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Jul
2013
29

With SCOTUS’ Attack on Minority Rights Ongoing, Rochester Paper Thinks PLAs Could Protect Diversity

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An opinion piece in the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle highlights the positive impact Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) have had on the city and its minority workforce.  It also compliments the transparency that has surrounded these contracts at the behest of Mayor Thomas Richards.  

Language in the agreements that mandates hiring of minorities and local residents is helping build up the trades in the Rochester area:

When the U.S. Supreme Court last month chipped away at affirmative action policies, it underscored one of Rochester’s chief challenges. Leaders of conscience must creatively clear paths to upward mobility for those mired in poverty and joblessness.

With so many hungry for work, and a bounty of public-backed construction jobs going up for bid within city limits — think Midtown, the Port of Rochester, and City School District upgrades — the mayor and his like-minded collaborators, including retired labor champion Bob Brown and electrical workers’ representative Dave Young, enjoy leverage not seen in years past.

Richards points to a cultural shift among local contractors and developers, one with a growing acceptance of agreements stipulating percentages of minority employment on job sites, such as the PLA for Midtown. It’s also good news that the city promises to make public monthly compliance reports on Midtown’s PLA.

These extra steps to provide transparency will go a long way in selling the region on PLAs and their effectiveness.  For the region’s workforce, the benefits — both culturally and economically — are obvious.

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