Seattle's Central Contractors Association pickets county construction projects on August 28, 1969.

  • By Alan J. Stein
  • Posted 1/01/1999
  • Essay 1270
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On August 28, 1969, the Central Contractors Association, led by electrician Tyree Scott (1940-2003), pickets county construction projects to protest underemployment of blacks in the building industry. Later, three white assailants beat one of the picketers, Hank Roney.

The Central Contractors Association formed in May to press for a larger share of local construction business for blacks. The organization faced 15 Washington building trades unions representing some 29,000 workers that, as of 1966, had only seven non-white apprentices, according to the Washington State Board of Discrimination. The CCA put aside litigation strategies and used direct action to effect change. According to Trevor Griffey, the organization

"brought every major, federally funded construction site in the city of Seattle to a halt in late August and September of 1969. They did this -- as other activists were doing in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, and Chicago at roughly the same time -- by disabling equipment, blocking workers from their jobs, and demanding that federal civil rights law be used to force unions to hire more black workers" (Griffey).


Walt Crowley, Rites of Passage: A Memoir of the Sixties in Seattle (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 1995), 273; Trevor Griffey, "UCWA History," Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project website (
Note: This essay was expanded on July 22, 2005, and the name of the organization was corrected on January 30, 2009.

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