General Motors meets lawmakers over racism allegations at Ohio plant

General Motors

Senior General Motors executives met with Ohio’s two senators and various other lawmakers on Capitol Hill after African American workers sued the automaker accusing it of permitting a racially hostile work environment.

The lawsuits, which were first submitted in April, got large attention after CNN reported on them in last month.

The suits stated many nooses were discovered in 2017 at a GM plant in Toledo that makes transmissions as well as provided other conduct, including illustrations of stick figures on shower room walls with nooses around their necks which racially-charged remarks were directed at black workers.

Alicia Boler Davis, GM’s executive vice president for global manufacturing, and Gerald Johnson, vice president for GM’s North America Manufacturing and also Labor Relations, met on Tuesday with Ohio Senators Rob Portman and Sherrod Brown and held meetings with various other legislators, the senators’ offices verified on Friday.

Brown and Portman had contacted GM earlier month seeking answers to additional inquiries concerning the racism claims at the plant.

Johnson, in a statement, stated he was “outraged that any of our workers would go through harassment.”

“My heart goes out to anyone touched by this bigotry. GM’s stand is clear: We have zero resistance for racist or discriminatory behavior. This behavior is undesirable and we’re going to drive it out of the workplace,” the statement read.

Brown stated the senators met collectively with GM “to share our outrage about the pattern of racist incidents reported by workers at the Toledo Powertrain plant. We shared our disgust that the racist behavior went unaddressed for longer than a year.”

Portman spokesperson Emily Benavides stated Portman “made clear that GM needs to resolve this concern a lot more powerfully and also do so very swiftly … The fact that it is still going on at the GM plant in Toledo is shocking as well as unacceptable.”

The suit alleges that GM failed to take “promptly corrective action” at the plant with 1,700 workers, developing “an atmosphere whereby the hate-driven workers did not hesitate to hang nooses, display racist graffiti, and vocally attack and racially disrespect African-Americans.”

GM likewise stated it referred the problem to police to examine and that after its own investigation it disciplined some workers as well as discharged others, but did not recognize the amount of workers were impacted by this incident.

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