LA Metro’s board on Thursday approved a Construction Careers policy that includes a project labor agreement (PLA) and local hire requirement for all transit and highway projects with a budget greater than $2.5 million. The policy will target communities hardest hit by the recession and most in need of good, new jobs, and will require that at least 40 percent of the jobs created go to workers from areas with high unemployment and that at least 10 percent go to disadvantaged workers, including single parents, individuals without a high school diploma, or those who have been on public assistance.
The policy, which was promoted by LAANE, the LA County Federation of Labor, the Building Trades, faith-based leaders and other community organizations —including Move LA — is an effort to link the Measure R and other public investments in transportation to the creation of good jobs for local residents. These construction jobs are particularly important because not only do they provide a middle-income wage but there are also apprenticeship programs that provide young workers with formal training and a career path that offers family-supporting wages, health care and pension benefits. Moreover, workers who are employed on Metro projects will spend their earnings at local businesses, creating additional jobs and local tax revenues.
“Taxpayers approved Measure R to generate significant new transit investment,” says Denny Zane, Move LA’s executive director. “At the same time we want the construction jobs created to be good, middle-class jobs. By setting job standards and creating career paths, Metro is guaranteeing that public funds will not be used to create low-wage jobs with meager benefits — thereby putting a strain on taxpayers.”