Diversity Insight

Union to pay $6.2 million in historic race and national origin discrimination case

Local 28 of the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association in New York City (Local 28) will have to pay $6.2 million to a class of black and Hispanic workers. According to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Local 28 provided them fewer job opportunities because of their race or national origin. The monetary part of the settlement will compensate minority members of Local 28 for lost wages for the years 1984 to 1991.
In addition to paying $6.3 million, Local 28 has agreed to significant changes in its job referral system and monitoring systems aimed at equalizing members’ access to job opportunities. Litigation continues on claims of union members who were targets of discrimination after 1991.
“We hope that these developments are an indication that, with the recent change in leadership, the union has decided, after many years of costly litigation, to work with the court and the plaintiffs in obeying the court orders and to begin to resolve the outstanding claims against it,” said Spencer Lewis, the district director of the EEOC’s New York office.
Last year, the EEOC introduced the E-RACE Initiative (Eradicating Racism And Colorism from Employment), a national outreach, education, and enforcement campaign focusing on new and emerging race and color issues in the 21st century workplace. Further information about the E-RACE Initiative is available on the EEOC’s web site at http://www.eeoc.gov/initiatives/e-race/index.html.
Ford, UAW agree to $1.6 million settlement
Ford Motor Co., two related companies, and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union will pay $1.6 million to a class of nearly 700 African Americans to settle a race discrimination lawsuit filed by the EEOC. Nonmonetary relief includes placement of 55 African-American test takers on the apprentice lists and the development of a new selection method for the apprenticeship programs together with detailed reporting and monitoring provisions.

The EEOC had charged that a written test used by Ford, Visteon, and Automotive Components oldings to determine the eligibility of hourly employees for a skilled trades apprenticeship program had a disproportionately negative impact on African Americans. The UAW also used the test to select apprentices. The settlement includes about $1.6 million for the class of nearly 700 African Americans who have taken the test since January 1, 1997, and weren’t place on the apprentice list at the former Visteon facilities.

Nonmonetary relief includes placement of 55 African-American test takers on the apprentice lists and the development of a new selection method for the apprenticeship programs together with detailed reporting and monitoring provisions.