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City councilors want all large local employers to file annual reports on the number of Bostonians they employ

City Councilors Charles Yancey (Dorchester) and Tito Jackson (Roxbury) want the council to approve an ordinance requiring all companies with more than 100 employees in Boston:

File a report each year stating the race, gender, number and percentage of Boston workers employed at each level of the company’s operation as well as the racial and gender composition of the Boston workers at each level of the company’s operations.

The measure, which would also apply to all local unions and construction companies either doing $100,000 a year in business with the city or working on projects totalling 100,000 or more square feet annually.

The two say the reporting would aid city officials in coming up with "strategies that can lead to the full employment of its residents at wage levels that enable them to sustain a positive quality of life."

The council tomorrow considers their request for a formal hearing to examine the idea. The council's regular bi-weekly meeting begins at noon in its fifth-floor chambers in City Hall.

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Comments

I hope business owners tell them "It's none of your freaking business" and threaten to leave.

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And I hope local citizens say "this is our freaking business" because they have a right to know if Boston-based businesses are unfairly excluding them from being hired in their own city, especially if it's along lines of gender and/or race.

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Boston-based businesses are unfairly excluding them from being hired in their own city, especially if it's along lines of gender and/or race

Why would this happen? How would a business benefit from excluding people because they live in Boston??

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If a business is based somewhere in Boston but its workers cannot afford to live in Boston, that's worth knowing. If a business is buying office or warehouse space in an area like Dorchester or Roxbury but isn't hiring black or hispanic employees, that's worth knowing. If a tech company moves into the innovation district but isn't hiring female tech employees, that's worth knowing.

I don't see how this data collection could be harmful to Boston citizens; people have a right to know if businesses are fairly incorporating themselves into the local communities rather than just enjoying our infrastucture, resources, and tax breaks.

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I don't necessarily agree with the logic that all of those things are worth knowing, but assuming that I agree with you, what is the companies' obligation to provide that data?

And as an employee of a firm that meets the criteria, I don't really want the city providing information about where I live and how much I make to the city. And I live in the city!

The desire for information that's "worth knowing" does not make this good policy.

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There is currently no obligation, hence why the councilors are starting this conversation about taking these measures: it has to start somewhere. To outright dismiss the idea as useless or unnecessary is to cede the potential of a valuable tool for Boston residents.

I personally wouldn't want my name publicly attached to this data either; ideally there would be mechanisms in place that worker data is protected to the same extent that the city protects residents' information is protected. There's no reason why reports based on this aggregated data should have anything other than broad demographic statistics.

And I disagree; information that encourages transparency for the benefit of the community is fantastic policy.

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Not only does this proposed requirement does place a burden on companies for reporting on something they aren't even obligated to do, but collecting such data because it would be "good to have" wouldn't even achieve the stated goals anyway. People move, and that is totally outside of companies' control. So even if a company hired lots of Boston residents, then many of those residents moved out of the city, now the company looks like they are discriminating. The data changes all the time and doesn't provide much meaningful information. It's just a burden for employers that creates busywork.

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Excellent point.

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The city would not be able to get the data from the state directly, though, for a number of reasons-- not least of which is the DoR does not need to know the exact location where you work, just the address of the employer. Anyway, stats are more important than specific names here.

Maybe this could be piggybacked on to MA DoR reports, to save the employer time. It would be useful information to have, especially when determining how much affordable housing is needed in the city, addressing questions as to why people who can afford to live here choose not to, and so on. I don't see another practical way of getting the information.

I also work for an employer who would need to report.

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Good question. It's what minorities have always wanted know. How exactly does discrimination and bias in the work place benefit you? I believe the benefit comes from having a lily white workforce that they feel more comfortable around. When I was discriminated against at my own employer, I knew it was because the "old boys club" couldn't stand to have a much younger, smarter minority woman being authoritative and adjudicating their work place disputes for them. Their egos tell them "what would your ancestors say? How'd you let a 'colored' get ahead of you in life?". LOL!! It's their white supremacist mentalities!!

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Since when does a company operating in a city have a responsibility to hire people only from that city?

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Unless they're doing business with the city, in which case the city can set requirements on their contracts.

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Agreed.

Is this report only supposed to be for these types agreements and I just need better reading comprehension skills today?

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Discrimination in hiring is already illegal and results in expensive lawsuits. This is a bunch of power grabbing BS from the council which every day seems to find a new way to make itself look less relevant.

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Yes and having transparency into this discrimination makes it more likely that businesses can be held accountable. A business practice being illegal has rarely been an end-all deterrent into itself; expensive lawsuits are not commonly successful because it can be very difficult to prosecute something as vague as discrimination unless an employer straight up says "we are not hiring you because you are X". Having this data can at least let the public and their officials have a concrete idea if this discrimination is occurring and can draft strategies accordingly.

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I read the comment differently. There is no way of knowing based on who is employed at a Boston company that the company discriminated in its hiring practices. You only have 1 side of the story: who is employed. You can't take that and conclude that, for example, because the company is 80% white men that the company discriminated against non-white men or women. We can't know who interviewed for those available positions. Maybe 80% of the people who applied were white men. Maybe the people who were the best job candidates or had the most experience just happened to be white men. The point is, you can't take data, look at what's missing, and then conclude that there was discrimination. This is a correlation/causation mix-up.

If anything, bullying Boston companies to hire only Boston residents would result in discrimination lawsuits for businesses, because they might be letting go of or turning away the most qualified workers just to hire someone who happens to live within the city limits. That's ridiculous. People have a right to live where they want and travel elsewhere for work.

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If your company with 100+ employees in Boston is 80% white men? That's a huge fucking problem. That kind of egregious demographic is not representative of "chance" but rather of myopic hiring practices at best and outright sexist, racist policies/company culture at worst.

And I never said that this data should be used to "bully Boston companies into hiring only Boston residents". The data would be a step towards understanding what hiring is like in Boston and identifying further actions to alleviate issues that are found, whether it be applying pressure to obviously discriminatory companies or developing policy to encourage jobs for local residents.

It's especially ridiculous to assume "People have a right to live where they want and travel elsewhere for work", as if everyone has the resources, time, and job opportunities to just "go elsewhere" for work while potentially sacrificing their community/family networks and history. Not everyone has this luxury of mobility and I imagine it's exactly these residents that the councilors have in mind when trying to determine strategies to encourage employment opportunities.

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I don't think you can blame an individual company for discriminatory hiring practices, when there are so many other reasons that a business or an industry as a whole might be skewed towards one gender in particular. There is more going on at work than discriminatory hiring. For example, I don't think you can blame an elementary school for not hiring more male teachers, when 80% of all teachers employed in this profession are women. That men tend not to gravitate towards teaching, and that women tend not to gravitate towards software development is not the fault of a company looking to hire qualified employees. If you want to hire more women in software, then we need to address this at the educational level, and steer more women or minorities or anyone, into these professions by creating scholarship programs, etc.

I just think that, if anything, the City Council should instead be looking to improve the pathways to employment for city children, rather than play overseer and watchdog for private companies in the city. Have them spend their time addressing the school system so that we can find a niche for every student that goes through BPS to make sure that when Boston students graduate they are actually qualified to seek employment here in the city. Demanding private companies (or creating incentives to) hire people who may not be best qualified for the job just because of where they live is not the answer.

http://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/20LeadOcc_2012_txt.htm

http://www.dol.gov/wb/stats/Computer-information-technology.htm

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I just wanted to add that I recognize that my solution is infinitely more difficult to implement than just mandating that x% of employees will be Boston residents. But the best solution is often the one that is most difficult.

If you want to fix unemployment among residents in your district, you need to first make sure that the residents in your district are actually qualified to seek employment once they graduate. I'm not confident that BPS is currently providing them with the skills they need or support in finding jobs at all.

In case you disagree... http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/11/07/madison-park-broken/nZW9ml...

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Companies can't discriminate against people based on where they live. And people at different stages of life, and in different occupations, will have very different definitions of an appropriate place to live, so it could end up being legally actionable discrimination.

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Companies can't discriminate against people based on where they live.

Can you point out the law that states this? I had never heard this before.

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So if you are one of the "999" people with their medical records in the hands of a laptop thief, you won't mind?

(the point: transparency has limits - like, when it comes to your bathroom door)

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It's such a dumb idea that I couldn't even chuckle.

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This is going nowhere.

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A number of companies have been given tax breaks on specific grounds that they hire X number of people and I think in some cases a certain percentage of Boston residents. Start by following up on that - and be careful of "tricks". I saw at least one company buy another local company and then call them "new hires" - I don't think that's exactly what we meant.

Here are some places to start:

Liberty Mutual
State Street Bank
JP Morgan
Vertex

Among others...

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Most places are leasing office space, so how could the city be giving them tax breaks?

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These are companies which got tax breaks from the state and city by agreeing to certain hiring and staffing practices.

If you have not heard of this, you need to learn.

I can understand the city stipulating labor hires on city contracts, but the rest of this is pure baloney. Many companies locate centrally so that their workers can live where they want to or need to. The only cities that will benefit from this are Cambridge, Somerville, Medford, and Quincy.

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Friend of the mayor is negotiating a lease at say $50/sf. Prospective tenant only wants to pay $47 per sf. Developer doesn't qualify for the tax break for various legal/administrative reasons, so the tenant takes on the duty of paying taxes as part of the lease and applies for the break. Voila - they get the break netting their lease down to $47 instead of $50. The taxpayers pay for the developer's/friend of the mayor's discount and the donations to political and related charity accounts etc. keep flowing.

There are various employment conditions - but in my experience you are lucky if the company even fills out the follow-up paperwork on time - and nobody seems to check the details like checking the initial terms of the deal or confirming through W2s etc. how real all these people are. I recall seeing paperwork in one instance where it seemed they got their numbers by counting employees in an acquisition and another where they simply transferred employees from one office to another - but it's so obfuscated - and I don't exactly have subpoena power - so hard to tell.

Liberty Mutual got their breaks on property they owned. I think JPM and State Street got them on behalf of developers - not sure if Vertex owns or leases their building - and not as familiar with the terms of the breaks. There are probably dozens of these deals floating around the city in various forms.

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To process and count those results - at $100K per year.

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Mayor Walsh Reconstitutes the City of Boston Compensation Advisory Board
Appoints Five Members to Analyze Municipal Salary Adjustments
http://www.cityofboston.gov/news/default.aspx?id=16875

For Immediate Release
November 17, 2014
Released By:
Mayor's Office For More Information Contact:
Mayor's Press Office
617.635.4461
BOSTON—Today Mayor Martin J. Walsh announced five appointments to a reconstituted City of Boston Compensation Advisory Board.

“I have full confidence in the judgment and expertise of the members of this board,” said Mayor Martin J. Walsh. “They will look at every parameter affecting salaries for elected and appointed officials, to fulfill the public’s expectation of both top talent and sound fiscal management. Nobody wants to put public officials in the position of having to set and vote on their own salaries, least of all the officials themselves. A neutral and research-driven mechanism is essential. The Compensation Advisory Board was designed to provide this service and, reconstituted and re-empowered, that’s what it will provide.”

The Board will be tasked with ensuring that adjustments of salaries and expenses for the City of Boston are reinforced by data and strategic assessments. The Compensation Advisory Board will be tasked with reviewing the School Committee, the Mayor, members of Boards, Commissions, and Authorities, and City officers whose compensation is set or subject to approval by the Mayor and City Council and other senior municipal officials.
The strategic analysis conducted by the Compensation Advisory Board will include data gathered from other local municipalities and comparable cities across the nation. In an effort to establish long-term best practices and establish a comprehensive approach to all salary adjustment decisions for municipal officials not covered by collective bargaining agreements, this body will meet regularly and file an official report every two years.

“I am encouraged that the Mayor is reconstituting the Compensation Advisory Board and charging them with immediately addressing Council salaries, said Boston City Council President Bill Linehan. “While an ordinance will still be required to set salaries, I look forward to their report and will await their findings before taking further action. I am pleased with the selection of the members of the board and the Mayor’s willingness to include Council recommendations.”

“Ensuring that the City of Boston's employees and elected officials are receiving an appropriate salary that balances the great work that they do with the commitment to responsible spending for the taxpayers is of huge importance,” said Deborah Shah, Chair of the Board. “I'm honored to be appointed by Mayor Walsh as the Chair of the Board and I look forward to doing the kind of data-supported independent analysis that is crucial in providing insight to the City of Boston on appropriate compensation that will ensure Boston remains in the best possible position to attract and retain top talent and qualified leaders to serve the people of the City.”

The newly constituted Compensation Advisory Board’s first meeting is tentatively scheduled for November 24, 2014. Their first agenda item is to begin an expedited analysis to advise on any adjustments to City Council salaries. A report on City Council salaries is expected by February.

The members of the Compensation Advisory Board are as follows:

Deborah Shah served as Executive Vice President, Strategic Consulting, for Fidelity Investment's Brokerage Company. Shah was the President and Founder of Management Partners. For almost 20 years, she worked closely with senior managers dealing with organizational change and individual effectiveness. Her firm assisted some of the world's most important companies in planning and implementing major change efforts, including moves into new markets, turning around failing businesses, reorganizing and revitalizing staff, re-engineering key processes, and directing substantial shifts in corporate culture. Prior to founding Management Partners, Shah was the Director of Personnel for the National Broadcasting Company, where she was responsible for recruitment, compensation, organization design, performance management, and manpower planning. Before that she was in charge of management development, staffing, and training for Chase Manhattan Bank's Operations Division. She also served as Director of Mercatus LLC.

Attorney Michael Curry was elected President of the Boston Branch of the NAACP in November 2010, after over a decade of service. Since his election, more than 3,500 new members have joined the branch, monthly membership meetings are at capacity, and a younger generation of leaders has become active in the organization. He successfully executed a strategy to strengthen the influence and voice of the NAACP in the Greater Boston area by rebuilding partnerships and reengaging city officials. In February, Curry was elected to the NAACP National Board of Directors. Curry is also the Legislative Affairs Director and Senior Counsel for the Massachusetts League of Community Health Centers. In this role, Curry manages state and federal advocacy for the 49 community health centers throughout the Commonwealth, serving more than 850,000 patients in over 285 communities. Based on his work, he has been recognized locally and nationally for his leadership in health care policy and frequently requested as a panelist on the issue of health reform. Prior, Curry served as Senior Policy Advisor for Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts, where he worked on the passage of the 2006 landmark Massachusetts Health Care Reform law, as well as initiatives aimed at ending health disparities. He also has over 20 years of experience in community relations, public affairs and internal communications.

Carol Fulp is President and CEO of The Partnership, Inc., New England’s premier organization dedicated to leadership development and talent management solutions for professionals of color. Prior to her appointment to the Partnership, Fulp was the Senior Vice President of Corporate Responsibility and Brand Initiatives at John Hancock Financial. There she led the company’s $12 million philanthropic giving program and created the largest corporate summer jobs program of its kind in the country. Given her leadership in business and public service, President Obama appointed Fulp as a Representative of the United States of America to the Sixty-fifth Session of the United Nations General Assembly. Fulp is an appointed trustee of the University of the Virgin Islands, the Boston Public Library, and the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library Foundation. She also serves on the board of directors of American Student Assistance Corporation, the Women’s Leadership Board of the Harvard Kennedy School, and is the founding co-chair of the Massachusetts Conference for Women, the largest professional women’s conference in the country, attracting 7,000 attendees each year.

Amy E. Sheridan is a partner in the Tax Department of Sullivan & Worcester's Boston office. She concentrates her practice in the employee benefits and executive compensation area and is experienced in addressing documentation and compliance issues for welfare plans (including federal health care reform and HIPAA privacy and security requirements), qualified retirement plans and individual retirement accounts. She designs and reviews nonqualified deferred compensation arrangements, including for compliance with Internal Revenue Code Sections 409A and 457A. Ms. Sheridan is also experienced in analyzing ERISA prohibited transaction, fiduciary and reporting issues.

William F. Sinnott has nearly 30 years of legal experience as a line and supervisory municipal, state, and federal government attorney, as a successful private practitioner, and as a teacher and leader in the legal community. He advises and advocates for a diverse range of individuals and organizations including healthcare and pharmaceutical institutions and employees, contractors, universities, and government officers. Sinnott most recently served eight years as the Corporation Counsel of the City of Boston where he was head of the Law Department. In that capacity, he and his staff represented the City, the Mayor, the City Council, and all City Departments in all litigation and other legal matters. His law experience before that was principally as a prosecutor, including 11 years as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Boston, during a period of which he served as Chief of the New England Organized Crime Drug Enforcement Task Force. As an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Sinnott tried dozens of cases in federal court involving narcotics, gang, organized crime, weapons, and financial crime violations. While serving as a state prosecutor, Sinnott represented the Commonwealth in hundreds of matters before appellate and trial courts. As a private practitioner, Sinnott secured judgments totaling millions of dollars in several Superior Court trials. Bill has also had a distinguished military career spanning 32 years with the United States Marine Corps, from which he retired as a Colonel. This included active duty tours in Bosnia and Iraq, among other assignments.
http://www.cityofboston.gov/news/default.aspx?id=16875

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Knowing is better than not knowing, but this is dumb unless there's a provision that bars the city from punishing companies based upon their hiring practices. 67% of private sector workers in Boston, do so at a company that has 100+ employees - this is very, very valuable data. And put to good use, could be very effective for the city. I share everyone's fear of a shakedown, but I'm equally concerned with the idea of promoting ignorance for fear of an unknown.

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half a dozen of the other.

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Arguments over idioms are always vicious, bloody affairs. Have always said, and my family has always said, 6-to-1. Not that yours doesn't make sense, but I'm holding my ground on this.

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My family has shared funny and idiosyncratic malapropisms too, but we recognize them as such.

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After years of saying "so don't I" I'm pretty comfortably consigned to my fate. Sorta guaranteed I guess when you have a non-religious Yankee family that says "Oy vey" and "Jesus, Mary and Joseph" in the same sentence. At least "6-to-1" is 2/3rds correct.

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CLEARLY, family-based idioms are always correct. I mean that sincerely: what's more charming than the not-quite-standard sayings that pop up in every family? For instance, someone downthread says "What's that got to do with the price of tea in China?" In my family, it was "What's that got to do with the price of potatoes?"
I officially retract my correction & encourage you to say 6-to-1 to your heart's content. Peace, buddy.

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It's not an accurate comparison because "What's that got to do with the price of tea in China?" and "What's that got to do with the price of potatoes?" are both stand alone aphorisms, but "6 to one, half a dozen of the other" simply makes no sense when you are trying to indicate that two things are the same, i.e "6 of one" and "half a dozen of the other" are both SIX. "6 to 1" is a betting term.

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If someone wants to say 6 to 1, even knowing it's not what most people say, why fuss about it?
Oh, well, to each his zone.

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Regardless of the origin of "6 to" vs. "6 of" - I always understood it as "six to one side, half a dozen to the other" - which is both grammatically and semantically correct. But w/e, if it means so much to everyone, I'll start doing it your way.

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we stick to our ground, even when we know we're wrong. because wrong is just how things are done in our 'hood, and everyone else should accomodate us. now where's my five-month parking saver?

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What does that have to do with the price of tea in China? Knowing isn't better than not knowing on an issue that impacts nothing.

This is all around dumb. Why does it matter where employees reside? It's a free country and it's the worker's choice as to where they live. This is pure pandering to these politicians' districts that have higher than state average levels of unemployment. Stupid things like this sound like they're not a big deal, but it's one more thing a business has to do each year and they add up and make a place less enticing to businesses, especially small businesses, that make them want to move somewhere else. Politicians, on the whole, are idiots with no real-world experience!

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You've loaded yourself up with so many straw arguments it's hard to see why this wouldn't be useful to know. Somehow having this data publicly available condemns us to a slippery slope down to a dystopian Socialist tyranny? That sharing employment data with the City will cause companies to leave? What? That somehow small businesses are pulled into this when the post explicitly states that it only concerns companies with 100+ employees? This is just lazy, empty posturing over some far-off existential threat.

Why is this data useful? Well if you know that the healthcare industry, which is the largest employer in the city of Boston at around 127,000 people hires people primarily from outside the city, its useful. You can then talk about implementing targeted programs in the schools, job-training programs for communities with high unemployment so that they have the skills to apply for jobs in the largest industry in Boston. That's just one use, but this isn't about big brother stealing all your information and then blackmailing your employer if you live in the suburbs. Get over yourself.

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I've worked in big name financials where almost all of the IT heavy lifting was done by W2 or 1099 contractors who actually worked for body shops. So the employer of record for these "Boston" workers was an outfit our of Peabody or Stoneham or where ever.

How are they going to handle that?

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So by knowing which companies are hiring Boston residents and what race/gender they are...that somehow helps the unemployed others?

This is bad logic. To say, for example, that white women are "underemployed" by large companies in the city does not mean that white women are not employed by small businesses, or outside of Boston, or ANY other combination of things. You can't draw conclusions based on the data that you don't collect. If company X has 100 employees and they are all black men under 30, you can't conclude that the city needs to help boost hiring for more people who are not black men under 30.

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Tito and Yancey simple want to know where a black man with no experience outside of politics makes the most amount of money. You know, after they get shit-canned for their self imposed raises.

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1. Gets job
2. Does well, gets raises, promotions perhaps (or changes jobs to move up)
3. Moves somewhere more convenient;
OR
4. Pairs off with other human, acquires children, buys house in place with what they consider good schools, or closer to where family moved, etc.

How many people who would show up in the suburbs as of when their company filled out these reports were people who lived in Boston when hired and then moved out? Is it fair to say a company "isn't hiring Boston residents" if they are hiring them and then they take their nice paychecks and move?

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Why doesn't the City Council find out where all the City employees live. Especially the ones using fake addresses.

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lawyers smile.

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This is classic Yancey. I love the idea that there is discrimination in hiring if the number of workers doesn't mirror the racial breakdown in Boston. I am as big of a lefty and progressive as you'll find. BUT----if a firm is predominately white, it is probably more likely to do with differing level of educational attainment by racial group than it has to do with raw discrimination. Is that to say that there is no discrimination in hiring? No. But, a lot of the places these guys want to hammer on require specific college degrees to do work. College attainment rates are dramatically different between whites and Asians and blacks/AA and Hispanics.

This is just like the time Felix Arroyo and Yancey tried to criticize BPS for being a school system of predominately black and Latino children, but having very few black and Latino teachers. However, they completely ignored the pipeline issue. In particular, the real criticism of BPS should be that it is not training black and Latino children well enough to excel in college...so they can be teachers of the next generation , not that aren't hiring enough black/AA and Hispanic teachers.

And...labor markets are regional. People from Boston also work outside of the city. I guess it would be okay for firms in Somerville to fire Bostonian residents for not meeting their residency requirements, right? No. That wouldn't be okay, Chuck?

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the irrelevant's man irrelevant man.

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