Amid the thunderous pounding of punch presses and other factory equipment, employees of white, Pakistani, Hispanic and Vietnamese descent stamped out and assembled HVAC equipment at the Lloyd Industries plant in Montgomeryville. Among them in late October 2015 were three Black workers.
Two would soon be laid off and the third had his hours slashed so he quit, leaving no Black workers at the 65-employee plant by early November 2015.
A lawyer later said the company had “whitewashed” the plant of Black employees.
Ronald Watson, who earned $23,800 a year, was one of the laid-off Black workers. And he sued Lloyd Industries for racial discrimination, saying in the litigation that he wasn’t the lowest man on the seniority list. He could do other jobs in the plant and should have been protected by union rules from the layoff. When Watson asked the new plant manager why the manager was choosing him, the plant manager responded: “Because I can.”