Noose Incident at the Comcast Site Spurs a Demonstration

Stacey Burling, Philadelphia Inquirer, October 16, 2007

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A. Bruce Crawley, president of Millennium 3 Management, a public relations firm, and former leader of the African American Chamber of Commerce, said he had previously focused on insisting that skilled-trade unions accept more minority workers. “We were not aware of the pervasive racial harassment on these work sites,” he said.

Crawley participated in a demonstration yesterday at the Comcast site that was spurred by at Oct. 1 incident involving Paul Solomon, an African American hoist operator, and a white member of the glaziers’ union. Solomon said yesterday that the glazier shook a noose at him as he stopped his hoist at the 45th floor. “He looked me in my eyes and told me he wanted to hang somebody,” Solomon said. He said the man later tried to say he was joking. Solomon said he viewed the incident as a “hate crime.”

The case is now “under review” by the Philadelphia District Attorney’s Office, said spokeswoman Cathie Abookire.

Jeanne Leonard, vice president of investor relations for Liberty Property Trust, which owns the Comcast site, said the glazier was removed from his job at that project that day. {snip}

Crawley said . . . the Comcast incident . . .&nbsp was “just the tip of the iceberg. It was symptomatic of a broader issue. You could have had that demonstration anywhere.”

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Crawley said he wanted to see a “top-down commitment to ensuring the quality of the work environment.” The mayor and governor should be held accountable, he said, and contractors who allow harassment should be fined or barred from work. He also called for the establishment of a construction-industry harassment hotline and for a computerized registry of workers who have engaged in harassment. Such employees would be ineligible for work on any City of Philadelphia work site.

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