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IBM staff petition for right not to work on Trump's pet projects

Not a hope in hell.

When I pointed out that doing business with a company owned by a middle eastern government with thoroughly incompatible attitudes to diversity was contrary to our values, I was given a written warning.

Good luck IBMers - but I can't imagine a world in which IBM would agree to any one of those demands.

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Companies in the quest for profit have no ethics.

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Perhaps this is astroturfing in anticipation of Trump's promised crackdown on illegal H1 labor.

These people are hopelessly cucked if it is somehow an honest letter.

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I should think next year's PBC process will contain some new criteria with some fluffy biz speak which traps employees into supporting such govt projects, and if staff don't demonstrate they have been doing it, well, that's a grade 3, and well done, you make the shortlist for the next skills rebalancing exercise.

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Companies in the quest for profit have no ethics.

Not really the case. It's more accurate to say that many companies put profit above ethics.

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Anonymous Coward

Well, not quite true. A company is not a physical being and ethics applies to interactions between human beings so in the case of the company as a whole, the statement is malformed.

However, the individuals working for the company to have a choice of acting ethically or not. It is up to you to leave the company if you do not agree on the policy or type of work. It is also up to the company to decide to let you go if you refuse to perform the work they assigned to you.

It is very, very simple, yet, humans crave complexity.

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Facepalm

Re: Codysydney

".....I was given a written warning...." Their tantrums are just making easier for Romnety's to identify who goes on her next downsizing list.

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Devil

Companies in the quest for profit have no ethics.

I had a business mentor once tell me that any large company can be profiled as a sociopath.

“Prohibit perceived influence-peddling of elected officials by restricting IBM and its employees from using any Trump owned or Trump branded properties for business purposes...”

Wait, is IBM a company that allows employees on business travel to stay in ultra-luxurious hotels?

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Mushroom

We call on IBM to demonstrate commitment to our Business Conduct Guidelines and to prevent perceived influence peddling through Trump affiliated businesses.

But influence peddling through other businesses is O.K.?

Once you get out in the real world of government contracts, whether it's a new fighter jet or toys for children, you quickly discover government contracts are all about influence peddling. Every politician sourcing government contracts has an affiliated business.

There's also a call to “Respect our right to refuse participation in any U.S. contracts that violate constitutional and civil liberties”

Isn't that part of the vetting process by the government before a contract is solicited?

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Citizens United

Pretty much says, along with former presidential candidate Romney, that a company is a person. Designed specifically so that companies could donate to candidates. So why wouldn't ethics apply? I mean I know they won't, but if it weren't for the voracity of shareholders, it might not.

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Unhappy

Ginni don't care

When "shareholder value" becomes the management's religion, it tends to trump (pun very much intended) company ethics. That's actually the main difference between TJ Watson Jr's IBM and Ginni's IBM.

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Re: Citizens United

A "corporation" is the correct term. Corporate personality is what protects our right to form trades unions and charities, not just to form businesses.

It's a consequence of free association: Not only can I campaign in person and lobby the government in person, I can club together with like-minded people, and hire someone to do it for me. Not only can I say what I like (short of libel), I can club together with like minded people and make a film about it that says it better than I could.

The rule that allows people to club together to make a documentary critical of Hillary Clinton, is the same rule which allows Greenpeace to lobby the government, and the same rule which allows trades unions to donate to political campaigns, and the same rule that protects charities and businesses from having their property arbitrarily confiscated.

"Corporate personality encompasses the capacity of a corporation to have a name of its own, to sue and be sued, and to have the right to purchase, sell, lease, and mortgage its property in its own name. In addition, property cannot be taken away from a corporation without Due Process of Law."

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Luxury?

"Wait, is IBM a company that allows employees on business travel to stay in ultra-luxurious hotels?"

I got to stay in a variety of Travel Lodges during my tenure at IBM. More expensive hotels were on the approved list, but in my early years, the company supplied plastic was 'Diners Club'. OK, the upside was I felt like James Bond with that in my wallet, the downside was it was a charge card,... and had to be repaid at the end of the month. Expense payments weren't that quick, so the one time I was offered a £200 a night hotel for the duration of a two week course I had to decline, I simply couldn't afford to pay £2k of my own money until my expenses cleared. I ended up using my personal credit card and flopping out at Travel Lodge instead.

In a case of not quite joined up thinking, not all of the hotels on the approved list accepted Diners Club, and then Diners Club was replaced with American Express, so again not accepted universally.

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First thought

"IBM staff petition for right not to work on Trump's pet projects"

They want the projects to succeed. ☺

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Mushroom

Re: First thought

Oh FFS!

Get over it.

Those signing the petition are clearly telling HR that they want to be part of the next resource action.

Grow a pair. Trump is the next POTUS and it probably no more evil than any other POTUS. Definitely less slimy that Bill Clinton and less likely to break laws with EOs than Obama and probably smurter than Bush 2.

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Re: First thought

You got the wrong end of the stick there.

IBM has a habit of going over budget and under delivering on government contracts. (see Australian census for latest SNAFU)

That's what I was poking fun at.

Hillary? Trump? Overall, I don't see one as better or worse than the other. Just different flavors of fail.

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And the cycle of stupid continues

This is wrong on so many levels it is hard to believe that organisms with actual brain cells thought of it.

They actually mention the constitution in the petition before proposing that they get to be the arbiters of the constitution thus rendering the whole thing fairly dead, they propose that IBM should take on the role of enforcing anti-corruption laws and then make up a completely new law ("perceived" influence peddling - I suppose it's just too much bother to actually prove anything).

Its morons like these with their massive sense of entitlement and conviction that (despite all the evidence of the past couple of decades) they know whats best that have given rise to Brexit and Trump. And now they are going to have tantrums and scream until they get their toys back. I thought that Brexit and Trump were a bad omen for the future of liberal democracy but these guys are just proving Trump's claims that it was never about liberal or democratic values - just a power elite complacent in their own smugness.

I think I need to go and lie down in a dark room for a while.

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Re: And the cycle of stupid continues

They actually mention the constitution in the petition before proposing that they get to be the arbiters of the constitution thus rendering the whole thing fairly dead

Isn't everyone supposed to abide by the constitution on general principles, rather than ignore it for years until one or more courts have had their say?

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Re: And the cycle of stupid continues

These are the morons that eventually leave, after dragging down morale inside the company, go elsewhere and drag down morale there too, then write stupid comments on Facebook about how awful IBM is (which it isn't).

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European Standard

Given European data protection laws, which are premised basically on the notion that computer files on individuals are presumed, unless proven otherwise, to be intended for helping the Gestapo round up victims for the concentration camps, the rationale behind this petition would seem to be almost a no-brainer from that perspective.

Americans, however, tend to be inculcated with the value that obeying the law comes first; the political institutions of the United States have had a continuous history dating back before the end of Negro slavery, and, thus, the basic principle that people can't be convicted under retroactive laws has prevented people who committed crimes against humanity during the period of segregation from facing prosecution in the same way as many Nazis did at Nuremberg.

And after 9/11, it would not surprise me if many Americans feel that while in hindsight rounding up the Japanese into internment camps after Pearl Harbor turned out to be unnecessary, this time something similar would only be a simple and rational precaution that only an excessive irrational emphasis on equality is preventing.

After all, real people, innocent people, died in the Beltway sniper attacks, at Fort Hood, in the Boston Marathon bombings, in San Bernardino... and that could have been prevented if this was done. What's a little inconvenience compared to actually saving lives?

Of course, the war with Japan was over in a few years; it is not clear to me when Muslim Americans would actually be considered safe to release from the internment camps, and so even if one didn't find such a thing diametrically opposed to American democratic values it would still be obviously wrong to people of a wider range of political views. But it's not surprising to me that at least initially, before reflection sets in, the notion is not without appeal to a segment of American society large enough for that to be distressing to many.

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"IBMers' core values of diversity, inclusiveness, and ethical business conduct."

Hollow laughter, WW2, Godwin's law, end of thread.

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Re: "IBMers' core values of diversity, inclusiveness, and ethical business conduct."

Perhaps, like Germany, they have learnt their lessons from the past, and wish not to make the same mistakes in the future?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: "IBMers' core values of diversity, inclusiveness, and ethical business conduct."

Not judging by their repeated treatment of staff, customers, and well... everyone.

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Pirate

A principle is not a principle until it has cost you money.

Until then, it is just an opinion, and everyone's got a bunch of those.

If you don't want to work on a project your employer puts you on, ask for a transfer. If they refuse, resign. It's not a complicated proposition.

GJC

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Re: A principle is not a principle until it has cost you money.

I agree. I am thinking of starting a petition saying that anyone who refuses to work on such a project be fired and replaced by someone who values working for a company this is willing to pay them.

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Merit doesn't care about "diversity and inclusiveness"

They are contradicting themselves. The assertion "I will hire on merit only" implies I wouldn't care about race and gender. But also implies I would not hire someone green over a blue one even if the blue one deserves it on merit, just because I hired already too many blue people, and my workforce is not enough "diverse".

Maybe I can asses there's an issue among greens, and promote education so they can have equal opportunities - but still judge everyone on merit only.

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Re: Merit doesn't care about "diversity and inclusiveness"

Currently we have the opposite problem, though -- it's been repeatedly shown that interviewers will pass up black candidates in favor of white ones, women in favor of men, etc. in spite of identical qualifications. The status quo is not hiring "on merit", it's hiring based on the unspoken assumption that a white man should get bonus points in the decision-making process. I would welcome *actual* merit-based decisions.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Merit doesn't care about "diversity and inclusiveness"

Actually, no, you don't have the "opposite problem". You just think you do because that is what "they" have been telling you.

Any business owner or manager wants to hire the best person for the job, regardless of sex or color of skin. They want to hire the best for the money because that is what makes THEM the most money. In the end it is the money, the maximizing of their bonuses or stockholder value, that they care about.

As for biases being "repeatedly shown" -- what has been shown is that interviewers give "bonus points" to people most like themselves, so black interviewers will give bonus points to black candidates, women interviewers will give bonus points to women candidates, etc. Interviews aren't so much about qualifications, they are about how well you will fit with the team. By the time you get to the interview stage qualification checks are usually a done deal, and in any technical job the interviewer usually isn't qualified to judge those qualifications anyway. That is why when you interview you find out ahead of time as much as you can about the company, dress codes, etc. and dress and act accordingly - because if you can be more "like them" then you will get those bonus points regardless of sex or color.

Also, just because someone has better qualifications doesn't mean that they will get the job. If someone has ADEQUATE qualifications and will work for less, then that person is often more likely to get the position.

Either way, MERIT and DIVERSITY are usually mutually exclusive, because one is color-blind and the other places value on skin color (or sex, or sexual orientation, religion, or whatever else is decided by the PC crowd this month to be "lacking" in their utopian formula)

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Re: Merit doesn't care about "diversity and inclusiveness"

"...what has been shown is that interviewers give "bonus points" to people most like themselves..."

Actually you don't even have to go as far as the interview to run into racial discrimination. When identical resumes are submitted using "white sounding" and "black sounding" names, the former are much more likely to get callbacks.

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Re: Merit doesn't care about "diversity and inclusiveness"

"Any business owner or manager wants to hire the best person for the job, regardless of sex or color of skin."

Historically untrue, and you'd have to be living under a rock to to make this patently false claim.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Merit doesn't care about "diversity and inclusiveness"

We're talking a mostly US problem though eh?

So really... who cares.

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Re: Merit doesn't care about "diversity and inclusiveness"

"Any business owner or manager wants to hire the best person for the job, regardless of sex or color of skin."

Maybe, but the actual experimental evidence is that they don't do that; in fact they don't even call people with "black" names for interview. The bias may be unintentional, it may even be strongly denied, but since it's also unconscious, it happens. You suffer from it, I suffer from it, because it's very deeply embedded in most humans.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Merit doesn't care about "diversity and inclusiveness"

Actually, I just had an experience that affirms the invisibility of biases. I work for a theater company, and we just did an open, blind submission for new plays. I controlled the process; the Artistic Directors didn't know who'd written the plays. The ADs (three white, middle-aged men) all genuinely believe that they choose plays based on merit alone. Turns out, maybe not so much.

After the winners were chosen, the ADs looked at the rest of the submitters. Several of their friends and our past playwrights submitted plays, and those plays didn't even make the top ten. Most didn't make the top 50. The ADs were shocked, and then they thanked me for keeping the submission process blind because they admitted that they would have been influenced by knowing the writer, but very, very unconsciously.

My point is that, we often cannot see the bias in ourselves. We think we're judging on merit, but we aren't. And that is real reason we still need affirmative action. It's got nothing to do with reparations. It's because escaping our ingrained biases is very difficult, and sometimes we have to be forced to do it, in part because we may be missing the better candidates simply because of bias.

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I'm sure a 'best shore' friend would do the work instead!

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Anonymous Coward

Working with the elected leader

IBM didn't have any issue working with the elected leader in 1930s Germany either.

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Re: Working with the elected leader

> working with the elected leader in 1930s Germany

I think you'll find that was a slippery-slope issue. Supplying card sorting equipment to the German government probably felt fine before 1933, just a little bit dubious until 1938, maybe questionable in 1939... but until the end of 1941 the USA was neutral... and knowledge of the Final Solution was very sketchy until 1944.

Not trying to excuse them, but neither was there ever a moment of deciding to help evil.

Anyway - it looks like the employees want to do better this time.

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Re: Working with the elected leader

If that was a slippery slope, they slid ALL THE WAY to the bottom. When you're sending field service staff onsite to concentration camps to maintain the machines used to track the people who are intended targets of genocide, I don't know if there's any excuse possible.

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Rometty is a shill.

She has no interest in the "values" of the workforce or statements on corporate morality that were penned over 50 years ago. Just like all the rest she will pucker up and take what she can get.

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Anonymous Coward

Suck it up

Your chosen candidate failed to win the election? Tough, suck it up - that's what a democracy is about.

You don't want your employer to do business with someone you don't like? Find a new employer or suck it up.

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FAIL

Re: Suck it up

Your statements tend towards mutual exclusivity:

i. accept it

ii. leave it

Poor work. Must try harder.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Suck it up

The fail belongs to you - accept it OR leave. Muppet.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Suck it up

>Your chosen candidate failed to win the election? Tough, suck it up - that's what a democracy is about.

Are you sure? So why do we bother having an opposition in parliament? Why do lawmakers bother with debates? Why not just give all power to the guy who won, whether it was fairly or not and give him free reign to do what he wants?

You clearly don't know what democracy is about, or more likely, your guy won.

In a democracy, people have the right to bitch about stuff. A lot of people have been bitching about stuff for years. Trump noticed, created a bandwagon, got all of them to jump aboard and got himself a position where he might be able to represent those people.

A lot of people don't like this. They don't think he will represent them and don't really think he'll represent those desperate people who believed his rhetoric.

The difference between him and previous presidents is during his campaign he openly stated that he intended to persecute people.

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Pint

Re: Suck it up

@ AC#xx?

"The difference between him and previous presidents is during his campaign he openly stated that he intended to persecute people."

Go far enough back and there are other presidents that openly stated they would persecute *someone*. DJT is a *salesman*. you were closer with "Trump noticed, created a bandwagon, got all of them to jump aboard"

As for the IBM folks. Ginny gives not one s&&t what the worker bees think of politics and legality. Her sole objective is to meet that 20% increase in stock value. She'll sleep with DJT on MSNBC in primetime if she thinks it will get the job done.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: You clearly don't know what democracy is about

Considering that the United States is a Constitutional Republic, established as a Federal system, and is not nor has ever been a Democracy, I'm not sure that you know either..... but then, if you get your information from the American press corps your misunderstanding is forgivable.

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Re: Suck it up

I must add that in a democracy, elections are won by the majority of all the people. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes. With the help of Putin's and the FBI's disinformation campaign, Trump won the electoral college with a margin of less than 100,000 votes. The U.S. is not a democracy; it is a republic, and a very corrupt one at that.

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Re: Suck it up

It is a democracy by this simple definition:

"According to political scientist Larry Diamond, democracy consists of four key elements: (a) A political system for choosing and replacing the government through free and fair elections; (b) The active participation of the people, as citizens, in politics and civic life; (c) Protection of the human rights of all citizens, and (d) A rule of law, in which the laws and procedures apply equally to all citizens."

[source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy]

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Devil

Google at least used to talk about "Don't be evil", before they succumbed

But IBM on the other hand has seen a buck that they weren't willing to wipe the blood off of before pocketing it. Nazis, Middle Eastern theocracies, third-world kleptrocracies, monopolistic behavior, Stalinist and Maoist regimes...IBM loves it all

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google at least used to talk about "Don't be evil", before they succumbed

You'd also have to add the US Government to that list, their hands aren't exactly blood free either.

So, cross those off the list and is there anyone left for them to do busines with?

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The guy us still a month from inauguration, all our IBM colleagues have to go on is Democrat Campaign rhetoric, and they are SURE the guy will insist on racism and all forms of discrimination.

IBM's management may want to make sure there is no discrimination in their workplace based on political party. I'm certain the great Thomas Watson would not have been in favor of that form of pre-judging either.

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"...all our IBM colleagues have to go on is Democrat Campaign rhetoric..."

Actually Trump's own rhetoric is plenty. Particularly relevant is his suggestion we register and track Muslims. Last time IBM participated in a project like that it turned into something of a PR disaster, to say the least.

He's also pledged to sign FADA, which promises to override state laws protecting LGBT people from discrimination. And he's appointed mostly anti-LGBT people to his cabinet. Why people keep insisting to me that he's pro-LGBT is beyond me.

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