Don’t let bonding stop Liberty Builders from building the new Bayview Library and hiring and training the community. Tell the mayor the Bayview Library must be built by the people it serves: Call (415) 554-6141 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell the Supervisors too. Get their contact info at www.sfbos.org. Good jobs will bring peace and prosperity to our hood. – ed.
by Joseph Debro, Bay Area Black Builders
Bonding has historically blocked Blacks from working. Black freemen, who established themselves in free states during slavery, were often required to get a bond in order to work as servants. No bond no work. Those who could provide bonds for Black freemen belonged to the same tribe that required the bond. The requirement for obtaining a bond was always just beyond the Black workers’ reach.
Since 1867, construction craft unions have blocked freemen from working. White non-slave owners who were less skilled than former slaves needed an edge. They found that edge in the exclusive unions that they formed. Since that time this exclusion has assumed many iterations, depending upon the laws. Craft union racial discrimination was finally addressed at the federal level under Nixon. He responded to numerous job actions by unemployed Blacks throughout the country. He hated the craft unions more than he hated the Black unemployed.
Craft unions and bonding are the twin gatekeepers that keep Black men from working. Stimulus money comes into communities to support public works projects. The basis of the allocation of the stimulus money is often the number of unemployed in a community. Black unemployment is often counted in determining this number; it is seldom counted in the actual employment resulting from the expenditures. Public works in the state of California require union workers. Craft unions dispatch their friends and their kin. If there is still work left over, they dispatch white woman, Asians, Hispanics and finally Blacks, in that order.
Craft unions and bonding are the twin gatekeepers that keep Black men from working.
Craft unions and large white contractors try to exploit a perceived difference between Black and Brown workers. These contractors with union indifference hire undocumented workers. At the end of the workweek, contractors make these workers sign time cards certifying 40 or more hours worked at $45 per hour. The contractors then take these workers to a check cashing business, cash the $1,800 check and give the workers about $400 for the week. The unions are happy because they get paid for benefits that they do not have to pass on to workers. The contractor pockets $1,400 less taxable income. The worker is happy because he made about $10 per hour. Brown workers and Black workers are victims of this insidious process.
Bonding companies are owned and run by white men. White men in the various states regulate them. In spite of the fact that the federal government protects against 90 percent of the possible loss by bonding companies that bond small construction companies up to $5 million, these companies still bond few Black contractors.
If Black contractors cannot get bonds, they cannot compete for contracts. Black workers do not work. The Black unemployed do not get trained.
Black political officials always find craft union sycophants to contradict this author’s description of this process. Empirical data should be collected and used to evaluate the validity of my description. Forensic employment records should be made by each agency.
Joseph Debro is president of Bay Area Black Builders and co-founder of the National Association of Minority Contractors. He is a general engineering contractor and a bio-chemical engineer. He can be reached at email@example.com.