Vappi Company Promises to Hire Black Laborers

Vappi Construction Inc., general contractors on a new Law School classroom-office building, promised yesterday to hire four to six black workers on the project this week and another four to six by next week.

Vincent Vappi, president of the company, made the promise at a meeting at the Law School.

The meeting was arranged after 11 black law students walked in on Derek C. Bok, dean-designate of the Law School, on Monday and charged that black labor was not being used on the project, which is partially financed with federal money.

Vappi promised that four to six black workers would be on job by Thursday. At least half of them would be skilled carpenters. Another four to six--again at least half of them skilled--were also promised by a week from today.

Attending the meeting were Bok, Vappi, four of the latter's associates, Albert M. Sacks, professor of Law, Joseph E. Leininger, vice-dean of the Law School, William S. Gardiner, deputy director of Buildings and Grounds, Martin Gopen, director of the Urban League's Skills Bank, and three members of the Black Law Students Association--Alphonso A. Christian, Charles J. Beard, and Philip N. Lee.


Two Hours

Held in the International Legal Studies Building, the meeting lasted about two hours, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m.

Christian reported the Vappi company's promise, and it was confirmed by Leininger. Bok could not be reached for comment.

The black law students had originally reported the absence of all but one black laborer (out of 35) on the construction project in a report submitted to Bok on May 16. Vappi began work on the new facility early this year.

According to Christian, Vappi agreed yesterday to work with Gopen in securing the black laborers he promised to employ. Vappi reportedly said he would need at least a day to work out the change with the unions involved.

The Vappi company built Harvard's married-student dorms, Peabody Terrace, and was chief contractor of Boston's Prudential Center.

Christian said last night that the same percentage of black to white workers currently on the Law School project can also be found on four other Vappi projects now underway in the Boston area.

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