On September 18th, in front of a packed room of dozens of unemployed workers and community leaders, Council member Sally Clark read Mayor Murray’s Targeted Local Hire policy (or “Priority Hire”) to the Committee on Housing Affordability, Human Services and Economic Resiliency Committee to address the need for jobs in economically disadvantaged communities. While many anticipated that there would the introduction of actual policy, it appears that City Council is holding off until December following the City Budget.
At Sally Clark’s committee meeting, South Seattle Jobs committee member Yirim Seck testified and called on City Council to take action:
“Currently at the corner of 23rd and Union there’s a project and there are no workers from our community working on that job. That’s not sustainable. We didn’t have a say in what was getting thrown up on that corner and now we don’t have opportunity to even work on that job.”
For three years, we’ve advocated for Targeted Local Hire to require City-funded construction projects allocate a percentage of work hours to workers from disadvantaged communities, including Rainier Valley. Rainier Valley has unemployment doubled to that of the city of Seattle. A recent city-commissioned study by the UCLA Labor Center found that just 6 percent of jobs on City funded construction projects went to Seattle residents and 25 percent to King County residents. African Americans received a meager 3 percent of work hours despite being 8 percent of Seattle’s population.
“San Francisco passed its Targeted Local Hire law in 2011 and all indicators show that it’s working. Seattle needs to stop dragging its feet and follow suit. Every month we delay is another month in which workers from economically distressed neighborhoods can’t pay the rent or put healthy food on the table.”
– Michael Woo, Got Green founder and Green Jobs organizer.
Targeted Local Hire is supported by a coalition of 40 labor groups, small businesses, faith-based organizations and community organizations. The coalition also supports the inclusion of a project labor agreement at the $5 million threshold for projects, because it creates a career pathway beyond a single project. When passed, the city ordinance will create more city-based workers, which means more dollars spent in the local economy and less climate pollution from long commutes.
Stay tuned for more movement on Targeted Local Hire and email Michael Woo (firstname.lastname@example.org) to get involved.
Come on Thursday, 10/23, 5:30-8:30 PM, Seattle City Hall [600 4th Ave] as Got Green Testifies at City Budget Hearing for Priority Hire Program and Green Internships.
Join the South Seattle Jobs Committee and Young Leaders in the Green Movement Team to show your support for Targeted Local Hire and Sustainable Internships for young people of color.