Written by T. Logan Dayne
Despite an agreement meant to prioritize communities that have been marginalized in construction, SANDAG (San Diego Association of Governments) is looking to spend $160 billion while excluding the Black Contractors Association from discussions. The Black Contractors Association is an organization meant to promote Black contractors and business owners.
In an opinion piece published in the Times of San Diego, author, carpenter, and master builder, Desmond Collins writes, “Black people in the trade have been historically overlooked, and often denied opportunities on construction projects.” According to him, the agreement made by SANDAG is prioritizing big labor unions. The SANDAG agreement is specifically excluding non-union apprenticeships programs, effectively closing the door to inner-city neighborhoods. In essence what SANDAG has made this into is a trojan PLA (Project Labor Agreement), the promise of inclusion and equity on the outside while awarding unionized firms. Collins also points out that such policy makers continue to marginalize the Black community by forcing unionization. “Writing laws to force unionization hurts the Black community because it has been historically marginalized by San Diego’s labor unions.”
Collins is asking the board to include the National Black Contractors Association to join the discussions, to make clear what they mean by “equity”, and to not let Black contractors’ inner-city construction apprenticeship programs die under the guise of community benefits.
Photo Cred: Supervisor Jim Desmond