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Latest News - April 2015

April 7, 2015
Long Beach City Council Approves Citywide Project Labor Agreement
By: Harry Saltzgaver

For the next five years, projects being built under city of Long Beach contract that are worth more than $500,000 must use union labor, along with requirements that the contractor hire certain percentages of local workers.

That’s the result of the Project Labor Agreement approved Tuesday by the Long Beach City Council. The agreement was negotiated with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council, representing craft councils and local unions. The council first asked for the agreement last November.

Two departments with large construction projects — the Harbor Department and the Water Department — are not subject to the agreement because they are governed separately under the City Charter. It should be noted that the Middle Harbor project and the Gerald Desmond Bridge Replacement project at the Port of Long Beach are being built under project labor agreements.

The agreement also designates Long Beach City College and the Pacific Gateway Workforce Investment Network as institutions to provide pre-apprentice training support for local residents.

A key provision of the agreement for the city is a prohibition on work stoppages and lockouts. The local hire provisions clearly were a priority of council members, as well.

First District Councilwoman Lena Gonzalez spearheaded the effort, with backing from Ninth District Councilman Rex Richardson. After more than an hour of public testimony, Richardson had city staff reiterate that open shop contractors could bid on projects (and keep up to five non-union core employees), Richardson said, “I can’t see how anyone can oppose this.”

According to city staff, the agreement likely won’t make city projects more expensive because the city already requires contractors to pay prevailing wages, which are equivalent to union scale. The city will use an outside PLA Administrator to work with contractors, and there will be a joint administrative committee with members from the city and the trades’ council to oversee the agreement.

Third District Councilwoman Suzie Price successfully added an amendment requiring complete data about PLA impacts be given to the council annually, with a full review in three years. The motion to approve the agreement passed unanimously.



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