Latino Business Owners push back against Delaware Pilot program requiring companies to hire union workers to get state contracts

DELAWARE- Hispanic leaders and business owners are pushing back against the Delaware Senate Bill 35  mini-bond bill committee-approved changes to the Bond and Capital Improvements Act.

The changes seek to increase the diversity of the businesses being given bids by the state office of management and budget, but opponents say a crucial caveat will lock out Latino businesses from the change, namely the requirement of some level of union workers in the businesses who will be awarded state bids.

Businesses without union workers are allowed to apply for the bids but will not be able to begin work until a yet-to-be-specified percentage of the workforce is union labor.

But business leaders in the Latino community in Delaware say there are very few workers who are in unions and requiring union access for bids will shut out many of the smaller-scale Latino-owned construction businesses.

The pilot program is currently limited to construction bids overseen by the Office of Management and Budget, but Latino business leaders say they are pushing back against the program before it expands to all fields in the state.

“We are fine with people joining unions, that is their right, but to require businesses to reach these collective bargaining agreements, if the Hispanic community does not want to be part of a union its because they don’t want it, they have legitimate reasons, there are enough barriers that Latino businesses face and now you are going to introduce another one,” said TorrEngineering owner Javier Torrijos.

A rally will be held at the legislative hall tomorrow looking to get the language changed and allow for more Latino small businesses to get access to those government contracts.

Torrijos tells 47ABC they are confident that they can get the language changed, as a previous amendment succeeded in removing language that would have prevented businesses that employ undocumented workers from being able to bid for contracts.



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