Coffee company rejects $40K Salesforce contract, citing tech firm’s ties to Trump border policy
A San Francisco coffee company turned down a $40,000 contract to serve drinks at a Salesforce conference because of the tech company’s financial ties to U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP).
Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters was offered a contract to provide coffee at Dreamforce, an annual conference hosted by Salesforce, The San Francisco Chronicle reported Thursday.
Coffee company owners Nick Cho and Trish Rothgeb were in advance contract negotiations to provide coffee for the September conference when news broke last month that an advocacy group for immigrants turned down a $250,000 donation from Salesforce because of the firm’s ties to CBP.
Salesforce, a cloud computing company, announced in March that it was helping CBP “modernize its recruiting process” and “manage border activities.”
Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) said that while Salesforce was not directly contributing to the separation of migrant families under President Trump’s zero tolerance policy, the company is nonetheless supporting CBP’s ability to implement the policy.
Hundreds of Salesforce employees have also been putting pressure on their employer to sever ties with CBP.
“Are we going to, as a lot of people do, turn a blind eye and say the world is dirty, nobody’s perfect, or is this a situation where we reject a $40,000 opportunity and make a statement?” Cho said.
Last year, about 161,000 people registered for the conference, according to Salesforce.
The owners of Wrecking Ball Coffee both have personal connections to U.S. immigration — Cho immigrated to the country from China as a toddler and Rothgeb’s father immigrated from the Philippines, the Chronicle reported.
“Business is going to have to be the resistance we want to see,” Rothgeb said. “That’s the truth. You can’t get anything done unless business is going to take a stand.”
Cho and Rothgeb told Salesforce they would serve coffee at the conference if the company withdraws from the CBP deal. Otherwise the deal is off, according to the newspaper.
“It’s a pretty big deal and it’s scary and it feels right,” Cho said.