After 10 Year Legal Battle - $1.04 Million Settlement with Workers for Discriminatory Practices
TDLR; Advocates Are Hopeful That Class Action Agreement of Local Industrial Bakery and Staffing Agency May Mark A Turning Point in Enforcement Efforts Against Widespread Race and Gender Based Discrimination at Staffing Agencies Across Illinois
October 7, 2022, Chicago–The $1.04 million settlement comes after a nearly ten year legal battle between Gold Standard Baking and over 1,000 workers. The lawsuit, brought by attorneys at the National Legal Advocacy Network and others, alleged that Gold Standard Baking directed MVP staffing to not send Black workers to their business. The lawsuit also names Personnel Staffing Group LLC, known as MVP Staffing, as a party to the case and all parties are now seeking preliminary approval of the settlement. Gold Standard baked products for many name brand companies, such as pastries for Entenmann’s and croissants for Starbucks, Burger King and Tyson Foods.
This major discrimination settlement follows a matched based paired testing report released in 2021, Opening The Door, that found that 38% of African American workers tested were discriminated against in the application process at Chicagoland temporary staffing agency businesses.
The Waukegan based workers center, the Chicago Workers Collaborative (CWC), and their allies are celebrating the settlement and they believe it shows that public officials should do more to regulate the temporary staffing agency business. “We proposed that the state require staffing agencies to report on demographics on applicants to staffing agencies over 10 years ago exactly because of what happened at Gold Standard Baking,” said Jose Frausto, Advocacy and Leadership Manager at CWC. “Both the Illinois Department of Labor and Illinois Attorney General have done excellent jobs enforcing laws for staffing agency workers, but the fact that this settlement took ten years to win reflects the need for more robust enforcement mechanisms as well as local partnerships to protect temporary staffing agency workers in the state, 85% of whom are people of color.”
“I am happy this is finally over,” said Barry Rose, a worker at Gold Standard Baking (now 37th Street Bakery) and a CWC member. “This is going to be a big help for the community to get jobs and sends a message that black workers can’t be treated any kind of way.”
The settlement will go before the Court for approval on October 13th, 2022.
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Founded in 2000, the Chicago Workers' Collaborative promotes the creation of stable, living wage jobs with race, class, and gender equity for precarious workers across the Chicago region.
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