OLIVE BRANCH, Miss. (PAI) – Workers here at the Quebecor World, Inc., printing plant – one of the Quebecor plants the Graphic Communications International Union is trying to organize – filed a racial discrimination complaint against the huge printing firm May 4.

The workers told the federal Equal Employment Opportunities Commission that Quebecor discriminated against African American workers in hiring, training and promotions.

Their complaint says 96 percent of African American female workers at Olive Branch toil in the lowest job categories. It adds that one-third of all workers there are African American women, but none are managers.

“Discrimination is blatant,” said worker Lloyd Mayes. “Although most of the workers are African American and almost half are women. The overwhelming majority of managers are white men.”

The workers told the agency white men are most likely to be promoted and that the plant lacks formal training for workers. As a result, “white supervisors pick white employees to train for higher-level and supervisory positions,” the complaint said.

“We have a major company that has taken away the dignity and respect of workers and substituted that dignity with a discriminatory work environment,” said NAACP Mississippi Vice President Kelvin Buck after the civil rights group joined the workers’ EEOC complaint. “The community wants to help workers to form a union to correct these wrongs.”

“Workers can correct the injustice of discrimination by forming a union. Unions help women and people of color open doors that have previously been closed,” added GCIU Vice President Larry Martinez.

Quebecor, the world’s second-largest commercial printer, employs 39,000 workers in plants worldwide. GCIU’s organizing drive in its North American plants is part of a multinational campaign at the printing giant.

Workers raised questions about Quebecor’s conduct at the firm’s annual shareholders’ meeting in Montreal. They filed the EEOC complaint the same day GCIU sent a new law-breaking charge against Quebecor to the National Labor Relations Board.

This charge, the 23rd since December, says Quebecor illegally banned workers in its Versailles, Ky., plant from distributing pro-union material during time off work.

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