The 10-month-long strike involving cable giant Spectrum and members of Local 3, IBEW, has been compounded by discrimination and racist on-the-job behavior, one union member said Saturday.
Electrician William Hargraves, speaking at the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in Harlem, claimed that black members of the union routinely face racism from co-workers. He said the N-word has been scrawled at work sites and once someone drew a picture of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. with “gorilla-like features.” Job sites are often full of workers from several unions and trades at the same time, union officials said.
Black electricians are rarely, if ever, assigned to work major venues like Citi Field or Madison Square Garden, according to Hargraves. “It’s important because it’s able to increase your career growth exponentially,” he said of the prime assignments.
Union officials argue many supervisory assignments such as foreman positions are chosen by contractors, not the union.
Electrician William Hargraves (pictured) speaking at the Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network in Harlem, said black union members keep facing racism from co-workers.
Christopher Erikson, IBEW Local 3 chairman, said several steps have been taken to bolster a positive workplace and several contractors have been spoken to about hiring practices.
“I stand by Local 3’s record addressing the issue of diversity,” he said.