Toledo Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz released the following statement today regarding civil rights complaints at the GM Powertrain plant:
“On Jan. 17, a CNN story highlighted allegations of racism and threats at the Toledo GM Powertrain plant. I shared the same outrage that many of our residents and visitors felt when I heard the stories of the hostile work environment described during the news story. It was even more concerning that our city and this incident was the topic of discussion during a recent U.S. Conference of Mayors bi-annual gathering. The incidents shared during the story do not reflect the city that I was elected to lead, and they are certainly not the reputation we want to portray to the world.
Over the past several weeks, I have met with community leaders, the Rev. Jesse Jackson, Sr., and the leadership of General Motors North America to discuss the incident. During the meeting with GM leadership, I expressed my concern regarding employees feeling safe and supported when reporting these types of incidents and ongoing efforts to ensure a workplace culture that is free from discrimination and has a ‘no tolerance’ policy for racist acts. I also shared the City of Toledo’s own experience with addressing these types of incidents within our organization in a follow up letter, in hopes that we can provide suggestions for ongoing engagement of these types of issues.
As a top employer and economic driver for our city and region, GM has made important contributions to our community. I am also well aware that these types of incidents create the wrong perception of our community. It is my hope to work with GM leadership to ensure a workplace that is safe and supportive to all of their employees and customers, and partner with them to ensure our residents and visitors feel that our community is welcoming.”