August 26, 2014, 4:52 AM —
Image credit: REUTERS/Yuya Shino
Silicon Valley technology companies use underpaid black, Latino and immigrant workers as janitors, cooks and security guards, according to a study released Monday.
Tech companies have been targeted by civil rights groups, including the Rainbow Push Coalition of civil rights leader Rev. Jesse Jackson, for not employing enough blacks and Latinos.
Following demands from Jackson, some companies like Google, Twitter and Facebook released employee diversity data which showed that their employees in the U.S. were predominantly white followed by Asian.
The study on low-paid workers, hired through middle-men, by labor organization Working Partnerships USA in San Jose, California, adds a new dimension to the demand for higher inclusion by tech companies. "These contracted service workers -- not counted on tech companies' official employment rolls and rarely mentioned in the public discourse -- constitute the Silicon Valley tech industry's 'invisible workforce,'" the report said.
Blacks and Latinos make up 41 percent of all private security guards in Silicon Valley, 72 percent of all janitorial and building cleaning workers, and 76 percent of all grounds maintenance workers, according to data collected by Working Partnerships for Santa Clara County, which is home to a number of key tech companies.
These firms can help counter inequality and ensure long-term inclusion by paying better the workers supplied by contractors, the organization said.
Tech companies have typically argued that they are unable to hire enough blacks and Latinos with the relevant qualifications for their core jobs. Tech companies like Google struggle to recruit and retain women and minorities, wrote Laszlo Bock, Google's senior vice president for people operations in May. Blacks and Hispanics each make up under 10 percent of U.S. college graduates and each collect fewer than 10 percent of degrees in computer science majors, he wrote.
"If tech companies are serious about building a pipeline from K-12 schools for a more diverse tech workforce, it starts with paying parents a livable wage," according to Working Partnerships.