Khan bought the Jaguars in November of 2011 for $760 million, with a fortune earned during his rags-to-riches rise from an immigrant engineer to owner of a Flex-N-Gate, a multi-billion dollar auto parts company.
But not everyone has prospered. Workers employed by Khan and residents who live near his auto parts plants point to a recent chemical explosion in Indiana and possible exposure to toxic chemicals in Michigan and other sites. D. Alexander Bullock pastors a church close to Khan’s Michigan plant. In addition, some of Khan’s employees still qualify for public assistance despite the fact they work full-time at difficult and dangerous jobs.
“Shahid Khan closed a plant in Michigan, but we really don’t know yet what kind of mess he left behind,” said D. Alexander Bullock. “With all the work that goes into selecting draft choices, we think the NFL needs to know more about its newest owner. The NFL has admitted Shahid Khan to one of the most exclusive clubs in America. We’re not sure they really know about the harm caused by his business practices – and we’re coming to New York to make sure they find out.”Who: D Alexander Bullock (Rainbow Push Michigan, State Coordinator), Cindy Estrada (United Auto Workers, Vice President), Workers (Shahid Khan’s Flex-N-Gate Auto Parts Plants) & Community Residents (Highland Park, Michigan - where regulators are testing for residue of hexavalent chromium)
Where: NFL Draft Pop-Up Store, 1095 Avenue of the Americas,
(between 41st and 42nd), New York City, NY 10036
When: Thursday, April 26, 10:30 a.m.
What: Press briefing on working conditions and environmental hazards at Flex-N-Gate
Background: Shahid Khan’s company—Flex-N-Gate Corporation—has grown to become the 15th-largest automotive supplier in North America, largely based on the production of chrome-plated truck bumpers. The chemical that gives bumpers their shine is hexavalent chromium, the same cancer-causing chemical made famous in the movie Erin Brockovich.
D. Alexander Bullock hosted a packed community meeting at Greater St. Matthew Baptist Church in Highland Park, Mich. last month, which included testimony about leaks and spills at Chrome Craft, an abandoned plant owned by Shahid Khan. Regulators agreed to test nearby soil and water for the presence of hexavalent chromium.
Current Flex-N-Gate workers say safety problems persist in the company's newer operations. In March, workers filed complaints with OSHA and the Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management after a chemical explosion resulted in serious injuries and the evacuation of the plant. Workers at plants in Illinois and Indiana have filed state and federal charges alleging dozens of health and safety allegations related to the company’s use of hexavalent chromium and other dangerous conditions.
Rainbow PUSH MI is an affiliate of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition a multi-racial, multi-issue, progressive, international membership organization fighting for social change. Our mission is to protect, defend, and gain civil rights by leveling the economic and educational playing fields, and to promote peace and justice around the world.