Abortion ruling thrusts companies into divisive arena – Honolulu, Hawaii

Honolulu, Hawaii 2022-06-25 18:28:00 –

The Supreme Court’s decision to end the country’s constitutional protection against abortion has pushed all types of businesses into the most divisive part of politics.

When Judge Samuel Alito’s draft opinion was leaked to Politico, some companies that remained silent last month made their first statement on Friday. abortion.

Facebook’s parent companies Meta, American Express, Bank of America and Goldman Sachs have also said they will pay for their employees’ travel expenses, and other companies such as Apple, Starbucks, Lyft and Yelp have repeated previous announcements that they have taken similar steps. rice field. Outdoor clothing maker Patagonia posted on LinkedIn on Friday, offering “training and bail for those who peacefully protest reproductive justice,” and providing a vacation to vote.

But of the dozens of big companies the Associated Press contacted on Friday, many of them, including McDonald’s, PepsiCo, Coca-Cola, General Motors, Tyson, and Marriott, didn’t respond. Arkansas-based Wal-Mart, the country’s largest employer with most of its stores in the state that enforces abortion bans shortly after Friday’s Supreme Court ruling, was also silent.

Meanwhile, the Business Roundtable, an organization that represents some of the country’s most powerful companies, said it “has no position on the merits of the proceedings.”

Many companies are at stake, many pledged to promote women’s equality and progress in the workplace. For people in states with restricted abortion laws, they can now face the major challenge of attracting college-educated workers who can easily move around.

Luis von Ahn, CEO of the language app Duolingo, sent a tweet on Friday to lawmakers in Pennsylvania, where the company is headquartered. Expand your office to other locations. “

The tech boom in places like Austin, Texas has made it difficult for companies like Dell, who are already flexible in remote work due to tight labor markets, to hire new graduate technicians. Therefore, the decision to ban Austin and future patchwork also pose a threat. Professor Stephen Pedigo, a professor of economic development at the University of Texas at Austin, said he was a corporate hub.

“Would you like to go to New York, Seattle, or the Bay Area instead of staying in Austin? I think that’s a real possibility,” Pedigo said. “It’s much harder, especially if you’re looking at the young, progressive workforce that tends to be tech workers.”

Emily M. Dickens, chief of staff at the Human Resources Management Association and head of government affairs, said in a statement that nearly a quarter of recent poll organizations traveled elsewhere for reproductive medicine. He said he agreed to provide a medical savings account to cover the issue. States strengthen their ability to compete for talent.

“But it’s unclear how these policies interact with state law, and employers need to be aware of the legal risks involved,” she said.

Dickens said companies that use third-party managers to process claims (usually large companies) are subject to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, not state law. However, companies that have to purchase their own health insurance for their employees (usually small businesses) are subject to state regulation and are less flexible in designing benefits.

Companies may also be targeted by anti-abortion lawmakers if they offer to cover their travel expenses. In March, Republican State Representative Briscoe Cain said he would propose a law prohibiting local governments in the state from doing business with companies that provide travel benefits to employees seeking abortion, and eliminated them from Citigroup. I sent a letter of action.

In his consent, released Friday, Judge Brett Kavanaugh suggested that it was unconstitutional for the state to ban residents from traveling to another state to have an abortion.

“In my view, the answer is not based on the constitutional right to interstate highways,” Kavanaugh wrote.

However, the right of companies to fund illegal activities in other states remains questionable, says Teresa Collet, a law professor at St. Thomas University.

“It’s not an interstate commerce issue in itself,” she said. “Therefore, we need a proper plaintiff.”

Meanwhile, tech companies are faced with tough questions about what to do if some of the millions of US customers are charged with abortion. Services such as Apple, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft regularly deliver the digital data required by law enforcement agencies conducting criminal investigations. This has raised concerns from privacy advocates about the use of apps, phone location data, and other sensitive online health information for abortion law enforcement.

A letter from four Democrats in Congress on Friday called on the Federal Trade Commission to investigate Google and Apple’s phone tracking practices, and the location ID used in the ad was “trying to hunt down women. It could fall into the hands of prosecutors and prize earners. ” Have had or are seeking an abortion. “

Supreme Court decisions occur when businesses become increasingly dependent on women to carry out their jobs, especially when women are facing a national labor shortage. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women now make up almost 50% of the US workforce, a dramatic increase from 37.5% in 1970.

Denying access to abortion can have the greatest impact on low-income workers. That’s because they usually do less-protected jobs and are more demanding, from loading groceries on store shelves to working as health assistants.

“As a direct result of this ruling, more women will be forced to choose between paying rent or traveling long distances to receive safe abortion care,” said nearly 2 million people. Mary Kay Henry, Representative International President of Service Employees International Union, said. U.S. caretakers, health care workers, teachers “Working women are already suffering from poorly paid jobs without paid leave, and many are responsible for family care. They are usually unpaid.”

Sara Nelson, president of the Flight Attendants Association, told The Associated Press that the ruling was “catastrophic.”

“It’s at the heart of all the work our union has done for 75 years,” she said. “This decision is not about whether someone supports abortion. It’s a distraction … it’s about whether we respect women’s rights to determine their future.”

Maurice Schweitzer, a professor at the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania, said a few companies are in favor of the court’s ruling because customers and employees are expecting to speak.

“We are at this moment when we expect corporate leaders to be political leaders as well,” he said. “Many employees not only reward them well, but also expect to work for a company whose values ​​are in line with their values.”

However, he said, the majority of executives are likely to avoid nasty topics and focus on things like inflation and supply chain disruptions.

That also comes with risks.

“They can support travel for out-of-state care and risk proceedings and the anger of local politicians, or they cannot endanger the anger of employees, including this report.” Schweizer said.

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