When I first moved to Seattle, someone told me that the more cranes on the skyline, the better, because it meant both progress and jobs. Which is only partially true; yes, construction does mean **some** local construction jobs, but a lot of big, city-funded projects actually send our money elsewhere.
According to a press release from the Office of the Mayor, “a recent city-commissioned study by the UCLA Labor Center found that just 6 percent of jobs on City funded construction projects went to Seattle residents and 25 percent to King County residents. African Americans received a meager 3 percent of work hours despite being 8 percent of Seattle’s population.”
Which is like, really pretty bullshit. So we’re pretty OK with Got Green’s proposal, which isn’t new, and wasn’t Murray’s idea, btw. It’s been going on for over a year (i.e. pre-Murray) but it’s been stuck in gridlock because of course it has / Seattle Process / committees — that is being presented this morning.
“The impetus was the 2012 Rainier Beach community center redevelopment, where only 10 of 348 workers were Seattle residents,” said Meg Matthews, of the Sierra Club, in an email.
Unfortunately, there may be conflict with the unions; the proposal requires project labor agreements. However, in the City’s press release, this is directly addressed:
The legislation also directs the City’s Department of Finance and Administrative Services to execute a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for projects meeting the $5 million threshold for construction costs. PLAs provide a means for unions and union contractors to meet priority hire objectives. PLAs will also ensure that workers and contractors have access to dispute resolution resources and clear rules to help avoid the risk of labor stoppages and/or shortages.
The coalition to make this a reality meets this morning, and Murray will be trying to get City Council to move their asses and make this a thing. Fingers crossed they actually do it and don’t, you know, derp the fuck out like they always goddamn do.