Conduct Guidelines and to prevent perceived influence peddling through Trump affiliated businesses. Lastly, in the present context of insecurity and unpredictability, we call on IBM to return to our traditions of high worker retention and morale by making retirement plans equitable once again.”
A petition by Oracle, launched around the same time, has had much less momentum, receiving around 100 signatures.
Neither company has responded to the petitions publicly, and Rometty continues to advise Trump, a company spokesman tells Bloomberg.
While companies have been the targets of political protests before, “there’s been nothing this substantial by employees,” Roger Gottlieb, a Worcester Polytechnic Institute professor told Bloomberg. “It may be a reflection of the new economy where employees feel less allegiance and entitled to more of a say.”