Protesters Block Federal Construction Site Over Labor Dispute | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

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.

WAMU 88.5

Art Beat With Lauren Landau, Dec. 25

Merry Christmas from Art Beat! Two shows keep the holiday festivities going through the weekend.


A Punch Line In The U.S., Christmas Fruitcake Is Big In Calcutta

Seen as indestructible in the West, fruitcakes are indispensable in the bustling Hindu city. Bakers of all faiths have the ovens running round the clock to feed Calcutta's appetite for the cakes.

What To Expect In The 2016 Presidential Announcement Season

With Jeb Bush signaling he's likely to run for president in 2016, it's another sign that the presidential announcement season is underway. Here's a look at who has jumped in the race early and what to expect in the coming months.

2014 Hashtags: #BringBackOurGirls Made Nigerian Schoolgirls All Of 'Ours'

As part of a series on hashtag activism in 2014, Audie Cornish speaks with Obiageli Ezekwesili of the Open Society Foundation. Ezekwesili was one of the early promoters of the hashtag #bringbackourgirls, about schoolgirls kidnapped in Nigeria in April.

Leave a Comment

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