Hopi supports EEOC lawsuit against Peabody Coal

The following is a statement of the Hopi Tribe:

“The Hopi Tribe supports the United States EEOC’s efforts to address employment inequalities at the Black Mesa/Kayenta Peabody Coal Mines. Last week the EEOC filed suit against Peabody regarding their hiring practices surrounded non-Navajo Native Americans. The Hopi Tribe has always expressed concerns to Peabody that so few Hopi members are employed at the Black Mesa Mine and we again stressed this point at our meeting with Irl F. Engelhardt, Peabody President/CEO, on Friday, June 15, 2001.

Peabody consistently claims that over 700 Native Americans are employed at the mine, and that it pays considerable sums to both tribes in royalties, taxes, and other benefits. What these statements do not reveal is that the Navajo Nation receives the bulk of these benefits because the Hopi Tribe does not assess taxes and we estimate that fewer than 20 Hopi are employed at the mine. The mining contract between Peabody and the Navajo Nation specifies Navajo hiring preference which violates Federal employment laws.

We sincerely hope that this action brings positive change to Peabody’s hiring practices at local mines. We have a 50 percent plus unemployment rate at Hopi and look to Peabody Energy as a key employer for people.”

Editor’s note:

The gist of the EEOC lawsuit and the response by Peabody Coal was published by the Observer on June 20, 2001

The suit alleges widespread national origin discrimination against non-Navajo Native Americans by refusing to hire them at its Kayenta and Black Mesa coal mining operations.

The suit also alleges that Peabody Coal, based in St. Louis, Missouri, has refused to hire qualified Hopi, Otoe and other Native Americans at its Black Mesa and Kayenta coal mining operations. Peabody operates these mines through lease agreements with the Navajo Nation and the Hopi Tribe.

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