Microsoft employees are not satisfied with the executives’ response to their demand to ax a $19.4 million contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
Two employees plan on taking further action against their employer, The Hill reported, and others have been planning to mobilize employees when the company first announced the cloud contract with ICE.
“The [executives’] response was empty. It was shallow. He just said ‘we denounce it.’ It didn’t do anything,” one of the employees who drafted the letter to the CEO told The Hill on Wednesday.
More than 100 Microsoft employees sent the CEO an open letter protesting the company’s contract with ICE on Tuesday following reports that families were being separating from their children after crossing the southern border illegally.
In response, CEO Satya Nadella sent a staff-wide email rejecting the notion that the company’s relationship goes beyond providing a cloud service that includes “legacy mail, calendar, messaging, and document management workloads.”
“[W]e ask that Microsoft cancel its contracts with U.S. Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Immediately, including contract with clients who support ICE,” the employees’ demands read. “We also call on Microsoft to draft, publicize, and enforce a clear policy stating that neither Microsoft nor its contractors will work with clients who violate international human rights law.”
“Microsoft is not working with the U.S. government on any projects related to separating children from their families at the border,” Nadella responded Tuesday evening. (RELATED: Microsoft Executives Try To Reason With Employees Who Want Them Out Of ICE Contract)
Additionally, the company’s president, Brad Smith, responded to the employees’ concerns in a blog that completely avoided mentioning ICE.
“Microsoft is a company of immigrants in a nation of immigrants,” Smith wrote on Tuesday. “Reflecting this perspective, for more than a decade we’ve made the protection of children in immigration proceedings one of Microsoft’s signature civic initiatives.”
The Microsoft employees’ actions reflect a growing trend in the tech industry of employees fighting against their employer for working with the government.
Google employees successfully convinced their company not to renew a contract with the Defense Department on May 30 after weeks of protesting the company’s involvement developing artificial intelligence for the drone program.
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