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, Oct. 20

You can see a rock musical about a family dealing with mental illness. A local nonprofit celebrates its 20th anniversary with an artsy party.
NPR

Chef Ottolenghi Makes The Case For 'Plenty More' Vegetables

Israeli chef Yotam Ottolenghi talks with Rachel Martin about the difference between supermarket hummus and Middle Eastern hummus and why he doesn't like to call his cookbooks "vegetarian."
NPR

Turf Shifts In Culture Wars As Support For Gay Marriage Rises

Campaigning against gay marriage used to help Republicans win elections — but now GOP candidates in tight races are backing away from mentioning social issues on the stump.
NPR

Will Apple's Mobile Wallet Replace Your Leather Wallet?

Many have tried and failed with this kind of payment option before. But Apple's launch is bigger, with more financial institutions' support, and consumers may be more security-conscious.

Leave a Comment

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