Hispanic lawmakers press tech for details on representation in Silicon Valley

Hispanic lawmakers press tech for details on representation in Silicon Valley
© Greg Nash

The Congressional Hispanic Caucus says it wants major Silicon Valley firms to provide detailed statistics on diversity within their companies.

Caucus Chairwoman Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham (D-N.M.) and First Vice Chairman Rep. Joaquin CastroJoaquin CastroHispanic Democrats demand flu vaccines for detained migrants Pelosi faces tough choices on impeachment managers Hillicon Valley: Google to limit political ad targeting | Senators scrutinize self-driving car safety | Trump to 'look at' Apple tariff exemption | Progressive lawmakers call for surveillance reforms | House panel advances telecom bills MORE (D-Texas) requested that 32 technology firms including Amazon, Facebook and Uber provide Hispanic demographic numbers of their staffs, out of concern that the companies are not hiring enough Hispanic employees.

“Unfortunately, in tech and 'gig economy' companies, Hispanics are routinely underrepresented and underfunded,” Lujan Grisham and Castro wrote on Friday in a letter to the companies.

The two asked for detailed numbers of Hispanic representation across the firms, including within each companies’ executive staff and board of directors as well across their public policy, marketing and legal teams.

“As we look to the future, the Hispanic community, as the nation’s largest minority group, is well-positioned to help lead the way as our economy undergoes its most recent transformation,” Lujan Grisham and Castro wrote. “But we cannot do so if we are not given a seat at the table.”

The representatives will use the data provided by the companies to produce a report to judge future progress in Hispanic representation in the tech industry.

Lujan Grisham and Castro also said they look forward to tentatively meeting with each company to discuss the responses to the letter.

The letter will be sent to Airbnb, Amazon.com, Apple, Dropbox, Ebay, Etsy, Expedia, Facebook, GoDaddy, Google, Groupon, Handy, Intel, Lyft, Microsoft, Netflix, Oracle, Pandora, Paypal, Postmates, Reddit, Salesforce, Spotify, TaskRabbit, Tesla, Thumbtack, TripAdvisor, Twitter, Uber, Vmware, Yahoo and Yelp.

Some tech firms have already produced reports detailing racial demographics at their companies. One recent study examining such numbers found that representation among black and Hispanic individuals have decreased.

The caucus’s letter comes one day after members of the Congressional Black Caucus met with Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg to press her on Facebook’s lack of diversity. Lawmakers in the meeting said they questioned Sandberg on the dwindling numbers of black employees across the social media company, particularly among its senior executives and board members.

Sandberg told the Congressional Black Caucus that Facebook is committing to bringing on a black director to its board within “the foreseeable future.”  

Members of the caucus’s Diversity Task Force also announced on Thursday that they will travel to Silicon Valley to meet with tech firms and push for increased minority representation at their companies.