WAMU 88.5 : News

Filed Under:

Protesters Block Federal Construction Site Over Labor Dispute

Play associated audio
Protestors block a federal construction site, alleging that only 13 percent of those working on the project are from D.C.
Patrick Madden
Protestors block a federal construction site, alleging that only 13 percent of those working on the project are from D.C.

Hundreds of people blocked a federal job site in Southeast D.C. Wednesday to protest the number of D.C. residents hired for the project.

Linking arms to form a blockade at times, protesters were able to turn back a handful of tractor trailers hauling goods to the new Department of Homeland Security building in Ward 8. The group was composed of hundreds of out-of-work residents and labor activists.

Steve Lanning is with the local labor union that organized Wednesday's demonstration. He says the action was sparked by a freedom of information request it filed with the lead construction company that shows only 13 percent of the workers on site are D.C. residents.

He says the District was told more residents would be hired and denies allegations that there weren't enough qualified workers.

"That's a lie that’s been propagated by contractors over and over again; it's sad that politicians want to believe that," says Lanning. "There's a system in place where you can vet a worker or residents skill set, it takes a minimal amount of money and effort to do that. You can place the right person in the right job."

The construction company, as well as the federal government and D.C. Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton, dispute Lanning's figures and say when everything is added up, more than a third of the jobs have gone to District residents -- a good ratio compared to other federal projects.

Federal projects, such as the one at the new DHS site, do not have a mandate that a certain number of jobs go to D.C. residents like similar District projects do.


'Better Call Saul' And 'The Great American Dream Machine' Shine As DVD Box Sets

TV critic David Bianculli shares his enthusiasm for two newly released DVD box sets: season one of Better Call Saul and a four-DVD set of the 1970s PBS variety show, The Great American Dream Machine.

Sweet Name Of Kids' Clinic Gives Some People Heartburn

The Krispy Kreme Challenge Children's Specialty Clinic gets its name from a student-run charity race in Raleigh, N.C., that has already raised $1 million for kids. Still, some find the name unhealthy.

60 Years Later, What Can Activists Learn From The Montgomery Bus Boycott?

Decades after Rosa Parks changed history, a new generation faces the challenge of remaking the civil rights movement for the next century. What can they learn from the past to build for the future?

Someday A Helicopter Drone May Fly Over Mars And Help A Rover

NASA is building a 2-pound helicopter drone that would help guide the vehicle on the Red Planet's surface. That way, the rover wouldn't need to wander as much to find its way around.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.