The New Jersey chapter of an international ironworkers union is facing allegations that one of its officers gave preferential job treatment to its white workers, denied Black workers a chance to work on high-profile lucrative jobs, and retaliated against a worker who complained about his use of a common racial epithet.
New Jersey’s civil rights division on Tuesday announced it is moving forward with a complaint filed by one of the union’s Black members that alleges she and other Black union workers received one- or two-day assignments while their white coworkers nabbed such long-term jobs as those at Newark airport, the Bayonne Bridge, and the American Dream mall.
The union, Ironworkers Local 11, a local chapter of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers Union, AFL-CIO, did not return a request for comment. In a statement to state officials investigating the matter, the union denied the Black union member’s allegations.
In a statement, acting Attorney General Matt Platkin said he is “deeply troubled” by the woman’s complaint.
“We will never waver in our commitment to fighting racial discrimination in our state,” Platkin said.
The woman, who is unnamed in Platkin’s statement outlining the allegations, has been a Local 11 member since 1988. She alleges Raymond Woodall, the former business manager for Local 11, used racial slurs to refer to Black union members. She told state officials in a complaint to the civil rights division that the quality and duration of her work assignments diminished after she confronted him about his actions.
One of Local 11’s members recorded a conversation during which Woodall used racial slurs. State officials were provided with a copy of the recording and verified it is Woodall on it, Platkin’s statement says.
Woodall could not be reached for comment.
New Jersey Monitor is part of States Newsroom, a network of news bureaus supported by grants and a coalition of donors as a 501c(3) public charity. New Jersey Monitor maintains editorial independence. Contact Editor Terrence McDonald for questions: firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow New Jersey Monitor on Facebook and Twitter.