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MCKENZIE v. MCCORMICK

January 12, 1977

Alfred U. McKenzie et al., Plaintiffs
v.
Thomas F. McCormick, Defendant


Parker, D.J.


The opinion of the court was delivered by: PARKER

PARKER, D.J.:

Three black employees of the United States Government Printing Office (GPO or Printing Office) on behalf of themselves and black employees similarly situated, charge that they have been wrongfully denied employment opportunities, free of racial bias and discrimination. Specifically, they claim that clearly identifiable patterns of racial discrimination are presently and have long been marked out in the Offset Press Section (OPS) of the Printing Office. They contend that racial discrimination has frustrated and prevented them and other black employees from promotions to which they otherwise are entitled and qualified. In the absence of judicial intervention they claim that these patterns and practices will continue. They seek declaratory and injunctive relief from further discrimination in employment and promotional policies in the Offset Press Section. The named defendant is the Public Printer of the United States, Thomas F. McCormick. Jurisdiction of the Court is based upon Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. §§ 2000e, et seq., as amended by the Equal Employment Opportunity Act of 1972, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-16.

 The parties have filed cross motions for summary judgment. The material facts upon which plaintiffs rely are free of dispute and are based almost entirely upon data secured by discovery from the GPO records as well as official data of the United States Government. *fn1" They are not challenged by the defendant, but he does contend that the inferences and conclusions which plaintiffs draw from the data are unwarranted and are not compelling.

 For the reasons set forth, this Court finds that there is a sufficient showing by clear and convincing evidence that blacks in the Offset Press Section are and have been the constant target of racial discrimination and have been wrongfully denied equal opportunities in both employment and promotion. This Court therefore concludes that the plaintiffs' motion for summary judgment should be granted and the defendant's cross motion for summary judgment should be denied.

 Background of the Litigation

 This proceeding was filed in 1973 and has since followed an unsteady course. At that time, plaintiffs Alfred U. McKenzie, Willis E. Jones and Alfred L. Ross, Jr. were employed in the Offset Press Section of the Printing Office. McKenzie initially filed a written complaint at the agency level alleging that as an OPS employee he was the victim of racial discrimination and had been denied opportunities for training and advancement. After pursuing procedures at that level he was notified that his complaint had been rejected. He then filed a complaint for relief with this Court which was later amended to include class action allegations on behalf of past, present and future black employees of the Section. The Jones and Ross complaints were filed with the GPO Director of Equal Employment Opportunity, and alleged personal discrimination and discrimination against a class of black employees of the Offset Press Section. Initially, their complaints were formally accepted but no investigation was ever undertaken. Later the Director of Equal Employment Opportunity, acting on behalf of the GPO, reversed the earlier decision and rejected their complaints. The two were advised of their statutory right to file a civil action and immediately thereafter Jones and Ross filed a class action in this Court. The complaint previously filed by McKenzie was amended to include the later filed class action complaint of Jones and Ross. Thereafter, upon the Government's motion, the proceeding was remanded to the GPO to undertake a review, investigation, and an administrative hearing on the plaintiffs' allegations. Subsequent to the remand, the Government Printing Office also undertook an investigation of a discrimination complaint previously filed by an employees' organization, the Coalition of Minority Workers (CMW). That complaint included allegations similar to those made by the individual plaintiffs. On remand the GPO Director of Equal Employment Opportunity issued findings that did not support plaintiffs' claims of discrimination. The plaintiffs expressed dissatisfaction with the findings and requested a hearing. For a variety of reasons, not important here, the hearing was never scheduled. On the basis of the developed record, motions for summary judgment were filed by the parties.

 Organization of the Offset Press Section

 The Offset Press Section is an organizational unit within the Production Department of the Printing Office. That Department encompasses the sections of the GPO which physically produce printed material. It consists of four divisions, including the Offset Division. *fn2" The Offset Division likewise is divided into four sections: Offset Preparation, Offset Negative, Offset Plate, and the Offset Press Section.

 Workers generally referred to as "helpers" assist the journeyman pressmen in operating the offset press equipment and perform a variety of duties. Some helpers are selected to participate in training programs, such as the Offset Press Assistant Trainee Program or the Apprenticeship Program. They are designed to train the helpers to eventually become journeyman pressmen. Employees participating in such programs are referred to as "trainees" or "apprentices," rather than "Printing Plant Workers."

 The Class Action Claim

 Plaintiffs contend that the data prepared and submitted by the Government Printing Office establish clearly and abundantly that the defendant's employment and promotional policies discriminate against blacks. There is little, if anything, in the record to refute this assertion.

 Despite the GPO's contention that race is an insignificant factor in promotion, the fact remains that blacks have been consistently under-represented in Offset Press Section management positions. Indeed, the number of them so employed suggests that they may be classified as an endangered species. There were no black supervisors in the Offset Press Section at the date of the filing of this action. Prior to 1973, one black supervisor occupied the position of Group Chief from August 1962 through March 1966. For the period 1971-73, blacks comprised roughly one-half of the employees of the OPS but no black held a supervisory position such as Foreman, Assistant Foreman or Group Chief. In those three years, well over 80% of the uprate pressmen were white, whereas the printing plant workers, the lowest ranked employees, were over 90% black.

 The disparity in wages between black and white employees in the Offset Press Section shows a remarkably similar pattern of discrimination. From 1971 to 1973 the average wage of the white employee rose from $6.71 per hour to $7.84; the ...


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