The Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Board of Commissioners have announced their approval of the “Construction Careers and Project Stabilization Policy” whick will require certain CRA-funded projects, meeting specific financial thresholds, to hire more local and “low income” residents from the communities in which the project is being constructed. The policy also includes a Project Labor Agreement that will encourage partnership between CRA-subsidized developers and contractors and the Building Trades Council.
“All too often the benefits of public subsidies to our city’s commercial construction industry have escaped the very communities they’ve been targeted to revitalize. It goes without saying that such communities tend to be underserved and low income,” said Dr. Lewis Logan, Sr. Pastor, Bethel AME Church.
According to supporters of the policy, certain underserved communities rarely see any benefit, in terms of jobs accompanying the projects. Supporters cite that this is typical despite the fact that, in many cases, commercial projects in the city are subsidized by public funds and the industry itself faces looming labor shortages.
“Based on this vote, the CRA Commissioners have shown they recognize that this industry – a vital engine for the future of our regional economy – must be a source of both good, middle class careers and growth for the communities CRA is charged to serve,” explained Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor.
In advance of last week’s meeting, the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education released “Helping L.A. Grow Together: Why the Community Redevelopment Agency Should Adopt the Construction Careers Policy.” The report, delivered to each CRA Commissioner, evaluates the Construction Careers Policy and focuses particularly on the necessity of having a Project Labor Agreement serve as the main vehicle for ensuring the success of the policy’s Local Hire Program. Typically, Project Labor Agreements are project-specific agreements whereby developers agree to hire primarily through Building Trade Council union hiring halls in exchange for labor peace. Here, the “Construction Careers and Project Stabilization Policy” would establish a template agreement for CRA-subsidized projects that meet certain financial criteria.