April 7, 2000

LULAC Supports Workers Rights

Boston, MA — Regla González, LULAC National Vice President of the Northeast express the organization's support of the complainants on a discrimination case affecting Latinos in Massachusetts. Over one hundred Department of Transitional Assistance a.k.a. Welfare Dept. employees of Latino heritage working as Spanish-English bilingual social workers filed a racial discrimination lawsuit complaints with the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination alleging that the Department has discriminated against them.

"This case is just another example of how decent and honest people are being deprived of receiving their compensation," said González. "They are seeking justice. They work hard and deserve what they earn. The only thing that makes them different is their heritage. This case raises several questions about the works of the Department."

According to González, it is unacceptable that the department of Transitional Assistance for the past five years has decided to challenge this claim instead of addressing their needs. The workers alleged among other things that the Department requires them to carry caseloads of predominantly Spanish speaking clients and that they are required to translate for their Spanish speaking clients and also for their non-Spanish speaking colleagues. However, these tasks are not recognized as formal duties giving them a heavier workload than that of their co-workers. The workers are currently seeking equality, back pay and compensation for their higher workload.

Bilingual Hispanic Workers from the Dept. of Transitional Assistance in Massachusetts met a M.C.A.D. today for a pretrial conference hearing. Approximately 130 workers were present along with their atty. and the Atty. for the Dept. There was no agreement reached and will go to a full trial hearing somewhere near the end of this summer. There will be approximately 49 witness and this trial will last about 5 days. The Dept. still continues to deny any charges of racial discrimination. The Dept. submitted a motion to dismiss and the Atty. for the Hispanic workers submitted her rebuttal in their defense.

The bilingual Hispanic workers have a difficult battle going against the State. Even if the Dept. know they have discriminated, they will not acknowledge that they have and will fight until the end to prove us wrong. We are not afraid to fight them. We have started a fight and we will also fight until the bitter end. We will continue to provide our atty. information that will prove that the state continues to discriminated against us and we will not give up, we will prevail.

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