April 14, 2010
Dear Hartford Guardian Editor:
I am replying to your recent [March 29 2010] Featured news article entitled, “Hartford Blacks Question MDC’s Minority Hiring Practices” discussed a group’s inquiries into how the MDC is hiring labor for the Clean Water Project. As business manager of the Connecticut
I would like to thank MDC Chair Adam Cloud for meeting with the group and providing the necessary information and updates. As he noted, there was a self-admitted “informational gap” by the group that has been filled by the recent job fair and Jobs Funnel graduation at the Laborers’ Local 230 offices.
However, the news article should have noted that the hiring of workers and companies is not whatsoever a union vs. non-union issue. Engaged contractors hire workers based upon their experience, training and the nature of the work. In fact, since the MDC project began over a year ago, over $43.8 million has been spent with non-union, open-shop companies.
But there is still another question the news article overlooked — How many of these non-union, open-shop companies are providing the proper training and apprenticeship programs for its workers? None. While we spend our hard-earned tax dollars on this important regional water project, safety on the job and the quality of the work must come first and that is why the regulations are in place to ensure these standards conform with existing laws.
As the news article noted, a properly trained individual that recently graduated from the Jobs Funnel program was hired by one of the MDC contractors. This individual sat through the classroom training and spent hours in the field to earn his apprenticeship status. In fact, new laws have been put in place to make sure all apprenticeship laborers’ that will work on pipe projects with a P6 license need to graduate from a bonafide industry training program. Workers without the proper licensing and training cannot be hired.
So, regardless if a contractor is union or non-union, the only real issue here is safety on the job and the quality of the work. Because this is a critical issue, I would like to request that you continue your news coverage about MDC’s hiring practices by reviewing the compliance measures of these nonunion companies for four critical factors — minority placement, worker training, approved apprenticeship program and licensed P6 workers.
We need to make sure our workers are safe while on the job through compliance on behalf of all Connecticut taxpayers.
Charles LeConche, Connecticut Laborers’ District Council