Minority membership still an issue, the unions get their way.
Councilman Wilson Goode Jr. is disappointed, and rightfully so.
For one, he was sold out by his colleagues.
Two, he and his colleagues were once again snubbed by the city's building trades unions.
The showdown began back in December, when Council, upset over the unions' continual eff-you attitude over just how many of their members aren't white men, threatened to open the Convention Center's $700 million expansion to nonunion workers.
It was an admirably ballsy move.
No numbers, no money.
The unions (playing Lucy in this compromise) pinky-sweared to Council (Charlie Brown) that they'd finally reveal the racial makeup of their membership. They'd also adopt the city's aggressive minority hiring goals: a workforce that's 25 percent African-American, 10 percent Latino, 5 percent Asian and 10 percent female. Then, once Council approved the diversity plans, the unions could work exclusively on the Convention Center expansion.
Last week the unions--well, most of them--submitted their diversity plans.
Goode says the carpenters, the electricians and the operating engineers didn't submit anything. Two of the unions didn't submit long-term diversity goals. Some unions based their numbers on apprentices, instead of journeymen and members. And most of the unions' diversity goals didn't show much movement at all.
Goode calls the package of plans "ridiculous."
Of the 11 plans submitted, he approved only two--one from Laborers Local 332, whose membership is predominantly African-American, and one from the Iron Workers Local 401.
"And I had doubts about voting for that," he says.
Goode wanted Council to approve the diversity plans individually, based on the goals Council had previously set. But he says his colleagues, feeling the heat from Gov. Rendell and state Rep. Dwight Evans, approved them all in one fell swoop.
"People were clearly not happy with all the plans," he says, adding that Council received them around noon, and approved them all by 5 p.m.
"Surely, I believe we could've taken anywhere from another day to a week to review the plans and make decisions, and approve only the plans we were actually satisfied with.
"At the end of the day, it is what it is," he continues after a heavy sigh, "but clearly anyone who reviews the plans realizes this isn't what was intended by the legislation when it was unanimously approved and enacted in December."
Goode consoles himself with the good news--that Council finally got the numbers. It's a feat that Mayor Nutter deemed historic, and the media labeled a breakthrough.
And the numbers prove what everyone has known for ages--that the city's labor unions are virtually all white and all male, and (here's the final insult) most of their members don't even live in Philadelphia.
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