Attorney general says ironworkers union official retaliated against Black workers

Official was caught on tape using racist slurs, worker alleges

By: - September 7, 2022 7:02 am

In a statement, acting Attorney General Matt Platkin said he is “deeply troubled” by allegations that a union official retaliated against Black workers after the official was caught on tape using racial slurs. (Courtesy of the New Jersey Governor's Office)

The New Jersey chapter of an international ironworkers union is facing allegations that one of its officers gave preferential job treatment to its white workers, denied Black workers a chance to work on high-profile lucrative jobs, and retaliated against a worker who complained about his use of a common racial epithet.

New Jersey’s civil rights division on Tuesday announced it is moving forward with a complaint filed by one of the union’s Black members that alleges she and other Black union workers received one- or two-day assignments while their white coworkers nabbed such long-term jobs as those at Newark airport, the Bayonne Bridge, and the American Dream mall.

The union, Ironworkers Local 11, a local chapter of the International Association of Bridge, Structural, Ornamental and Reinforcing Ironworkers Union, AFL-CIO, did not return a request for comment. In a statement to state officials investigating the matter, the union denied the Black union member’s allegations.

In a statement, acting Attorney General Matt Platkin said he is “deeply troubled” by the woman’s complaint.

“We will never waver in our commitment to fighting racial discrimination in our state,” Platkin said.

The woman, who is unnamed in Platkin’s statement outlining the allegations, has been a Local 11 member since 1988. She alleges Raymond Woodall, the former business manager for Local 11, used racial slurs to refer to Black union members. She told state officials in a complaint to the civil rights division that the quality and duration of her work assignments diminished after she confronted him about his actions.

One of Local 11’s members recorded a conversation during which Woodall used racial slurs. State officials were provided with a copy of the recording and verified it is Woodall on it, Platkin’s statement says.

Woodall could not be reached for comment.

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Terrence T. McDonald
Terrence T. McDonald

Editor Terrence T. McDonald is a native New Jerseyan who has worked for newspapers in the Garden State for more than 15 years. He has covered everything from Trenton politics to the smallest of municipal squabbles, exposing public corruption and general malfeasance at every level of government. Terrence won 23 New Jersey Press Association awards and two Tim O’Brien Awards for Investigative Journalism using the Open Public Records Act from the New Jersey chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. One politician forced to resign in disgrace because of Terrence’s reporting called him a "political poison pen journalist.”