The opinion of the court was delivered by: JACKSON
Plaintiff Morgan, a black printer employed by the Bureau of Engraving and Printing ("BEP") of the U.S. Treasury Department, sues the Secretary of the Treasury under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, as amended, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e-1 et seq., for retroactive promotion and back pay, alleging that BEP engaged in race discrimination to his injury in the course of its selection of candidates to fill some 30 Plate Printer (Intermediate) ("PPI") positions beginning in July, 1978.
Upon the facts found as hereinafter set forth in accordance with Fed. R. Civ. P. 52(a) following trial without jury, and the conclusions of law drawn therefrom, for the reasons stated the Court will enter judgment for defendant.
BEP is the agency within the U.S. Department of the Treasury which prints all United States currency and most of its official stamps. Its Office of Currency Production and Stamp Printing is responsible for production of currency and stamps, within which the Superintendent, Plate Printing Division (the "Division"), directs its day-to-day operations.
All United States currency is printed by high-speed, sheet-feed rotary intaglio (i.e., incised plate) presses. Stamps are printed by high speed multi-colored sheet or web-fed intaglio or gravure presses. Both species of press are large, sophisticated pieces of equipment capable of printing thousands of sheets per hour. Mistakes can occur quickly, may be difficult to detect and costly to rectify, and give rise to concerns for the security of defective work which has value precisely because it is defective. Consequently, the skill, reliability and integrity demanded of the plate printers who operate the presses, as well as the remuneration they receive for doing so, are considerable.
The Plate Printing Division employs about 130 high-speed intaglio printers, well over half the number of all such printers in the United States. (The remainder are employed by three private bank-note companies). The Division operates 20 high-speed plate presses, 17 of which are intaglio presses; two are gravure, and one is a combination intaglio-gravure press.
In the mid-1970's, BEP came to the realization that a significant proportion of its journeymen plate printers were approaching retirement age. Simultaneously the Federal Reserve Board, which orders and distributes the nation's currency, notified BEP that it intended to increase the amount of currency in circulation. Confronted with both a projected personnel shortage and an imminent need for increased production, BEP officials concluded that filling the large number of anticipated vacancies through the traditional four-year apprenticeship program would not enable BEP to keep up with demand, and it cast about for ways to augment its plate printing workforce quickly.
After consultations with the plate printers' union, therefore, BEP resolved to create a new position, to be known as the "plate printer (intermediate)" (or "PPI"), for which, in lieu of the four-year apprenticeship, applicants having relevant prior experience would be hired to become journeymen plate printers after an abbreviated training program.
Once the decision had been made to replace retirees with PPI's, BEP embarked on the process of finding the most promising among those who might apply by utilizing a recognized (but controversial) technique known as the "job element evaluation selection method" which attempts to identify and articulate the knowledge and skills necessary to perform successfully in the position to be filled.
After preparing the crediting plan, the personnel specialist assembled a panel of "raters" to score the expected applications.
Although only one of the raters was himself a BEP plate printer, all had either professional experience or academic training as pressmen, all were approved by the Civil Service Commission prior to being named to the panel, and all were thereafter given some training in rating procedures at the Civil Service Commission.
While the crediting plan was being formulated, BEP began the process of advertising the PPI vacancies. Copies of the vacancy announcements were posted throughout BEP, distributed nationwide by the Civil Service Commission, and sent to all government agencies in Washington, D.C., including the Government Printing Office. BEP also undertook to advertise the vacancies in 28 newspapers nationwide, eight of which were chosen because they were primarily addressed to black readerships.
The application season for the 1978 PPI competition ran from July 14 to October 6, 1978. BEP estimates that it received approximately 850 applications for the PPI positions of which some 350 to 400 applicants possessed basic qualifications.
At about the time the recruitment began, a major gravure printing plant in Philadelphia owned by Triangle Publications ("Triangle") ceased operations, laying off about 250 journeyman printers. The president of the printers' union local at Triangle saw BEP's ad for the PPI program in a Philadelphia newspaper and called the members' attention to it. As ...