Box 15, Folder 1, Document 94

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- ‘ tthe aay

‘When the riots occurred, we
re-examined what we were
doing to see if we were
doing enough — and we're
still looking for new ways
to help’
Radio Corp. of America
“Businessmen who didn’t
recognize it before are aware
that the Negro's troubles
cannot be ignored and
expected to melt away’
James B. Ammon
Baxter Laboratories, Inc.
‘The thinking of
businessmen regarding
hiring practices has taken
a new twist... They're going
into the ghettos to hire
Pittsburgh manufacturer

‘We will do everything in our
power to liberalize screening
and testing methods’
Raymond T. Perring
Detroit Bank & Trust Co.
“We would think twice about
putting up a store ina
Negro neighborhood’

Florida grocery chain

‘Riots are going to occur
until there's visible evidence
of improvement... but you
can't get any solutions in a
riotous atmosphere’
Reed O. Hunt
Crown Zellerbach Corp.
“We've been breaking our
backs for several years to
get jobs for Negroes, Now
with all the demonstrations,
business might just decide
to rest on its oars’

Milwaukee executive

194 Cities



October 21, 1967

Summer’s backlash:
more job programs

In wake of riots, business takes a second look at the Negro
job problem. Companies are accelerating current
programs, initiating new ones, and revising hiring policies

What did business learn from the
riots that erupted in over 70 Ameri-
can cities last summer?

When Business Week reporters
talked to top executives last week
they found:

« There’s little sign of a corporate
backlash on civil rights programs.

# The riots have spurred a broad
cross-section of companies, particu-
larly large national concerns, to ac-
celerate programs or to initiate new

= Other companies are taking a
second look at their own policies
and those of local and federal agen-
cies. Their concern allays the fears
of some observers after the riots
that business would pull back from
civil rights efforts out of disillusion-
ment or fear of financial risk.

James B. Ammon, vice-president
and treasurer of Baxter Laboratorics,
Inc., says: “I think the riots have
made businessmen realize that the
Negro’s problems will be more of a
factor in our society and businesses
in the future, not less of a one... If
we don’t develop programs today,
we just won’t have as many options
five years from now.”

William F.X. Flynn, who heads
the National Assn. of Manufacturers’
STEP (Solutions To Employment
Problems) program, concurs. Flynn
and his staff collect and circulate
case histories of corporate and com-
munity action programs to_ inter-
ested companies. “After the sit-
uation this summer . . . we found
companies impatient to move faster.”

And a California industrialist
minces no words: “Perhaps riots
help more at some stages in the evo-
lution of this thing than they hurt.
How the devil do you get 200-million
people to wake up?”

New trend. Such words obviously
would disconcert many businessmen
who feel they were facing up to the
problem long before the riots. But
the fact that business has stepped
up its efforts in the wake of the sum-

mer’s violence appears wndeniable.

The Urban Coalition is just one
sign. The new national advisory
group includes such top business
names as Chase Manhattan’s David
Rockefeller, Andrew Heiskell of
Time, Inc., Litton Industries’ Roy
Ash, and General Electric’s Gerald
L. Phillippe. The group is not only
preparing task force reports on ur-
ban problems, but has backed such
legislative programs as the Clark-
Javits proposal to create 1-million
fobs for ghetto residents. It is alsa

elping to blueprint some 50 loca!
urban coalitions.

At least three such groups havc
already been set up—the New De.
troit Committee headed by Josepl
L. Hudson, Jr., of J. L. Hudson Co.
the New York Coalition led by Chris.
tian Herter, Jr., vice-president ol
Mobil Oil, and a statewide coalition
in Minnesota.

The Detroit group (whose mem.-
bers include Ford Motor’s Henry
Ford II, General Motors’ James M,
Roche, and Chrysler’s Lynn Town-
send) hasn’t wasted any time. Meet-
ing with Michigan Governor George
Romney last week, it called for pas-
sage of a statewide open housing
law—unquestionably the most pow-
erful support such legislation has
ever had in the state.

Such groups, of course, are merely
advisory in nature, and the big ques-
tion is whether in the long run they
will generate more than sound and
fury. For the present, it’s clear that
business thinking has taken a sig-
nificant new turn. As one observer
comments: “Industry is no longer
content to play follow the leader on
urban problems. It is moving ahead
itself, drawing on its own resources.”

Other action. This heightened con-
cern is reflected not only in the in-
surance industry's announced inten-
tion to put $1-billion into slum
renewal, but in a spate of local pro-
grams surfacing since last summer:

® In Pittsburgh, some 19 corpora-

Business Week October 21, 1967

October 21, 1967

tions have contributed $1.4-million
to sect up Allegheny Housing Reha-
bilitation Corp., which will buy and
renovate old houses in ghetto areas
and sell them back to ghetto resi-
dents. With a goal of $3-million, the
organization hopes to renovate more
than 1,000 housing units a year.

s A major corporation is now com-
leting plans to construct a manu-
acturing facility within the ghetto
area of a Midwestern city.

= In Tampa, the city and General
Telephone of Florida have set
up a Community Relations Council
headed by Negro businessman James
A. Hammond. Dozens of graduates
of the council's training courses have
found jobs.

= In Baltimore, over 1,000 ghetto

residents were hired in a crash em-
ployment program that was initiated
last August by companies in the
# In Cleveland, five banks and six
companies put up $400,000 for a re-
volving fund for slum rehabilitation
projects. Negro candidate for mayor,
Carl B. Stokes, comments: “Frankly,
I don’t know what the motivation is,
fear or genuine social concern, or
both. But the important thing is
that business is becoming more in-

The list is endless. In cities across
the nation—St. Louis, San Fran-
cisco, Camden, Wilmington, Denver
—new programs are being mapped
out, old efforts intensified. In Detroit
for example, between 7,000 and 10,-
000 ghetto residents have been hired
by the auto companies since the
riots. “The jobs were there before,”
says an observer, “but communica-
tions with the community were
poor.” In upstate New York, Roches-
ter Jobs, Inc., an agency that started
functioning just last July, has already
found over 400 entry-level jobs for
slum dwellers.

All of this apparently reflects con-
siderable soul-searching at the high-
est corporate levels. Understandably,
most companies are reluctant to dis-
cuss such matters. “We've learned
not to talk about any progress we've
made,” says one man. “No one wants
to admit they haven’t been doing all
they can.” But Ford Motor Co.'s
creation of a top-level department
of urban affairs is indicative of the
new mood.

Hiring reforms. One area in which
corporate thinking is shifting is in
hiring practices, Eoqnnents e em-
ployee relations director of a major
Pittsburgh company: “In the past,
corporations pushed the idea of hir-
ing ‘qualified’ Negroes—protesting
that giving preference to a Negro
simply because of his race was re-
verse prejudice. But since the riots,
many corporations have been hiring
people who couldn’t begin to com-
pete with whites for jobs.”

This doesn’t mean that companies
are throwing away their yardsticks
of productivity and profits. What's
happening rather is that many are
recognizing that old rules and prac-
tices may be screening out poten-
tially competent people. As Reed O.
Hunt, board chairman of Crown Zel-
lerbach Corp., puts it: “Most ghetto
kids have jail records, but you have
to ask what for? You have to ask if
he can do a good job?”

Long-term goals. Other companies
are reviewing their contributions
programs. Says a Chicago execu-
tive: “We used to take the shotgun
approach and give $1,000 to every
group with a good story. Now we're
thinking in terms of five-year com-
mitments in specific areas.”

As companies become involved in
urban problems, many report a
heightened sense of purpose. U.S.
Gypsum Co., for example, rehabili-
tated six slum buildings in New
York’s Harlem this summer. It is
now working on 150 apartments in
Chicago and 64 units in Cleveland,
and it has options on 450 more units
in Chicago. “We're going along,”
says an executive, “not with the ex-
pectation of a great profit, but to
demonstrate that private industry
does have a role and responsibility.
We are beginning to feel a deep-
seated involvement that can’t be
measured in return to stockholders.”

Other side. Not everyone shares
this feeling, of course. Many com-
panies voice a sense of outrage at
the riots. “You can’t run a society
with riots,” says one executive, “and
you can’t be intimidated by lawless-
ness.” In Milwaukee, currently
plagued by civil rights demonstra-
tions for open housing and the scene
of two nights of rioting last July, a
backlash among some segments of
the business community is evident.

“We've been breaking our backs to
get jobs for Negroes,” says a busi-
nessman, “Now with all the demon-
strations, business might just decide
to rest on its oars.”

A number of companies report no
appreciable change in their policies
since the riots. “We've always tried
to hire qualified Negroes,” is the
typical comment. One industry ob-
server, in fact, reports that some ex-
ecutives are coming to regard riots
“as seasonal hazards, much like
hurricanes and tornadoes,”

But others are anything but com-
placent. Says Crown Zellerbach’s
Hunt: “You can’t ask the Negro peo-
ple to be quiet... . Riots are going
to occur until there’s visible sign of
improvement.” End

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