By Mark Edward Nero
The Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners on May 23 approved a plan to expand the port’s use of locally hired, disadvantaged and veteran workers for more than $700 million in construction projects.
The five-year project labor agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council covers $717 million in port infrastructure projects including rail improvements, terminal redevelopment and public safety buildings.
Under the pact, at least 40 percent of the work on port construction projects must be done by local residents living in Los Angeles and Orange counties. Fifteen percent must be performed by disadvantaged workers and 10 percent by military veterans.
The agreement also encourages apprenticeship and training programs, and establishes hiring programs such as job fairs near project sites.
“This agreement ensures ample, well-qualified workers on Port projects and is a win-win for our city and region,” Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán said.
The new PLA builds on the port’s existing labor pacts affecting $1.6 billion in construction projects and resulting in more than 5,300 local jobs during the past five years.
The existing pacts cover the Middle Harbor terminal modernization and Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement projects. Up to 15 percent of those hired for Middle Harbor construction and 26 percent of Gerald Desmond Bridge construction were disadvantaged workers or apprentices with less than 15 percent of the apprenticeship hours required to graduate to journey level.
“It’s good policy to invest in local workers when we’re making these upgrades to enhance our competitiveness in the global market,” Port of Long Beach CEO Jon Slangerup said.