Brothers & Sisters in the Building Trades,
We had not planned on addressing racial issues in the upcoming issue of Union Builder however with the recent incident that took place at the high profile FC Cincinnati job site as well as the opportunity for all of us to learn from it and grow as one human race; we feel it is absolutely mandatory that we do.
For those of you who have not heard, there were multiple incidents at the jobsite that included at the very least defacing property in one instance as well as the use of racist language in another incident that is unacceptable anywhere and especially on any jobsite. We could argue all day long whether the intent of these incidents were racially motivated or if the incidents were just insensitive in their intent but the fact of the matter is that we need to understand that if our words or actions cause another person to feel belittled, threatened or uncomfortable then we need to check ourselves.
The FC Cincinnati job site is one of the few jobs in recent memory that we were successful in securing a community benefits agreement on. The community benefit agreement allowed for an almost entirely union built project, over 70% so far as well as an opportunity for the labor community to show why working union is the best avenue to the middle class for all working men and women and their families. Incidents such as those that took place do nothing but cast a negative light on the entire unionized construction industry regardless of which trade was at fault. Racism in any form, whether it is overt, covert, implied or otherwise will never be acceptable and we as the building trades need to be the conduit for its eradication once and for all.
Several Building Trades leaders including Bill Froehle (392), Rick Fischer (212), Larry Thompson (265), Dave Baker (44), Brian Wear (18) and Jeff King (18) met with Turner Construction Vice President Dave Spaulding to discuss the FC Cincinnati jobsite and Turners policies moving forward on their jobsites nationwide.
Turner Construction has made it crystal clear that any defacing of property on their jobsites will result in craft workers being banned from all Turner jobsites up to and including possible lifetime bans depending on the infraction. For those of you who enjoy being porta-let poets we want you to understand that it will not be tolerated as well. In many areas of the country workers are required to sign in prior to using the “facilities” and there is a monitor who disinfects the area after each use (Covid-19). If there is graffiti found the worker who caused the damage is removed from the jobsite. Turner does not want to implement monitors here locally however they do not want to deal with childish behavior and criminal damaging either. We would venture to say that every construction manager and contractor we work for would echo this sentiment as well.
As leaders in the Building Trades we are asking each and every member to take an active part in creating an environment on every job site that allows for every worker to be free from harassment of any kind. Our forefathers and foremothers gave us all of the tools and the intellect to be able to do this and just like the physical tools of the trade that we use every day the proper care and respect of those tools will determine our success. We are all proud construction workers in our respective trades and the examples we set today will be emulated by the men and women who pick up the “tools of the trades “tomorrow.
If not us, who? If not now, when?
As leaders of the Building Trades we are asking all of our members, including us to do their part.
The Greater Cincinnati Building Trades
Frederick E. Lampe