Feb 6, 2017 - Politics & Policy

Tech workers gear up for anti-Trump rallies

AP File

More than 1,200 tech employees from around the Bay Area have pledged to walk off their jobs at noon on Tuesday, March 14 (Pi day, for fellow nerds out there) to attend a rally at Palo Alto City Hall. Another 8,300 people have expressed interest in the so-called "Tech Stands Up" movement via a Facebook page.

Similar rallies are now being organized in Los Angeles and Austin, where the big tech conference SXSW will be in full force on March 14. Tech workers from Denver and New York have also reached out to the Tech Stands Up organizers to expand the effort. So far, employees from Facebook, Apple, Tesla, Microsoft and Google are among those participating.

Who's behind it: Brad Taylor, a 37-year-old software engineer for San Francisco-based startup Optimizely created Tech Stands Up out of frustration after tech leaders' timid responses to Trump's travel ban. "I was sick of the silence," he told Axios, adding that a large number of his engineering friends who work at flagship tech companies were upset by their boss' reactions. Last week, the morning before Trump signed the executive order, he fired off an angry email to a group of friends. It caught fire after that, reflecting what he thinks is a unified frustration seeping through the rank-and-file of the tech industry.

Why it matters: Tech CEOs are feeling intense pressure from their employees to use their positions of influence to to speak about against Trump administration policies that clash with Silicon Valley ideals. Over the past week, multiple CEOs have sharply criticized Trump's immigration policy, and last night dozens of tech companies filed a legal brief opposing the travel ban, saying it inflicts "substantial harm on U.S. companies." Taylor said he thinks the "tide has started to turn" as the industry becomes more vocal.

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