Question

Kaiser Aluminum & Chemical Corporation entered into a collective bargaining agreement with the United Steelworkers of America, a union that represented employees at Kaiser’s plants. The agreement contained an affirmative action program to increase the representation of minorities in craft jobs. To enable plants to meet these goals, on the job training programs were established to teach unskilled production workers the skills necessary to become craft workers. Assignment to the training program was based on seniority, except that the plan reserved 50 percent of the openings for black employees.
Thirteen craft trainees were selected from Kaiser’s Gramercy plant for the training program. Of these, seven were black and six white. The most senior black trainee selected had less seniority than several white production workers who had applied for the positions but were rejected. Brian Weber, one of the rejected white employees, instituted a class action lawsuit, alleging that the affirmative action plan violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which made it “ unlawful to discriminate because of race” in hiring and selecting apprentices for training programs. The U. S. Supreme Court upheld the affirmative action plan in this case. The decision stated,
We therefore hold that Title VII’s prohibition against racial discrimination does not condemn all private, voluntary, race conscious affirmative action plans. At the same time, the plant does not unnecessarily trammel the interests of the white employees. Moreover, the plan is a temporary measure; it is not intended to maintain racial balance, but simply to eliminate a manifest racial imbalance.
Do companies owe a duty of social responsibility to provide affirmative action programs? United Steelworkers of America v. Weber, 443 U. S. 193, 99 S. Ct. 2721, 1979 U. S. Lexis 40 (Supreme Court of the United States)


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  • CreatedAugust 12, 2015
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