Dozens of IBM employees protest CEO's cozy letter to Trump

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An internal feud at IBM has gone public as employees at the computing giant released a petition rejecting their CEO's recent congratulatory letter to President-elect Donald Trump.

The IBM protest began after CEO Ginni Rometty published a letter personally offering the company's services to Trump, who campaigned on a racist and anti-immigration platform. Soon after the letter, one employee publicly quit in protest. Now, her colleagues have launched the petition, which is currently signed by more than 50 IBM employees.

"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," reads the statement at IBMPetition.org. "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."

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IBM CEO Ginni Rometty through her career
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IBM CEO Ginni Rometty through her career
Ginni Rometty, Managing Partner with IBM's Business Consulting Services. (Photo by James Leynse/Corbis via Getty Images)
INDIA - JANUARY 27: Ginni Rometty, Senior Vice President, Enterprise Business Services, IBM Global Services, poses at office, in bangalore, India. Potrait (Photo by Deepak G Pawar/The India Today Group/Getty Images)
Virginia 'Ginni' Rometty, chief executive officer of International Business Machines Corp., attends a Business Roundtable news conference in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Wednesday, March 7, 2012. President Barack Obama told a group of business executives that the U.S. can avoid extreme measures to trim the deficit while still meeting the nation's need to bolster education and rebuild infrastructure. Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Virginia 'Ginni' Rometty, chief executive officer of International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), arrives for a keynote address on day three of the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, on Wednesday, Feb. 26, 2014. Top telecommunication managers will rub shoulders in Barcelona this week at the Mobile World Congress, Monday, Feb. 24 - 27, a traditional venue for showcasing the latest products for dealmaking. Photographer: Angel Navarrete/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Virginia 'Ginni' Rometty, chief executive officer of International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), gestures as she speaks during the 16th Nikkei Global Management Forum 2014 in Tokyo, Japan, on Tuesday, Nov. 11, 2014. The forum runs until Nov. 12. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg via Getty Images
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 16: Stephanie Mehta and Chairwoman and CEO of IBM Ginni Rometty speak onstage at the FORTUNE Most Powerful Women Summit on October 16, 2013 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for FORTUNE)
Chairman, President and CEO of IBM Ginni Rometty speaks during a discussion with Economic Club of Washington President David Rubenstein (L) on December 3, 2014 at a hotel in Washington, DC. AFP PHOTO/Mandel NGAN (Photo credit should read MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 13: President and CEO of IBM Ginni Rometty speaks onstage during Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit - Day 2 at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel on October 13, 2015 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune/Time Inc)
The silhouette of Virginia 'Ginni' Rometty, chief executive officer of International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), is seen exiting the stage after an event during the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Wednesday, Jan. 6, 2016. CES is expected to bring a range of announcements from major names in tech showcasing new developments in virtual reality, self-driving cars, drones, wearables, and the Internet of Things. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Virginia 'Ginni' Rometty, chief executive officer of International Business Machines Corp. (IBM), arrives for the morning sessions during the Allen & Co. Media and Technology Conference in Sun Valley, Idaho, U.S., on Thursday, July 7, 2016. Billionaires, chief executive officers, and leaders from the technology, media, and finance industries gather this week at the Idaho mountain resort conference hosted by investment banking firm Allen & Co. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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The petition comes as there is growing tension around the early relationship between tech companies and the incoming administration. Several companies were asked whether they would refuse to help Trump build a registry of Muslims in the United States — a goal he has talked about pursuing — and most initially didn't give a clear answer (after criticism, a number of companies have now said they would refuse). And last week, leaders in the tech industry received a friendly reception from Trump at a closed-door meeting in New York City.

MoreTech Workers Pledge To Never Build A Muslim Registry For Trump

IBM's technology would be an especially powerful weapon in Trump's hands if his administration follows through on campaign promises for mass-deportations and the targeting of Muslims and minorities. The company's artificial intelligence and big data platforms are already offered to government and law enforcement agencies, boasting the power to predict threats and gather intelligence using advanced computer vision, among other feats.

The employees' petition joins a "Never Again" pledge that has now been signed by more than 2,200 tech workers, in which employees of companies including Google and IBM vow to never help Trump build a database of Muslims. The pledge specifically noted IBM's history of collaborating with authoritarian regimes, including how the company's technology helped facilitate the genocide of millions of Jews and others during World War II.

"We have a moral and business imperative to uphold the pillars of a free society by declining any projects which undermine liberty, such as surveillance tools threatening freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, and freedom from unreasonable search and seizure," the IBM employees write in their open letter to the company's CEO. "The kinds of moral decisions you and our senior executives make in the next four years will define our corporate character for our next century. This will be your legacy."

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Business leaders who endorse Donald Trump
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Business leaders who endorse Donald Trump

Steve Forbes, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes 

Photo: Reuters

Peter Thiel, Venture Capitalist, co-founder of PayPal

Photo: Reuters

Kenneth Langone, co-founder of The Home Depot

Photo: Getty

Bernard 'Bernie' Marcus, co-founder and former chairman of Home Depot 

Photo: Getty

Pete Coors, Chairman of MillerCoors

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Linda McMahon, formerly CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment

Photo: Getty

Brian France, Chairman and CEO of NASCAR

Photo: Reuters

Herman Cain, American author and business executive

Photo: Reuters

Carly Fiorina, former CEO of Hewlett-Packard
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The post Dozens Of IBM Employees Protest CEO's Cozy Letter To Trump appeared first on Vocativ.

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