Colorado-based BBC Research and Consulting issued a 678-page report last May that found firms owned by white women are winning enough jobs and don’t need the extra help afforded them in the federal Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE) program. Federal rules give DBEs a leg up on winning contracts on highway projects, as general contractors must hire disadvantaged firms to perform a set percentage of a project.
Needless to say, the white women affected by this are not accepting the decision quietly:
Many white women who own DBE-certified firms are opposed to the change. A newly formed group, Women in Highway Construction, is threatening a lawsuit, arguing that discrimination is alive and well in Washington state.
“Oh my gosh yes. They (men in the industry) don’t want to talk to you, they don’t want to deal with you, they’re very uncomfortable dealing with you,” said Colleen Hallett, who owns Mobile Electrical Distributors in Seattle. “I have salesmen come in here and bypass me and go straight to my male employees even though I’m the boss.”