By Eric L. Wesson Sr.
CALL Staff Writer
Eyebrows are being raised throughout the black community over an aggressive stance by the unions concerning the construction of the single terminal airport.
Voters, including those in the black community, supported a mandate that the project would be inclusive of minority and women owned businesses not exclusively union.
In a memo to the City Council from the Unions presented by Joe L. Hudson, Political director / Contractor Relations St. Louis – Kansas City Carpenters’ Regional council, stated, “Their (Edgemoor/Clark team) proposal was completely unreasonable and demonstrated to labor that they wished to leave labor exposed to possible worker abuses on this important project.”
Hudson contends that by being a 100 percent union project it allows an avenue between an employee and Clark Construction in case of a grievance.
He also stated in his memo, that the Building and Construction Trades, the Builders Association and the Carpenters were all on the same page. That claim is odd considering that a large part of the Builders Association membership is non-union.
However, being a 100 percent union project would virtually eliminate minority and women owned business participation in the $1.3 billion project.
The relationship between some unions and the black employees have been extremely troubled. Black employees have always complained that they get hired by construction companies and wind up sitting on the bench, while their white counterparts go from one job to another.
In 2017, there may be 75 blacks who have risen to the level of journeyman in all of the city’s unions combined. Most would be in the Pipefitters union.
THE CALL has interviewed a number of black contruction workers who belong to the union who still have to go out of town to find work.
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