Ram has contracted outside investigators to discover the source of a noose found hanging at the manufacturer's Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in Michigan. Initially found in late February, the noose is the second racist incident at the facility since late 2017, Bloomberg reports. Both occurred after the number of hourly workers at the plant increased from 3,000 to 7,000 employees.
This episode comes on the heels of other racially charged incidents at Ford and General Motors plants, making racism a hot-button issue for manufacturers as well as the United Auto Workers union. The UAW held a conference last week in Detroit and made the anti-xenophobic initiative a top priority. The union made a collective resolution stating, "A rise in recent years of incidents targeting people based on their race, gender, immigration status, or religious beliefs is impossible to ignore and requires an aggressive response."
Furthermore, after the noose was found between 1 a.m. and 3:30 a.m. on Feb. 22, an anonymous Facebook post was made on the UAW Local 1700 page, reading:
“We must speak up and speak out when we are aware of heinous discriminatory acts being committed by co-workers. Fear-mongering through race-based attacks and antics should not and will NOT BE TOLERATED AT SHAP [Sterling Heights Assembly Plant].”
Both Ram and its parent company Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have vehemently stood in opposition to the racist actions of the unidentified worker(s). FCA subsequently issued a public statement that denounces any supposed correlation between the aforementioned noose and the automaker's own views.
"The incident at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant in February was the subject of an exhaustive investigation conducted by external investigators. Although we have been unable to identify the person responsible, if and when that person is identified, their relationship with the company will be terminated. FCA will continue to conduct focused training to underscore the value of diversity and inclusion," FCA said.
This saga echos that of another problematic occurrence at FCA's Toledo, Ohio plant in 2018. Local news outlet, the Toledo Blade, reported that a facility subcontractor was fired after "images of a thick, braided rope tied into a large noose began circulating on social media." A number of people and workers reportedly confirmed that the photo "was taken in the area of the plant’s paint shop."