May 19, 2020

Verizon Takes another Swing at Employees on Strike

Verizon Wireless
Verizon
strike
negotiations
Bizclik Editor
1 min
Verizon Takes another Swing at Employees on Strike

 

Verizon spokesman Richard Young said that the company will no longer provide benefits for striking workers.

“Verizon is spending many millions of dollars a day providing health care for workers who willingly decided to strike,” Young said. “If they’re not employed and not working for the company, we’re not going to fund their pensions.”

According to one of the unions representing Verizon’s striking employees, this is the worst threat Verizon has made since negotiations began.

“It’s a tactic they’re using to try to scare the people,” International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Business Manager Bill Huber told Bloomberg after the union received Verizon’s statement.

The majority of the 45,000 Verizon employees on strike work for the company’s landline telephone segment, which has been declining significantly in the past five years. Verizon’s base of landline customers has dropped from 45 million to 25 million.

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“The existing contract provisions, negotiated initially when Verizon was under far less competitive pressure, are not in line with the economic realities of business today,” Verizon’s Chief Executive Lowell McAdam told employees in a letter. “We’re asking our union-represented employees to help us on a variety of issues that could streamline our processes and further reduce our wireline cost structure while keeping their overall compensation and benefits among the best in corporate America.”

In the wake of its landline decline, Verizon wants union employees to take fewer sick days, accept a freeze on pension benefits and make larger contributions to their healthcare plans. Employees, represented by the Communications Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers say that Verizon’s $10 billion net income is more than sufficient and that the company is “destroying middle-class lives.”

“It’s true that wireline is losing lines, but many of them are going to Verizon Wireless,” said Robert Master on behalf of the wireline workers on strike. “Regardless of how many lines they’ve lost, they’re obviously operating as an enormously profitable company. Considering these profit numbers and the huge amount that Verizon’s top executives are being paid, it’s not fair that our members are the ones to have to make sacrifices.”

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Jun 12, 2021

How changing your company's software code can prevent bias

Deltek
diversity
softwarecode
inclusivity
Lisa Roberts, Senior Director ...
3 min
Removing biased terminology from software can help organisations create a more inclusive culture, argues Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR at Deltek

Two-third of tech professionals believe organizations aren’t doing enough to address racial inequality. After all, many companies will just hire a DEI consultant, have a few training sessions and call it a day. 

Wanting to take a unique yet impactful approach to DEI, Deltek, the leading global provider of software and solutions for project-based businesses, took a look at  and removed all exclusive terminology in their software code. By removing terms such as ‘master’ and ‘blacklist’ from company coding, Deltek is working to ensure that diversity and inclusion are woven into every aspect of their organization. 

Business Chief North America talks to Lisa Roberts, Senior Director of HR and Leader of Diversity & Inclusion at Deltek to find out more.

Why should businesses today care about removing company bias within their software code?  

We know that words can have a profound impact on people and leave a lasting impression. Many of the words that have been used in a technology environment were created many years ago, and today those words can be harmful to our customers and employees. Businesses should use words that will leave a positive impact and help create a more inclusive culture in their organization

What impact can exclusive terms have on employees? 

Exclusive terms can have a significant impact on employees. It starts with the words we use in our job postings to describe the responsibilities in the position and of course, we also see this in our software code and other areas of the business. Exclusive terminology can be hurtful, and even make employees feel unwelcome. That can impact a person’s desire to join the team, stay at a company, or ultimately decide to leave. All of these critical actions impact the bottom line to the organization.    

Please explain how Deltek has removed bias terminology from its software code

Deltek’s engineering team has removed biased terminology from our products, as well as from our documentation. The terms we focused on first that were easy to identify include blacklist, whitelist, and master/slave relationships in data architecture. We have also made some progress in removing gendered language, such as changing he and she to they in some documentation, as well as heteronormative language. We see this most commonly in pick lists that ask to identify someone as your husband or wife. The work is not done, but we are proud of how far we’ve come with this exercise!

What steps is Deltek taking to ensure biased terminology doesn’t end up in its code in the future?

What we are doing at Deltek, and what other organizations can do, is to put accountability on employees to recognize when this is happening – if you see something, say something! We also listen to feedback our customers give us and have heard their feedback on this topic. Those are both very reactive things of course, but we are also proactive. We have created guidance that identifies words that are more inclusive and also just good practice for communicating in a way that includes and respects others.

What advice would you give to other HR leaders who are looking to enhance DEI efforts within company technology? 

My simple advice is to start with what makes sense to your organization and culture. Doing nothing is worse than doing something. And one of the best places to start is by acknowledging this is not just an HR initiative. Every employee owns the success of D&I efforts, and employees want to help the organization be better. For example, removing bias terminology was an action initiated by our Engineering and Product Strategy teams at Deltek, not HR. You can solicit the voices of employees by asking for feedback in engagement surveys, focus groups, and town halls. We hear great recommendations from employees and take those opportunities to improve. 

 

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