Why Big Tech Companies Are Quiet On Texas Abortion Laws

Jen Stark, senior director of corporate strategy at the Tara Health Foundation, which engages the reproductive rights private sector and helps organize the letters, said most of the companies that signed the letter were private individuals. mid-tier consumer and technology brands. The biggest tech companies — Alphabet, Amazon, Apple, Meta, Microsoft — are still moms. “Notably silent,” said Stark.

WIRED contacted 16 tech companies with a sizable workforce in Texas about the law and its impact on workers. Alphabet, Amazon, Cisco, Dell, Dropbox, eBay, Indeed, Meta, Oracle, PayPal, Samsung, SpaceX, and Tesla have not responded. Intel and Microsoft declined to comment. HP Enterprise did not take a stance on the legislation, but the company said, “We encourage our team members to speak out through advocacy and at the ballot box.” The company says its health plans cover out-of-state medical care, including abortions.

“We don’t ask companies to consider when life begins,” says Stark. “We simply ask companies to understand abortion as a workforce issue that affects workers’ happiness and the attainment of an individual’s full potential, and see the link its relation to issues of gender and racial equality.” Tara Health is asking companies to stop donating to anti-choice politicians and rethink their benefits to minimize the impact of abortion restrictions on their workforce.

Although the majority of Americans believe that abortion is legal, a sizable minority believe otherwise. Based on Pew Research, 39 percent of Americans consider abortion illegal in most or all cases, including 37 percent of women. It’s a large group of customers, shareholders and employees “who would be really angry with you for taking a position,” said Paul Argenti, Dartmouth corporate communications professor who has worked with the company. write an article. posts titled “When should your company speak up on a social issue?”

But as the diversity of LGBTQ corporate practices demonstrates, companies sometimes speak up, even if it drives people crazy. George Washington University in 2020 research of the Fortune 500 companies suggest one reason: pressure from employee groups. The researchers found that in the highly educated workforce, LGBTQ employees persuaded companies to take their rights stance, even if it could cost them money to work. business.

Years ago, companies were reluctant to speak out about LGBTQ issues, said Shelley Alpern, director of corporate partnerships at investment firm Rhia Ventures. “Part of what made them leave the taboo is that their employees started speaking out through LGBTQ groups,” she said. “That made a huge difference because I think business managers realize this is not an abstract question. This has a real effect on employees.”

Mobilization of staff around abortion rights has yet to reach this level. Johndrow, the reputation consultant, said his client did not raise the issue of workplace organization around this issue. “To my knowledge, and I work with a number of large companies, there is no such team,” he said. “I’m sure they’re forming right now.”

Deena Fidas, executive director of the nonprofit Out and Equal, says they are. Fidas is trying to apply lessons about LGBTQ organization in the workplace to reproductive health. LGBTQ pressure campaigns have been going on for decades, she said, starting from a time when these workers lacked legal protections against employment discrimination. Now, Fidas works with Tara Health and other organizations to convene women’s worker groups and help them advocate for access to reproductive care. She says employees are starting to raise the issue as one that their employers should consider. “Change is definitely coming.”

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