Black pilots allege racial discrimination at United Airlines

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A group of 18 black pilots is calling for federal officials to investigate their claims of racial discrimination at United Airlines. 

The group, called The United Coalition for Diversity, says that United has a pattern of discrimination in not only its hiring but its promotion policies, pointing to an “utter lack of diversity at the management level.”

“It is time for all pilots to be provided with equal opportunities, regardless of the color of their skin,” Brian R. Mildenberg, the attorney for the pilots, said in a statement. “According to the coalition pilots, the executive leadership of United Airlines has failed over the years to integrate the airline and remedy the serious concerns of racial discrimination against black pilots that have plagued United for more than two decades.”

However, United says that the claims have no basis and that the group has already filed their accusations before, calling the new push “an attempt by the plaintiffs’ attorneys to try to put pressure on United to settle these meritless claims.”

“We are very proud of our diversity record and programs – as an example 5 of our 8 chief pilots at our hubs are people of color and women (including 3 African Americans),” a spokeswoman said in an email.

Still, the group is claiming not only that United itself has a diversity problem but that there are issues stemming from the consent decree with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission United made in 1976. They claim that the consent decree with relation to diversity resulted in the creation of a “secret, racist organization called “the Vault,” which they say is dedicated to keeping black pilots from advancing.

In their time at United, the pilots claim that they have been subjected to racist messages and images, including a picture of a lynching with the words, “How to move up in seniority at United Airlines.”