On Monday, Verlene Jones, Labor and Industries Representative with the Seattle-King County Branch of the NAACP (NAACP-SKCB), along with other activist from the African American community filed a formal complaint with the Seattle office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) on behalf of African American workers at Sound Transit’s ULink site.
In a letter to the EEOC, the NAACP claims that the EEOC has “failed to take action in addressing the egregious acts of discrimination targeted to African American workers on the Sound Transit ULink Project under the direction of Trailer Frontier Kemper Construction Company (TFK).”
According to the NAACP, EEOC complaints have been filed against TFK by numerous African American workers at the construction site since January of 2011.
“The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Seattle King County Branch received the first complaint in January of 2011 from 4 [African American] workers on the ST ULink site. After our review of their claims we instructed them to utilize the resources they had available to them to get resolution for this issues. We recommended they file union grievances and file EEOC claims to get an investigation underway and find solutions to the disparate treatment they were experiencing on the job,” stated the NAACP’s letter.
According to Jones, Sound Transit hired an independent investigator to look into the claims by the workers, the result of the investigation indicated that African American workers were targeted for layoff and return to the union dispatch at a higher rate than any other classification of workers. In addition, the NAACP has had numerous meetings with EEOC staff in an effort to address their concerns.
“It has been over two years since the first case was filed with the EEOC and they have failed to take any action,” said Jones.
“The NAACP-SKCB finds the inaction by the EEOC to be blatant, deplorable, and an egregious act to continue the dispirit treatment these workers have faced of the job,” stated the NAACP’s letter to the EEOC.
“The NAACP-SKCB will no longer stand by and allow the EEOC to be silent while our community is under attack in the work place. The EEOC’s two year silence has brought economic hardship upon the workers and has jeopardized their ability to find a legal remedy in addressing this abuse. The NAACP will continue to take public actions to bring the EEOC’s deplorable inactions to the public until these workers receive justice,” the letter concluded.