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Jackson meets with Cook on diversity in the tech industry
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NewsPoster
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Dec 9, 2014, 08:53 PM
 
On Monday, Apple CEO Tim Cook had a meeting with civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson on what is described as a range of topics, including Apple's efforts to create more diversity both in its own workforce as well as generally throughout the tech industry. USA Today reports the talks as having been "productive," with Jackson praising Cook by saying that he was "impressed with [Cook] and the conversation ... he has a real vision for Apple, and he sees the value in inclusiveness."

Jackson, Cook at earlier meeting in NYC
Jackson, Cook at earlier meeting in NYC


In addition to discussions on how to increase diversity at all job levels, Cook and Jackson were likely to have also talked about the recent clash between a local labor union, the USWW, and various tech companies, including Apple, over an effort to include security guards and other low-level but important employees -- such as custodial staff -- in the union. The effort is less about wages -- guards are routinely paid well above the minimum wage in Silicon Valley -- and more about the disparity between corporate employees and lower-level workers generally, along with things like job security and advancement opportunities.

Although Apple is not the overall target of the union push, its stores and corporate HQ are sometimes the scene of protests in an effort to gain publicity for the campaign. Jackson will attend a workshop conference on diversity at Intel's headquarters in Santa Clara, and also join a rally outside Apple's Cupertino HQ. Jackson's organization, Rainbow PUSH, has generally been supportive of Apple, and lauded the release back in August of a diversity report by the iPhone maker.

"Apple is deeply committed to diversity within our company and the advancement of human rights around the world," Apple spokesperson Kristen Huguet said in a prepared statement. "We had a productive meeting with Rev. Jesse Jackson, and we value his input. We look forward to working with him, our employees, customers and other stakeholders as we look for ways to do more."

Also out today, however, was the revelation that Apple and Amazon are among the few tech holdouts who have not made their most recent EEO-1 federal diversity data public as of yet. Both companies have thus far declined to explain why, with Apple pointing to its aforementioned August report, while Amazon has simply refused to comment.

As with most other tech companies, Apple's statistics reveal that higher-level employees are mostly white males (Apple was actually ranked slightly better than average on diversity when compared to other publicly-available statistics from leading tech companies). The company has vowed to promote inclusiveness, and be diligent in considering candidates who are women or from minority groups.

Apple has produced a video celebrating the diversity of its employees, and set up a scholarship for minority students going into tech fields, arguing that in fact inclusion "inspires innovation" by bringing more viewpoints and context to discussions, strategy and direction for the company. Cook himself has been vocal on the need for society to embrace social equality and equal opportunity, most recently in TV appearances and in a speech given at an Auburn University award banquet.

Photo of Jackson and Cook by Butch Wing/Rainbow PUSH Coalition
( Last edited by NewsPoster; Dec 13, 2014 at 04:56 AM. )
     
MitchIves
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Dec 10, 2014, 12:59 PM
 
Man, I miss the days when Apple focused strictly on their products, instead of all these social issues...
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Dec 10, 2014, 01:43 PM
 
When was that? 1979?
     
xomniron
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Dec 10, 2014, 03:27 PM
 
How much did Jesse's "protection services" cost Apple?
     
MitchIves
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Dec 11, 2014, 12:13 PM
 
@Mike Wuerthele:

No... pre Tim Cook.

You're not actually suggesting that they've been focused on social issues since the Apple II days? Since I've been buying their equipment since then, and long before MacNN was even an idea, let alone in existence, I can certify that that they were not. Yes, Apple has dabbled in it, but it wasn't their core focus like it is since Tim Cook took over.

Apple should be careful. Their success is a function of a single minded focus on the best products and having the best people. If they start social engineering experiments and start hiring people based on their ethnicity or other criteria instead of choosing only the best qualified, regardless of quotas, their rate of success may change...
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Dec 11, 2014, 01:24 PM
 
You're not the only one who's been around since the Apple II days and who has historical context.

If you don't think Apple's had a social agenda since the beginning (perhaps less so in the Sculley and Amelio years), then you're not looking closely enough. The only difference now is that its better publicized, and Tim's still under a lot of scrutiny for being in charge of the second post-Jobs era.
     
MitchIves
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Dec 12, 2014, 04:57 PM
 
So you don't think it's gotten accelerated recently... especially under Tim Cook? If not, perhaps you're not looking close enough. And I noticed you didn't address my comment about not focusing on the best, period... without any built in quotas... wondering why?
     
Mike Wuerthele
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Dec 12, 2014, 06:16 PM
 
Because there's nothing suggesting that Apple is compromising people quality for quotas, yet.
     
cgc
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Dec 12, 2014, 10:13 PM
 
Jesse Jackson is a race-baiting tool...c'mon Apple, focus on your products as they have begun to suck as of late...
"Like a midget at a urinal, I was going to have to stay on my toes." Frank Drebin, Naked Gun 33 1/3: The Final Insult
     
   
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