- Uber is making Juneteenth a company holiday this year, the ride-sharing giant’s CEO, Dara Khosrowshahi, said Wednesday.
- Uber joins fellow San Francisco tech companies Twitter and Square in declaring the holiday a paid day off, though the latter two have indicated the move is permanent.
- The June 19 holiday commemorates the end of slavery and celebrates the day in 1865 that slaves in Texas learned of the Emancipation Proclamation.
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Uber will make Juneteenth a paid company holiday this year, CEO Dara Khosrowshahi announced Wednesday in a Twitter post.
“We encourage employees to spend it in a way that allows them to stand up against racism, whether that’s by learning, participating in a community action, or reflecting on how to make change,” Khosrowshahi posted on Twitter.
To embrace the meaning of #Juneteenth this year, we’re making it a paid day off. We encourage employees to spend it in a way that allows them to stand up against racism, whether that’s by learning, participating in a community action, or reflecting on how to make change. (1/3)
— dara khosrowshahi (@dkhos) June 17, 2020
After the Emancipation Proclamation was officially issued in 1863, enforcement was minimal in Texas until Union soldiers arrived to the state on June 19, 1865, two months after the Confederate Army’s surrender. The Juneteenth holiday now commemorates that day, and many Black Americans celebrate it as independence day.
Uber joins fellow San Francisco tech firms Twitter and Square in making the June 19 holiday a paid day off for employees, though the latter two have made it a permanent holiday. Others have followed suit in what has become a movement in the corporate world amid widespread demonstrations protesting police brutality and systemic racism following the police killing of Minneapolis resident George Floyd.
An Uber spokesperson said Juneteenth applies only to this year for now, but Khosrowshahi also said that the company will make election day a holiday “from now on.”
The Juneteenth holiday applies to all Uber employees. Under California’s AB5 gig-worker law that went into effect in January, Uber’s drivers in the state should be classified as employees and not independent contractors. The ride-sharing company, however, has pushed back on the bill, and many drivers claim they’re collectively owed millions in back wages due to worker misclassification.
Big tech has long struggled to successfully diversify its workforce.
For example, according to Uber’s 2019 Diversity and Inclusion report, 9.3% of Uber’s employees are Black. Of those in tech positions at the company, 3.6% are Black, with .8% of tech leadership roles occupied by Black workers. The US Census Bureau estimates that African-Americans are 13.4% of the total US population as of July 2019.
SEE ALSO: How Juneteenth, the day commemorating the end of slavery in the US, finally became recognized as a holiday by major companies like Nike and Lyft — and landed in the center of a Trump controversy
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