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Local 28, Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission
United States Supreme Court
478 U.S. 421, 106 S. Ct. 3019, 92 L. Ed. 2d 344 (1986)
For years, Local 28 of the Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association labor union (the union) (defendant) engaged in discriminatory practices that excluded non-White workers from union membership. By July 1, 1974, only 3.19 percent of the union’s membership was non-White. In a suit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, New York City, and New York State (plaintiffs), a federal district court found that the union had violated Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (Title VII) and New York law. The court ultimately adopted an affirmative-action program with the goal that the union would reach 29 percent non-White membership by 1982. In 1982 and 1983, the court found the union in civil contempt for violating the affirmative-action plan. The court established a temporary employment, training, education, and recruitment fund (the fund) to be used to increase the number of non-White applicants to the union. The court also revised the membership goal to 29.23 percent non-White membership by 1987 and ordered that one new non-White apprentice must be selected for each new White apprentice. The court provided that the preferential-selection measures would terminate once the percentage of non-White union members approximated the percentage of non-White workers in the local labor force. The appellate court affirmed the district court’s contempt findings and the fund order but set aside the requirement that one non-White apprentice be selected for every White apprentice and instead allowed the union to implement its own nondiscriminatory apprentice-selection procedures. The union petitioned the United States Supreme Court for certiorari, arguing that the lower courts’ orders and membership goal required the union to give membership preferences to non-White applicants in violation of § 706(g) of Title VII. The union argued that under § 706(g), preferential treatment could be given only to actual victims of unlawful discrimination.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Brennan, J.)
Concurrence (Powell, J.)
Concurrence/Dissent (O’Connor, J.)
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