In what the Philadelphia City Council is calling a “historic accord,” the city and building trade unions that will work on the $700 million expansion of the Philadelphia Convention Center have agreed to increase the number of minority participants.
Under the agreements, the unions have disclosed the demographics of their membership and will push to diversify. The goal for the two-year project is:
- 50% of workers will be city residents
- 25% of workers will be African-American
- 10% of workers will be Hispanic
- 5% of workers will be Asian-American
- 10% of workers will be women
The unions have come under fire for lack of diversity among their membership. Demographic data show that approximately 80% of the region’s unionized construction work force is white, and 70% live outside Philadelphia. Some union members travel from as far away as northeastern Pennsylvania and the Eastern Shore of Maryland.
Note: Contractors on public works contracts increasingly will have their work forces scrutinized for diversity. Companies bidding on these contracts should make sure their EEO-1 forms are complete and up-to-date. Also, thoroughly document any diversity initiatives, complete with actions taken and outcomes measured. If the numbers don’t reflect much diversity, employers should re-examine their efforts to hire from a broad pool of candidates.
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