Greenlining seeks background checks review for energy-efficiency workers
Policies may discriminate against Blacks, Latinos
In a petition filed Monday with the California Public Utilities Commission, The Greenlining Institute asked the CPUC to hold a proceeding before the end of 2012 to consider policies regarding background checks for workers in CPUC-funded energy efficiency programs. Greenlining expressed concern that without CPUC guidance, utility companies could unilaterally implement policies that exclude qualified, responsible workers and discriminate against Latino and African American job-seekers.
Last May, the CPUC expressed interest in addressing these issues, but has not yet acted. In the interim, at least one utility company has moved toward implementing rules that could bar anyone with certain criminal convictions from employment, including simple drug possession or DUI offenses that are completely nonviolent in nature.
“We absolutely have to make sure that employees working in customers’ homes or businesses don’t pose any safety or security risks, but a policy that’s too broad will exclude hundreds of thousands of competent, responsible workers—most of whom are likely to be Black or Latino,” said Greenlining Institute Energy and Telecommunications Policy Director Stephanie Chen. “Someone whose only crime was getting caught with a joint shouldn’t be barred for years from this growing sector of the economy.”
“Sixty-five million Americans have criminal records, and face huge barriers to employment,” said Maurice Emsellem, policy co-director of the National Employment Law Project. “African Americans and Latinos are far more likely to be convicted of drug offenses than whites, even though their rate of drug use is the same or lower than whites. Simple fairness, as well as the nation’s civil rights laws, demand that the utilities be far more discerning before excluding thousands of qualified workers from the hiring process.”
According to a new report by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. (FDIC), in 2011 more than 37 million American households were either unbanked or under-banked. African American households represent 34 percent of all under-banked consumers, the highest percentage among demographics surveyed. When under-banked African American and Latino households are combined, these two communities of color comprise more than 60 percent of the nation’s under-banked households.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Reported hate crimes in Los Angeles County increased by 15 percent in 2011 from the previous year, but the total is the second lowest in 22 years, according to the county Commission on Human Relations’ annual report released today.
The commission defines a hate crime as one where hatred or prejudice toward a victim’s race or ethnicity, religion, disability, gender or sexual orientation was a substantial factor in the crime.
LOS ANGELES, Calif.—Reported hate crimes in Los Angeles County fell by 28 percent in 2010 to the lowest level in 21 years, according to the county Commission on Human Relations’ annual report released.
The commission defines a hate crime as one where hatred or prejudice toward a victim’s race or ethnicity, religion, disability, gender, or sexual orientation was a substantial factor in the crime.
According to the 2010 Hate Crime Report, there were 427 reported hate crimes countywide last year, a decline of 166 from the previous year.
BERKELEY, Calif.—African American, Asian American and Latino senior citizens are economically vulnerable and getting more so, a new report from the Greenlining Institute has found. Because they have less access to pensions or other forms of retirement savings, these groups may be particularly vulnerable to the effects of cuts to Social Security and Medicare likely to be considered by the 12-member special congressional committee created by the budget deal signed this week by President Obama.
The report, available online at www. greenlining.org, concludes:
Economists say the recession is over. Recent national job reports illustrate an upward climb to the recovery. Yet these accomplishments have not effectively reached the urban communities of color—neither Black nor Hispanic.
This is according to the National Urban League’s 2011 “State of Black America” (SOBA) released recently. To combat this painful State of Black America in 2011, the NUL has declared a war on unemployment.