16,000 Good New Construction Jobs/Year From Transit and How to Get Them!


Measure R is creating 16,000 new jobs every year by building light rail lines, busways and the subway. Sometimes we encounter skeptics who want to know if any of these jobs actually go to people who live around here—including people from South LA who have been promised jobs for decades. The answer is yes, and here's why:

In 2012 at the urging of the LA Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council, LA County Federation of Labor, and LAANE, LA Metro adopted groundbreaking policies for Project Labor Agreements and a Construction Careers Policy for projects funded by the Measure R sales tax. LA Metro’s Project Labor Agreements are the first in the nation to apply to federally funded transportation projects.

What this means is that local construction trade unions are the primary source of labor. In other words, the Project Labor Agreements ensure that all of the construction jobs will be good jobs with benefits.

Metro’s Construction Careers Policy creates a pathway to those good jobs for local and disadvantaged workers. Community colleges and local jobs groups like PV Jobs and the Black Worker Center are helping people with pre-apprentice classes. The policy sets out targets based on the percentage of hours of construction work:

  • 40% of hours by “targeted workers” (see definition above) who live in low income communities;
  • 10% of hours by “disadvantaged workers” (see definition above) who have at least two serious barriers to getting a good job (see list);
  • 20% of the hours by apprentices.

And it’s working! On the Expo line extension to Santa Monica, nearly half the work was done by targeted workers, and about a quarter by disadvantaged workers. Although early numbers were lower, by late 2013 about 13% were apprentices. Check out the trend lines from LA Metro’s Compliance Audit in the chart above.

Indications are that the Crenshaw Line is meeting the “Targeted & Disadvantaged Workers” goals. According to Metro’s Targeted Worker Summary Report for July 2014, a whopping 63% of work was done by people from low income communities and almost 15% were “disadvantaged workers.” Over half were Latino, over 17% African American, 3% Asian, and almost a quarter white. There was room for improvement on the apprentice and women workers fronts that month.

It’s taken a lot of hard work by a whole lot of people and organizations working together to make the Measure R campaign promise of jobs for low income communities a reality. Job well done!

You can find more info about the Expo Phase 2 Construction Careers Policy and Project Labor Agreement Compliance Audit from June 2014 here.

And there are a lot of links to LAANE's work on this topic here, including a Guide to the Construction Trades and a document entitled "Demystified: Your Path to a Construction Career."


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