Graffiti that says Vote Mexicans go home, Vote Trump

Photos by Joe Motil
*The photos included are an example of what I have seen on construction projects that I have worked on over the years.   

Former Columbus City Council Candidate Joe Motil states that it is finally time for construction industry leaders to begin addressing the racist, sexist, and homophobic environment on construction projects here in Central Ohio. Columbus Business First reported (Facebook data center construction halted in New Albany after "racist graffiti" found on site) today that Turner Construction halted work activities at the Facebook Data Center construction site in New Albany due to “racially charged graffiti” that was scrawled on six portable toilets on the site. The Facebook construction project is currently the largest project in Central Ohio.

The company said, “This is totally unacceptable. We suspended work to send a message about how serious we take this behavior and to provide time for every single person on the site to participate in anti-bias training. Work will resume when training is complete.”

Mr. Motil has worked in the construction industry in Central Ohio for 40 years on virtually every type of project and those ranging in cost from $20,000 - $355 million.  He worked as a construction laborer for 26 years and as a construction safety professional for the last 14 years of his career prior to retiring this year. Motil says, “It appears that possibly the racist, sexist, and homophobic environment that has been mostly tolerated and ignored in the construction industry for decades might finally begin to be addressed. This is not an isolated incident.  My guess is that a worker on this site decided to file a complaint with the New Albany police who in turn responded appropriately and brought it to the attention of the construction manager Turner Construction. Turner’s response to this issue has the potential to lead to another positive development resulting from this country’s current uprising on racism.

Motil further states that, “Turner is to be commended for taking action on this long overdue issue that fosters hate and creates low morale and dissension on construction sites. Mr. Motil says, “At the very least all the Union construction trades, and ABC affiliated contractors include implicit bias training as part of their apprenticeship programs. Construction unions should also include language in their collective bargaining agreements that can have a member disbarred from their trade if they are found guilty of such acts of racism. General contractors and construction managers can also make implicit bias training a requirement for subs to bid on projects. Workers who are found guilty of committing acts of racism should be removed from the project along with a monetary fine to the contractor and prohibiting the contractor from bidding on future projects.

Motil concludes by stating, "Changing the racist culture that exist on construction sites is long overdue. Signing resolutions that declare racism a public health crisis is one thing. But taking the necessary steps to address it is what has been missing for too long."