On February 14, 2002, five named plaintiffs representing a class of hourly African-American and Hispanic Cleveland Works employees of ALCOA, Inc. , filed a class action lawsuit in the Northern District of Ohio on behalf of all persons of African or Hispanic descent employed in hourly bargaining unit positions by ALCOA, Inc. in its Cleveland Works Facility at any time from February 14, 1996 to January 15, 2003.
The case involved allegations that ALCOA’s system of selecting apprentices at its Cleveland Works Facility discriminated on account of race and national origin. On February 12, 2003 the parties reached a settlement, which counsel for plaintiffs believe is innovative and far-reaching, and which resolves all the claims in the case.
The Court granted final approval to the settlement on August 25, 2003 in the United States District Court in the Northern District of Ohio.
Programmatic Relief. Mehri & Skalet and AlCOA, Inc. worked together to develop a new state of the art apprenticeship selection process that will be fair and equitable to all employees and therefore serve to dramatically expand skilled trade opportunities for African-Americans and Hispanics at ALCOA’s Cleveland Works Facility.
In addition to revamping the overall apprentice selection procedure to provide for more equity, ALCOA offered a one-time electrical apprenticeship opportunity for ten members of the African-American and Hispanic Class of Cleveland Works employees.
The settlement also established a $500,000 educational foundation to benefit African-American and Hispanic communities in Cleveland. This fund served to expand educational and therefore professional opportunities for members of these communities outside the walls of ALCOA factories.
Financial Relief. The settlement provided $10,000 in compensatory damages to each class member who took the apprenticeship selection test since February 14, 1996 and did not enter an apprenticeship program.