NYC Comptroller: major corporations commit to disclosing employee demographics

Stephon Johnson | 10/1/2020, midnight
New York City Comptroller and New York Mayoral Candidate Scott Stringer wants major corporations to put their money where their ...
Scott Stringer Bill Moore photo

New York City Comptroller and New York Mayoral Candidate Scott Stringer wants major corporations to put their money where their mouth is.

This week, Stringer, on behalf of the New York City Employees’ Retirement System, Teachers Retirement System of the City of New York and New York City Board of Education Retirement System, announced an agreement with 34 S&P 100 companies to disclose the racial, ethnic and gender makeup of their workforce. Stringer wants to see if there’s a limit to achievement for minorities and women.

“They start moving up the elevator and the elevator seems to get stuck at the corporate board,” said Stringer to the AmNews. “We want to help them break the glass ceiling.”

Stringer said that the idea for this inquiry is a direct result of several events: a national campaign launched by the comptroller and the Retirement Systems in July calling on 67 S&P 100 companies to match their public statements about a commitment to diversity and racial equality by sharing their annual U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEO-1) report data.

Some of the companies that have agreed to this inquiry include Amazon, Capital One, Chevron, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, PepsiCo, Allstate, Verizon, Target, Starbucks and Wells Fargo. The comptroller is looking for “relevant employment data” that investors can use to assess representation of employees of color and data on the diversity of senior management.

Stringer compared his calls for action to the Rooney Rule, a National Football League policy named after the late Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney that requires each team to interview minority candidates for open coaching positions and women for open front office positions.

Last year, the comptroller initiated his own version of the Rooney Rule called the Boardroom Accountability Project 3.0 requesting 56 S&P 100 companies to adopt a policy that would consider women and people of color for all open board seats and CEO positions.

While Stringer’s happy that he got the 34 companies to respond to this call for action, he’s not satisfied.

“I think the response from 34 is significant,” said Stringer. “Thirty-four did, [but] where are the other 33?”

Some of the companies that didn’t respond to Stringer’s inquiry include Disney, Procter & Gamble, Nike, Netflix, CVS, FedEx, Walmart and Home Depot.

Like the Rooney Rule, Stringer said he’s just asking for women and people of color to be included in the process. He wants them to be on the field and not on the sidelines. He said having them on the field gives them a better chance to score.

“When you include them, people get hired,” said Stringer. “It’s when you exclude people from consideration that they don’t get hired. That’s why I want to mandate it.

With the current movement of legacy companies erasing old racist caricatures on product labels and companies with a politically conservative hierarchy needing to put out Black Lives Matter statements, the comptroller wants to capitalize on the movement for long-term benefits.

“I think we’re in a moment in this country that people are responding, but we want people to go to the next level,” Stringer said.