Contractors learned about the Sellwood Bridge project at a bidding conference
Oregon Action will hold a Jobs Equity Forum, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 27th, at Oregon Trail Chapter of the Red Cross located at 3131 N. Vancouver Ave. in Portland.
Marice Rahming, CEO of O'Neil Electric and executive vice president of the National Association of Minority Contractors, will introduce a study on contracting disparities in the City of Portland.
Casey Barnard, project director at the sustainable jobs nonprofit Emerald Cities, will unveil a Community Benefits Agreement for City of Portland contracting.
"Anyone who is interested in participating in a discussion on jobs and equity should come," said Camille White-Avian, the Portland organizer for Oregon Action. "Or anyone interested in organizing against inequitable hiring practices."
White-Avian cites studies that suggest discrimination in hiring is alive and well nationally.
Last June, Dr. Marc Bendick, Jr., Ph.D. Economist, of Bendick and Egan Economic Consultants, Inc, shared his research with the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, she says.
Bendick found that dark-skinned Black men were 52 percent less likely to be employed than lighter-skinned Black men.
Bendick also told commissioners that working an additional eight hours a week increased men's annual earnings by $7,300 on average, compared to just $4,300 for women.
The Bureau of Labor Statistics recorded the average rate of unemployment for Blacks at 15.8 percent, compared to 7.9 percent for Whites, and 11.5 percent for Hispanics.
The 2011 statistics also showed Oregon had the third worst rate of unemployment for Blacks at 21.3 percent after Wisconsin 25 percent and Nevada, 22 percent.
For July 2012, the BLS unemployment rate for Black men was 14.8 percent compared to 6.9 for White men.
"Overall equity in hiring has gotten worse across the nation during the economic recession," White-Avian said. "I'd expect those figures to be worse in Portland."
The Jobs Equity forum will look at workforce conditions in Portland, focusing on:
Portland Public Schools' Equity in Public Purchasing and Contracting Policy,
Clean Energy Works Oregon High Road Standards and Benefits Agreement,
The 'Cool Schools' Initiative (Oregon HB 2960),
Disparities in the City's Prime Contracting Program, and a Community Benefit Agreement put together by Oregon Action and the Metropolitan Alliance for Workforce Equity