Jones issues scathing rebuke of Games agreement for Blacks

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Emil Jones Jr. thinks the agreement ironed out by Black community groups and the Chicago Olympic committee is a “slap in the face.”

Emil Jones Jr. thinks the agreement ironed out by Black community groups and the Chicago Olympic committee is a “slap in the face.”

Jones, the former state Senate president, said while he fully supports Chicago’s 2016 Olympic bid, he is disappointed that more was not done to guarantee that Blacks benefit from the millions of dollars in construction work the Games would generate.

Last month, the city’s Olympic committee–Chicago 2016–and its Outreach Advisory Council–comprised of local community groups–signed a Memorandum of Understanding, spelling out major economic and community considerations as part of the 2016 Olympic Games.

The memorandum made provisions for communities in and around proposed Olympic venues, minorities, women, veterans and disabled persons.

“Let me first start off by saying I am for Chicago winning the Olympics. But should the Olympics come here, Blacks would get the short end of the stick,” Jones told the Defender. “In the current Memorandum of Agreement under the project labor agreement, it states that 10 percent of construction hours would be performed by minority apprentices. Well, Blacks are not the only minority group so that means Blacks would get less than 10 percent once the work is divided up among the other minority groups and that’s unacceptable.”

He called the project labor agreement a “sham” and added that it was an insult “to the very individuals and communities it alleges to benefit and protect.”

“Those individuals who sat at the table didn’t understand the agreement,” he said. “If this is the best they can do, then they are poor negotiators.”

Jones questions where the other 90 percent of construction hours would go if only 10 percent is reserved for minorities. He recommends that 40 percent of all work hours should go to minority laborers especially those living on the South and West Sides of the city.

“To think that one would group all minorities together and still yield only 10 percent as set aside is not only substantially less than what is currently provided but an insult to all minority groups,” Jones said.

Another concern the former state leader has with the Olympic agreement is hiring.

“Most of these minority contractors do not own a hammer so how many people of color would they be able to hire with an Olympic contract?” he said. “What generally happens in situations like this is the minority contractor would hire a white-owned firm as a subcontractor to share the work load. So again, work intended for minorities still gets filtered back to white-owned firms.”

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