Oracle isn’t a household name. Its product is software and cloud computing, and its customers are other companies—and so, it’s avoided much of the scrutiny heaped on public-facing firms like Facebook, while making its co-founder Larry Ellison the fifth-richest man in the United States. And amid worker backlash across Google, Amazon, Microsoft, and other tech giants, Oracle’s 136,000 employees have remained largely silent.
But tomorrow will see the first public escalation of conflicts between workers and management in the company’s history, when an as-yet-unknown number of disgruntled Oracle staff plan to engage in a work stoppage.
Ellison and Oracle CEO Safra Catz are known supporters of the Trump administration—and Ellison has funneled some of his considerable fortune toward Republican politicians, generally. But for current employees, who have described Oracle as a culturally apolitical workplace, news that Ellison planned to host President Donald Trump for a golf-and-dinner fundraiser at his $42.9 million estate in Rancho Mirage, California, set off a wave of action.
A petition launched last week demanding Ellison cancel the fundraiser has since gathered well over 6,000 signatures. According to Monica McClure, a senior copywriter at Oracle who initiated the petition, Ellison’s political fundraising flies in the face of the company’s stated corporate values and is seen by many employees of divergent views as embarrassing-by-association.
With no response yet from management (to workers or, it seems, members of the press), organizers—now calling themselves Oracle Employees For Ethics—are calling on their colleagues to take several hours away from work on Thursday in protest. “We’re doing this to mitigate the damage done by Ellison’s support of Trump,” McClure wrote to Gizmodo. While she expects some may decide to walk out, a sizable portion of Oracle works remotely, and so tomorrow’s “No Ethics/No Work” action won’t be a typical pick-and-protest affair.
“We’re employees based all around the world and since many of us work remotely, we’re staging a log-off instead of walkout on Thursday, February 20 beginning at noon local time,” the Employees For Ethics site states. “We suggest that in place of work, we spend the time volunteering for a favorite charity, local organization or other efforts resisting the current administration’s policies that you do not agree with.” Examples include the New Sanctuary Coalition, ACLU, Sandy Hook Promise, and the Times Up Legal Defense Fund.
The fundraiser itself—which is drawing protesters to Ellison’s estate, according to the Desert Sun—is scheduled to take place today with no indication of a delay or cancellation. The purpose of this work stoppage, rather than prevent the fundraiser, is for other aims: specifically, to get Ellison to hold a second event to raise money for a charitable cause, and to wrench a statement “denouncing the [Trump] administration’s reckless, divisive political tactics” from the Oracle Board of Directors.