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250 Microsoft Employees Urge CEO To End Police Contracts

3 min read
More than 250 Microsoft employees on Tuesday asked CEO Satya Nadella to end the company’s contracts with the Seattle Police Department, as employees from major tech companies urge company leadership to take more concrete measures to support Black Lives Matter.

More than 250 Microsoft employees on Tuesday asked CEO Satya Nadella to end the company’s contracts with the Seattle Police Department, as employees from major tech companies urge company leadership to take more concrete measures to support Black Lives Matter.

In an email obtained by technology publication OneZero, more than 250 Microsoft employees—which represent a small portion of the company’s overall 151,000-person workforce—asked Nadella and Vice President of Corporate Strategy Kurt DelBene to formally end all contracts with the Seattle Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.

It is unclear what technology Microsoft provides to the Seattle Police Department and a spokesperson for the company did not immediately respond to questions from Forbes asking for details.

The authors say that many of them have witnessed or been subject to violence from police officers while protesting, and asked Nadella to publicly condemn the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bangs on peaceful protesters and support defunding the SPD.

Other demands in the email include: enacting a four-day work week, advising managers to expect 50% reduced productivity, increasing donation matching to racial justice organizations and signing a petition calling for Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s resignation.

In an email obtained by technology publication OneZero, more than 250 Microsoft employees—which represent a small portion of the company’s overall 151,000-person workforce—asked Nadella and Vice President of Corporate Strategy Kurt DelBene to formally end all contracts with the Seattle Police Department and other law enforcement agencies.

It is unclear what technology Microsoft provides to the Seattle Police Department and a spokesperson for the company did not immediately respond to questions from Forbes asking for details.

The authors say that many of them have witnessed or been subject to violence from police officers while protesting, and asked Nadella to publicly condemn the use of tear gas, rubber bullets and flash bangs on peaceful protesters and support defunding the SPD.

Other demands in the email include: enacting a four-day work week, advising managers to expect 50% reduced productivity, increasing donation matching to racial justice organizations and signing a petition calling for Seattle Mayor Jenny Durkan’s resignation.

Though more than 250 employees indicated they wanted to be cc’d on the email in a show of solidarity, the email says each employee may not endorse all the demands.

In a statement, Nadella acknowledged he’s heard employee calls for action and agreed the company needs to use its products to “intentionally to address systemic inequities,” but did not agree to any of the demands.

A spokesperson also pointed to the company’s Criminal Justice Reform Initiative and a blog post last week where Nadella said the company has expanded its recruitment efforts at Historically Black Colleges.

CRUCIAL QUOTE
“We need awareness and empathy across every level of management asap so that the burden of educating our coworkers doesn’t fall on those of us in the middle of a public safety and mental health crisis,” the email says.

KEY BACKGROUND
Activists and employees at large tech companies have become vocal about what they see as a disconnect between public statements in support of Black Lives Matter and how the company operates. At Amazon, activists lambasted the company for selling facial recognition to police departments while employees at Facebook are speaking out about the company’s decision to leave up President Donald Trump’s “when the looting starts, the shooting starts” post.

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