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CROKER v. BOEING CO.

June 20, 1977

MAMIE CROKER, Eric P. Travis, Chivis Davis, Sr., Robert W. DeBose and Leolin Dockins, Jr., Individually and on behalf of all others similarly situated
v.
THE BOEING COMPANY (VERTOL DIVISION)



The opinion of the court was delivered by: NEWCOMER

 Newcomer, J.

 This class action was brought on behalf of black persons employed by the Vertol Division of the Boeing Company. ("Boeing Vertol" or "Company"). The plaintiffs alleged that the Company had engaged in racially discriminatory employment practices, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq., and the Civil Rights Acts of 1866 and 1871, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1981, 1985. The action was bifurcated, and the liability issues were tried beginning on June 30, 1975, and concluding on October 6, 1975. At the outset of the trial, the parties notified the Court that the plaintiffs and the defendant Union (Local No. 1069 of International Union, United Automobile, Aerospace and Agricultural Implement Workers of America) had reached a tentative settlement. The procedures of Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure are now being implemented with regard to this settlement. Thus, this opinion concerns only the issue of the Company's liability for employment discrimination under the statutes cited above.

 FINDINGS OF FACT

 I. Preliminary Facts

 1. The Boeing Company is a corporation organized under the laws of the State of Delaware and doing business in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the City of Philadelphia. Boeing Vertol, a division of the Boeing Company, is an employer engaged in interstate commerce, and maintains facilities in Ridley Township, Delaware County, Pennsylvania.

 2. Plaintiffs Mamie Croker, Eric P. Travis, Chivis Davis, Sr., Robert W. Debose and Leolin Dockins are employed by Boeing Vertol as production and maintenance employees and are all members of the Negro race.

 3. On or before June 19, 1968, plaintiffs Travis, Davis, Debose and Dockins each filed charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ("EEOC") alleging a violation of their rights by both Boeing Vertol and the Union under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. Plaintiffs Travis, Davis, Debose and Dockins were notified on December 21, 1971, of their right to bring suit in a United States District Court, and on January 11, 1972, they intervened as individual plaintiffs in this action.

 4. On or about October 2, 1968, plaintiff Croker filed a charge with the EEOC alleging a violation of her rights by both Boeing Vertol and the Union under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, 42 U.S.C. § 2000e et seq. By letter dated August 6, 1971, the EEOC notified Ms. Croker that she was entitled to bring suit in a United States District Court, and she filed this action on September 2, 1971.

 II. History and Description of Boeing Vertol

 5. In March of 1960, the Boeing Company acquired the Vertol Aircraft Corporation, a company engaged in manufacturing helicopter aircraft. Since its acquisition by Boeing, Boeing Vertol has been primarily a helicopter manufacturer, with nearly all its output being purchased by the United States Department of Defense.

 6. As a major government contractor, Boeing Vertol has had to comply with nondiscrimination and affirmative action requirements. See 41 C.F.R. § 60-1 et seq. Boeing Vertol has been subject to annual audits of its employment practices and employment statistics by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance, ("OFCC"). The OFCC has never determined that Boeing Vertol should be prevented from obtaining government contracts.

 7. Boeing Vertol has always had to compete with other helicopter manufacturers for defense contracts. In order to obtain contracts, the company must maintain quality and meet delivery schedules.

 8. Quality is important because failure of a critical part may result in a crash. To ensure that there are no defects in workmanship, nearly ten percent of Boeing Vertol's manufacturing workforce is devoted to inspection. In addition, the overall skill and experience of the workforce is important.

 9. Boeing Vertol's inability to meet delivery schedules has resulted in lost business in the past. Consequently, the constant need to meet schedules is a very important consideration in Boeing Vertol's production program.

 10. Boeing Vertol, like other firms, must maintain reasonable costs to meet competition. Cost control requires that only essential production man-hours be used in the production process.

 11. Boeing Vertol's efforts to maintain quality, schedules, and costs have affected its employment practices. Thus, Boeing Vertol normally hires employees for specific job openings, and whenever possible, it hires people of proven skill and experience. Boeing Vertol also has developed employment structures designed to accommodate varying production schedules and manpower needs.

 12. The fact that nearly all of Boeing Vertol's business is with the Defense Department has caused fluctuations in the size of its workforce depending on the demands of national defense. Thus, Boeing Vertol employed less than 2500 persons in 1960, and approximately 12,500 in 1967. Total employment subsequently declined to approximately 5,200 by the end of 1972, and may be even lower at the present time. Varying Defense Department demands also have caused a great deal of employee movement within the plant as employees are hired, promoted, layed off or transferred. Because a great number of employees were hired between 1960 and 1963 and during late 1965 and 1966, these early years to a great extent determined the employment picture at Boeing Vertol until the present time.

 13. The helicopter aerospace industry requires the services of scientists, engineers, finance personnel, computer and data processing staffs, and other skilled employees. Nearly two-thirds of the workforce consists of highly skilled employees.

 14. For payroll administrative purposes, Boeing Vertol divides its workforce into five groups: general salary employees, production and maintenance employees ("P & M") (represented by the Union), guards and firemen (represented by separate unions), management, and other exempt salary employees. On the basis of functions, Boeing Vertol's workforce can be divided into three broad areas: Manufacturing, Engineering and Other (professional, office clerical and service). These broad areas are further divided on the basis of various major and minor functions. In addition, employees are divided into labor grades by rate of pay. The 13 P & M labor grades represent a specific rate of pay, while labor grades for other employees represent a range of pay.

 15. Engineering accounts for about twenty percent of Boeing Vertol's employees. This category includes engineering specialties, such as aeronautical, mechanical, and electrical engineering, and also employees in other scientific areas, such as physics and chemistry.

 16. Manufacturing covers about sixty percent of the jobs at Boeing Vertol, and consists of all P & M jobs that are directly related to the actual manufacture of helicopters, ...


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