“Having folks unemployed while infrastructure is being built makes people feel that they are being ignored, that they are not considered a part of any community,” said Andra Kranzler, of Columbia Legal Services.
Southeast Seattle environmental and racial justice group Got Green banded together with more than a dozen other agencies and organizations serving communities of color and Southeast neighborhoods last year to form the Construction Jobs Equity Coalition (CJEC).
On Saturday, March 23 Got Green and other Construction Jobs Equity Coalition (CJEC) members will make the case to community members and elected officials that a new city ordinance is necessary to ensure that a portion of the thousands of construction jobs created by City-funded “Capital Improvement Projects” over the next decade go to the local residents and communities hardest hit by the economic recession.
“I’m helping to increase community awareness about construction opportunities on public works projects because citizens should be aware of how their tax dollars are being used and have a say in it,” says Vernon Hill, a Got Green member. “As a Black male, I am really concerned that opportunities for jobs in the construction industry reach all of our communities.”
Pointing to local hire precedents in cities such as San Francisco and Cleveland, Got Green and CJEC are announcing a campaign to get the City of Seattle to pass its own “Targeted Local Hire” Ordinance.
Preliminary projections suggest that thousands of construction and construction related jobs will be created annually on publicly funded projects such as the Elliot Bay Seawall, infrastructure work for the proposed Sonics Arena, Yesler Terrace Redevelopment, and more. With unemployment figures in the Rainier Valley running at double the rate in the rest of our city, remedies such as Targeted Local Hire are long overdue.
“Got Green works to educate in diverse communities about climate change, at the same time we are standing up for jobs and economic justice,” says Director Michael Woo. “Targeted Local Hire” will not only bring relief to our communities, it will bring relief to our planet. We’ve all heard the slogan, ‘work where you live.’ This is exactly the point of Targeted Local Hire. Bringing good, local jobs to our neighborhoods.”