City Hall Watch: Supe pushes for half of work to be done by SF residents

Within three years, The City may require that half the work on publicly funded construction projects be filled by San Francisco residents.  

The City has failed to meet its longstanding goal that 50 percent of the hours worked on taxpayer-funded construction projects are done by San Francisco residents. Just 20 percent of the 4.3 million project hours were worked by local residents last year.

That could soon change under legislation introduced by Supervisor John Avalos on Tuesday that would require at least 30 percent of hours worked to be done by local residents in the year of the law’s approval. Forty percent local hiring would be required in the second year, and by the third year the requirement would be 50 percent.

The mandates, however, are drawing opposition from the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council.

“That can’t happen. It’s a matter of simple math,” said Michael Theriault, a representative of the council. “These are skilled trades. You need three, five years of formal training. You don’t get that overnight.”

Avalos said the legislation is a “starting point” and negotiations will continue.

“There is still a lot of uncertainty about how we are going to move forward with the support of the building trades,” he said. “But I am committed.”

The mandate has strong support from community activists in neighborhoods plagued by high unemployment rates and those slated for major development, such as the southeastern neighborhoods.

“This is how we are going change things in San Francisco. What has been in effect has not worked for us. It has not worked for our communities,” Avalos said.

The proposal comes as The City’s unemployment rate remains at nearly 10 percent.

The legislation is expected to undergo an informational hearing next month before the Board of Supervisors Land Use and Economic Development Committee.

“The mayor supports stronger local-hire requirements, and we’ll continue to work with the supervisors, the building trade unions and the community on legislation that achieves both realistic and legally enforceable local job guarantees for city projects,” Mayor Gavin Newsom’s spokesman, Tony Winnicker, said.


IN OTHER ACTION

In an 11-0 vote, legislation introduced by Board of Supervisors President David Chiu was approved to establish a city-run Healthy Nail Salon Recognition program to encourage nail salons to discontinue use of products containing toxic chemicals.  

jsabatini@sfexaminer.com

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