There’s an awful lot of angst in the tech industry about what a Donald Trump administration will do, and if he’ll follow through on some of the more divisive promises he made on the campaign trail.
On Tuesday, an Oracle employee working on the company’s all-important cloud business publicly quit the company via a letter posted to LinkedIn. George Polisner was protesting Oracle CEO Safra Catz’s decision to join the Trump’s transition team.
Catz was part of a room full of tech industry leaders that met with the president-elect last week at Trump Tower in New York. Before the meeting, Catz said, “I plan to tell the president-elect that we are with him and will help in any way we can. If he can reform the tax code, reduce regulation and negotiate better trade deals, the U.S. technology industry will be stronger and more competitive than ever.”
Immediately after the meeting, Catz said she was joining Trump’s transition team, even as she remained in her post as co-CEO of Oracle.
Polisner, who is an active Democrat in his state of Oregon, had a long list of reasons why he was wary of a Trump administration, ranging from concerns over how Trump will change Social Security and Medicare to policies on social issues and decisions that will impact the environment.
In his public resignation letter, Polisner explained, “I am not with President-elect Trump and I am not here to help him in any way. In fact — when his policies border on the unconstitutional, the criminal and the morally unjust — I am here to oppose him in every possible and legal way. Therefore I must resign from this once great company.”
Polisner told Business Insider that he is not leaving for another job. “Right now I’m less concerned about income and more concerned about doing something that impacts society in a positive way,” he said.
Catz has not released a note to the troops at Oracle explaining her decision to be part of Trump’s team, Polisner told us. Oracle declined comment on Catz’s reasons for joining Trump’s transition team.
In contrast, Apple CEO Tim Cook sent a reassuring note out to his troops explaining why he met with Trump last week. The gist of it was, you have to be involved to have an impact.
“I’ve never found being on the sideline a successful place to be,” Cook wrote.
Not the only one
Polisner is hardly a lone wolf. Various employees in the tech industry have been saying they won’t help Trump build a hypothetical “Muslim registry.”
The fears over such a registry stems from campaign promises that Trump made about building a database of Syrian refugees. Trump has been asked if this could be extended to a database of Muslims in America and has never flat-out denied it.
More than 1,000 people in the tech community have signed a letter vowing not to help with such a database.
Buzzfeed also asked a few companies if they would go on the record and vow not to help with such a registry.
The companies all said they haven’t been working on such a thing, but a growing number of them were willing to say they would refuse. This includes Twitter, Google, Apple, Uber, IBM, Salesforce, and Atlassian.
Meanwhile, over 100 IBM workers have signed an Internet petition urging their CEO, Ginni Rometty, to take that a step further in several ways. They want her to “respect our right to refuse participation in any U.S. contracts that violate constitutional and civil liberties.”
They also want her to “prohibit perceived influence-peddling of elected officials” by restricting employees from using any Trump-branded properties for business purposes.
While they were at it, they tacked on a demand for IBM to go back to its practice of doing 401K matches all year long, rather than an annual match on December 15.
Rometty is part of Trump’s economic advisory committee. Shortly after Trump won the election, Rometty penned an open letter to him where she praised some of his ideas and suggested ways IBM can work with the federal government (which is a huge IBM customer).
That letter caused one IBM employee to publicly quit and that employee’s letter went viral, too.