On Monday, the Congressional Black Caucus sent members to Silicon Valley to bully high-tech companies into hiring more blacks as part of their Tech 2020 Initiative.
According to KQED, North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield, chair of the caucus, intoned, “Their Equal Opportunity Employment reports are embarrassing. It should be embarrassing to all of them. They have acknowledged they have shortcomings and want to partner with us to improve the results. But all of them have a long way to go with diversity.”
Butterfield joined Rep. Barbara Lee and New York Rep. Hakeem Jeffries at various companies, including Apple, Google, Intel and SAP; on Tuesday they visited Pandora. On their tour, they spoke with Apple’s CEO Tim Cook and Intel’s CEO Brian Krzanich.
Apple acknowledged in 2014 that its employee base was 55% white, 15% Asian, 11% Latino and 7% percent black, prompting Cook to moan, “As CEO, I’m not satisfied with the numbers on this page.” KQED reported that 2% of Google Employees are black.
Jeffries threatened, “Many of these companies have issues before the Congress of the United States, and the relationship needs to be one of partnerships. We’re open to hearing the issues that they need to get resolved in order to put their businesses in the best possible position to be successful, but we want to make sure that everyone in this country has the opportunity to robustly pursue the American Dream.” Butterfield argued that the high-tech companies also function as federal contractors, adding, “And as such they have a responsibility first of all to be accountable to the federal government and also to be diverse in their workforce. We’re going to continue to challenge these companies until they get parity.”
Lee had already claimed the companies were federal contractors in May, stating, “Many of these companies are federal contractors, first of all, and they have an obligation to be inclusive. We want to see [diversity] plans from each company, and see how they’re going to invest.”
Google, Apple and Intel issued the necessary statements to appease the caucus; Yolanda Mangolini, Google’s director of diversity and inclusion, asserted, “We look forward to continuing conversations we’ve had in Washington with the Congressional Black Caucus and we welcome their visit. We share their commitment to enhancing the diversity of our organization and the tech industry more broadly.”
An Apple spokeswoman wrote, “We believe diversity is critical to making the best products in the world. It’s the reason we’re focused on changing the pipeline for the future workforce with programs like ConnectEd and also working to find the most diverse talent with programs like National Center for Women & Information technology and Thurgood Marshall College Fund. We look forward to continuing our work with the Congressional Black Caucus towards our shared goal of equal access to opportunities in technology.”
Intel spokeswoman Lisa Malloy:
Intel executives, including CEO Brian Krzanich, were honored to host members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) at our headquarters in Santa Clara for a candid discussion about diversity in tech, a tour and an Internet of Things technology demonstration. … We continue to roll our programs that build on Intel’s Dibersity in Technology Initiative. Last month, Intel announced the $125 million Intel Capital Diversity Fund, investing in technology startups run by women and underrepresented minorities.
Intel is planning to spend $5 million over the next five years to heighten cooperation with the Georgia Institute of Technology and attempt to urge women and underrepresented minorities to complete computer science and engineering degrees. Intel’s Krzanich said in January that he wanted his company to feature full representation of women and underrepresented minorities by 2020.