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BLACK BARGE WORKERS WIN $1.2 MILLION IN SETTLEMENT

Black barge workers on the Mississippi who were repeatedly passed over for better jobs won $1.2 million and an offer of permanent jobs when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers settled a race discrimination complaint, officials disclosed Friday.

The 16 workers, many who spent their careers working on the dredge Hurley, will each get about $62,500. The settlement was announced to the workers last week.

In the 64 years that dredges worked the Mississippi, no blacks were hired for year-round positions, and only white employees were promoted from seasonal to permanent jobs.

Seasonal workers earn $12 an hour, less than permanent workers, and are without jobs when the dredge docks in Memphis during the off-season, usually sometime in the fall until late spring.

The Hurley was "permeated with malicious and reckless indifference toward African-American employees," the Defense Department found in a report issued in April.

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