Saying the Silicon Valley tech industry needs to do a better job of hiring native-born blacks, Latinos and some other minority groups, minority leaders picketed Google's Mountain View headquarters Tuesday, asking the Internet giant and other large valley companies to disclose their workplace diversity data.

The protest, organized by the Black Economic Council, the Latino Business Chamber of Greater Los Angeles, and the National Asian American Coalition was sparked by a series of reports in the Mercury News last year. The protest drew about two dozen people to the Googleplex, as minority leaders criticized Google, Apple and 20 other Silicon Valley tech companies that refused to share their workforce diversity data with them. The leaders called on the federal government to review the H-1B work visa program that tech companies use to hire engineers from abroad, unless the companies comply.

The groups are filing a complaint with the federal government, saying of 34 Silicon Valley tech companies from which they requested workforce data, just 12 agreed to share it. The groups are asking the government to force the companies to disclose their data. They said they singled out Google for Thursday's protest because of its growth and visiblity.

"Google can google anything, but if you google Google, you can't get anything," said Faith Bautista, of the Asian coalition.

A report in the Mercury News last year, based on workforce data that Silicon Valley's largest companies had filed with the federal government, found that the Bay Area's unique diversity is not reflected in the region's tech workplaces.


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Hispanics and blacks, the newspaper found, made up a smaller share of the valley's computer workers in 2008 than they did in 2000, even as their share grew across the nation. There was also a decline in the share of management-level jobs held by women between 1999 and 2005. Five companies -- Google, Apple, Yahoo, Oracle and Applied Materials -- refused to release their data, saying it would cause "commercial harm" by potentially revealing the companies' business strategy to competitors. The original story is available at http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_14383730.

In a written statement, Google said it strongly values diversity, pointing to its support of internships and scholarships with groups such as Historically Black Colleges & Universities.

"Our philosophy has always been that a diversity of perspectives, ideas and cultures means better products for our users. That's why we have an inclusive work environment and constantly promote diversity at Google, through scholarship programs, internship opportunities and partnerships with organizations working to educate the next generation of engineers and professionals," the company said.

Contact Mike Swift at 408-271-3648. Follow him at Twitter.com/swiftstories.