Business As Usual? How 8 Anti-Gay Companies Are Measuring Up
We told you about Exxon/Mobil’s recent, serial vote against the gays, when for the fourteenth year straight, shareholders refused to adopt formal protections for LGBT employees. They say they don’t discriminate and never would, unless you count not offering benefits to same sex spouses. Gotcha.
With that in mind we thought it might be a good time to check in with the rest of corporate America to see how they’re doing and the answer is: pretty good! According to the Human Rights Campaign Corporate Equality Index 2013, 99% of major businesses prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, 89% offer domestic partner benefits, and a healthy 80% demonstrate a public commitment to the LGBT community. Nice stats!
Click through to find out which anti-gay companies are cleaning up their acts and which ones are just rolling around in their own corporate filth…
2012 was a rotten year for Chick-fil-A, right? CEO Dan Cathy came out against gay marriage, there were boycotts and protests, and late-night comedy jokes, PETA got in on the act, and the company’s sales went up 12%. Wait, what? Any press is good press? Or that chicken is just addicting? Or God really does prefer Chick-fil-A Waffle Potato Fries over fags?
But for every new store that opens there seems to be another that’s shut out of more responsible communities and that’s a good thing. And with C-F-A so inextricably associated with marriage bigotry, even as America embraces marriage equality like never before, their prospects over the long term don’t look good, however many free sandwiches they hand out. And honestly, we’ve had their chicken and it’s not that great.
A few years ago we told you about the discriminatory policies of Brown Forman, a Fortune 1000 company that distributes Jack Daniels, Southern Comfort, Finlandia Vodkas, Fetzer Wines, and Korbel Champagne among other brands. Soon after, we got word from the company’s flak they had changed course:
[quote]“Brown-Forman began offering domestic partner benefits in January 2009, amended our EEO policy to include gender identity or expression and have created a GLBT Resource Group, among other GLBT efforts.”
Well done, BF! We may now belly up to the bar for that Jack and Coke without reservation.
In 2008, theater chain Cinemark made news when then-CEO and LDS member Alan Stock donated the maximum allowable to the Yes on 8 campaign barring same sex marriage in California. Biopic Milk was coming out at the same time, providing a high-profile protest opportunity for gay marriage advocates and a bunch of bad press for Cinemark. Since then, Stock is out, the COO who had to clean up his mess is in, and the company now offers domestic partner benefits. Progress.
You probably missed it but the Memphis Gay & Lesbian Community Center had a Business Professional Meet & Greet a few weeks ago at the Hilton and AutoZone was there! So we can report some limited progress for the self-described “Autozoners,” including offering domestic partner benefits — but only in California where it’s mandated by law; and only to new hires, or previous hires at the next open enrollment, probably in November this year.
But you’d know that, Autozoner, if you were there at the Memphis meet and greet — except no benefits for you in Tennessee, or anywhere else, really, except the Golden State. The HRC Index ranks them at 15 for their non-discrimination policy, so there’s that. But Pep Boys gets a 65, so you decide. In the meantime, there’s this amusing AutoZone/Boyzone “collision” from a few years ago (see link).
[bold]Wal-Mart and Exxon/Mobil[/bold]
It’s a happy fact that the higher a company ranks on Fortune magazine’s list of the most successful businesses, the more likely it is to rank high on the HRC Index, with two major exceptions. Wal-Mart and Exxon/Mobil have traded the top spot on the Fortune 10 for the last several years, but neither offers domestic partner benefits. In spite of that, Wally World manages to earn a 60 on the Index with a limited prohibition of discrimination based on sexual orientation, among other criteria.
As for Exxon/Mobil? Try the only company to receive a negative score on the HRC Index — despite the fact that nine out of ten Fortune 10 companies prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, six prohibit discrimination based on gender identity and eight provide partner health benefits. Exxon/Mobil chart their own course, we guess, like a tanker wandering aimlessly through Prince William Sound.
(there are of course OTHER reasons to boycott both of these, if their anti-gay policies aren't enough)
If you’re conflicted about Domino’s, well so were we. On one greasy, cheese-covered hand there’s the chain’s founder, Tom Monaghan, a devout Roman Catholic, who has used his pizza megaphone to undermine “immoral” Obamacare and finance a 2001 ballot initiative to remove sexual orientation from a Michigan town’s discrimination ordinance. On the other are pizza drones and moon pizza.
Then last year we shared a letter from the pizza chain’s VP Communications Tim McIntyre, who brought us up to date on his version of all things Domino’s:
[quote]“Mr. Monaghan… sold Domino’s Pizza in 1998. [We have] a large number of gay and lesbian employees, franchise owners and executives in our company, including two vice presidents. We recently began providing benefits to all married couples, same-sex or otherwise. What Mr. Monaghan stands for and does is his business, but he does not represent Domino’s Pizza.”
Still, the HRC Index ranks the restaurant chain at just a 35, so we suggest a pizza summit to give everyone a chance to further explain themselves and we like sausage and pepperoni.
Another big company, another big opportunity for a conservative CEO to advance his own social agenda. Such was the case of Richard Hayne, 262nd richest man in America and founder of Urban Outfitters with his (now) ex-wife in 1970. A native of Pennsylvania, Hayne was a regular contributor to Senator Rick Santorum (of the frothy mix) and then got his company some bad press when a t-shirt advocating same-sex marriage (completely the Urban Outfitters M.O.) was pulled from shelves in the heat of the Prop 8 campaign.
Since then the company wised-up and teamed with the National Center for Lesbian Rights and Equality California to make pro-marriage equality unisex tees with profits going to support, well, marriage equality. Smart, we said, but still, they only rate a 15 on the HRC Index for their policy of non-discrimination. No benefits for same-sex partners after the t-shirt business? That’s more irritating than a cheap poly-cotton blend.
Exxon easily wins the title again, but Chick-Fil-A is gaining on them.
Don't forget about JM Smuckers.
That's awesome that so many of these companies now offer same-sex benefits.
[quote]If you’re conflicted about Domino’s, well so were we
It takes Queerty 15 years to discover that the bigot sold the business in 1998? This has probably been mentioned in every gay boycott thread ever posted since that time.
[quote](there are of course OTHER reasons to boycott both of these, if their anti-gay policies aren't enough)
Yes! Probably any issue you could think of would put them in last place.
I don't think anything could get me to eat at either Chick-Fil-A or Pappa John's again. Ever.
I used to drink Jack Daniels straight in high school, and remember it being a pretty pleasant experience, like it's designed to be drank straight. I was going to try it again, now looks like I've waited long enough for the company to get gay-friendly too.
Interesting graph of businesses that bad-mouthed ObamaCare ... their profits tumbling after doing so:
Queerty is really pathetic with this. First, it takes them years to finally realize the homophobe who founded Domino's Pizza left that company in the last century. Then they attempt to paint the hate-monger at Chick-fil-A as nearly bankrupt when the company’s sales went up 12%. The Fundie KKKristians are filling the bank accounts of that jackass.
What about companies such as Nike, Microsoft, Starbucks, Apple, that have a good reputation for treating LGBT people equally but treating workers in general like shit?
Should we speak out about low wages, sweatshops and union busting even if the company respects the LGBT community?
Should we let these CEOs on the boards of gay rights organizations? If the companies and executives get praise from the LGBT community, doesn't that legitimize their exploitation of labor -- whitewash them?
Starbucks does not treat their workers like shit, R16. WTF are you talking about? Even in California which has a higher minimum wage than any other state, their starting pay is higher than the minimum wage. Their dental insurance is wonderful (I know). And they provide benefits to gay partners of their employees.
Fortune magazine picked Starbucks as one of the top 100 companies to work for in 2013.
You might google for Starbucks' employees reactions.
Here are a couple.
"Business Insider editor Aimee Groth recently described a three-week gig she had working as a Starbucks barista in Brooklyn last spring.
While the work environment was far from a slave camp, it certainly was grueling. Starbucks baristas, Aimee reported, get only two 10-minute breaks in an 8-hour shift, along with another 30-minute break that is unpaid. They're also on their feet all day, wearing dorky hats and aprons, and rushing to serve demanding customers with exacting standards for their lattes and frappucinos.
Although being a barista is obviously not a "high-skill" job — you don't need a PhD or extensive training or accreditation to do it — it doesn't sound much less-skilled than a repetitive manufacturing job. And while everyone is quick to condemn manufacturing "sweatshops" in which workers toil all day for low pay, many sweatshops do have an advantage over Starbucks working conditions in that you get to sit down and that you don't have to interact with annoying customers.
And how much does Starbucks pay its baristas for this work?
Aimee was paid $10 an hour.
￼That wage, she was told, was higher than her fellow entry-level baristas, so she was urged not to talk about it. It was also higher than entry-level wages at other Starbucks around the country.
Now, $10 an hour is certainly better than America's "minimum wage" of about $7 an hour. But it still amounts to an annual salary — just under $22,000 — that is below the poverty line.
And elsewhere in the country, apparently, Starbucks' baristas are paid significantly less than in Brooklyn, making Starbucks' front-line customer-serving employees officially poor."
From the UK:
"Starbucks is cutting paid lunch breaks, sick leave and maternity benefits for thousands of British workers, sparking fresh anger over its business practices.
On the day the House of Commons' public accounts committee branded the US coffee chain's tax avoidance practices "immoral", baristas arriving for work were told to sign revised employment terms, which include the removal of paid 30-minute lunch breaks and paid sick leave for the first day of illness. Some will also see pay increases frozen." -- The Guardian
Workers at Starbucks have a harder time making the hours necessary to get health insurance than workers at WalMart one analyst reported.
No multi-billion dollar company that pays minimum wage, or anything close to minimum wage is treating its workers fairly. None.
In any case, that does not answer my question: "If a company treats its workers poorly, should it still get the support of the GLBT community for work on GLBT issues?
Another way of saying it: "Is the GLBT struggle one for human rights or for gay rights?"
[quote]And how much does Starbucks pay its baristas for this work? Aimee was paid $10 an hour. That wage, she was told, was higher than her fellow entry-level baristas, so she was urged not to talk about it. It was also higher than entry-level wages at other Starbucks around the country.
Not to change the subject, but what about the tips? I see a lot of cash going into those cups, and I assume it's divided, right?
Gays should ban all inhumane companies like Starbucks and make it public that they are doing so.
There should be LGBT protests in front of all inhumane businesses, including Walmart, Starbucks, and all others.
This is why gays should not eat fast food either, unless these businesses pay a higher wage and provide benefits.
Gays can lead the country this way, garnering respect from all people and improving the lives of millions.