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June 07, 1979 - Image 4

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Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1979-06-07

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Page 4-Thursday, June 7, 1979-The Michigan Daily
Mcg Di Racial bias suit a data fight
'"' yan D a1ly A racial discrimination suit By MARIA TAYLOR acknowledged expert, to condu
joined by more than 1,000 black evidence. various analyses of the workfor
Eighty-nine Years of Editorial Freedom employees of the Bechtel Cor- For instance, Cynthia Stebling, based on figures supplied by t
poration could stretch the boun- a black woman with a bachelor of company.
420 Maynard St., Ann Arbor, MI. 48109 daries of affirmative action science degree, was hired in 1973 Singleton's analysis " show
programs at the very time they asa lower level clerk. During her all the numbers for blacks ar
Vol. LXXXIX, No. 26-S News Phone: 764-0552 are being threatened by the first year and a half with the other employees were
Bakke and Weber "reverse companyshe claims shewas reasonable relationship to ea
Edited and managed by students discrimination" decisions, neither evaluated nor promoted. other and that Bechtel's affi
at the University of Michigan . Bechtel, the secretive, Later she was moved to a recep- mative action during the yea
privately-owned engineering and t The white woman who covered by the lawsuit yield

ct
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he
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in
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ed

Vorster resigns
apartheid stays
A MID SCANDAL, South African President
Johannes Vorster resigned Monday. But the
presidential post he vacated is largely
ceremonial; Vorster resigned from the positin of
Prime Minister 10 months ago claiming ill health.
It appears that act was more a ploy to stave off
impending scandal over a secret fund set up to
improve South Africa's image in the world.
Vorster's resignation as president cannot ren-
der the government guilt-free, however. The
Erasmus Commission report revealed that money
from the Defense Department, of which his suc-
cessor was minister, also found its way into the
secret fund. Thus, Prime Minister Pieter Botha
must have had some knowledge of the rampant
corruption.
The fact that Vorster tried to whitewash the
criminal activity and racial persecution which
formed the foundation of his regime signifies that
an improved image was not deserved. The foun-
dation of Vorster's Afrikaner National Party,
which has gripped the nation since 1948, is anti-
communist white supremacy implemented
through apartheid. Vorster, Prime Minister since
1966, was jailed during World War II by his own
party for being active in a pro-Nazi sabotage
movement. He openly- identified with Hitler's
fascist ideology.
Being the most blatantly racist political system
in the world today has incited worldwide ire, and
precluded South Africa's participation in the
United Nations General Assembly since 1974. But
the probability of substantial change in the
system is minimal.
The Nationals' 163 of 170 seats in the lower
house of the bicameral legislature testifies to its
dominance. The Progressive Federal Party leads
the opposition and has slowly gained support in
recent years. It favors a multiracial government
and advocates limited franchise for blacks and a
minimum wage. If a significant portion of the
electorate (whites only) is alienated by the
Nationals' corruption, the Progressives may
make substantial Parliamentary gains in the next
election. As the most liberal white party, it could
challenge the current racist policies best.
The greatest danger is posed by the
strengthening of the Transvaal National Party,
which is more racist than the Nationals. Vorster
feared opposition from that faction most, and its
leader, Under-Secretary of Education Treurnicht,
who may become a future Prime Minister. Con-
servative defectors from the Vorster government
might shift their allegiance to Treurnicht.
The best outcome of the scandal would be the
ousting of Vorster's entire cabinet, many of whom
already have been implicated. If that does not
happen, at least the Progressives might gain
enough seats to challenge the despicable National
Party's inhuman policies.
Vorster is gone, but the insidious syste'
remains - -:.-- -:;a- ofa

construction firm headquartered
in San Francisco, faces a class
action suit seeking relief under
Title VI1 of the 1964 Civil Rights
Act against discriminatory em-
ployment practices. The suit was
fled in 1975 by Spotsel L. Boyd
and three other blacks, and ex-
panded in .1978 to include 405
present -and 600 former em-
ployees.
"THIS IS PRETTY
significant," said a member of
the Black Bechtel Employees
Committee (BBEC), the internal
organizing force. "A majority of
blacks who work for Bechtel are
secretaries and clerks, many of
them single parents who are
scared of losing their jobs."
In a related Title VII class ac-
tion suit, nearly 6,400 women
have charged the company with
most of the same discriminatory
practices.
Bechtel maintains there is no
discrimination and is supported
by the available statistics.
WORKFORCE STATISTICS
have traditionally been used in
Title VII cases to show how many
minority employees are in
various job categories, compared
with the number in the job
market. But the Boyd case has
challenged this method of proof.
The black employees allege
that the company "fine-tuned"
raw statistical data before han-
ding it to an outside expert for
evaluation. In support, the plain-
tiffs are gathering hundreds of
personal affidavits and other
Letters
Recreation fees

uonsa JU) .10 n6 ~ lcllW1
replaced her in the first position
entered at a salary levelveight
grades higher-and was given an
assistant.
Stebling received a Master's
Degree in public administration
in June 1978. When she was still
not advanced but instead was
asked to train a white personas
her superior, she joined in the
discrimination suit. In 1978,
because she still saw no advance
at Bechtel, she resigned.
"WE BELIEVE that the
statistics should reflect what the
affidavits say, maybe not en-
tirely but there should be some
indication," said plaintiff's at-
torney John Houston Scott.
Bechtel attorney William Hoefs
calls the personal 'testimony
"subjective suspicions."
The present legal maneuvering
in the Boyd case involves a con-
troversial out-of-court settlement
made by attorneys in November,
1978, and since repudiated by 23
per cent of the plaintiffs and 48
per cent of the current black em-
ployees.
NEW ATTORNEYS HAVE sin-
ce replaced the original teams
which had relied on raw
statistical data supplied by
Bechtel to arrive at what the
NAACP regional counsel Oliver
Jones calls a "sweetheart deal."
The NAACP entered the case in
April, 1979.
Bechtel employed Stanford
research Institute statistician
Richard Singleton, an

positive results," said Bechtel's
counsel Hoefs.
"WE SETTLED, said Mark
Rudy, former counsel for the em-
ployees, "based on our analysis
of the workforce. We noted that in
the early '70s Bechtel was riding
on the fact that there were not
many black engineers available.
But there was a gradual im-
provement after 1975, and we
were told by the judge that it
would be harder to prove a pat-
tern and practice of
discrimination."
Under terms of the settlement,
Bechtel would admit to no
discrimination, and would not be
required toimprove its em-
ployment practices. Each of the
four original plaintiffs was to be
paid $5,000 while $120,000 was to
be divided among the rest of the
class action plaintiffs, and a fur-
ther $160,000 paid in legal fees.
The settlement would also shut
the door to further discrimination
claims by an individual plaintiff.
"I am not aware of any other
Title VII settlement as weak as
this one," noted Scott, present at-
torney for the black employees.
He pointed to recent settlements
of $35 million with General Elec-
tric, and $3.5 million with the
Bank of America, the terms of
which included extensive affir-
mative action programs.
Maria Taylor wrote this piece for
the Pacific News Service.

i

WER OCING TO -.. 'i~3IRGT
HAVE TO DO SOMETRING GO OUTAND
AS A RESULT OF HIRE SOME
THE KAREN BETTER
StLWYOOD DECISION! LAWNERS!

To the Daily:
I'm writing to protest the $10.00
fee charged to continuing studen-
Is for use of the (University)
recreation facilities during the
summer months.
As Dr. Michiael Stevenson's,
director of recreational sports,
"explanation" noted, in 1974
students agreed to finance con-
struction costs of "the recreation
facilities. But as the University
Record of February 9, 1976 noted,
these fees were strictly for con-
struction costs and were not in-
tended to be used for-
"... programming, maintenan-
ce and utilities ... "
Despite this past report,
however, the University has seen
fit in the last year to charge $1.50
per term for use of the
recreational equipment in ad-
dition to regular tuition costs.
However, if what Stevenson says
is true, and $10.00 is being
charged me per term in addition
~ to this $1.50, then I paid a total of
$33.00 (including summer fee) to
use the swimming pool once a
week. This is more than double
what the "significant other"
must pay-($15.0O)'and ialmost-
;' IOSe :k thae.'r ' ;harged

staff and faculty. (By the way, I It seems to me that by your own
don't note any extra fees being logic, students continuing to use
charged to faculty who use the the recreation facilities in the
facilities but are not teaching summer months should be
over the summer!) Even if $10.00 charged what the going
is not being deducted from my recreation fee is, $1.50. Frankly,
tuition each term, and I am only I'd like my $8.50 back: I'm
paying $1.50 per termj will have working very hard this summer
paid $13.00 this year to use the to pay for the extra tuition costs
facilities. Either way, I still think for next year, and any little
students are being ripped amount of help will be sp-
off-and find Stevenson's- et- preciated.
planation completely inadequa'te. -Susan Wineburg

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