Proposal would guarantee skilled labor for SF public works projects

For the first time, San Francisco could have a citywide workforce policy that includes guaranteeing work on public works projects over $1 million for skilled labor workers.

Supervisor Mark Farrell, who introduced the “first-of-its-kind” project labor agreement policy on Tuesday at the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, said at a press conference earlier on Tuesday morning that he had worked two years with labor leaders and groups come up with the policy:

“Labor has built our city and I believe it’s time we provided another opportunity in San Francisco for good jobs, good wages, good benefits and highly skilled labor for brothers and sisters that helped build and run the city of San Francisco.”

The policy would be binding on all contractors and subcontractors participating in qualified public works projects and must follow the local hiring, prevailing wage and local business enterprise conditions.

Contractor and subcontracts must also must hire apprentices from state-approved apprenticeship programs and must use The City’s “Helmets to Hardhats” program, which helps veterans find jobs in the construction trade.

To avoid delays and for The City to complete the public works projects on time, contractors and subcontractors are not allowed to strike, picket or conduct a work stoppage on projects under the policy proposal.

While labor organizations sacrificed with reluctance the ability to strike, Michael Theriault, the secretary-treasurer for the San Francisco Building said the sacrifice was for good reasons:

“In this project labor agreement policy, workers whether union or non union, will be assured of good wages, will be assured of better protections, better representations, will be assured of benefits that many of them have never had or had access to.”

Farrell said:

“I will stand behind labor every single day of the week to give families a chance to stay and thrive in our city.”

Six supervisors are co-sponsoring Farrell’s proposed workforce policy including Malia Cohen, Sandra Lee Fewer, Asha Safai, Jeff Sheehy, Hillary Ronen and Norman Yee.