Beyond the Rhetoric
By Harry C. Alford
The above federal agency is one of the most important offices in our nation. It is the vanguard for Affirmative Action. OFCCP was formed into its current structure in 1977, as a result of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and President Lyndon Johnson’s Executive Order 11246. The office reports to the Secretary of Labor. This office assigns the proper goals for each race and gender. There is a national goal as well as six regional goals. Its regulations can be found at CFR Title 41 Chapter 60.
Recently, this office brought a lot of attention to the discriminatory practices of “Silicon Valley.” It is a shame that some of our largest corporations ignore the goals set for them and get away with it. If we had a true Secretary of Labor they would be made to change their ways or cease winning government business. Instead, we as a people are dormant about this situation. We are equally dormant about construction unions who discriminate on an ongoing basis and the Department of Labor continues to maintain their certifications knowing all the time that they indeed discriminate against Blacks and women. What good is the Civil Rights Act if we do not enforce it?
Here is a brilliant idea: Why don’t we do the enforcing since the people who we elect ignore this precious law. The NAACP and Urban League chapters are not doing anything about it. Discrimination is alive and well in America. So as the saying goes – “If not now, when? If not you, who?” It is very simple to do.
Each year contractors and subcontractors are required to fill out a report entitled EEO-1. The reports are public records and copies can be received during a Freedom of Information Act request. Over the years of my advocacy I have received, via FOIA requests, the hiring information for various utilities and other corporations. If a company is discriminating and remains reluctant to changing its hiring and/or promotion practices, the reports can be grounds for a lawsuit.
There is one trick to the process. OFCCP will notify the company you are going after that they are about to fulfill your request. They can file suit to prevent this from happening. That is what led to the struggle in Silicon Valley. It is obvious in a state that is 54% minority that some companies in Silicon Valley are doing less than 3% minority and practically no Blacks and Hispanics. If there is a struggle please stand firm and insist until they relent or start losing federal contracts.
The required annual report is known as Standard Form 100. This is what the employers send to OFCCP and it becomes the EEO-1. As the instruction booklet states: “In the interests of consistency, uniformity and economy, Standard Form 100 has been jointly developed by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs of the U.S. Department of Labor, as a single form which meets the statistical needs of both programs. In addition, this form should be a valuable tool for companies to use in evaluating their own internal programs for insuring equal employment opportunity.”
“Under Section 209(a) of Executive Order 11246, the penalties for failure by a federal contractor or subcontractor to comply may include termination of the federal government contract and debarment from future federal contracts.”
This is serious business! You can see samples of the Standard Form 100 from our website www.nationalbcc.org. You can also notice the contract information for the six regional offices (this is to whom you make the FOIA request).
I once received the final EEO-1 on Midway Airport (Chicago) after their last major addition which was construction via a Project Labor Agreement. The report show- ed very little Black participation and very little local employment for the City of Chicago. It was amazing that a large city that is majority minority had so little minority representation. There were a noticeable amount of workers from Iowa, Wisconsin, Michigan and Indiana. The people of Chicago were ripped off. Oh! If they only knew which one of their employees slipped a copy of their report to me?
Do a FOIA on the major construction projects in your community. How about all of the major banks and utility companies? What about the diversity of the major school boards? How about the local governments of the area, i.e. city, county, etc.? How about other major employers like supermarket chains, department stores?
In other words, take control of your local Affirmative Action. We need many more activists who are pure at heart and not looking for a payoff. The world will become better if you do.
Mr. Alford is the Co-Founder, President/CEO of the National Black Chamber of Commerce®. Website: www.nationalbcc.org Email: [email protected] .