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Groundbreaking Race Discrimination Trial Begins

From the Law Offices of Mayor Joseph L. Alioto & Angela Alioto

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 farmers.

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 African Americans.

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 degrees.

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 respect.




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