to 2,000 Minorities and Women
It started in 1999 with the veiled threat of a discrimination lawsuit by a well-organized
group of 2,000 preferred minorities from within Kodak's ranks. Officially, the word
"lawsuit" was never mentioned.
In February 1999 the NAACP came knocking on the door of Kodak CEO George Fisher. Kodak's
visitor was the Reverend Norvel Goff, president of the Greater Rochester chapter of the
| The exact details
of the meeting between NAACP's Rev. Goff and Kodak's CEO have never been revealed
publicly. But we do know that the Rev. Goff mentioned to Kodak's Mr. Fisher that 2,000
women and minority Kodak employees (mostly black) were of the opinion that Kodak had
denied them pay increases because of their skin color and/or gender.
Following the Rev. Goff's friendly housecall on Rochester's largest, wealthiest employer,
Kodak did some amazing things and it did them very quickly. And Kodak did these
things without the public involvement of the federal quota police. The U.S. Dept. of
Justice, the U.S. Dept. of Labor, and the U.S. EEOC were not officially or publicly
involved in "motivating" Kodak to enter into any kind of settlement with the
disgruntled, preferred minorities.
Kodak Breaks Speed
Record! In the
span of just under three months - between Feb. 1999 and May 1999 - Kodak
"voluntarily" conducted an internal race-based and gender-based review of the
pay records of 31,000 of its U.S. workers.
Kodak Park, Kodak's Rochester, NY manufacturing facility.
|In the annals of racial corporate shakedowns, Kodak's review and
determination set a speed record.
Boeing, which initially fought the discrimination charges lodged against it, had to be
forced by the U.S. Dept. of Labor to submit to an external review. The Dept. of
Labor had to threaten Boeing with a lawsuit in federal court and threatened
withholding of billions of dollars in government contracts before Boeing finally submitted
to the Labor Dept. review.
After Kodak's "voluntary" review of pay grades, they predictably found that a
lot of their low-level clerical and trade workers who happened to be mostly black,
Hispanic or female were earning less than a lot of other workers who were not black,
Hispanic or female but many of whom happened to hold more skilled jobs and had higher
levels of education.
By May 4, 1999 Kodak announced an award of $13 million in "retroactive and current
pay raises" to the 2,000 female and minority workers who had complained. Kodak
also publicly fired or disciplined a "handful" of managers who had some
responsibility for allowing this state of affairs.
Kodak Never Admitted Racism: According to the Wall Street
Journal, Kodak spokesman Charles S. Smith is quoted as making the following carefully
crafted, and carefully ambiguous, statement:
"Clearly racism is
inconsistent with our values. But there was a discrepancy that appears to be on a basis of
gender and race."
Mr. Smith did not say anything about Kodak having been guilty of racism. He
merely said racism was inconsistent with Kodak's values.
There had never been a threat of a lawsuit against Kodak, the Times reported, and Kodak's
$13 million in race-based generosity was "voluntary". Kodak spokesman Mr. Smith
added that the company intends to increase its promotions of women and minorities.
According to Kodak, most of the 2,000 minorities and women involved in this
"voluntary non-settlement" are clerical staff, skilled-trade employees,
including electricians, and factory workers. Not what you would consider material for
middle- or upper-management positions. Yet Kodak also said that while in 1998 only 37% of
the openings in mid- and senior-level management went to women and minorities, they
expected to dramatically increase that proportion in the coming years.
Kodak Rewards the NAACP Shakedown
what of the good Reverend Norvel Goff of the Rochester NAACP who brokered Kodak's $13
million quota payout?
Rev. Goff's intervention bought him a seat at the table, and he now serves on Kodak's Diversity
Panel helping to oversee Kodak's quota performance. The panel is chaired by
Bill Clinton's black, former U.S. Attorney, Eric Holder.
Quota Settlement to
Boeing, Coca Cola, and Texaco
In the past few years three other corporate giants - Boeing, Coca Cola, and Texaco - also
have been shaken down for billions of dollars for race-based employee programs and
benefits. Yes, that's correct: billions as in a number followed by 9 zeros. As in
thousands of millions of dollars.
One significant similarity among all of these cases, including the Kodak case, is that the
charges of racism and sexism were based primarily upon statistical disparities in
pay levels between races and genders. Most often these pay grade analyses did not take
into account years of service and employee performance evaluations, especially if the U.S.
Dept. of Labor was performing the pay grade audits.
Unlike Kodak, however, Boeing, Coke
and Texaco made the initial mistake of trying to defend themselves against charges of
racism in a court of law.
Kodak was smart enough to pay the racial extortion quietly and quickly. This move didn't
necessarily save Kodak any money, but it did avoid lots of bad publicity.
In each of the Boeing, Coke and Texaco cases their initial efforts to defend themselves
against charges of racism brought a swift and massive response:
- Racial special interest groups
swamped the media with negative stories about these companies' treatment of people of
color. Various chapters of the NAACP and the ubiquitous Jesse Jackson all publicly
castigated these companies for their statistical racism.
- A swarm of taxpayer-supported
attorneys descended upon these companies, including attorneys from the U.S. Dept. of
Justice, the U.S. Dept. of Labor, and the U.S. EEOC. Federal lawsuits were filed or
- The federal government threatened
to withhold billions of dollars in federal contracts from Boeing unless they stopped
trying to defend themselves.
- Texaco was directly threatened
with years of federal litigation if they didn't stop trying to defend themselves. The U.S.
EEOC still monitors Texaco's racial quota performance and will step in if Texaco fails to
hire and promote the right numbers of people of color.
- Coke was threatened with economic
boycotts of their products by the racial special interests (most notably Jesse Jackson,
Inc.) if they didn't stop trying to defend themselves.
Kodak managed to avoid all of that.
But in the end Kodak ended up spending as much or more on race-based employee benefits,
racial special interest causes, and race-based subcontracting and purchasing commitments.
[See part 3 of our Kodak story: Kodak's Funding and Involvement with Minority
Billions in Race-Based Payments: To be sure, over the years Kodak
has weathered its share of smaller "traditional" race and sex discrimination
lawsuits. It successfully defended itself against most of these because they had been
lodged by individual employees instead of by a large, well organized class of disgruntled
Following Kodak's announcement of the $13 million non-settlement, NAACP bestowed a
"good corporate diversity citizen" award on Kodak which it added to its other
accolades from racial special interest groups. DiversityInc, a pro-quota
cheerleading group, listed Kodak as one of the top U.S. companies for minorities to work
- Boeing initially paid out over $1.3
billion in race-based settlements and programs. That's $1,305.4 million, or
- Coca Cola has publicly
acknowledged spending at least $475 million in race-based
settlements and programs before they learned Kodak's lesson: keep it quiet.
- Similarly, Texaco also spent over $1.1
billion for racial special interest programs, only $176 million of which was
publicly disclosed as a settlement. But Texaco also pledged an additional $865 million to
business from minority-owned suppliers and contractors as well as $150 million in business
to a black owned investment banking firm.
[Links to the
Boeing, Coke and Texaco cases appear at the bottom of this page.]
The data that we've compiled all are a matter of public record. But the actual total
cost of the racial extortion paid by these corporate giants may never be publicly known.
Of Kodak's racial extortion payments we can only say this: Kodak has publicly
admitted paying only $13 million to settle the 1999 non-lawsuit. They also give away
hundreds of thousands of their shareholder's dollars every year to race-based scholarships
and race-based "charitable" organizations, and they've publicly committed millions
of dollars to race-based contracting and supplier arrangements. [See part 5 of our Kodak story: Kodak's Supplier Diversity Program.] They have repeatedly announced
their intention to purge non-minorities from upper management and director positions and
to aggressively increase the percentage of their workforce which is comprised of preferred
In other words, Kodak has implemented many of the same programs as Boeing, Coke, and
Therefore, it is not unreasonable to assume that the true cost of Kodak's racial
preferences at least equals Boeing's massive $1.3 billion payout.
Below are a few of the news
sources Adversity.Net used in compiling this report.
This story is under development. Additional information and links may be provided
at a future date.
Send Us Your
If you have specific, additional information about Kodak's racial preferences programs,
please send your confidential comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
Kodak Case 35: (2) $13 Million Settlement