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Automobile Industry Avoids Employing Jews in Administrative Posts

The automobile industry’s official policy of “equal employment opportunity” has failed to end the “serious under-utilization” of Jews in white collar and administrative positions, Bernard Nath, chairman of the Civil Rights Committee of the Anti-Defamation League of B’nai B’rith, charged today.

He said that a study conducted by the League on the industry’s employment of Jewish personnel reveals that of 51, 000 white collar, professional and executive employees in Detroit’s Big Three auto companies, only 328–less than three-fourths of one per cent–are Jews. He called the low figure indicative of “an obvious gap” between the proclaimed policy of fair employment by top officers of the industry and actual hiring practices at operating levels.

The study supervised by Arnold For ster, the League’s general counsel and civil rights director, cited these figures: 1. Of 15, 500 at General Motors, 80 are Jews; 2. Of 18,000 at Chrysler, 102 are Jews; 3. Of 17,500 white collar and executive employees at Ford, 146 are Jews.

It noted as significant that 20 of the 146 Jews at Ford are in the Scientific Research Laboratory and 17 of the 102 at Chrysler are in the Missile Division–two departments which are not directly involved in the production and sales of automobiles. Furthermore, the study revealed an almost total lack of Jews in sales and financing departments.

The study cited no single reason for the dearth of Jewish white collar and executive personnel but gave the following circumstances as contributing factors: 1. Social discrimination at the “executive suite” level which precludes hiring Jews; 2. College recruitment procedures which fail to make merit-employment standards clear to placement officers and deans of engineering schools; 3. Company toleration of department heads hostile to Jewish employment.

The ADL official said meetings with college placement officers at one major mid-west university indicated that although a college recruiter might interview three engineering graduates with equal qualifications it was known that “the boy with the Jewish name” would not have an equal chance for consideration in some company departments where prejudice superceded top level policy.

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