17:51 PM

Thousands of Oracle Workers Protest Ellison Fundraiser For Trump

Silicon Valley tech workers are feeling more powerful in 2020 following some success in 2019.

More than 7500 Oracle employees signed an online petition criticizing an upcoming Trump fundraising event at founder Larry Ellison's Coachella Valley, Calif., property.

In a letter from a group called Oracle Employees for Ethics addressed to "Dear Oracle Leadership," they write that Ellison's support for President Donald Trump is against the core values the company upholds in ethical conduct, diversity, and inclusiveness:

"[It] not only damages our brand perception and misrepresents the diverse views of our company, but it adversely affects the morale of the individuals and communities who comprise Oracle… we refuse to be complacent and complicit in Larry Ellison's support of such a divisive person."

Protests and walk-outs by Silicon Valley's tech workers have become more common over the past two years and have had success at Google, which shut-down a military AI project and pulled out of competing for a multi-billion dollar JEDI cloud computing contract from the Pentagon.

Microsoft won the JEDI contract, which could be worth as much as $10 billion, but legal action from Amazon has frozen the award. Amazon lawyers claim that Trump's enmity for its founder Jeff Bezos influenced the Pentagon's decision. Oracle has also protested the handling of the JEDI procurement and funded lobbyists critical of Amazon.

Over the past 10 years, the US tech industry has increased its lobbying in Washington DC spending nearly half-a-billion dollars, hoping to win big government contracts and to limit any damaging legislation.

The upcoming Trump fundraiser will provide Ellison with an opportunity to continue Oracle's lobbying efforts to win some of the Pentagon JEDI contract. Tickets are between $100,000 and $250,000 to play golf and get a photo with the President.