AAPL Shareholders Call For Civil-Rights Audit of Apple

Apple Park

Apple shareholder groups have called for a civil-rights audit of the company. The move from SOC Investment Group teamed up with the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) and Trillium Asset Management follows controversy over the treatment of employees, slow progress in diversifying the workforce, and a recently announced U.S. Labor Department investigation.

Shareholders Claim Apple’s Plans to Fix Workforce Inequality ‘Unclear’

The organizations involved found out recently that their proposal will be on the proxy in the fall. Between them, they have a meaningful stake in Apple. The SEIU’s pension fund’s holdings include AAPL stock, SOC owns 21.9 million shares, and Trillium said it owned more than one million shares in the company at the end of Q3. The proposal, seen by MarketWatch, says:

It is unclear how Apple plans to address racial inequality in its workforce. Apple currently has no Hispanics and only one Black member on its executive team.

SOC Director Dieter Waizenegger told the same publication:

They’re spending money on racial and mostly philanthropic initiatives and don’t really address the company’s own policies. The chief diversity officer is not in the C-suite, and there’s a really low percentage of Black officers in the company. Whatever the company’s doing, it seems like there’s a gap…That’s all great and commendable, but it doesn’t mean they don’t have blind spots, or that they have some sort of process for ensuring accountability.

Waiting For Controversies

Mr. Waizenegger added that “a company shouldn’t wait for controversies to arise to do a racial-justice audit.” Apple had not publicly commented at the time of this writing.

One of those recent controversies involves Cher Scarlett, a key mobilizing figure in the #AppleToo movement who recently quit the company. She recently reached a settlement with Apple, withdrawing a complaint with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) that accused the firm of “coercive and suppressive activity.” Another involved the dismissal of Ashley Gjovik. Her allegations triggered the aforementioned Department of Labor investigation.

2 thoughts on “AAPL Shareholders Call For Civil-Rights Audit of Apple

  • Charlotte:

    An important piece. 

    That Apple, an American company, is struggling with diversifying its own senior labour force, should come as no surprise to anyone paying attention. This is a systemic challenge grounded in a culture of both imposed and self-segregation (see Ezra Klein’s Why We’re Polarised for a deep dive) https://www.amazon.com/Why-Were-Polarized-Ezra-Klein/dp/147670032X .

    This cuts across every industry, including private and public sectors, academia, NGOs and philanthropic organisations dedicated to social justice and reform (if only yours truly were at liberty to talk). 

    We tend to both group with and groom people very similar to ourselves, and through a variety of both subtle and overt communication and action, let others know they are not one of us, and have no future here. 

    Workforce training on diversity, inclusion and working environments has had modest to little impact on this phenomenon, with even heads of HR being identified as culprits in creating hostile working environments. 

    While there is definite incremental change, the pace has been unacceptably slow. In the absence of deliberate effort not simply at recruitment, but grooming and retention, with an eye not so much as removing ‘bad actors’ so much as ‘bad behaviours’ and actively rewarding ‘good behaviours’, will this change at a more dramatic pace. 

    Good on stakeholders to hold Apple accountable. 

  • “AAPL Shareholders Call For Civil-Rights Audit of Apple”
    Some shareholders. I am a shareholder and haven’t called for that, not that a diverse workforce isn’t a good idea and would probably vote for it if it comes up in a proxy.

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