Gardner to hold breakfast forum on black lockout on construction sites
By Chinta Strausberg
Retired business icon Ed Gardner is inviting blacks who tried to get a construction contract, others who would like to work on a construction site, and current contractors to meet him 9 a.m., Saturday, October 6, 2012, for a breakfast meeting at BJ’s Market & Bakery, 8734 S. Stony Island Ave. Joining Gardner will be the Coalition of African American Leaders (COAL) whose members will share their data on why blacks are locked out of this industry not just in Chicago but also across this nation. In an effort to dissect why blacks are excluded from construction sites, Gardner said he will be listening to African Americans who are trying to get contracts and others who either tried to get a construction job and/or those who were denied union memberships. One African American city worker, who asked not to be named, said he was in a union, has all of his paperwork but was not hired by a major company that he needed to complete his course work. “The unions are the problem,” he said. “I have all of my paperwork, but I’m not a full union member. If you are black, it’s really hard to meet union standards because they set up barriers…pitfalls for you to fail,” he charged.
Earlier this week on WVON, Mayor Rahm Emanuel pointed an accusatory finger at the unions blaming them for the lack of blacks on construction sites. While Gardner did received a call from Mayor Emanuel last Wednesday, he is still insisting for a face-to-face meeting, and he wants the mayor to accompany him on several construction sites so he can show him first-hand the paucity of African American voters. Referring to construction sites, Gardner said, “The mayor is still following the status quo and that has to be totally corrected, and I am not giving up on this. Blacks deserve to work like anybody else.” ###