Racist attacks shutdown two more Turner construction sites

Aug 14 '20 | By Ray

Construction on Facebook's billion-dollar facility in New Albany, OH was temporally put on hold after racist graffiti was discovered at the site. According Turners to all construction workers were then required to undergo what the industry calls ‘anti-bias’ training, trainings that in the past, have rendered little in stopping race based attacks on construction sites; attacks that have escalated in recent months coinciding with social & economic uprisings across the U.S.

A spokesman with Turner Construction Company, one of the largest in the country, confirmed that the graffiti was found on the construction site, and said that the company subsequently called the police and shut down the site. But Turner refused to say what the graffiti entailed, or where it was found. Turner says it is reviewing security footage to try and find out who is responsible for the attack.

According to Columbus Business First, the $1.7 billion Facebook campus is the largest construction project in Central Ohio. A data center has already been completed and opened, and the third is under construction. Two more buildings are planned as part of the campus. Turner says that construction will resume once the training is complete.

A similar incident shut down Turner’s construction of the FC Cincinatti stadium project the week before, when racist graffiti was discovered at the future home of the FC Cincinnati soccer team. According to Turner this incident also was reported to the police, and all staff was required to participate in what many black tradesmen refer to as more “meaningless anti-biased training.”

Black tradesmen and women have been under constant attack this summer particularly hard, as these two graffiti incidents have not been isolated, and are rather common; earlier this summer, nooses were found hanging in several construction sites across the United States and Canada.

These hateful attacks have transpired during a summer when the construction industry and the U.S., in general, have grappled with systematic anti-Black racism, its prevalence, and how to remedy it. Turner and other major construction firms across the U.S. announced this summer that they would be taking a hard look at racism within the industry, but have not announced any measures to identify and eliminate these racist elements that are plaguing its workforce to the core. CHECK OUT OUR RELATED ARTICLE, THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY PLEDGES TO ELIMINATE RACISM, BUT WITHOUT A PLAN

While black construction workers across the U.S. seek to realize their dreams of succeeding as talented trade professionals, and builders of communities, these recent attacks show that they are constantly being dragged down by the inner workings of industry racists and bigoted unionist that seek to harass and intimidate black tradesmen and women.

The time has long come for construction labor unions and non-union firms alike to finally stand up, and fulfill their duties as leaders and protect their black workers, by taking all of their reports of racism, discrimination, and harassment seriously, and eliminating known racist agitators, and corrupt disingenuous supervisors that condone racist behaviors, the very one’s that are corroding the reputation of the industry as a whole.

One way to combat these racist attacks is by doubling down in the face of racism and adversity, by intentionally recruiting and training Tens-of-thousands of future black construction workers, the U.S. so desperately needs. The act of building up the black construction workforce would help shift the scales of the industry in favor of those workers that are most oppressed, and in need of employment protections. Yet the industry in far to hesitate to act appropriately and invest properly in this area.

The systematically racist Jim Crow era tactic of recruiting black construction workers into faulty ‘one-and-done’ union programs, known in the industry as ‘Pre-Apprenticeships,’ and other employment tricks such as non-union‘Temporary Day worker’ programs forces black apprentice, and unskilled laborers to work for contractors for less, without union benefits, and substantive training, is still in effect today and must end. These  types of shady employment practices are used throughout the industry, especially in the black communities, where new construction development in often booming.

And with half of all black construction workers being card carrying union members, the construction trade unions and their umbrella group, the Building and Construction Trades Councils must acknowledge their important role as industry leaders and immediately release comprehensive data showing their exact number of black workers in each trade, so that an honest conversation can finally begin, and substantial changes can be made as to how black workers are properly recruited, trained, retained, and protected in the hostile environment of 2020.


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