In Praise of Diversity
In recent news we have seen various headlines on immigration reform, women’s rights, and numerous forms of discrimination that occur in the workplace. Our business is in providing solutions to labor unions and I thought about how our customers, who represent the working people of America (or at least those that are still organized), stack up when it comes to these issues. In particular I remember being at a meeting with one of our first customers where there were photographs in the room of their conventions from the 1920’s and 1930’s. As a student of American history I noticed that the audience was completely integrated with Caucasian and African American delegates sitting side by side. This surprised me knowing that this photograph was taken in the era of “Jim Crow.” It turned out that for this union, equality, regardless of race or ethnicity had been a cornerstone of their constitution almost from their inception. Why didn’t I know this? I guarantee that 99% of the American public wouldn’t know this either. Unions by and large do a lousy job of public relations. They let their enemies mold the public perception of unions which are so stereotypical it would be redundant for me to even address it. But from my point of view, the truth is the union world is streets ahead of the corporate world in diversity of all kinds, ethnic, gender, and age. Unions have been in the forefront of leading social change for most of their existence. If we put aside the economic arguments for organized labor (which are powerful in themselves) and consider the metrics by which we value a fairer, more just society, why isn’t this being highlighted in a more aggressive fashion by union leaders?
Taking the issue of diversity a step further I looked at our own companies’ staff.
We have the following ethnicities/countries of origin: Anglo, Hispanic, Indian, Sri Lankan, Nepali & Chinese.
Our gender mix is almost exactly 50-50 male and female.
40% of our staff (including me and my partner) is over 50 years of age.
Bear in mind we outsource NOTHING, so I’m talking about around 20 individuals under the same roof here in Connecticut. Also when I investigated further I noted that we can converse (to a greater or lesser degree) in the following languages:
-Chinese – Mandarin
-Chinese – Cantonese
In other words this is an American company, proof positive that diversity in all areas is our strength.
This is not some abstract “politically correct” idea but a working practical example of a successful business which has grown in a few years to be a major provider of software and related services to the union world. We try to follow the example of our customers when it comes to regarding the differences in ethnicity, gender, and age as a strength. If you would like additional information on any of our products or services please call us (in any of the above languages) or contact us and we will be glad to help.