Skip to comments.Apple, Rehabilitate Thyself
Posted on 04/07/2015 3:31:43 PM PDT by Kaslin
Just last month, Apple chief executive Tim Cook made headlines when he wrote a piece in The Washington Post, panning Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoration Act as "very dangerous." Apple, Cook wrote, does not believe in discrimination and strives to "do business in a way that is just and fair." This month, the San Francisco Chronicle's Wendy Lee reported, Apple fired some construction workers at Apple Campus 2 in January because they had been convicted of felonies or face felony charges. Just and fair? Hardly.
Apple would not respond on the record, but someone familiar with the matter said the Apple policy affects only ex-offenders convicted of felonies in the past seven years. The person said that the corporation reviews pending charges and does not automatically discharge those facing prosecution and that the policy exists to promote quality and safety.
Pat Nolan, a former GOP California lawmaker who pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges, now pushes for criminal justice reform for the American Conservative Union. Nolan told me the policy is "baffling," given that Apple likes to style itself as a "progressive" employer. (I should mention that in 1987, I worked for Nolan.) "Construction work is one of the few types of jobs that ex-offenders can typically get," he said. "They're willing to work hard. They put in the long hours necessary."
Apple has not alleged that any of the fewer than five workers let go were not pulling their weight on the job. "Think what that does to somebody who's kept their nose clean," Nolan added. These guys did everything right, and it still wasn't enough. Now they cannot support their families.
Nolan agreed that there are jobs from which employers might reasonably bar ex-cons. Most businesses, for example, would not want to hire check kiters to operate cash registers. You don't want convicted child molesters working in public schools. Nolan thinks private employers should be able to tailor employment policies to keep certain offenders from sensitive jobs.
But in this case, Iron Workers Local 377 President Michael Theriault explained, "we haven't had a real explanation as to why the policy is there in the first place. We have no idea what they're afraid of." I tried, but Apple was its usual secretive self.
Liberals who want to outlaw employers from asking about criminal records, I think, are not looking at the full public-safety picture. Me, I could support a tech firm's decision not to hire identity thieves for jobs that would give them access to proprietary information. But as Mindy Kener of the Anders & Anders Foundation, which helps ex-cons find good jobs, noted, "there's nothing proprietary about putting in rebar or cement."
Theriault noted that though Apple may have canned only a few construction workers, that tells other ex-cons they need not apply for a bite at the Apple.
Even some law-and-order types are appalled. Michael Rushford of the pro-enforcement Criminal Justice Legal Foundation told me that when an ex-con has paid his dues, "give him a chance to work." Construction provides good jobs for ex-offenders hungry for a second chance. When these guys turn around their lives, everyone wins. "What's he going to do," Rushford asked about a fired ex-con, "steal the cement?"
I guess some ex-cons are upset about not working there anymore ... :-) ...
I understand from people I know in the justice system that it is difficult for ex-cons to get just any job, being convicted of a felony, relatively recently. But, that’s just the way it goes. A lot of people don’t want them around, and they don’t have to take them. They’ll just need to put a few years between the felonies and “now”. Once they have proven themselves over a period of time, then things will get better for them.
AND ... for Swordmaker ... I don’t know whether this is worthy of the list or not. You can take a look ... :-) ...
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What is the answer? Keep them locked up for life?
No, not lock them up for life ... all I’m saying is that because of their actions, they’re going to have a MORE DIFFICULT TIME than others in society would have ... and it simply goes with the territory. They have to accept that, as there is no other way around it.
Once having said that, then whatever help they can be given in FINDING a job should be done. They’ve done it to themselves.
I have worked with a lot of ex-cons, since I founded and ran an emergency Food Bank for 26 years. . . which attracts the dregs of society as well as those who are just temporarily down. Many of the ex-cons were hard working volunteers at the Food Bank and many would steal the food if you turned your back on them. Some of them were trustworthy enough to watch the others. Some I could trust to drive the bag of cash donations to the bank. . . another you can't leave a dime laying on the desk without knowing it would be gone when he walked by. Anything not nailed down disappeared. . . but a most was not stolen by cons. It was stolen be average people.
When I was remodeling the office, I had purchased three ceiling fans and brought them in from my car and put them in my office. . . I turned around and a heavy woman was balancing them on her shoulders heading out the door. I asked where she was going with them. "I gots these free inside! They gaves them to me, cause I needs them!" I told here they weren't there for clients and she argued with me that a worker had given them to her. . . "Cause ev'ry body know that you c'n gets stuffs free here!" I collected my ceiling fans back from her and told her she was banned from the Food Bank not even food help for three months. A week later she came back and asked to see me. . . and confessed that she was stealing them and begged forgiveness. Surprisingly, she wound up one of our best volunteers!
That’s a cool story, Swordmaker. Nice to hear that bit of your life.
Wait until the press learns the cons were all engaging in homosexual while in prison — heads will explode!
Wonderful story! Good for you and for her for turning her life around.
(The Apple naysayers are looking for anything to smear Apple as being less than perfect.)
Based on the bigotry that Apple’s CEO showed Christians (he doesn’t want them to be able to even defend themselves in court using freedom of conscience as a defense), my well of sympathy for them is totally dry. They’re not worthy of me lifting a finger to defend them until they dump their bigoted CEO. Which they won’t.
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