Tag: Work 

Work to end racial injustice may be ‘greatest mobilization’ of corporate America to better society

  • IBM Executive Chairman Ginni Rometty believes addressing racial injustice could be “the greatest mobilization of the private sector for a benefit of society.” 
  • “The private sector has the ability to create a movement,” she told CNBC on Thursday.
  • “Economic opportunity, it is the great equalizer for all of this,” she added. 

Former IBM CEO Ginni Rometty on corporate responsibility to address racial inequality

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IBM Executive Chairman Ginni Rometty told CNBC on Thursday that corporate America has the potential to create long-lasting societal change by advancing the cause of racial equality.

“The private sector has the ability to create a movement, and actually, I think, this could be the greatest mobilization of the private sector for a benefit of society,” Rometty said on “Squawk on the Street.” 

Rometty, who stepped down as IBM chief executive earlier this year, has been a staunch advocate for companies to rethink hiring practices to include candidates with diverse backgrounds, including people who haven’t obtained four-year college degrees.

Rometty’s comments Thursday come as the United States experiences renewed calls for racial justice following high-profile killings by White police offices of Black Americans in 2020, including George Floyd in Minneapolis in May.

Video: A Plan of Action: Ending Racial Inequity – CNBC @Work Summit with Ford Foundation President (CNBC)

A Plan of Action: Ending Racial Inequity – CNBC @Work Summit with Ford Foundation President

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Activists, customers and even employees have applied pressure and demanded action from companies. With protests at their peak in June, many of the nation’s largest companies responded with pledges to increase diversity in their workforces and commitments to take other steps to close racial disparities in wealth and educational opportunities.

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Companies have continued to announce other efforts, such as J.P. Morgan Chase committing $30 billion over five years to address wealth inequality in the U.S., through a combination of loans, investments and philanthropy. 

Last month, IBM unveiled a new quantum education and research initiative for historically black colleges and universities that includes a $100 million investment. The company’s current CEO, Arvind Krishna, also is co-chair of an effort announced this summer to hire 100,000 New Yorkers who are from low-income minority neighborhoods by 2030. 

Rometty, who was IBM’s first female CEO, on Thursday also touted the work of IBM’s Pathways to Technology initiative, a six-year program for high school students that focuses on the STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Students complete high school requirements while also earing an associate degree and job opportunities through the program, which was founded in 2011.

“With over 300 schools and almost 200,000 kids coming through, this is now going to get extended and we are really going to target at the Black community,” she said. “Economic opportunity, it is the great equalizer for all of this,” she added. 

IBM CEO and executive chair on spinning off IT infrastructure unit

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Can I take off time from work to vote? State-by-state guide

  • In 2020, 30 states legally require employers to give employees some time off to vote, either paid or unpaid. 
  • If you’re voting in-person on November 3 or voting early, be sure to both double-check your state’s specific laws and approve your time off with your employer well in advance. 
  • The last day of voting in the 2020 presidential election is coming up on November 3.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

The last day of voting in the 2020 presidential election is coming up on November 3, and in 30 states, your employer is legally required to give you some time off to vote, according to analyses from Workplace Fairness and Replicon.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, states are making it easier than ever to vote from home with a mail-in ballot or early in-person prior to November 3. Thousands of employers have transitioned to all-remote work or expanding work from home options, making it more accessible for many to vote during work hours. 

But there are still a small handful of states that either aren’t offering the option to all voters to vote by mail or do not offer in-person early voting. Mississippi falls in both categories, with the vast majority of the state’s voters only allowed to vote in-person on Election Day. 

Laws around giving voters time off from work to go to the polls greatly vary by state, with many requiring employers to pay their employees for the time they take to vote, some limiting the number of hours or time of day that employers are required to give employees time off to vote, and North Dakota’s legal code encouraging but not technically requiring employers to give time off to vote. 

If you’re voting in-person on November 3 or voting early, be sure to both double-check your state’s specific laws and approve your time off with your employer well in advance. 

You can learn about your options to vote by mail here, see the dates of when early voting begins and ends in your state, and learn when the polls open and close in your state on Election Day here. 

Some scholars, like University of Chicago behavioral scientist Sendhil Mullainathan, have argued that giving workers time off to vote isn’t just a matter of convenience, but could be a key step to reducing barriers to the ballot box for low-wage service workers and voters of color, who often face more difficulties in efficiently voting in-person. 

Voters of color face longer wait times to vote than white ones, a problem exacerbated by the pandemic as many polling places in cities have had to consolidate. A study from the Brennan Center published earlier this summer found that Black voters wait 45 minutes longer and Latino voters wait 46 minutes longer to vote in-person on average than white voters.

While state laws mandate employers to give time off to vote, a number of major companies and corporations are also doing so nationwide as a larger private-sector push to encourage

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How businesses, government agencies work together to update pollution-spewing older cars



a group of people posing for the camera: From left, Bill Droessler and Gillian Greenberg of Environmental Initiative; Cathy Heying, founder of the Lift Garage in Minneapolis, and JoHanna Smrcina, Lift Garage operations director, are in the vanguard of a private-public partnership to reduce auto emissions from older vehicles and help the working poor. Photo: Neal.St.Anthony@startribune.com


© Star Tribune/Star Tribune/NeaL St. Anthony • Star Tribune/Star Tribune/TNS
From left, Bill Droessler and Gillian Greenberg of Environmental Initiative; Cathy Heying, founder of the Lift Garage in Minneapolis, and JoHanna Smrcina, Lift Garage operations director, are in the vanguard of a private-public partnership to reduce auto emissions from older vehicles and help the working poor. Photo: [email protected]

Environmental Initiative, along with some partnering organizations, is expanding its work to make Minnesota’s vehicles cleaner, safer and more energy efficient.

This latest work comes 15 years after the same partners retrofitted the first of 4,500 diesel school buses, trucks and off-road equipment as part of what Environmental Initiative called Project Green Fleet.

Environmental Initiative, or EI, is financed by Flint Hills Resources with support from the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the city of Minneapolis. The group has now launched Project CAR (Clean Air Repairs) with designs on fixing older passenger cars, trucks and vans that cause 90% of vehicle emissions.

Last week, technicians worked on several vehicles of working-poor customers of the Lift Garage on E. Lake Street in Minneapolis that need tires, batteries, fluid changes and the like. The owners were cleared based on financial need to get additional pollution-control work through Project CAR.

“Our customers will pay $500 on average for tires, brakes, batteries or other critical repairs so they can get to work,” said JoHanna Smrcina, operations director at the Lift. “Now we can say, you also need a catalytic converter or oxygen sensor and Project CAR will pay.”

Only about 70 cars have gotten the Project CAR pollution-remediation treatment so far this year in a slow ramp-up. If past is precedent, this matters.

Project Green Fleet, which similarly started small, has retrofitted 3,200 school buses with emissions-depleting equipment, said Gillian Greenberg, a project coordinator at EI. That has allowed 300,000 school kids to breathe cleaner air and reduced asthma and other illnesses.

What’s more, 1,400 heavy-duty diesel engines in trucks, buses and off-road equipment were retrofitted. That equals removing 750,000 cars from state roads.

“Project CAR [will] help our environment, energize our economy and improve health for vulnerable citizens,” said Bill Droessler, director of clean air programs at Environmental Initiative. “We find practical things … that make sense economically and environmentally. We’re also trying for … greater outcomes in overburdened communities [of] lower-income people of color who cope with more pollution.”

The Minnesota Department of Health and MPCA say studies prove poor air quality disproportionately affects people living in poverty. Project CAR funds repairs to four priority emission-control systems: catalytic converters, evaporative emission control (EVAP) systems, oxygen sensors and exhaust gas recirculation valves. Repairs initially are provided through the Lift and Newgate School in Minneapolis; Cars for Neighbors in Blaine, and the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe Small Vehicle Garage in Cass Lake.

“Cost is the No. 1 barrier for low-income Minnesotans considering car repairs,” Smrcina said. “Project CAR allows them to improve the safety and efficiency of their vehicles at little or no

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Judge halts work of Trump police commission after NAACP complaint

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While discussing the shooting of Jacob Blake on ‘The Ingraham Angle,’ President Trump said some police officers who shoot unarmed suspects ‘choke.’

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A federal judge Thursday halted the work of a national law enforcement advisory commission authorized by President Donald Trump as part of a legal challenge to the group’s composition and claims that it lacked representation from police reform and civil rights groups.

The order issued by U.S. District Judge John Bates comes weeks before the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice was due to deliver to Attorney General William Barr its findings on challenges facing local police.

While the The commission was directed to produce a “fresh evaluation of the salient issues affecting American law enforcement and the communities they protect,” civil rights advocates claimed that it has served to support “unfounded yet repeated public assertions” by the president and the attorney general that there is lack of respect for police.

 “That purpose is evident in the composition of the commission, which is stacked with members that are exclusively from a law enforcement background,” the NAACP Defense & Educational Fund Inc. claimed in its initial complaint. “Not a single member of the commission is a defense attorney, criminologist or other relevant academic, public-health practitioner, mental health or addiction-recovery treatment provider, offender reentry coordinator, social worker, or formerly incarcerated individual.”

Attorney General William Barr stands by President Trump as he speaks to Kenosha County Sheriff David Beth and Kenosha Police Chief Daniel Miskinis Sept. 1, 2020 in Kenosha, Wis. (Photo: Mark Hoffman, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Bates, in a 45-page opinion, concluded that the government had not met its obligation to “ensure transparency and fairly balanced (committee) membership … during this time of great turmoil over racial injustice and allegations of police misconduct.”

“The attorney general stressed the need to hear from a diversity of backgrounds and perspectives such as “community organizations, civic leadership, civil rights and victim’s rights organizations, criminal defense attorneys, academia, social service organizations, and other entities that regularly interact with American law enforcement,” Bates wrote. “Despite these stated goals, however, the commission’s membership consists entirely of current and former law enforcement officials.”

The judge also took issue with the commission’s proceedings, describing them as “far from transparent.”

“Especially in 2020, when racial justice and civil rights issues involving law enforcement have erupted across the nation, one may legitimately question whether it is sound policy to have a group with little diversity of experience examine, behind closed doors, the sensitive issues facing law enforcement and the criminal justice system in America today,” Bates wrote.

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Judge rules federal law enforcement commission violates law, orders work stopped as attorney general prepares to issue report

The ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge John D. Bates in Washington came in response to a lawsuit from the NAACP’s Legal Defense and Education Fund, which sought an injunction against the Presidential Commission on Law Enforcement and the Administration of Justice for violating laws on how federal advisory committees must work. Bates did not issue an injunction, but ordered the commission to change its membership and comply with other aspects of the law.

“Especially in 2020,” Bates wrote, “when racial justice and civil rights issues involving law enforcement have erupted across the nation, one may legitimately question whether it is sound policy to have a group with little diversity of experience examine, behind closed doors, the sensitive issues facing law enforcement and the criminal justice system in America today.”

The 18 member commission was composed entirely of state and federal law enforcement officials, with no one from the civil rights, criminal defense, social work, religious or academic fields. Members were sworn in on Jan. 22, and then heard months of testimony by teleconference from experts in a variety of police, prosecutorial and social fields. The commission also formed 15 working groups, with more than 100 members, to draft sections of the report focusing on topics such as “Reduction of Crime,” “Respect for Law Enforcement,” “Data and Reporting” and “Homeland Security.”

The Federal Advisory Committee Act requires that a committee’s membership be “fairly balanced in terms of the points of view represented and the functions to be performed,” so that its recommendations “will not be inappropriately influenced by the appointing authority.” The working groups were also largely tied to policing, with only five of the 112 members not from law enforcement. After the suit was filed, the speakers who testified before the commission were more diverse in professional background.

Police groups lobbied Congress for years to form a commission that would take a comprehensive look at improving American policing, as a similar panel did in the 1960s, to devise new ways to fight crime and use technology to improve policing. When various bills stalled in Congress, Trump signed an executive order last October creating the new group, with the president acknowledging the assistance of the Fraternal Order of Police and the International Association of Chiefs of Police in launching the project.

The law also requires that advisory committee meetings be open to the public, with notice posted in the Federal Register, along with a charter for the committee. The commission did not post a charter or meeting notices in the register, but did send out press releases announcing the virtual meetings as well as posting transcripts and recordings of the meetings. Reporters and others could dial in and listen to the teleconferences. A meeting which Barr held in June with the commission, on the same day Trump signed an executive order on police reform, was not announced and the Justice Department declined to release a transcript or recording.

Trump’s order called for the commission to submit its report and recommendations

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Trump says ‘Proud Boys’ group should let law enforcement do its work

By Jeff Mason

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump said on Wednesday the “Proud Boys,” an organization identified as a hate group, should “stand down” and let law enforcement take the lead, following comments he made in the first presidential debate that were viewed as emboldening the group.

“I don’t know who the Proud Boys are,” the Republican president told reporters at the White House before leaving for a campaign event. “They have to stand down. Let law enforcement do their work.”

During his debate with Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday, Trump was asked if he was willing to denounce “white supremacists and militia groups” and tell them to stand down amid violence that has marred anti-racism protests in some U.S. cities.

Trump requested a specific name, and Biden mentioned the Proud Boys, an organization that describes itself as a club of “Western chauvinists” but has been categorized as a hate group by the nonprofit Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Proud Boys, stand back and stand by,” Trump said. The comment drew wide criticism and was viewed by many to be a sign of encouragement to the group.

Republican U.S. Senator Tim Scott of South Carolina, who is Black, said Trump misspoke and called on him to correct his words.

Asked on Wednesday about denouncing white supremacist groups, Trump said he had always done so.

The president has a long history of making comments that his critics view as racist or as supportive of racist groups.

In 2017, he said “both sides” were to blame for violence between white supremacists and counter-protesters in Charlottesville, Virginia. He later sought to walk back the comments.

Trump called on Biden to condemn antifa, a largely unstructured, far-left movement whose followers broadly aim to confront those they view as authoritarian or racist.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason; Additional reporting by Makini Brice, Joseph Ax, and Richard Cowan; Editing by Peter Cooney)

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Trump says he doesn’t know who Proud Boys are, but tells them to ‘let law enforcement do their work’

President Trump said he is unfamiliar with the far-right Proud Boys, a day after he made headlines for telling them to “stand back and stand by” during Tuesday night’s presidential debate.

“I don’t know who the Proud Boys are, I mean, you’ll have to give me a definition cause I really don’t know who they are. I can only say they have to stand down and let law enforcement do their work,” the president told reporters on the South Lawn Wednesday afternoon. “Law enforcement will do the work more and more as people see how bad this radical liberal Democrat movement is and how weak, the law enforcement is going to come back stronger and stronger. But again, I don’t know who Proud Boys are, but whoever they are, they have to stand down, let law enforcement do their work.”

Trump added: “Just stand by. Look, law enforcement will do their work. They’re going to stand down, they have to stand down. Everybody. Whatever group you are talking about, let law enforcement do the work.”

Many Proud Boys celebrated the president’s remarks during the debate. One prominent organizer, Joe Biggs, said that the president gave the group a “shout out” and noted that the group would take his message to heart. They also started using the phrase “stand back and stand by” as a new slogan.

His comments on Tuesday night, which came after he was asked to denounce white supremacy during the debate, sparked criticism from Democrats, and members of his own party urged him to clarify what he meant.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he agreed with Sen. Tim Scott, one of three black U.S. senators, who said Trump misspoke and “should correct it.”

“He said it was unacceptable not to condemn white supremacists,” McConnell said of Scott’s response. “And so, I do so in the strongest possible way.”

Scott, a South Carolina Republican, told reporters it appeared Trump misspoke.

“If he doesn’t correct it, I guess he didn’t misspeak,” Scott said.

On Wednesday, the president brought the conversation back to antifa and far-left wing violence, which he also did during the debate.

“Now, antifa is a real problem, because the problem is on the Left. And Biden refuses to talk about it. He refuses to issue the words ‘law and order.’ You saw that last night when he choked up. He can’t say those words because he’ll lose the rest of the Left. So, he’s got to condemn antifa,” Trump explained. “Antifa is a very bad group.”

Over the last couple months, protests and demonstrations took place all across the country as many sought to raise awareness about racial injustices, and police brutality, against people of color. Amid those protests, there were also riots and destruction, which many claim were carried out by antifa. In some cases, far-right extremists sought to stop the damage, and it resulted in deadly clashes.

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