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Corporate America’s Double Standard

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Hardy L. Brown
This question has been on my mind for a long time especially since I worked for years in Human Resources and witnessed how some retirees would get a very well published and attended retirement function plus the opportunity to consult with the company after retirement.  However, it rushed back into the forefront of my thoughts when I heard my friend Frank Quevedo, Vice President at Southern California Edi son, was retiring and I heard of no planned function.

I thought of my days at Kaiser Permanente and people like Art Forbes, a Regional Administrator, Jerry Ashford, Regional Vice President of Health Plan, Sandra Cox, Regional General Council over the Legal Department for Southern California, Harriett Clark, Corporate Legal Council Lawyer for all of Kaiser. None of these individuals to my knowledge were given a great send off or the opportunity to consult with the organization upon leaving.  This practice is not limited to these organizations because other friends have told me stories of their departures from other companies and this question is still lingering in my mind because we give so much to the general welfare of these organizations. We protect them from embarrassing racial lawsuits and in most cases generate ideas that lead to profit generating products within the company. I know what Art Forbes and I brought to Kaiser Permanente that is a part of its ongoing program today.

I al so know what Frank Quevedo has done for Edison.  I left Edison at a time in 1970 when race relations were not as good as they are today. Frank came a couple of years later to Edi son and worked hard in the Black and Hispanic communities to establish lines of communication that still exist today throughout Edison’s territory.  I was in San Jose a few years ago and people knew Frank. I was in Sacramento a couple of years ago and people knew Frank. Anywhere you go in the Inland Empire people know Frank.

I am a small stockholder in Edison and know that sometimes new managers don’t know or forget the contributions that long serving minority employees have made to the company.

I am not saying that either company is bad in their treatment of minority employees because I started my career with both organizations at a time when al l Black and Hispanic managers knew each other throughout the companies. I can personally say I am proud to still be associated with both companies because I know that they strive to treat al l employees and customers with dignity and respect but sometimes they fall short. I know they are trying to maintain a good level of doing business with minority firms which is not easy but is not impossible.  I know that each company tries to make their presence known with contributions to worthy causes within the Black and Hispanic communities. I know that the efforts suggested by minority employees to increase that presence is muffled sometimes by voices of non believers within these companies.

I know that most of the minority employees who stay and rise to the top in these companies share a pride of accomplishment for the company and the people they represent. They want to be able to boast “I work for the greatest company in the world. I work for the greatest company when i t comes to equal opportunity for employment, promotions, compensation and yes retirement.” It i s my hope that Edi son has planned a great send off for Frank and others like him. It i s al so my hope that every organization will evaluate their policies and practices that relate to functions and consul ting contracts after retirement.

Healthcare, Physicians and Obama: Prescription for Greatness

Monday I listened to President Barack Obama’s remarks before the American Medical Association. I was surprised at the number of standing ovations he received from this distinguished group of doctors. It was billed as an Obama hate group but based on the reception I saw and heard, i t was like a reception for the lost prodigal son coming home.

I then got in the car with my grandson James Lee to take me to our office on Waterman Ave. The radio was on KFI 640AM and Rush Limbaugh was ranting and raving that the Obama speech was a sell out for socialized medicine.  Now mind you the only thing Limbaugh knows about medicine is the drugs he takes, and that he has over taken. Remember he is a drug addict who was addicted to prescribed medication. There he was receiving calls from students in college stating: “Rush I have learned more from you in an hour about health care than I have from the classes in college”. This was a kid whose dad was a physician. My grandson said I wonder why his parents are spending money his college tuition.  I said to myself this is what President Obama was telling the doctors in his speech. There will be those out there spreading lies and misinformation about his health care reform efforts. I am glad the doctors are smart enough to go directly to the White House for their information instead of a radio talk show host like Rush Limbaugh one of the leaders in the Republican Party.

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