More than 920 stakeholders participated in a telephone town hall to speak about Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas’ local worker hire initiative targeting residents along the Crenshaw Transit Corridor and other Metro funded transportation projects. The initiative which would provide jobs to local residents within a five mile radius of any Metro project is set for a vote before the Metro Board on Thursday, September 22 at 9:00 a.m.
Jobs, the local worker hire initiative, or Construction Career Policy, and a project labor agreement were the main topics of discussion between Crenshaw community residents and Dan Rosenfeld, Ridley-Thomas’ senior deputy for economic development. Other town hall participants included Robbie Hunter of the Los Angeles and Orange County building and construction trades council land Shomari Davis, business agent for the International Brotherhood Electrical Workers, Local 11. The labor leaders spoke eloquently of the significance of securing a Metro policy that ensures that its transportation projects give preference to workers who live in neighborhoods where unemployment is high.
During the hour-long discussion at the Los Angeles Urban League, Rosenfeld reaffirmed the Supervisor’s commitment to ensuring that a superior Crenshaw to LAX line is built from the start of construction to its completion. That means pushing forward on both a project labor agreement and construction careers policy that will enable at least 30% of the total construction hours are provided by residents who live within five miles of the project and within zip codes where unemployment is high. Davis and Hunter attested to how Project Labor Agreements don’t just provide jobs for workers: the skills that are learned through PLA apprenticeship programs launch careers. Davis explained the steps that construction trade seekers go through and the lifetime benefits both financially and economically that come from learning a trade. Throughout the tele-town hall, co-hosted by the Urban League, participants voiced their concern, outrage and disappointment at the Metro Board’s refusal in May to underground the proposed light rail line through Park Mesa Heights and its unwillingness to include funding for a Leimert Park Village Station at Vernon. Below are the results of a survey posed to the participants:
1. Do you support a targeted hire preference for residents of neighborhoods experiencing high unemployment and poverty for construction jobs on the Crenshaw-LAX line?
On May 26, the Metro Board rejected Supervisor Ridley-Thomas’ motion that directed Metro staff to look into funding alternatives to finance a Leimert Park Village Station and underground the portion of the line that runs through Park Mesa Heights using non-Measure R sources. The motion received three favorable votes and needed seven of the thirteen Metro Board votes to pass. Instead, the Metro Board rejected the Park Mesa tunnel option outright and paid lip service to the Leimert Park Village station at Vernon, agreeing to add it to the final environmental document, but failing to provide funding for it. Mayor Villaraigosa’s vote and the additional three votes of his appointees were critical to the passage of the weaker motion after unanimously opposing the tunnel. At the end of the tele-town hall, the panel called on listeners to attend the September 22 Metro Board meeting to show support for the Local Worker Hire/Construction Careers Policy for the Crenshaw-to-LAX line to ensure economic opportunities and benefits for those who live, work and trade in the heart of South Los Angeles.
For more information on an apprenticeship program contact:
IBEW Local 11-Electrician Training Institute
For information on a apprenticeship mentoring/tutoring program contact: