PHILADELPHIA (Sep. 13)
The Philadelphia chapter of the American Jewish Committee charged the Acme supermarket chain today with discrimination against hiring Jews in executive positions. Michael Steinig, chairman of the Executive Advisory Program, a joint endeavor of the AJ Committee chapter and the Jewish Employment and Vocational Service, said that Acme, the fourth largest food chain in the U.S., had no Jews in the top 30 executive positions in the fall of 1970. “Since Jews account for almost 30 percent of college graduates in the Philadelphia area, something is clearly wrong,” he said.
Steinig said that in meetings with Acme officials, the company either refused to provide data about its employes or gave information that “could only be described as misleading or even frivolous.” He said his chapter would soon file a complaint against the Acme chain with the district office of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.
According to Steinig, the AJ Committee and the JEVS have been attempting for more than eight years to effect changes in Acme’s hiring and promotional policies. The Philadelphia-based chain operates more than 500 supermarkets, warehouses, packaging plants and food processing centers in eight states. “A company that operates in this many states must be considered a national operation,” Steinig said.
“What we are asking for is adoption by Acme of programs that will help open doors of opportunity for Jews and other minority group members who are qualified to do a job.” He stressed that the AJ Committee was not asking for a quota system to which the organization is strongly opposed.
Steinig noted that the complaint to be filed with the EEOC will be the first by the AJ Committee against an individual company in the organization’s “executive suite” program. The program began in the 1960s after a study by the Harvard Business School and other academic institutions showed that very few Jews were part of the management personnel in most of the country’s major industrial and financial institutions.
Steinig said that in recent months Acme has shown continued indifference to the problem. He said company executives have failed to respond to letters and telephone calls from the AJ Committee. He said Acme’s attitude was that since the company did not have federal contracts it did not need to comply with federal guidelines intended to remedy discrimination based on religion and national origin.
A 20-member delegation of communal leaders, officers and board members of the Council of Jewish Federations and Welfare Funds, at the invitation of Baron Guy de Rothschild, president of the Fonds Sociale Juif Unific, will meet with leaders of French Jewry during a 10-day mission beginning tomorrow in Paris. The delegation, led by CJF president Raymond Epstein, and CJF overseas services chairman Harold Friedman, will conduct in-depth consultations and visits with the major organizations and institutions serving French communal Jewish life. The mission will also spend two days in Toulouse for discussions and study.