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CAIR-MN to Announce Filing of EEOC, NLRB Charges on Behalf of Somali Bus Drivers

CAIR MN logo(MINNEAPOLIS, MN, 4/21/16) – On Friday, April 22, the Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) will hold a news conference to announce the filing of discrimination charges with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and unfair labor practices charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) on behalf of 15 bus drivers of Somali-heritage against Monarch Bus Services and the Minneapolis and Suburban Bus Company.

The Somali bus drivers will be present at the news conference.

WHAT: Press Conference to Announce EEOC Discrimination Charges and NLRB Unfair Labor Practices Charges Against School Bus Companies

WHERE: CAIR Minnesota, 2021 East Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55413 – Lower Level Conference Room

WHEN: Friday, April 22, 10:30 a.m.

CONTACT: CAIR-MN Civil Rights Attorney, Ellen Longfellow, Esq. (612) 206-3360, elongfellow@cair.com; CAIR-MN Executive Director Jaylani Hussein, 612-406-0070, jhussein@cair.com.

Monarch Bus Services and Minneapolis and Suburban Bus Company fired the 15 school bus drivers on January 21, 2016 after they formed a group called the United Community of Drivers to talk about the companies' work conditions and discrimination issues. The company refused to talk to the group and told them all to leave the property or they would call the police.

SEE: Group of Minneapolis School Bus Drivers Walks Off Job

The group had concerns that the Somali drivers were given buses that were in disrepair and had no heat.  Children and their parents complained often. White and African-American drivers were given the new buses and the buses in good condition with working heat. The companies also reduced the hours arbitrarily for the Somali drivers, and failed to pay them for some of the time that they worked.

“This appears to be a clear case of discrimination based upon ethnicity,” said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Attorney Ellen Longfellow.

The leader of the group, Mahmud Kanyare, said: “The bus companies treated us unfairly and would not listen to the group's concerns.  The school children suffered because they had to ride in cold buses during a Minnesota winter.”

CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.

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