Today in labor history: General Motors agrees to end employment discrimination

On October 18, 1983, the General Motors Corporation, the largest automobile manufacturer in the U.S., agreed to hire more women and minorities as part of a settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The turnaround came ten years after the commission had filed a complaint that African Americans, Latinos, other minorities, and women were being unfairly treated by the corporation. The commission filed a lawsuit against the company, and General Motors agreed to pay $42.5 million in what was at the time called the largest out-of-court settlement of an employment discrimination case.

The company simultaneously agreed to spend another $8.9 million developing a program for hiring, training, and promoting minority and female workers. General Motors also agreed to give those workers preference in the distribution of education assistance funds.

In addition, the company spent $3 million on training for African America, Latino, and female clerical employees; $2 million training them for highly technical positions; and another $2 million training them in mathematics and other areas that would qualify them for apprenticeship programs.



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