After speaking with local
workers, Rev. Jackson held a press conference at 1 pm, at The
Truth Gallery at 1811 Adams Street to address what the Ohio
Civil Rights Commission has called a “a culture of racial
discrimination and harassment” at the GM Powertrain Plant.
According to the Ohio Civil Rights Commission’s findings:
“Nooses, swastikas, White-Only signs, ethnic slurs, racial
jokes, offensive or derogatory comments, racist poems are
repetitive in Respondent’s workplace. Nooses and swastikas are
symbols of racial hatred. The hangman’s noose is one of the most
repugnant of all racist symbols, because it is itself an
instrument of violence. The totality of circumstances was
ignored and Respondent treated the situation like a single-issue
harassment case, not a hostile work environment case. Respondent
has presented no new evidence to warrant a reversal of the
In attendance was Ray Wood, longtime GM employee and former
president of the UAW unit and the current president of the local
NAACP. Mr. Wood is a plaintiff in a separate racial harassment
suit against the automaker.
Also, in attendance were local pastors – members of the
Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance and United Pastors for
Social Empowerment; supporters; and public officials including
Councilman Larry J. Sykes. Below is a letter to the Toledo Mayor
concerning the contents of the suit. Visit
Dear Mayor Kapszukiewicz:
What response, if anything, is the City planning?
Toledo is a city that is inclusive to all and has policies
against racism and discrimination, yet one of our major
industrial companies has brought our city to the forefront
because it has been found to allow these types of activities to
fester and breed within its work place. I plan to introduce a
resolution and ask that all my city council colleges to join me
in reaffirming our commitment against this behavior.
As the Mayor of this great city, I am reaching out to you to
request that the City take action to address this situation if
only to say that we, the citizens of Toledo, and you as Mayor,
do not condone this type of behavior, and will take whatever
action is necessary to help bring it to an end.
As you are well aware GM receives financial support from the
federal government and tax credits from the City of Toledo and
Washington Local School District for hiring Toledoans.
That being said, I am asking that you, as Mayor of this City,
meet with the leadership of GM Powertrain plant and ask that
they address this matter immediately.
Together for a better Toledo
Larry J. Sykes