Black tradesmen allege that racism is common among the city's building and trades unions and that official statements calling a recent racially-charged incident at the Comcast Tower construction site a bad joke is an attempt to sweep the incident under the rug.
The incident, which took place Oct. 1, involved an African American hoist operator who claimed that a white co-worker allegedly dangled a noose at him threateningly.
"Absolutely, I know it is. I know that's what they're doing. This happens all the time at construction sites," said Anthony Fullard, executive vice president of Millennium 3 Management. Fullard, who was an ironworker for 15 years and who ran his own construction firm, KKAJ Incorporated said he often had racial confrontations.
"You often see racial slurs, usually in the port-a-potties. This is the normal practice and Blacks in the building trades go through this all the time," Fullard said. "I even saw it at sites where my company was working a job. I mean this was coming from people I was paying."
The incident took place when an African American hoist operator, Peter Solomon, engaged in a verbal confrontation with a White construction worker who allegedly dangled a noose in his direction. An investigation by law enforcement authorities from the Philadelphia Police Department told a different story; that the White co-worker was making a joke that the noose was "a new necklace" for his wife.
Solomon said there's no doubt in his mind that it was a racial insult.
"Initially, he said he wanted to hang someone. The wife statement came later and I think it was just an attempt to water it down." Solomon said. "He was looking right at me when he said he wanted to hang someone."
"The statement about his wife came when we were in the elevator. He said he was only playing around but I said, 'Man, you don't play like that.' They're trying to sugar coat this. I know what he said to me and I did not laugh or joke about it. He shook that noose in my face. I think law enforcement is taking this guy's position over mine, but I know what happened. All I can do is report it to the proper authorities."
Click here for more interviews and the rest of this particular story.