Earlier this month in Multnomah County, Oregon, construction workers broke ground on a $300 million court house. The project is expected to be completed in 2020 and employ more than 500 building trades workers. Thanks to a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) negotiated by the Columbia-Pacific Building and Construction Trades Council (CPBCTC), all of those workers will be union:
“We are looking forward to working with the County to deliver an on-time and on-budget project,” CPBCTC executive secretary-treasurer Willy Myers [said].
Hoffman Construction is the construction manager and general contractor on the project, which will be funded jointly by the State of Oregon and Multnomah County. The old courthouse was built in 1914. It’s being replaced chiefly because, built of unreinforced masonry, it would be unsafe in an earthquake.
In the PLA, CPBCTC and Multnomah County took special care to encourage opportunities for women and minorities:
The project team has worked with local unions to develop the plan, but Multnomah County went a step further and created diversity goals. The goal is to employ 20 percent minority workers, which will be 20 percent journey level workers, 25 percent women apprentices and 6 percent journey level working women.
“Those two are very much connected: the more you require women to be apprentices, the more women will be available to be journey level workers on these projects,” Devlin said. “It’s an aspirational goal that I think will be met and be very beneficial.”
CPBCTC and Multnomah County didn’t limit these efforts to workers. The new Multnomah County Central Courthouse also set a goal of contracting 15% of the work to minority- and women-owned firms, and to emerging small businesses.
There are no plans for the old court house as of yet.