Bay Area Black Builders meet Saturday, Feb. 20, 12 noon, 1099 Sunnydale, San Francisco – Contractors, workers, jobseekers welcome!
by Joseph Debro
On Jan. 15 at 10 a.m., the Black Builders and friends shut down a pre-bid conference for a library in the heart of Hunters Point. This action was designed to send the mayor of San Francisco a message: If Black people do not work in Hunters Point, no one works here. This notice applies to all of the proposals in the pipeline at Hunters Point.
We requested that the mayor award the $6 million construction contract for the new Bayview Library to a Black builder of our choosing. We would arrange jobs on that contract for Black workers. The City of San Francisco must guarantee the surety bond and it must keep the union off of our backs. We suggested that the city should prohibit general contractors from requiring bonds of their subs on all public works projects.
The city proposed to offer this project to bid to anyone who wanted it. The Human Rights Commission established a goal of 8 percent minority employment. When a contractor sees “minority,” Blacks are the last hired and the first fired. Whenever the word minority is used, Blacks are the last people addressed. We push the envelope for civil rights. For this we are punished and others are rewarded.
No Black workers work construction in Chinatown. No Black construction workers work downtown. Now the city proposes to limit the number of Black workers who can work in Hunters Point. We will establish our own rules of work on our turf. We will enforce those laws. Our deputies know how to bring justice.
The pre-bid conference opened with a presentation by an architect from Oregon. Mr. Nedir Bey, spokesperson for the Bay Area Black Builders, questioned the city about how it bypassed the underemployed Black architects in the city of San Francisco and brought in a white architect from out of state. Charlie Walker, the enforcer for the Black builders, pointed out the unfairness in the city’s policy. This kind of disrespect from the mayor sends the wrong message. If a project starts off with this kind of selection, matters will get worse. Matters got worse in this meeting.
We will establish our own rules of work on our turf. We will enforce those laws. Our deputies know how to bring justice.
City Build, Human Rights and other representatives of the mayor were all dismissed. We wanted to send the mayor a message about other projects planned at Hunters Point, Bayview, Fillmore and Vis Valley. Blacks must be employed. We are no longer playing with unions nor large white contractors. That is your job, we told the city officials.
Our job is to insure that Black people work. We place the responsibility of dealing with your rules at your door.
Our deputies will enforce our employment laws. These laws apply to both sides of the Bay. We are going to send delegations to every jobsite in our neighborhoods.
We are going to ask for jobs by name. Contractors who are not responsive will suffer the consequences. We will be the major builders of the casinos in Richmond. We will be major builders of the Port project in Oakland.
Joseph Debro is president of Bay Area Black Builders. He is also president of the Visitacion Valley Community Development Corp., co-founder of the National Association of Minority Contractors, a general engineering contractor and a bio-chemical engineer. He can be reached at email@example.com.