Cory Booker, Newark Mayor and rising star in the Democratic party, has signed into law an ordinance requiring contractors to enter into Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) on certain construction projects. The ordinance requires contractors to make “good faith” efforts to hire local residents. The PLAs will only pertain to public projects where cost exceeds $5 million or private-sector projects exceeding $25 million that have received tax abatements.
This isn’t news to our Twitter followers, though. Mayor Booker replied to a recent post about this ordinance, asserting his position:
— Cory Booker (@CoryBooker) October 10, 2012
The news is cheered by the region’s construction workers who currently are seeing unemployment rates hover around 35%. As the economically ravished city begins to rebuild, it is very important that any development help employ the region’s workers, ensuring tax revenues and growing the trades to train a new generation of laborers. According to the Newark Patch, the details of the ordinance include:
The ordinance states that for affected projects, contractors must make a “good faith effort” to ensure 20 percent of the work hours are performed by Newark residents in trade apprenticeship programs and that 30 percent of project work hours are performed by female or minority city residents.
The law also requires labor unions to seek out Newark residents for apprenticeships when projects come up and requires developers to help pay for job fairs. The city and unions, working with agencies like The Institute for Social Justice, will also help provide pre-apprenticeship services, said Deputy Mayor Adam Zipkin, who spearheads the city’s development efforts.
City residents have long complained that they have been left out of the building boom in Newark, where Panasonic, Wakefern, Marriot and other corporations are in the midst of major construction projects. Even when Newarkers have found jobs on work sites, critics said, they were low-skilled and only provided employment for the lifetime of the project.
The ordinance signed Tuesday is designed not just to give Newarkers temporary work but marketable skills, Booker and others said Tuesday.