Groundbreaking Race Discrimination Trial Begins
From the Law Offices of Mayor Joseph L. Alioto & Angela
March 13, 2006
FRESNO, California - The largest race discrimination trial
in the nation starts on Monday morning, March 13th, 2006, in the
courtroom of Judge Donald S. Black in the Superior Court
of the State of California, Fresno.
The defendant is California Dairies, the largest dairy
cooperative in the nation, comprising almost six hundred dairy
The eleven (11) plaintiffs in this case have worked for the company
for spans of time ranging from twenty-eight years to five years.
No African American has ever retired from California Dairies.
The enormous scope of this trial includes the five plants of
California Dairies, located in Fresno, Artesia, Visalia, Los Banos,
Tipton and Turlock, California. CDI employs 535-plus workers,
of which only 14 are African American.
California Dairies has hired approximately 195 new employees
over the past five years, none of them African American males.
California Dairies increased its staffing of "officers and
managers" by 45 from the years 1999 to 2004, none of them
In anticipation of this litigation, one African American supervisor/manager
has recently been hired, in October of 2005.
This trial will demonstrate that plaintiffs were required to
have a college background to even apply for the position of foreman,
and all other upper management positions. Yet, the VP of Human
Resources, and many other managers do not, themselves, have college
This trial will demonstrate that plaintiffs perform the duties
of a foreman, but are denied the title and extra pay commensurate
with the position.
This trial will demonstrate that, for decades, plaintiffs have
been passed over for promotions in favor of non-African Americans
who plaintiffs have trained.
A federal court judge found California Dairies liable for race
discrimination in 1993, and of providing a hostile work environment
at that time. This trial will demonstrate that the situation has,
in fact, grown worse since that April 1993 Federal decision.
Shocking evidence that racism is tolerated in the workplace.
This trial will demonstrate racism in the application of the
work rules, policies, and most importantly, the discipline procedures
of California Dairies. We will present evidence of a work environment
so hostile that it is fast approaching a crisis.
By any acceptable objective standards, racism in the California
Dairies plants is out of control. Testimony obtained in their
very own investigation from NON-African American employees revealed
testimony that a whopping 95% of the workplace said it was "fed
up" with the Black employees and their laziness". Our
clients have endured, some for decades, threatening slurs including
"stupid nigger"; "niggers must die"; "I
won't take any orders from any Black man"; and "You
are nothing but a lazy black bastard."
This trial seeks to end this abuse, once and for all.
Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr.'s last speech is entitled 'I
Have Been to the Mountain Top.' In it, he calls for consumer
boycotts of Coca Cola, Wonderbread, and dairy products in response
to workplace discrimination.
My firm recently won the largest verdict from a jury in the history
of the Civil Rights Movement from Wonderbread - I am proud to
have been the trial attorney in that case. My firm has also argued
several cases against Coca Cola.
It is now time to right the wrongs of racism in the dairy industry,
and in the process of this trial and its aftermath, transform
that industry into one where all are treated equally and with