The Metro Board of Directors today unanimously approved a plan to help increase the number of workers from disadvantaged areas to be hired to work on the agency’s transit and road projects.
The Project Labor Agreement (PLA) between Metro and the Los Angeles/Orange County Building Trades Council is believed by Metro to be the first of its kind for a transit agency in the United States. Under the PLA, 40 percent of work hours on Metro projects would be done by workers who live in economically disadvantaged neighborhoods and 10 percent of the hours going to workers struggling with poverty.
Many members of the public testified in favor of the plan, most hewing to a simple message: times are tough, they’re unemployed and they need a job “not just to survive, but to live.”
Supervisor and Board Member Mark Ridley-Thomas (in photo above) said after the vote that the rest of the nation now has the chance to follow Metro and create jobs in places where they are most needed by building transportation infrastructure. We “have paved the way in an extraordinary way,” Ridley-Thomas said. “This is a matter of justice and of putting public resources in areas that need them.”
Los Angeles Mayor and Board Chair Antonio Villaraigosa voiced similar praised for the PLA, saying he believes the program will help some people “escape the crushing bonds of poverty” and create a path for workers to the middle class.
After the jump are Metro fact sheets on the PLA. And here is an L.A. Times editorial backing the agreement.
Photo by Luis Inzunza/Metro