Division of labor - Page 2

As Mayor Lee supports mandatory local hire law, UC Mission Bay finally announces voluntary goals

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Workers with Aboriginal Blackmen United protest outside UCSF's hospital construction site
PHOTO BY SARAH PHELAN

Arelious Walker's BayView Hope Community Development Corporation, feeling as if the UC was trying to divide their community. Walker did not return our calls for comment.

"We were with Walker when he was fighting the Nation of Islam's attempt to stop development at the shipyard, so it hurts so bad to see this," Richards said. "Never again will we stand by and let people come into the southeast community and take our jobs. We're going to fight until the end. If the community doesn't work, no one works."

But even as UC announced its voluntary Mission Bay goals, community advocates pressed UCSF to set higher targets, citing the city's failure to attain 50 percent local hire goals under San Francisco's decade-long policy of seeking to hit that goal.

Joshua Arce of the Brightline Defense Project said he is glad Lee expressed support for Sup. John Avalos' local hire legislation, "but we are waiting to see if he implements the law as written or a watered-down version."

Then-Mayor Gavin Newsom allowed Avalos' legislation to become law without signing it, bowing to the veto-proof 8-3 majority that approved it. But in a 12/23/10 letter explaining his position, Newsom recommended modifications to accommodate the concerns of the building trades, whose members come from across the Bay Area.

"I know the passage of this policy has created high expectations among some residents of San Francisco," Newsom wrote. "The city owes it to them to implement this policy in a way that will result in a successful program that is fiscally responsible and reflects the best thinking of the many stakeholders invested in San Francisco."

But with Newsom moving to Sacramento, California Assembly member Tom Ammiano and Sens. Mark Leno and Leland Yee are urging legislators to support San Francisco's newly approved local hire law as approved.

In a Jan. 25 letter that Leno and Yee signed, Ammiano encouraged Bay Area officials to work with the city to explore mutually beneficial "reciprocity agreements" in which local cities would support one another's programs "aimed at providing disadvantaged job seekers opportunities in the construction sector."

"In neighborhoods like the Bayview, the Mission, and the Western Addition, the promise of jobs — particularly living wage construction jobs — has been an unfulfilled promise for generations," Ammiano wrote.

But in a Jan. 28 press release, UC officials clarified that "as one of 10 campuses of a statewide constitutional corporation and public trust," UCSF is not subject to Avalos' mandatory requirement and is prohibited from adopting mandatory requirements based upon residency.

Instead, UC promised to do more community outreach and try to carve out financial incentives to encourage contractors to hit UC's targets at Mission Bay.

Lima said the hospital complex is a historic opportunity to put as many San Franciscans to work as possible. "We have set an ambitious hiring target but we recognize that the economic activity generated by the project can significantly benefit our neighbors and local residents," she said

After his Jan. 27 meeting with UC, Richards told ABU members that "when DPR needs someone for a job, they're gonna call Dwayne Jones, and then Dwayne will let us know. There are hundreds of jobs, but I don't know if they are in every trade. So, I feel good. But not so good that I can say that 10 carpenters will be hired tomorrow. There's not enough need for that right now. But the work that's there, when they call, you're going to know it."

Lima said UC's meeting with Richards was "positive".

"We clarified some misunderstandings and made some progress," Lima said, noting that work at the site will become increasingly available starting in May. "Our goal is still to create jobs for San Francisco residents and make this project happen.