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Black Army Workers At Redstone Arsenal File Class Action Law Suit In Federal Court

During an Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) inquiry, Commanding Major General Larry Dodgen of the US Army Aviation and Missile Command (AMCOM) admitted that "Tarbaby" is a term being used at the Pentagon. He also inferred that "Tarbaby" is a racial slur in the state of Alabama.

"I was shocked that General Dodgen was so blunt with me on the EEO record," said Matthew Fogg, Executive Director of the Redstone Area Minority Employees Association (RAMEA). "General Dodgen is poised to receive a third star and he confirmed our worst fears. This racially hostile environment at Redstone derives its roots from the US Army high command in Washington, D.C."

The press conference was held outside the same location of the 6th Annual Space & Missile Defense Conference where high ranking Army officials from the Pentagon to Redstone were meeting. The Army conference theme is "Evolution or Revolution" RAMEA announced the recent filing in Federal Court of a Class Action lawsuit naming various Army commands in Huntsville that are serviced by the regional and local civilian personnel organizations.

According to the complaint, more than fifty African American employees have been subjected to disparate treatment and a racially hostile environment at AMCOM, Space & Missile Defense Command (SMDC), the Army Corps of Engineers, PEO Tactical Missile (PEO-TM) and other Army commands. The lawsuit alleges racial bias in the form of reprisals, denial of promotions, lack of training, disciplinary actions, removal of security clearances and continuous slashing of vehicle tires.

Fogg met with the AMCOM Deputy to the Commander James Flynn, the Chief of Staff Colonel John Smith and General Jeffrey Sorenson, Commander of PEO-TM about racial allegations. On March 17, 2003, the EEO Commission in Birmingham cited Mark Lumer, Chief of the Contracting and Acquisition Management Office at SMDC, for violating the civil rights of a black female employee.

Last year, Mark Lumer received a Presidential Rank Award. "It is evident without saying, this systemic behavior in a US Army strategic weapons technological environment is a direct threat to African Americans and our National Security," said Fogg.

RAMEA plans to seek a Congressional Inquiry through the Senate Arms Services Committee Chair on Army officials that use the racial epithet "Tarbaby" at the Pentagon and for senior management misconduct at Redstone.

In a letter dated July 24, 2003, RAMEA received a reply from Albert N. Moskowitz, Section Chief for the Criminal Section, Civil Rights Division of the US Department of Justice. Moskowitz asked for police reports and other documented evidence of tire slashing from RAMEA and EEO complainants.


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