Black lawmakers want Labor to push tech on diversity

Black lawmakers want Labor to push tech on diversity

Members of the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) are calling on the Department of Labor to push tech companies on issues related to diversity.

In a Wednesday letter to Secretary of Labor Tom Perez, led by Rep. Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) and Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-N.Y.), the lawmakers said the agency should make tech companies with sizable government contracts write affirmative action plans.

An element of federal regulations requires contractors not to discriminate in employment practices and to produce “a written affirmative action program for each of its establishments.”

"African Americans are not afforded the same opportunities to compete as their White counterparts in the technology sector,” said the lawmakers. “This leads us to believe that the vast majority of technology companies holding government contracts art in violation of Title 41 of the Code of Federal Regulations, a violation that should be addressed with the utmost urgency."

The letter was signed by several other members of the Congressional Black Caucus, including Chairman G.K. ButterfieldGeorge (G.K.) Kenneth ButterfieldOn The Money: Harley-Davidson decision raises trade tensions with Trump | Senate panel to take up tariff legislation | CBO projects grim budget outlook under Trump | White House objects to measure on reinstating ZTE ban Dem lawmakers seek distance from Waters call for confrontation 'Diamond & Silk' offer chance for bipartisan push back on social media censorship MORE (D-N.C.) and Rep. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.).

The CBC has spent the last year working on addressing the anemic diversity numbers of Silicon Valley.

Only 8 percent of the employees at Apple are black, according to internal data. And that’s actually high compared to some tech giants: Black employees comprise only 2 percent of Google’s workforce and Facebook’s United States workers.

The caucus’s efforts have been noticed by some in Silicon Valley. TaskRabbit became the first company last month to sign on to the CBC’s work, agreeing to adopt a plan to hire more African-Americans.