Black workers sue Goodyear for $124 million

NEWARK, N.J. (AP) — Black workers at a Goodyear tire warehouse are suing for more than $124 million, alleging white managers denied them promotions, berated them with racial slurs and assigned them the harshest work at an area supervisors called “the plantation.”
The lawsuit was filed against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and some of the managers at its warehouse in North Brunswick.
About a dozen employees, including three men who have worked there for more than two decades, asserted that no black worker has ever been promoted to a supervisory post and that blacks are punished for infractions that bring no sanctions against whites.
The workers said that the abuses continued despite grievances filed with their union and complaints to the New Jersey Division of Civil Rights.
Goodyear, based in Akron, Ohio, said in a statement that it has “zero tolerance” for behavior in conflict with its discrimination policies.
All workers at the warehouse will lose their jobs in about a year because Goodyear is consolidating several depots at a new, nonunion facility under construction in York, Pa., spokesman Chuck Sinclair said.
The 47 hourly workers and 14 salaried employees are being offered severance packages but not jobs. The lawsuit said about one-third of the hourly workers are black.
Mostly blacks were assigned to unload rail cars, a strenuous task done outdoors, the lawsuit said. It typically took one man all day to move — one by one — an average of 2,500 tires onto pallets, said Cornell Ross, one of the workers who are suing.
When supervisors ordered black workers to the rail car, they told them to “report to the plantation,” Ross said.