But participation by Black workers remains unverified
By Charles Hallman
This story was originally printed in the June 10, 2010 edition of the MSR regarding the Minneapolis Civil Rights Department’s inability to report Black inclusion on the construction of the Twins stadium because the department does not — neither at the time this story was printed nor currently — specify any worker breakdown by ethnicity.
In a story published last January 14 [2009 “Stadium’s construction workforces mostly White — but less so than usual”], the MSR provided workforce hiring diversity data released by the Twins stadium project’s general contractor…
[Minneapolis Civil Rights Director Velma] Korbel confirmed last week that the Minnesota Ballpark Authority (MBA) met its hiring goals: participation of over 25 percent persons of color and around six percent women on the Twins stadium project. Her department has approved the Authority’s supplied workforce data…
However, the MBA website provides only aggregate numbers for a “minority labor force” with no indication of how many African Americans were part of this workforce. Since it appears that the Civil Rights Department did not have access to data that would enable verification of African American participation, there is no way to document how many, if any, Black workers participated in the construction project.
Why did the monitoring have to be done through a special contract that prohibits making the results public without the Ballpark Authority’s consent? Why wouldn’t the Civil Rights Department automatically monitor contract compliance over such a large-scale public project in Minneapolis?
“The ballpark was not built with any City money, so we don’t have any regular authority over it,” claims [Minneapolis City spokesman John] Stiles. He says that because the MBA didn’t have any experience monitoring workers, they asked the City for help. “So we entered into a contractual relationship with them,” Stiles says.
“The rules and procedures that the City’s civil rights office usually uses for its contract compliance monitoring was not used this time,” Korbel confirms. Why wasn’t her department solely responsible for such monitoring rather than Mortensen? “What I was told is that there would have been more confusion had the Ballpark Authority and the Civil Rights Department reported two different numbers,” Korbel responds.
Stiles affirms that any large City-funded project will be monitored by the City’s Civil Rights Department. “If City of Minneapolis money is going into it, we’ve got compliance authority,” he says.
“On any project of that [Twins stadium] size,” pledges Korbel, “you can guarantee that the Civil Rights Department is going to be enforcing the contract compliance [provisions] on it.”
Charles Hallman welcomes reader responses to firstname.lastname@example.org.