We are pleased to announce that this week Priority Hire legislation was introduced in Seattle City Council. Today communities of color, labor unions and unemployed youth packed the Housing Affordability, Human Services and Economic Resiliency Committee meeting at City Hall to advocate for the legislation. The introduction of this piece of legislation is a monumental step forward to ensuring strong communities, racial equity and a healthier planet.
Got Green’s South Seattle Jobs Committee has been bringing together leaders of color, business owners, grassroots organizers, unemployed workers, and building trades unions for three years to push for change on this issue and we’re proud to see progress.
We see Priority Hire as a representation of community-based solutions to climate change and economic injustice. When we lift up the voices of communities of color and low-income communities, the result is policies that make an impact and create a better city for everyone.
“Priority Hire needs to serve not only practically but symbolically, considering current events it’s time to show real commitment to our communities,” said Gregory Davis, Rainer Beach Moving Forward Board Chair.
A recent investigation found less than one third of workers on City of Seattle-funded construction projects live in Seattle and King County. Not only does this mean fewer local jobs, it also means an influx in commuter pollution and harmful environmental impacts. Priority Hire legislation is a solution that is good for our communities and good for our planet. If passed, CB #118282 will support healthier communities and a healthier environment.
Construction is booming in Seattle and a recent report by the City anticipates a shortage of skilled local workers by 2020. Priority Hire helps us get ahead of the predicted worker shortage in a way that is meaningful to communities suffering the highest unemployment rates. Priority Hire is sound economic policy that will support a strong city now and in the years to come.
“I got a job on Sound Transit through an agreement to hire minority workers. It brought me out of poverty and allowed my family to enjoy the things other families have,” said Sylvia Sabon. “Now my daughter is getting trained through the Youth Build program to enter the construction industry. Priority Hire will allow her to move from the poverty line to the median income line. It will allow her and other young people of color to beat the statistics.”
We applaud the leadership of Councilmembers Sally Clark, Mike O’Brien, Nick Licata and Bruce Harrell, as well as Mayor Murray, in moving CB #118282 forward and look forward to working together to pass the strongest piece of legislation for our communities.
– by Dionne Foster, Got Green UW School of Social Work Practicum Intern