Jesse Jackson gets Silicon Valley to talk diversity

Two dozen companies met at Intel at an event hosted by the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition  to share their strategies of making their largely white, male workforces more diverse.

 

Turns out, identifying and acknowledging the problem may be the easy part.

On Wednesday, at a Silicon Valley summit organized by Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition and hosted by Intel, the conversation was how to change the face of tech companies that for decades have been predominately young white and Asian men.

“This takes time, it is hard,” said Rosalind Hudnell, chief diversity officer at Intel. “We’re trying to drive change in big, complex environments that move fast.”

“There’s nothing we can’t do,” Jackson said in a rousing, 25-minute speech to about 300 people from 25 companies, including Google, Cisco Systems, Pandora and Microsoft.

“There is a talent surplus in this room,” said Jackson, the civil rights icon who recently met with Apple CEO Tim Cook and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, and is scheduled to sit down with Intel CEO Brian Krzanich on Thursday. “We come in today to partner, to two-way trade — not to destroy … but to realize the American dream for all.”

The focus of Wednesday’s half-day summit was to drill down on the problem and come up with solutions. The tech industry is, after all, a solutions-oriented business, Jackson said.

Yolanda Mangolini, Google’s director of global diversity, said widening the pipeline of talent is especially important at the search engine giant, half of whose workforce are engineers.

Van Jones, founder of #YesWeCode, an ambitious project to teach 100,000 low-income youth to code, said the talent is out there: It just needs someone to provide opportunity.

Silicon Valley leaves “too much genius on the table” by not including more diverse ideas and talent, which will translate into better ideas, products and — ultimately — sales. “We just need someone to open the door for the next Mark Zuckerberg or Sheryl Sandberg,” he said.

“There is no urgency to change things” if companies are as successful as Microsoft and others have been, Houston said to boisterous applause. She made her case to then-Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, who took action to diversify the software giant’s executive team and board.

To underscore his company’s commitment to diversity, current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella met with Jackson earlier this month. “(Tech leaders) need a little pushing,” Jackson said Wednesday.

Lisa Lee, diversity program manager at Pandora, speaks at Intel at an event hosted by the Rev. Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition. The Teamsters intend to organize more than just drivers. On December 9, the Teamsters partnered with Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow PUSH organization at a meeting at Intel’s Santa Clara headquarters to “change the face of the technology sector.” The meeting pulled together representatives from Google, Intel, Pandora, and Cisco to discuss the “delayed inclusion of minorities in the tech.”The last labor success in organizing Silicon Valley tech companies was the “Justice for Janitors” campaign in the 1990s against commercial real estate interests waged by the Service Employees International Union. In addition, the United Service Workers West union launched a campaign to organize security guards in the Silicon Valley, but that effort has been about calling for Apple to voluntarily choose a union contractor, rather than non-union workers voting in an NLRB election to become union members.Rainbow Push applauded the shuttle bus drivers’ vote:“They are setting a new platform for working people in Silicon Valley where they can negotiate for better wages, health care and fair working conditions,” Rev. Jackson said in a statement. “These workers are the heart and soul of Silicon Valley–they have dreams for their families and communities, and are standing up for the dignity and respect they so rightfully deserve.”

The Teamsters intend to organize more than just drivers. On December 9, the Teamsters partnered with Rev. Jesse Jackson and his Rainbow PUSH organization at a meeting at Intel’s Santa Clara headquarters to “change the face of the technology sector.” The meeting pulled together representatives from Google, Intel, Pandora, and Cisco to discuss  the “delayed inclusion of minorities in the tech.”The last labor success in organizing Silicon Valley tech companies was the “Justice for Janitors” campaign in the 1990s against commercial real estate interests waged by the Service Employees International Union. In addition, the United Service Workers West union launched a campaign to organize security guards in the Silicon Valley, but that effort has been about calling for Apple to voluntarily choose a union contractor, rather than non-union workers voting in an NLRB election to become union members.Rainbow Push applauded the shuttle bus drivers’ vote:“They are setting a new platform for working people in Silicon Valley where they can negotiate for better wages, health care and fair working conditions,” Rev. Jackson said in a statement. “These workers are the heart and soul of Silicon Valley–they have dreams for their families and communities, and are standing up for the dignity and respect they so rightfully deserve.”

It has been a great ride for liberal Silicon Valley’s leaders to advocate, as liberals, that America should enjoy the innovation and core management practices that come with unions, while doing everything possible to keep unions out of their facilities.

With the Teamsters union having broken through and determined to organize everything in tech, it will be interesting to see if Silicon Valley’s politics change when it is able, finally, to “live Jesse Jackson’s union dream.”

 

 

0 Comments

You can be the first one to leave a comment.

Leave a Comment

 
 




 

Our Sponsors

 
shared on wplocker.com