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Long Beach, Long-Term: Epic 5-Year Project Labor Agreement Signed by City with Local Hiring Focus

Port of Long Beach renovation was a big job creator in 2012

Port of Long Beach renovation was a big job creator in 2012

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In a hugely positive move for workers, the Long Beach City Council has voted unanimously in favor of a five-year Project Labor Agreement (PLA) which will cover an estimated $28 million worth of construction.  The decision followed five months of intense negotiation. 

The PLA will cover projects costing $500,000 or more and has a stated goal of hiring half of the needed workforce locally:  

The agreement approved by the council will cover all projects entered into by the City over $500,000 that are subject to State, federal or other funding restrictions, but will exclude the agreements entered into for the new Civic Center and the Belmont Plaza Pool, “right-of-way” projects, those typically performed by city employees or those entered into by Charter-Commissioned departments. It also prohibits work stoppages or lock-outs during the contract to ensure that covered projects are completed without disruption.

Also included are provisions for a goal of 40 percent local hires based on the total hours worked on a project and a goal of ten percent of the hires coming from “disadvantaged workers,” targeting veterans and those 70 percent below the lower living standard income level. The PLA also incorporates a partnership between Long Beach City College and the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network to provide pre-apprentice training to ensure that Long Beach residents will be ready to take those jobs when they become available.

The PLA was first proposed by Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez in November, a rising star in southern California politics who said of its passage, “It’s really been a privilege to help lead this, and help support this.”  

Gonzalez believes the PLA will greatly alleviate unemployment in Long Beach.  She said that in her district unemployment has been as high as 19.1 percent.  The stipulations of the PLA will be beneficial to the future of Long Beach, she assures:

“All of this has really made a customized PLA for all of us.  And I think in addition to that, working with our Long Beach City College to create that pipeline, making sure that Pacific Gateway creates that connection with our community, to ensure that folks are actually getting to work with Long Beach is very important.”

Councilman Rex Richardson added his support after hearing an hour of testimony. City staff reiterated that the PLA does not create a “union-only” situation. “I can’t see how anyone can oppose this,” he said.

The city will use an outside PLA administrator to work with contractors. A Joint Administrative Committee will oversee the PLA along with members of the construction trades.


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