A keynote address by Cisco Systems Chairman and CEO John Chambers at the company's annual Cisco Live customer conference was briefly disrupted by a protest yesterday.
The packed session was targeted by demonstrators wearing T-shirts from Service Employees International Union Local 1877.
They shouted slogans as Chambers took the stage, but quickly were escorted out of the meeting room at the Moscone Convention Centre.
The union was protesting what they said have been 75 layoffs of janitors at Cisco's San Jose headquarters. The union says the janitors were laid off by a contractor hired by Cisco, and is calling on Cisco to tell the company to reinstate the workers.
Responding from the stage, Chambers said, "You may not agree with everything I say, but the one thing you will find is that Cisco is proud of what we do in business, what we do in our customers, how we treat people -- whether it's our 13,000 vendors, our 4,600 contractors, or how we are (one of) the top 10 places to work in every part of the world."
In a statement about the protest, Cisco said it has rapidly reduced its cost structure as a result of the recession. "We respect and support the rights of our vendors' employees to fair treatment and to voice their concerns," the statement said.
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