Haiti And Worker Protests Disrupt Salesforce Dreamforce

Protesters upset about Haiti, Walmart and pay at San Francisco’s AT&T stadium make for mini Dreamforce nightmares

Three different protests took place around the Salesforce Dreamforce 2013 conference today, disrupting the apparent serenity of the hyper-positive event.

One was an anti-Haiti regime demonstration, which hit Dreamforce thanks to the visit of the country’s prime minister Laurent Lamothe, a Salesforce customer.

When Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff spoke with Lamothe, talking about how the technology had helped with the recovery from the devastating 2010 Haiti earthquake, this week’s violent protests in the troubled nation were not mentioned. The government has been accused of corruption.

Dreamforce protest 1Protests at Dreamforce

Another protest took place during the “fireside chat” between Benioff and Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer. It appeared the protesters had bypassed security around the Moscone Center in San Francisco, chanting about Mayer’s position on the board of Walmart.

Demonstrators across America have been critical of the way in which the retail giant has treated its workers. The company has been accused of illegally firing and disciplining employees, and is now facing legal action.

Benioff made light of the protest, which had brought a brief halt to proceedings. “If you want to do a protest, you can do it outside, number one. Number two, it would be better to split up,” he said, to applause and laughter. “If I was to do it, that’s the way I would execute it.”

Yet another protest took place early Tuesday morning, the first day of Dreamforce, focusing on worker pay at the AT&T stadium where the cloud company was to later hold a Greenday concert.

The UNITE HERE Local 2 union, representing hospitality workers, has claimed the employer at AT&T Park, Centerplate, was “trying to turn our good jobs into bad ones”.

“That’s why the 750 Centerplate food service workers have called a boycott of concessions and catering at AT&T Park until we achieve a fair contract,” a flyer handed to TechWeekEurope read.

“Salesforce is a San Francisco company and San Francisco is a union town. We’re calling on Salesforce to be a better neighbour and respect our boycott.”

Salesforce held its big event anyway at the baseball stadium this evening, with Blondie playing live as well.

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