Protest Over Minority Hirings for Mississippi River Bridge On Hold This Morning

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Black workers feel they should get half the labor jobs for new, $700-million bridge.
Black workers feel they should get half the labor jobs for new, $700-million bridge.
Unemployed black construction workers who planned to shut down progress on the Mississippi River Bridge today have put their protest on temporary hold.

East St. Louis Mayor Alvin Parks and representatives of the Metro East Black Contractors Organization (MEBCO) will reportedly meet one more time today with Illinois Department of Transportation officials to express their grievances over minority hiring for the project.

As Daily RFT has reported, the East St. Louis mayor and black contractors believe that minority workers should contribute 50 percent of the labor for the $700-million project.

Currently minoritity workers have comprised 23 percent of the man hours on the project, exceeding federal regulations requiring that minorities account for 14.7 percent of the hours worked.

But since East St. Louis is predominately black, MEBCO and others like Tiama Dent -- an unemployed single mother who recently completed an IDOT training program -- believe more minorities should be involved in the project.

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