African-American Sheet Metal Workers Sue Union over Job Assignments

January 6, 2005 ( - Five African-American sheet metal workers have charged in a federal court lawsuit that their union local illegally substituted whites in a job-selection process as part of a racial discrimination scheme.

The sheet metal workers filed the class-action suit against the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Local 2 in the US District Court in Kansas City, the Kansas City Business Journal reported.

According to the suit, about 45 African-American union members were affected by Local 2’s alleged practice of referring white workers whose names were low on job-assignment lists for jobs that black members were in line to receive according to the union’s protocol.

“This disparity has resulted in African-American members, including plaintiffs, receiving significantly less work hours and earning significantly less in wages than their white counterparts,” the suit charged.

The suit also alleged that the union retaliated against black members after the plaintiffs filed complaints with regulators.