Civil Rights Grievance building against a Government Subsidized Railroad
By Eddie Griffin
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
This morning I discovered that the men we trained for high-paying railroad jobs were systematically discriminated against when it came to actually hiring... twenty men who passed the test were aggrieved by management placing one obstacle after another in their path until they were almost completely eliminated. One young black man went as far as Missouri only to discover the job was no longer available. And, twenty jobs were snatched right from under them before they even got started.
This is personal, because I sold them on hope... that if they passed the math part of the railroad test, they were as good as hired. (Eddie Griffin helped design the math test). All the men passed. These were all young black men, between the ages of 18 to 40.
The railroad company had committed to diversity in hiring to replace its older retiring railroad men. They needed to fill an annual estimated 2,000 slots... maybe, we thought, that 20 well-trained black men would qualify.
And so, they all did. They all passed the tests, but they were not processed through normal hiring procedures. The next step in the process should have been a physical examination.
But No! They had to jump through hoops.
Within the coming days, I hope to meet again with these 20 young brothers, along with the president of the railroad company, who championed diversity in hiring and funding hiring fairs. We hope, by then, to have a team of civil rights attorneys and leaders.
There will be no rah, rah rallies, and a throng of the "ignorant masses". This will be us and them, face to face, discussing and dealing with the issue, before going class action and building support against hiring discrimination.