Hiring at home - Page 2

Supervisors make history with mandatory local hire law

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ABU founder James Richards, Ramon Hernandez of Laborers Union Local 261, and Sup. Bevan Dufty

Sup. David Campos, whose district includes the Mission, said the measure was one of the most significant pieces of legislation to emerge from the board in recent years. "In the past, a lot of obstacles got in the way, including some legal challenges," said Campos, who credited Avalos for navigating a complicated legal structure. "At the end of the day, I think this is going to benefit everyone."

Mike Theriault, secretary-treasurer for the San Francisco Building Trades Council, told the Guardian he remains opposed to the legislation because the union presers to allocate jobs based on seniority, not residency. But he said the amendments make the measure "less harmful and more survivable in the short-term."

 

THE ECONOMIC GAP

Termed-out Sup. Sophie Maxwell, who represents the city's economically distressed southeast sector, has often noted that the construction industry provides a path to the middle class for people without advanced degrees or facing barriers to employment. She thanked Avalos for pushing legislation that promises to provides opportunities for "growing the middle class instead of importing it."

"This industry closes the economic gap," she said.

Board President David Chiu and termed-out Sups. Chris Daly and Bevan Dufty also supported Avalos legislation. But Dufty, who is running in the 2011 mayoral race, cast the eighth vote, which gave the measure a veto-proof majority.

The board's Dec. 7 vote came a few hours after Bayview-based Aboriginal Blacks United founder James Richards and a score of unemployed local residents rallied at City Hall in the hopes of securing Dufty's vote.

ABU has recently been protesting at UCSF's Mission Bay hospital buildings site on 16th and Third streets. Its members also triggered a shut down at the Sunset Reservoir last month after a court ruled that locals promised jobs installing solar panels at the plant be replaced by higher-skilled engineers,

"It's been too long that we have been protesting and fighting this good faith effort," Richards told the Guardian. "We need a mandatory policy."

Dufty is also hoping the Avalos measure could spread to other cities and benefit workers nationwide. "At a certain point I looked at labor and said, 'Yes, I'm going for this legislation. But not just for San Francisco — you want to take this concept to other cities,' " Dufty said, as he made good on his promise to Richards to vote to support Avalos' law.

Dufty seemed hopeful that Mayor Gavin Newsom would get behind the legislation. "But I respect that there may be a little bit of coming together between now and the second reading."

Newsom spokesman Tony Winniker told the Guardian that the mayor has 10 days to review Avalos' legislation after its Dec. 14 second reading. "He supports stronger local hire requirements but does want to review the many amendments that were added before deciding," Winnicker said.

But will Newsom, who is scheduled to be sworn in as California's next lieutenant governor Jan. 3, issue a veto on or before Christmas Eve on legislation that has been amended to address the stated concerns of the building trades?

That would be ironic since the amended legislation appears to match recommendations that the Mayor's Taskforce on African American Outmigration published in 2009. The California Department of Finance projected that San Francisco's black population would continue to decline from 6.5 percent (according to 2005 census data) to 4.6 percent of the city's total population by 2050 — in part because of a lack of good jobs.