Please join Community Legal Services of Philadelphia for:

Using the Law to Fight Discrimination: Racial Justice and the Operating Engineers

April 13, 2016 - 4:30pm - Temple Center City

Register here!

In 1972, CLS filed a racial discrimination class action against Local 542 of the Operating Engineers, a case that remains under court supervision 44 years later.  Its storied history included a year-long trial before the legendary A. Leon Higginbotham and an important decision in the U.S. Supreme Court.  Ultimately, the litigation opened the trade that operates heavy construction equipment to hundreds of minority workers, but parity has been elusive.  This panel discussion will look back at this historic litigation, including its impact on minority operating engineers in the Philadelphia area, as well as the reasons why the remedies fell short.  Barriers to construction industry diversity in general will be discussed, along with the capacity of Title VII litigation to transform institutions with a history of entrenched discrimination.


  • Sharon Dietrich, Community Legal Services
  • Harold Goodman, Raynes McCarty
  • John Dent, Class Member

The panel, and a reception afterward, are sponsored by Temple University Beasley School of Law and the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations.