Building & Construction Trades Council (Seattle, Wash.)

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The Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council coordinates the efforts of local unions in the building trades, including contract negotiations with employer organizations and apprenticeship and training programs. It was formerly the Seattle Building Trades Council. Following the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Executive Order 11246, requiring equal employment opportunities in federally funded construction projects, the low numbers of minority workers in the constructions trades became a target of scrutiny. In Seattle and other cities across the country, there were efforts to increase minority membership in the building trade unions. As part of Seattle's participation in the federal Model Cities Program, Seattle issued affirmative action guidelines in 1969 for contractors seeking city contracts. The Seattle Urban League developed a program called Labor Education and Advancement Project, or LEAP. The Washington State Labor Council endorsed the establishment an apprenticeship "Outreach" program, to be funded by the U.S. Department of Labor and operated locally by the Seattle Opportunities Industrialization Center. The Seattle Building and Construction Trades Council favored instead a program with the Apprenticeship Information Center. Construction industry employers formed Affirmative Minority Construction Opportunity, Inc., to implement its minority hiring plan. None of these programs enjoyed the support of all of the industry, labor, and community interests needed for success.

In the meantime, community-based organizations were staging protests and fighting in the courts. In fall 1969, several lawsuits resulted when protests by community activists at publicly financed construction sites led to work stoppages. In October 1969, the U.S. Department of Justice brought suit against four buildings trade union locals and three apprenticeship and training committees under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. In the suit, U.S. v. Ironworkers Local 86, et al., the Justice Department alleged that the practices of named unions and apprenticeship committees for admission, training, and job referrals discriminated against blacks. On June 16, 1970, U.S. District Judge William Lindberg found that the defendants did discriminate against black workers and ordered a variety of relief measures. To implement the relief measures, Judge Lindberg ordered the formation of an advisory committee comprised of representatives from the construction industry, unions, and community organizations. The Court Order Advisory Committee first met in July 1970. Austin St. Laurent, the executive secretary of the Seattle Building & Construction Trades Council, was a member of the committee.

From the guide to the Building & Construction Trades Council (Seattle, Wash.) records, 1959-1974, (University of Washington Libraries Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners of America Local 1289 records, 1911-1958 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
creatorOf Building & Construction Trades Council (Seattle, Wash.) records, 1959-1974 University of Washington Libraries Special Collections
Role Title Holding Repository
Place Name Admin Code Country
Affirmative action programs

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Ark ID: w6t28576

SNAC ID: 42602584