.. f Prop. 209 permits gender discrimination that is “reasonably necessary” to the “normal operation” of public education, employment and contracting. In 1998, The ban on use of affirmative action in admissions at the University of California went into effect. UC Berkeley had a 61% drop in admissions, and UCLA had a 36% decline.
This decline strengthens the position of the Pro side of affirmative action. However, a contingency plan has been established. According to a source (who asked to remain nameless), UC Berkeley has a program to actively recruit more minority students that falls out of the guidelines established by prop. 209. These types of “loop holes” can ultimately hurt the various studies on the effectiveness of anti-affirmative action laws. LOOPHOLES “Loop holes” are exceptions to the rules or standards.
Its a way around the system. Opponents for affirmative action might feel that the Washington State government utilized such a “loop hole” in 1997. Under an affirmative action program criticized as the ultimate example of preferential treatment by supporters against affirmative action, the Washington State government hired more white men than African Americans did or any other minority group. In fact, white men fell second to white women being hired (Brune). The program in question is Washington States “plus three” program, according to Tom Brune of the Seattle Times, “allows the state to hire people who qualify for affirmative action over finalists with higher job-test scores. White men qualify because the states affirmative action policy cover not only people of color and women, but also Vietnam-era veterans, disabled veterans and people with disabilities. Majority of the veterans are white men and nearly half of them are disabled in the State of Washington”.
Another example of how affirmative action works for the disadvantaged can be found in Hayward, California. Bonnie Kellogg was admitted into the governments Small Business Administration program that gives her company competitive advantages in its quest for government and large corporate contracts. Prior to 1995, Kelloggs chances of getting into this program, officially known as the 8(a) Business Development program, would have been slim to none. However, in 1995 court ruling stemming from a law suit by a white business owner alleging “reverse discrimination” relaxed government standards. This ruling as allow for whites, Egyptians and Iranians, who fall outside the SBAs minority designation easier access to the program. This relaxation of the rules as helped non-minorities business owners greatly. Report K. Oanh Ha of the Knight Rider Tribune finds a, a big statistical change. From 1968 until mid-1998, only 40 businesses owned by whites and non-minorities out of 13,400 firms nationally were admitted, were admitted into the 8(a) program.
So far this year, 74 non-minority companies have been admitted. (1999) SENORITY Seniority must be examined because in my opinion it is the most widely used preferential treatment policy in the American workplace? With affirmative action being view as preference by many Americans and seniority being an unchallenged “rule-of-thumb.” In an article by Paul Rockwell he explains, “The seniority system may be legitimate, but it is no less preferential in its execution than affirmative action. When layoffs take place by seniority, many highly skilled women, many well-qualified people of color, among others, are bumped out of their jobs by less qualified older white males. In a seniority system, the last hired is the first fired, whether the employee is more skilled and competent than an employee protected by seniority. (1999).” Richard Lester, author of Manpower Planning, believes that seniority places less qualified employees ahead of employees who are often better educated, more skilled in computers. Arthur Whitehill & Shin Ichi Takezawa in Work Ways, concluded the same thoughts “Younger worker in some cases are more competent than older workers because of [them being} better education, greater adaptability and physical fitness.” The public sector and much of the private sector have recognized seniority for quite sometime. We can find this system practiced by older teachers at various universities who are often protected by tenure. Professor Daniel Barber has even stated in candid conversion that when he was the department chair for the Master of Public Administration he took care of the tenured faculty first.
Knowing this, why do Opponents of affirmative action, have appeared to be, judgmental of about so-called “merit” and “preference”, why isnt there the same concern about the biggest workplace exception to strict meritocracy Seniority? Seniority is yet another way to protect the “good o boys networks”. Found in many of the historically white male dominated professions, for example, Firefighters, police, school superintendents, and college professors. Coming from a public sector background (Disabled Army War Veteran, Bureau of Prisons office administrator, Department of Veterans Affairs administrator, and to many federal internships to count) I support the seniority system in those places where affirmative action is still in place. Workplace should reflect the diversity of the community it serves, seniority is a fair system of labor management relations. Seniority gives employees for the personnel problems and private preferences of an employer. However, seniority is a widely used exception to strict merit system only if the workplace is democratic and applied with affirmative action the workplace can become more inclusive. Where affirmative action is repealed, seniority loses some of its legitimacy. I argue that only loses some of its legitimacy because I personally was retained as an employee in a seniority situation. I was the last hired but I was not fired.
In short, the scope of seniority and affirmative action are similar. The goal of seniority is job security and affirmative action is integration; both goals are good for America. The American labor movement has a major stake in seniority. The movement should embrace affirmative action because in good conscience it should not take advantage of one and not honor the other. Basically, benefiting for seniority practices but opposing affirmative action for others.
If affirmative action is repealed, seniority should go as well. Labor unions and movements should concentrate on saving affirmative action. At a time when all progressive social policies are under attack, unity between women, labor, and people of color is imperative. Seniority and affirmative action should stand or fall together. CONCLUSION Ultimately, the controversy surrounding affirmative action programs today will continue into the future. Society as a whole does not appear to be ready to relinquish its negative perception of the hiring practices brought about by Title VII. However, the benefits brought about this act has greatly increased the opportunity for women and minorities in employment that may not have otherwise been available.
These programs have offered hope to some if not all-socioeconomic groups that they will be afforded the opportunity of equal employment and/or representation in our society. Furthermore, human resource departments in the public sector will have to become more skilled in implementing positive affirmative action programs if we are to reap the full benefits from them. Finally, Affirmative action is not a cure-all. It will not eliminate racial discrimination, nor will it eliminate competition for scare resources. Affirmative action programs can only ensure that everyone has a fair chance at what is available. They cannot direct us to the social policies necessary so people do not have to compete for scarce resources in the first place. The larger question to ask is why are there not enough decent paying, challenging and safe jobs for everyone? Why are there not enough seats in the universities for everyone who wants an education? Expanding opportunity for people of color means expanding not only their access to existing jobs & education, but also removing the obstacles that cause these resources to be limited. Bibliography Bergmann, Barbara (1997). In Defense of Affirmative Action: New York: Sage Publications, Inc.
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