CLEVELAND (WJW) – It is a project that will transform the city’s skyline.
Sherwin-Williams is investing more than $600 million in a new headquarters in Downtown Cleveland and a new research center in Brecksville.
However, minority contractors say they are being left out of a project that involves millions in public dollars.
“If you say you love the community, why do you treat me like you do? It must change. That’s got to change,” SCLC President Charles Steele Junior said.
This meeting at the Greater Abyssinia Baptist Church brought together the local clergy, including leaders of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Civil Rights Leader Jesse Jackson, to support local contractors to urge Sherwin-Williams to be what the group says is more transparent in its hiring practices of minority businesses.
The contractors say that the contracts that have been awarded contain provisions that keep them secret and doesn’t guarantee steady work or payment.
Reverend Jackson, who flew into Cleveland to support the contractors despite fighting Parkinson’s disease, says the make up the city dictates a bigger share of the contracts.
“Here me now. With 120 million more in contracts, it should be more than 50%,” Reverend Jackson said.
In a statement, Sherwin Williams says it has awarded $109 million out of $180 million in contracts to minority and women-owned businesses.statement reads in part:
“Our thoughtful and consistent approach to providing opportunities for businesses owned by underrepresented groups to participate in this project has already and continues to deliver an extensive list of impressive accomplishments which we expect to grow. It is unfortunate that some are using their personal agendas and animosities to drive a false narrative and cloud the positive impact the Building Our Future project is making on the Cleveland community now and for years to come.”
But Black Contractors Group President Norman Edwards says Sherwin Williams and its construction partners are not being transparent.
Edwards says they will continue to put pressure on the paint giant to open its process to more minority business.
Look above for the complete statement from Sherwin-Williams.