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SF Supervisors Unanimously Approve Local Hiring, Prevailing Wage Expansion

SF Supervisors Unanimously Approve Local Hiring, Prevailing Wage Expansion Final Vote Tomorrow To Require Jobs for City Residents and Family-Supporting Wages and Benefits for Private Construction on Public Land

June 9, 2014, San Francisco, CA--Last week, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors unanimously approved legislation crafted by Supervisor John Avalos to expand the City's landmark local hiring ordinance, which requires specified levels of employment for San Francisco residents on city-funded public works construction and will now apply to private construction on public land.

According to this morning's San Francisco Examiner, the Board is expected to approve the ordinance on final reading tomorrow afternoon and send the legislation to Mayor Ed Lee's desk for his consideration.

Supervisor Avalos is the author of the historic 2010 San Francisco Local Hiring Policy for Construction that has been successfully implemented by Mayor Lee and that has increased local participation on public projects from an average of 20% under the "good faith efforts" law that preceded it to an average of 36% during the three years, or 2.5 million job hours, since mandatory local hiring went into effect in March 2011. San Francisco residents performed an average of 38% of project hours on public works construction in 2013.

The legislation similarly expands the scope of the City's prevailing wage requirements, which establish and safeguard wages and benefits that support local working families on public works, into private construction on public land. Senate Bill 7, which was signed by Governor Brown last year and took effect in 2014, requires charter cities to establish prevailing wage requirements at least as strong as those set by the state in order to be eligible for state construction dollars. San Francisco is poised to become the first city in California to implement this requirement.

The initiative was launched at a February 25 community-labor rally attended by over 100 labor leaders, union members, and community advocates, as well as nearly half the members of the Board of Supervisors. The proposal also requires local hiring and prevailing wage for temporary construction related to special events that take place on public land when events last four days or longer in duration.

The local hiring and prevailing wage expansion ordinance was sponsored by Avalos and seven of his ten colleagues, including Supervisors London Breed, David Campos, David Chiu, Jane Kim, Eric Mar, Scott Wiener, and Norman Yee, and received a "yes" vote from all 11 Supervisors including Malia Cohen, Mark Farrell, and Katy Tang.

The proposal earned the support of community advocates that worked on the initial local hiring law, including Brightline Defense, Chinese for Affirmative Action, the A. Philip Randolph Institute, Mission Hiring Hall, ABU, Charity Cultural Services Center, Coleman Advocates, Sustainable Futures, and the Black Human Rights Leadership Council, as well as the endorsement of labor organizations including the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council and its affiliates. The Build Bayview coalition of local construction contractors such as Kwan Wo Ironworks and Rubecon is once again on board with this groundbreaking legislation.

Even the San Francisco Giants and Forest City, who propose waterfront development projects at Mission Rock and Pier 70 impacted by the legislation, have stepped up to support the expansion ordinance, stating that it is consistent with their commitment to the community and workers to guarantee good-paying jobs for local residents on their proposed projects. The Golden State Warriors, whose proposed basketball arena is now situated on private land not subject to the new legislation, committed their support for the ordinance at a time when the team was still looking at building on public land at Piers 30 and 32.

"When we build we generate wealth. This legislative package to expand local hiring mandates and prevailing wage protections to private projects will help share wealth and opportunity with real measurable results," said Supervisor Avalos. "Having stronger local hiring and prevailing wage mandates on our waterfront and all publicly-owned land is consistent with what developers and city officials alike say should come with development--jobs and economic benefit for San Franciscans who need it most."

Last month, the City's Office of Economic and Workforce Development released its annual report on the gains made under the third year of local hiring implementation. The report shows that projects built with a 25% local workforce requirement averaged 39% local participation and preliminary data for the 22 projects underway since the requirement increase to 30% show an average of 42% local hiring. The ordinance requires at least half of all apprentice hours to be performed by local residents, and the report shows an average of 61% local apprentices since 2011, compared to an average of 37% under "good faith."

In the forward of this year's local hiring report, Mayor Lee noted that "supporting the local economy and putting San Franciscans to work has been at the forefront of my major initiatives...[w]ith a projected increase in both public and private construction work, we anticipate a growing demand for skilled construction workers as we enter the fourth year of the Policy."

The expansion proposal was recently vetted by the Mayor's Construction Workforce Advisory Committee, a 12-member task force comprised of community, labor, contractor, and government stakeholders chaired by the City Administrator in concert with the CityBuild training program. Much of the local hiring ordinance's success has been credited to CityBuild working with labor unions and community-based organizations to provide basic construction skills to 670 San Francisco residents since 2006, 560 of whom have joined union apprenticeship programs.

"Local hiring and prevailing wage is a win-win combination for workers and our communities," said Laborers Union Local 261 Business Manager Ramon Hernandez, who represents nearly 5,000 working men and women across San Francisco, Marin, and San Mateo counties.

"Community-labor partnership is alive and well in San Francisco right when we need it most," said Brightline executive director Joshua Arce, who helped develop both the 2010 and 2014 local hiring ordinances and is a member of the Mayor's Construction Workforce Advisory Committee. "Guaranteed access to good-paying jobs in construction and safeguards that ensure family-supporting wages and benefits provide a means of surviving the affordability crisis for working class San Franciscans."

At the Committee's recommendation, the Board of Supervisors voted in March to hold the City's local hiring requirement at 30% for at least a year rather than increasing it to 35% to await further data on local hiring performance on projects built under the 30% requirement. On May 15, the Committee reviewed data that showed that from March 2013 to March 2014, contractors employed a 38% local workforce across 1.5 million job hours, providing support for local hiring expansion and workforce pipeline-building initiatives such as a community-led partnership between union apprenticeship programs and the San Francisco Unified School District that will launch this July and a proposed collaboration between the San Francisco Sheriff's Department and pre-apprenticeship training programs.

The Committee also recommended to expand mandatory local hiring into non-construction sectors such as the service sector and non-profit employment, as well as to monitor the success of this year's pipeline-building programs and local hiring expansion in advance of next year's local hiring evaluation.

 

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