At the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, many of these gifted workers saw an opportunity to move north and apply their skills. They would work for less, as union scales were excessive and cause inflated construction costs. Usually, it is the taxpayer or consumer who has to pay those inflated costs caused by greed and the lack of competitive bidding.
The enraged unions had two congressmen rig the game. Congressmen James J. Davis and Robert L. Bacon convinced Congress to prop up wages and forbid competitive alternatives on publicly funded projects. Yes, the Davis Bacon Act has a racist pedigree and it was originally targeted towards the superior talents of Black craftsmen. Why does it still exist today?
Presently, a group of non-union contractors have filed a lawsuit against the New York Secretary of Transportation in regards to its PLA on all contracts over $5 million. We are entering an amicus brief in support of this lawsuit. We are considering filing a lawsuit against the San Francisco 49ers’ NFL team for applying a PLA on the new Levi’s Stadium. We will first appeal to the ownership of the team and the NFL. If they continue this racist process, we will have no other choice. Imagine a football team where Black players are 77 percent of the racial makeup and a virtual sign saying “No Colored contractors or workers allowed.”
After 42 years of non-compliance, we have had enough. It is time for a game change, and we respectfully ask the Congressional Black Caucus to be on our side in this fight.
Harry C. Alford
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