AMTRAK EMPLOYMENT DISCRIMINATION LITIGATION
FROM: EMMET G. SULLIVAN JUDGE, UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA WASHINGTON, D.C.
TO: ALL PLAINTIFFS AND CURRENT AND FORMER BLACK EMPLOYEES OF AMTRAK WHO WORKED IN POSITIONS COVERED BY A COLLECTIVE BARGAINING AGREEMENT BETWEEN AMTRAK AND THE BROTHERHOOD OF MAINTENANCE OF WAY EMPLOYEES (BMWE) IN THE NORTHEAST CORRIDOR, OR IN OPERATIONS UNDER CONTRACT TO THE METROPOLITAN BOSTON TRANSIT AUTHORITY, AT ANY TIME BETWEEN JANUARY 1, 1995 AND MAY 5, 2000.
This Court wishes to inform you that a settlement, in the form of a Consent Decree, has been reached by Plaintiffs and Defendant Amtrak, in a lawsuit alleging race discrimination in employment. If approved by the Court, this will be a complete settlement of the case and will provide various kinds of relief, including monetary relief, for those eligible members of the class who file timely claims.
The Court has reviewed the settlement and has given it preliminary approval. Before deciding whether to finally approve the settlement, the Court wishes to inform you of the general terms of the proposed Decree and of your right to comment on the settlement, if you so desire. If the settlement is finally approved by the Court and becomes effective after a hearing regarding the fairness of the settlement ("the fairness hearing"), the Court's judgment will be final and binding.
This Notice is only a summary of the settlement. The Consent Decree which includes the entire settlement is available for inspection in the Office of the Clerk of the United States District Court, 333 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. Other orders that the Court may issue from time to time regarding the administration of the Decree will also be on file with the Court. You alternatively may obtain a copy of the Consent Decree by paying Twelve Dollars ($12) by check or money order to cover copying and mailing expenses, to the Agent for Class Counsel at: Amtrak MW Employment Litigation, P.O. Box 6636, Portland, OR 97228-6336, 1-768-1104; or by downloading it from the Court's website or the site of Class Counsel, which respectively are http://www.dcd.uscourts.gov/ or http://www.amtraksettlement.com/ .
The Court will decide whether to give final approval to this Consent Decree after the fairness hearing to be held at 9:00 a.m. on June 21, 2000, at the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, 333 Constitution Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. You are not required to appear at the hearing. If you are a class member and do not appear, you will be represented by attorneys for the class at no cost to you. You may, if you wish, appear and comment on or object to the settlement to the extent it might affect you. You may also hire an attorney of your own choice, if you wish, at your own expense. If you plan to comment on or object to the manner in which the Consent Decree might affect you, you must file a written notice of appearance identifying yourself and any attorney you may retain and state specifically why you want to object to the Consent Decree. This statement must be mailed to the Court at the following address: Clerk of the United States District Court for the District of Columbia, P.O. Box 19500, Washington, D.C. 20036. It must be postmarked on or before June 30, 2000 to be considered. You need not appear at the hearing for your comments or objection to be considered by the Court. However, you may appear only if you first file the notice and statement described above to advise the Court of your intention to appear.
1. In April 1998, plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit alleging that Amtrak had illegally discriminated against certain African American employees and applicants for employment. The employees had been employed in positions covered either by a Collective Bargaining Agreement ("CBA") between Amtrak and the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees ("BMWE") for the Northeast Corridor ("NEC") or the Corporate Agreement ("CA") between Amtrak and the BMWE insofar as it covers workers for the Metropolitan Boston Transit Authority ("MBTA"), (collectively, "BMWE positions"). The applicants had applied for BMWE positions and not been selected. Amtrak has denied all allegations and does not admit to any wrongdoing.
Following an intensive period of Court-ordered mediation, counsel for Amtrak and Class Counsel advised the Court that they had agreed in principle that the case should be settled without the uncertainty, delay, and expense of continued litigation.
2. You are a member of the class affected by the settlement agreement (the "class") if you are a plaintiff or black person who, at any time between January 1, 1995 and May 5, 2000:
a) has been employed by Amtrak in BMWE positions; and/or,
b) has applied and been rejected by Amtrak for BMWE positions. Even if you come within these definitions, however, you will not be able to recover any money under the Decree for any claim(s) as to which you knowingly executed a valid release or as to which there has previously been a final judicial determination. If you do not timely file a Claim Form and/or a Job Relief Form as explained below, you will also be barred in the future from making any such claims.
3. The agreement settles claims of discrimination against Amtrak, which were made or could have been made, by members of the class based on their employment or application for employment with Amtrak in a BMWE position during the relevant time period.
If you have such a claim, the agreement provides your only procedure for asserting it unless you affirmatively "opt out" as provided in the Hearing section (page 11). Otherwise such claims are barred. Moreover, all plaintiffs and class members who accept a monetary award under the Decree will be barred from asserting any employment claim against Amtrak for actions or omissions relating to their employment in BMWE positions or application for BMWE positions ...