Outten & Golden: Empowering Employees in the Workplace

Posts Tagged ‘race’

Lyft releases its first-ever diversity report

Friday, June 2nd, 2017

Lyft has produced its first-ever diversity report, months after its chief competitor Uber released its own data about the make-up of its staff.

While its numbers ring similar to other tech companies—which are predominantly white and male?—?Lyft does have more female employees than Uber. Overall, 42 percent of Lyft’s employees identify as women, compared to Uber’s 36 percent.

Lyft, however, is more white than Uber with 63 percent white employees opposed to Uber’s 49 percent. Uber bested Lyft by having a better representation of Asian, black, and Latinx employees overall, with 30 percent, 8 percent, and 5 percent respectively?—?compared to 19 percent, 6 percent, and 7 percent for Lyft.

All of those numbers shrink considerably for tech and leadership roles. At Lyft, only 18 percent and 13 percent of its tech staff and leadership respectively are women. There are no black people in tech leadership roles while Latinx leaders make up just 4 percent. Thirty-four percent of tech leaders at Lyft are Asian while the remainder, 59 percent, are white.

In a blog post releasing the inaugural report, Lyft said releasing diversity data will help keep the company accountable.

[W]e have a lot of work to do. Releasing our data will hold us accountable, but it’s the actions we take that will make a difference to the people who come to work every day at Lyft. Our diversity data exposes gaps in important areas. So we’re doing something about it.

The diversity report comes on the heels of Uber’s, which released its numbers following a massive sexual harassment scandal earlier this year. Lyft hasn’t had such a scandal but its numbers, which can be improved all around, suggest that it’s doing much better on gender representation than race and ethnicity.

Tech companies in general, however, have struggled to improve their diversity numbers in spite of releasing transparency reports. For example, Apple has previously called improving diversity “unduly burdensome” and recently shot down a proposal to diversify its all-white board led by CEO Tim Cook. Even Google, which started the diversity report trend in 2014, hasn’t been able to solve its race and gender diversity?—?and retention?—?problems.

Along with the its diversity report, Lyft mentioned its hiring of Tariq Meyers, formerly the company’s community organizer, in 2016 to lead its diversity and inclusion efforts as well as its partnership with the diversity strategy firm Paradigm.

“We’re investing in more programs and taking stronger actions,” the company wrote. “Being a culture of inclusion requires continuous, purposeful work. And it’s work that we must do. Because Lyft is for everyone: no matter who are you, where you come from, or which seat you’re sitting in.”

This article was originally published at ThinkProgress on June 1, 2017. Reprinted with permission.

About the Author: Lauren Williams is a tech reporter at ThinkProgress.

Black Workers 19% More Likely to Be in Unions

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Arlene Holt Baker“The labor movement was the principal force that transformed misery and despair into hope and progress.”

The Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. said that in 1965, and African Americans still hear his quote ring.

A new report, Blacks in Unions: 2012, by the University of California, Berkeley, Center for Labor Research and Education, finds that black workers are 19% more likely to be in unions than non-black workers. In the nation’s 10 largest metropolitan areas, African Americans are 42% more likely than non-blacks to be in unions.

There’s a pretty good reason for this. Unions make a difference in the lives of black workers—in cold, hard cash terms, it amounts to $185 a week in median weekly earnings, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Overall, union members also are more likely than nonunion workers to have health care coverage from their employers and good pensions.

But I believe Dr. King spoke of more than dollars and cents. I think that as he said those words to the Illinois AFL-CIO 48 years ago, he referred to the doors unions opened to the middle class for generations of African Americans and other workers otherwise shut out. I think he had in mind the dignity that comes with having a voice on the job—a say in how to make a job and a life better. And he also honored the union movement’s long advocacy for civil and human rights and economic and social justice.

Davon Lomax, 25, a member of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT) District Council 9 in Queens, N.Y., tells it this way:

Everyone knows the benefits of being in a union, no matter which one it is. I think blacks are more likely to join a union because they see the direct correlation with a decent living and a path where their kids can do better than them. Given the fact that blacks historically have had hard times locking down decent and fair paying jobs, joining a union is putting yourself in a fair playing field. A place where you won’t have to worry if someone is getting paid more, or getting better benefits, everyone is one and everyone is family.

There is no discrimination, and it is also a place where if you work hard, you can look yourself in the mirror and be proud of yourself and your union.

 

Dr. Steven Pitts, researcher and writer of the report and labor policy specialist at the UC Berkeley Labor Center, says the unemployment crisis facing the black community is regularly discussed; however, less talked about is the crisis of low-wage work, and the center wanted to use this research to highlight a solution to this issue: unions.

“[The black jobs crisis] is not just an individual problem, it’s a structural problem that can be solved by organizing,” says Pitts. “Unionization is a strategy to address the jobs crisis.”

As the AFL-CIO looks for new ways to tackle the future of the labor movement, Pitts says black unionists are an underutilized resource given the high rates of union density for African Americans. Pitts points to the lessons from the Chicago Teachers Union strike. Because the teachers had good relationships with the black community and parents, they “staved off divisions between unions and members of the community to improve the quality of life.”

“If we’re trying to look for new pathways forward, black unionists are key.”

This article was originally posted on the AFL-CIO on April 24, 2013. Reprinted with Permission.

About the Author: Arlene Holt Baker has experience as a union and grassroots organizer that spans more than 30 years. On Sept. 21, 2007, she was approved unanimously as executive vice president by the AFL-CIO Executive Council, becoming the first African American to be elected to one of the federation’s three highest offices and the highest-ranking African American woman in the union movement. In this position, Holt Baker builds on her legacy of inspiring activism and reaching out to diverse communities to support the needs and aspirations of working people.

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