ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - A pair of civil rights groups is lobbing serious allegations against some of the higher-ups at Kirtland Air Force Base, saying Hispanic workers don't have a fighting chance there.
Now, they're calling for a federal investigation.
Both the League of United Latin American Citizens and the Hispano Round Table are demanding the investigation. They claim the brass at Kirtland and at a specialized department there is spending more time discriminating against Hispanics than doing their jobs.
That department is the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, which has a training center at Kirtland.
Ralph Arellanes with LULAC says DTRA military and civilian managers not only abuse their power but discriminate against Hispanic workers.
When it comes to Kirtland, Arellanes claims the number of Equal Employment Opportunity complaints filed is one of the highest in the country.
He also says there have been repeated violations of the pledges contained in Kirtland's Seven Initiatives for Change.
Back in 1984, the New Mexico Congressional Delegation and the Secretary of the Air Force signed the initiatives, which say Kirtland must bring their Hispanic employment numbers up to reflect the makeup of the state.
Arellanes says it's time something changes and wants the Department of Justice to step in.
“We’re outraged about this,” Arellanes said. “We’ve done a lot of investigating, a lot of working with Kirtland Air Force Base and with DTRA and to no avail. Our numbers keep getting worse and worse.”
LULAC says only 18 percent of the civilian workforce at the base is Hispanic while it should be 50 percent.
Kirtland released a statement saying they've seen 52 EEO complaints in the past three years. Base officials say they've tried to train and recruit local talent for civilian jobs over the years.
The DTRA specializes in dealing with weapons of mass destruction. Kirtland is home to the agency's Defense Threat Reduction University.
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