Union Fired Two Black Organizers Due to Race, Federal Agency Charged
HOUSTON - Local 100 of the United Labor Unions, a multi-state service workers' union, has agreed to pay $30,000 in lost wages and damages to settle a race discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), the federal agency announced today.
According to the EEOC's lawsuit, the union fired Maurice Roberts and Rosalind Holt because of their race. Both had been hired by the union in May 2014 to recruit public school employees in Houston. The EEOC said that they were terminated supposedly for not recruiting enough members, but a white organizer was not fired, despite his having recruited fewer people than they did.
Race discrimination violates Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. The EEOC filed suit (Civil Action No.4:17-1628) in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Texas after first attempting to reach a pre-litigation voluntary settlement through its conciliation process.
On October 17, 2017, the court signed and entered a consent decree settling the suit agreed to by all parties. In addition to the monetary award for Holt and Roberts, the decree provides significant non-monetary relief, including an injunction prohibiting any future discrimination. Local 100 has further agreed to develop effective policies to protect employees against race discrimination. Additionally, the union will conduct training about Title VII's prohibitions against race discrimination. Local 100 will report to the EEOC on its compliance with the consent decree and post an "EEO Is the Law" poster for employees and/or applicants to be aware of their rights.
"A union cannot make employment decisions that favor one race over another," said Rudy Sustaita, regional attorney for the EEOC's Houston and New Orleans offices. "Federal law obligates unions to follow the same non-discriminatory practices as any other employers."
Local 100 is part of a system of numerous labor unions under the umbrella United Labor Unions. Its members are service workers at various entities. In this instance, Local 100 has been recruiting members from public and private school employees in Houston and other cities in the United States.
The EEOC's Houston District Office has jurisdiction over parts of Texas and all of Louisiana.