Plumbers Union Accused of Systematic Racism

Business Manager Danny Hendrix regarding Local 798’s all-white staff: “The cream always rises to the top . . . .”
Business Manager Danny Hendrix regarding Local 798’s all-white staff: “The cream always rises to the top . . . .”

Is Harassment in the Workplace Just ‘Part of Union Membership’?!

Top bosses of Pipeliners Local 798 wield monopoly-barganing privileges over roughly 7,000 workers in the energy construction industry, employed on projects across the country.

Local 798, an influential subsidiary of the AFL-CIO-affiliated United Association (UA) union, has a long and ugly history of racial discrimination. 

Brazenly defying federal civil rights law, Local 798 bosses pursued an explicit policy of excluding African American workers until the mid-1980’s!

And today, Local 798 kingpins are facing an array of racial-discrimination suits filed by black workers.

This January, Tareck Williams, a Pennsylvanian who has been a dues-paying member of Local 798 for nearly seven years, became the latest to file suit.

White Coworkers Allegedly Called Plaintiff ‘Monkey,’ With Union Bosses’ Tacit OK 

Mr. Williams charges, in part, that union bosses have relegated black workers to “permanent second-class status” by making it nearly impossible for them to advance to higher paying jobs. Because black union members are effectively barred from obtaining journeyman positions, their lifetime earnings in this industry end up being “hundreds of thousands of dollars less.”

Mr. Williams further charges that, while he was working for the Michels Corporation in Wilkes-Barre, Pa., virulently racist fellow employees repeatedly called him “ape,” “monkey,” and “boy.”

One such coworker even taunted him about how the murder of a black Local 798 member had been made to look like a suicide!

Union and company officials allegedly brushed off complaints about such flagrant misconduct, telling Mr. Williams “that’s part of union membership.”

In petitioning for class-action status, Mr. Williams notes that he experienced exactly the same types of discrimination at other Michels/Local 798 worksites, and that other union members “have reported experiencing [similar] discriminatory conduct and terms of conditions of employment” at “other Michels locations.”

National Right to Work Committee Vice President Greg Mourad commented: 

“The cavalier attitude Local 798 bigwigs have taken at the very suggestion that black workers and other minorities are being treated disparately lends credence to the charges filed by Tareck Williams and other union rank-and-file. 

“In 2017, for example, when an NPR reporter asked about Local 798’s all-white staff, Business Manager Danny Hendrix smugly replied: ‘The cream always rises to the top . . . .’”

Biden Administration and Local 798’s Parent Union Are Best Buddies

Mr. Mourad continued: “Given that the Biden Administration purports to be gravely offended even by unintentional job discrimination against minorities, one might guess the Justice Department would be setting its sights on Danny Hendrix and his cohorts.”

“But that seems not to be the case. Neither Attorney General Merrick Garland nor any of his lieutenants have had a word to say in public about the multiple credible allegations of widespread racial discrimination by Local 798 union bosses and Michels executives.

“Moreover, under an outrageous Biden edict rewriting the rules for bidding on federal taxpayer-funded construction projects that took effect December 18, Mr. Hendrix and Co. could soon reap a huge windfall in extra forced-dues paying members, money and power.”

Executive Order 14063 effectively mandates that, every year, hundreds of billions of dollars in construction projects funded partially or fully by federal taxpayers be offered to union-only workers and firms.

It accomplishes this anti-employee, anti-taxpayer objective by foisting so-called “project labor agreements” (PLAs) on contractors and subcontractors as a condition of submitting bids on federal public works costing $35 million or more.

Under these discriminatory PLAs, non-union companies wishing to participate in public works of any substantial size will be forced to impose union monopoly bargaining on their employees and hire new workers through union boss-controlled hiring halls.

Mr. Mourad concluded: “While emptily claiming to be a champion of ‘racial justice,’ Joe Biden is handing union bigwigs who have miserable track records on equal employment opportunity a huge advantage over their competitors. For team Biden, promoting forced unionism clearly trumps every other objective.”

This article was originally published in our monthly newsletter. Go here to access previous newsletter posts.

To support our cause and help end forced unionism, go here to donate.

NRTW Home » News » Plumbers Union Accused of Systematic Racism