No discrimination allegations raised at Demopolis New Era location

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 30, 2007

DEMOPOLIS &8212; The New Era Cap Co. said Thursday no allegations of racial discrimination have surfaced at its Demopolis location, following assertions by the Teamster&8217;s Union at its Mobile location of discrimination against black employees.

In the nine years New Era has operated in Alabama prior to the Teamsters organizing at the Mobile facility, the company received two claims of racial discrimination, both of which were found to be of no merit by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission &8212; the most recent of these dates to 2005. Corporate Communications Manager for New Era Dana Marciniak said no claims of discrimination have come from the Demopolis location.

After repeated attempts, Demopolis location manager, Alvin Williams, could not be reached for comment, but Marciniak said the company&8217;s facilities in Alabama and throughout the country are systematically and repeatedly reviewed by outside independent auditors and have been found to uphold these standards. Annually, all employees are trained on the Fair Labor Association codes including non-discrimination.

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Statewide, New Era employs 914 individuals, of which 737 are black. Blacks make up 81 percent of the company&8217;s workforce in the state and 38 percent of its management.

In Demopolis 361 of the 450 employees at the New Era location are classified as non-white by New Era and make up the majority of the workforce in all departments at the location except for administrative support and professional positions.

Marciniak said a third-party audit was conducted in Mobile in September and the audit found no claims of discrimination. In addition, the FLA conducted its own audit of the company&8217;s Jackson facility through an independent external auditor in July and similarly found no discrimination. In each case, auditors conducted confidential and independent interviews with workers confirming non-discrimination.

Marciniak said New Era also rejects claims of anti-union sentiment, citing its strong relationship with the Communications Workers of America, which represents the company&8217;s manufacturing workforce in Derby, NY.

New Era, founded in 1920, produces more than 30 million caps per year and is the exclusive manufacturer and marketer of the official on-field cap worn by every Major League Baseball team and their Minor League affiliates.