Labor Unions Rally Behind Proposal To Expand SF’s Local Hiring Mandate To Some Private Developments

San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos introduced legislation at this afternoon’s Board of Supervisors meeting that proposes expanding a city program to hire more local workers for development projects.

At a labor rally ahead of the meeting, construction and building trade unions representing local carpenters, electricians, and metalworkers joined Avalos and Supervisors David Chiu, David Campos, Norman Yee and London Breed on the City Hall steps to support the proposal.

In 2010 Avalos championed for a local hire mandate for publicly funded projects. More than three years after that bill went into effect requiring 30 percent of hires be local, Avalos is aiming to implement similar hiring requirements to certain private development projects on city-owned land.

The specific hiring requirements for private projects have not yet been set, according to Avalos.

Avalos said his legislative package, which includes requirements for private commercial and residential developers to disclose prevailing wage for workers and job and apprenticeship opportunities, “is about sustainable economic development” and creating new jobs.

He said the proposal will give more opportunities to San Franciscans and to diverse working-class communities.

Supervisor Breed said the bill is about getting more residents employed and able to support themselves and their families.
“I’m committed to making sure our young people…are ready to take on these jobs,” she said.

Supervisor Campos said the expanded local hire requirements should give workers a chance to make enough money to live in San Francisco.

“(Construction workers) should be able to afford a unit in the project they are working on,” he said.

Avalos commented on the success of the local hire practice from 2010 and how it is time to share more of the opportunities of growing infrastructure and other projects in the city.

One such project is the proposed Golden State Warriors venue at Piers 30-32 on the city’s waterfront.

Alix Rosenthal, who represented the Warriors at today’s rally, said the organization has voluntarily agreed to abide by local hiring practices for the construction of the arena.

She said the Warriors organization supports the expanded ordinance.

“We are eager to play a role in access to construction jobs,” she said.

The Warriors have committed to hiring 25 percent of the workforce from San Francisco for the construction of the basketball and entertainment venue.

As to the Warriors, Avalos said it is “important that they are here to endorse the concept” of local hiring, but he wants to see more changes to the team’s proposed 18,000-seat arena before he supports the project.

Sasha Lekach, Bay City News

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