Which legacy for the Vikings Stadium? Only qualified White workers or qualified workers regardless of color? Employment apartheid or inclusiveness? Employment inclusiveness and fairness, or employment apartheid and unfairness?
The 100 qualified Gentlemen of the Roundtable of Kansas City, Missouri, journeymen construction workers introduced in a previous column, have since talked with the Vikings. Next: the Sports Facility Authority and the State of Minnesota.
Revelations and clarifications were made in the conversation with the Gentlemen of the Roundtable. The Vikings confirmed $1 million is being awarded to White unions in Minnesota to train African Americans and others of color in stadium construction skills.
Really? Isn’t the real goal to train White workers, who will come from the White union rolls? There is not enough time for trainees to meet stadium construction industry requirements and still meet the scheduled opening date. As the Gentlemen made clear: The BS has to end.
Recall that no provisions are in the legislation that mandates “Minnesota only” residents to be employed on the stadium project. Both White and Black contractors’ associations have said such skilled laborers don’t exist in Minnesota. It is clear the most qualified and experienced workers will come from out of state, just as in the construction of the Metrodome 31 years ago.
We still await answers to our questions of who will monitor the equity plans and commitment to end apartheid in the construction industry in Minnesota. The experienced 100 African American Gentlemen of the Roundtable journeymen are in place, ready to exercise their constitutional right to work anywhere in the United States of America.
This newspaper has been in the forefront exposing truths, keeping Minnesota’s eye on the prize of Black inclusion. Recall Charles Hallman’s articles in the spring of 2010 (especially “City Confirms Ball Park Minority Goals Met, but Participation by Black Workers Remains Undocumented”).
Velma Korbel, Civil Rights Department director, sent an email to City Council Member Elizabeth Glidden on June 7, 2010, at 9:23 am, attacking and falsely accusing both Mr. Hallman and myself of providing inaccurate information (despite the council’s own paid report by NERA of the City’s purposefully submitted inaccurate numbers, as we reported).
While Ms. Korbel was misleading the council member, 32-year Civil Rights Department staff member Eddie Caideron had earlier sent a confidential communiqué on May 20, 2010, at 9:41 am, to Mr. Michael J. Rumppe, City Department of Human Resources, in which Mr. Caideron reflected on orders given to Corky Taylor, James Patterson, and himself about the discrepancies Ms. Korbel was denying.
All three are no longer with the Civil Rights Department, having been transferred or fired. But the content of Mr. Caideron’s communiqué was forwarded to the NERA group who was conducting the City’s $500,000 disparity study.
It speaks to the power of Mortenson and Kraus-Anderson to get the City to say it was monitoring them when, in fact, the City was not doing so. These are the extremely frightening, disturbing, and chilling patterns and practices of the City and its contractors, who purposefully ignore the bedrock principle: “Of the people, by the people, for the people.”
These patterns and practices are also seen in the minutes of a meeting presided over by Mr. James C. Burroughs II, regarding documents reviewed by the Minority, Women and Diverse Business Oversight Committee, on which Ms. Korbel was a member. The numbers within the documents that were circulated the morning of March 10, 2011 were worthy of being reviewed by a federal grand jury, as it had outrageous falsehoods regarding Black participation in the school district HQ construction in North Minneapolis.
Let’s not play this game. Let’s not ignore these charges. Let’s not be blind to purposeful unfairness. Let’s not let our Black and White elites continue to gamble with the lives of future generations.
A million dollars has been given to White trade unions to do something they have never been successful doing — training and qualifying Black Minnesotans for construction work (nor have Black training counterparts been successful in doing so).
The questions remain: How say you, Governor Dayton, Minnesota legislature and Sports Authority? How say you, mayor and city council? How say you, Minnesota Vikings and the NFL?
A significant number of Black players are on the Minnesota Vikings and all NFL teams. There are also qualified Black American construction workers. We expect farness and opportunity for them as well. So no more B.S.: It is a question of race. (“We can hire minorities without hiring a single Black,” in the infamous words of a former civil rights director)
Respect must be for the abilities of all races. Will Minnesota respect Black stadium construction workers or only White ones? Only time will tell.
Thank God for the Gentlemen of the Roundtable. God bless Black America.
Ron Edwards hosts “Black Focus” on Channel 17, MTN-TV, Sundays, 5-6 pm, and hosts Blog Talk Radio’s “Black Focus V” on Sundays, 3-3:30 pm and Thursdays, 7-8:30 pm, providing coverage about Black Minnesota. Order his books at www.BeaconOnTheHill.com. Hear his readings and read his columns, blog, and solution papers for community planning and development, at www.TheMinneapolisStory.com. Columns are archived at www.theminneapolisstory.com/tocarchives.htm.