Friday, October 26, 2007

DOJ to investigate CPS Energy (hangman's noose)

On the heels of the discovery of a hangman's noose in the cubicle of a supervisor at municipally-owned CPS Energy in San Antonio, the US Department of Justice will investigate the allegations of ... oh, let's be charitable and call it "decades-long racial insensitivity".

Specifically the Community Relations Service division of the USDOJ. From their mission statement:

The Community Relations Service is the Department's "peacemaker" for community conflicts and tensions arising from differences of race, color, and national origin. Created by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, CRS is the only Federal agency dedicated to assist State and local units of government, private and public organizations, and community groups with preventing and resolving racial and ethnic tensions, incidents, and civil disorders, and in restoring racial stability and harmony. CRS facilitates the development of viable, mutual understandings and agreements as alternatives to coercion, violence, or litigation. It also assists communities in developing local mechanisms, conducting training, and other proactive measures to prevent or reduce racial/ethnic tension. CRS does not take sides among disputing parties and, in promoting the principles and ideals of non-discrimination, applies skills that allow parties to come to their own agreement. In performing this mission, CRS deploys highly skilled professional conciliators, who are able to assist people of diverse racial and cultural backgrounds.

CRS was in Jena, Louisiana in September of this year, and went to Jasper, Texas in the wake of the death of James Byrd in 1998.

David Van Os, the attorney for the IBEW, which brought the original complaints of unfair work practices against the company, is contemplating litigation on a handful of fronts by a number of former CPS employees, union and non-. Quote:

"The situation is intolerable and we intend to do everything possible to clean it up."

So there will likely be more about this to be blogged in the future.

Update (10/27): Sharon has more on the other nooses in the news.

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