SF School Board Unanimously Adopts Local Hiring and Contracting Policy
Commissioners Establish Sweeping Changes On School District Construction, Increase Coordination With City's Local Hiring Program
SAN FRANCISCO, June 13--On Tuesday, the San Francisco Board of Education voted unanimously to establish its first-ever local hiring and contracting policy for School District construction, expanding the City’s construction workforce pipeline by strengthening opportunities for public school graduates to enter union apprenticeship programs and work with an increased number of local contractors to rebuild San Francisco school facilities.
The new policy establishes a School District pre-apprenticeship program that will be coordinated with San Francisco’s successful CityBuild Academy and provide priority access to apprenticeship on School District construction for public school graduates, setting requirements for local workers, apprentices, and contractors to be implemented through a project labor agreement for the District’s current $531 million Proposition A construction bond.
At the end of a nearly year-long effort initiated by former School Board President and current Supervisor Norman Yee and carried across the finish line by Commissioners Sandra Lee Fewer and Matt Haney, the proposal received nearly unanimous support from the public prior to the vote. Superintendent Richard Carranza provided leadership at the highest level of District staff and formally introduced the policy developed under the leadership of Fewer, Haney, and their colleagues.
The new policy appears headed for implementation on a one-year pilot basis, as School District staff indicated a current lack of capacity to implement a local hiring program and limited experience with outreach to community contractors. An increasing number of community, labor, and contractor stakeholders have come to support a formal partnership between San Francisco Unified and the City and County of San Francisco's CityBuild program, which has successfully implemented the strongest local hiring policy in the country over the past two years.
Community organizations such as Brightline, Chinese for Affirmative Action, Coleman Advocates, the SF Latino Democratic Club, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, Aboriginal Blackman United, Sustainable Futures, the SF Black Human Rights Leadership Council, and Build Bayview were on hand to celebrate the result of their many months of hard work alongside School Board Commissioners.
Speakers saluted the stellar leadership of School Board Commissioners and Superintendent Carranza, praised the importance of support from unions such as the Laborers, Carpenters, Operating Engineers, and other affiliates of the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council, and highlighted the importance of policy validation from local contractors such as Liberty Builders and Kwan Wo Ironworks.
These same community organizations committed to active oversight during the policy implementation process, as Commissioners acknowledged the likely need to monitor and potentially tailor the broad-sweeping policy as it rolls out. There are particular unresolved questions around compliance and the alignment of proposed “offramps” that provide contractors an option to avoid penalties for non-compliance by working with union apprenticeship programs to sponsor or support community apprentices with the “offramps” found in San Francisco’s local hire ordinance in order to streamline local hiring protocols across the City.
At the end of a long, drawn-out, and at time contentious process, no one would dispute, however, the tremendous cause for celebration at the School District’s adoption of its first-ever local hiring and contracting policy, as well as the intrepid vision and drive of School Board Vice President Sandy Fewer and the emerging leadership of the Board’s newest Commissioner, Matt Haney.
Moments before last night’s vote, Fewer set perhaps the most appropriate tone going forward, signaling that this week's vote was merely the start of a long-term roadmap to positive change by saying, with a smile, “If you truly believe in this, please vote for it. If you don’t, please don’t.”