Public Labor Agreement approved by Metro Board

The Board of Directors voted 11 to 1 on Thursday to adopt a Careers Construction Policy as part of an effort to hire more local workers to build Metro projects.

With unemployment remaining high in Los Angeles County — particularly in the construction trades — the motion by Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas seeks to ensure that jobs created by Measure R projects go to area residents.

The vote on Thursday authorizes Metro staff to negotiate a Public Labor Agreement/Career Construction Policy with local unions. After an agreement is made, the Board will then vote on the actual Agreement.

A good explanation of the policy is in the Metro staff report on the issue. The Career Construction Policy intends to target high unemployment areas within L.A. County and also create apprenticeship programs to recruit area workers into the construction trades.

Mayor Villaraigosa said that one of the goals of the Measure R sales tax increase was to build a transportation network and create jobs for people paying the tax in L.A. County. “We’ve got to keep the commitment to voters of this county,” he said.

Supervisor Ridley-Thomas said that the motion demonstrates that Metro is serious about creating good jobs with good benefits that support families.

As expected, the motion was widely supported by area labor unions with many members in attendance. Both Maria Elena Durazo, executive-secretary of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, and Robbie Hunter, the executive-secretary of the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, spoke in favor of the motion.