Thursday, June 30, 2011

Los Angeles Signs Labor Deal Covering $1.5B in Port Projects

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa signed a five-year labor agreement on Tuesday that will cover more than $1.5 billion in planned Port of Los Angeles construction projects.

Villaraigosa signed the agreement with the Los Angeles-Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, which represents about 140,000 building trade members.

Approved by the port governing board in March and the City Council in May, the agreement sets guidelines on the types of workers that must be hired by contractors for all capital projects at the port. The terms cover about 95 percent of the port's projected capital projects outlays for the next five years.

"This project labor agreement gives thousands of our local workers in some of the most economically disadvantaged communities the jobs and job training opportunities they need to get back on their feet," Villaraigosa said.

The projected port projects are expected to require a total of more than 6,000 workers through 2016. Under the terms of the agreement struck with the trades council: 30 percent of the jobs must go to local port-area residents; 10 percent must go to "at-risk" workers, such as unemployed or workers with criminal records; and, at least 20 percent must go toward union apprentices.

The rest of the available positions will go to union workers.

Supporters have argued that such labor agreements assure union workers for projects while reducing work stoppages and strikes during construction.

Opponents of similar labor agreements have said they drive up costs and shut out small contractors who cannot afford to provide labor from outside their own firms.