Earlier this month, Los Angeles workers got some long-awaited good news: The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) Board of Directors unanimously approved a project labor agreement (PLA) for upcoming projects that will create an estimated 270,000 good, family-supporting jobs over the next 30 years. What’s even better? Forty percent of work hours will go to disadvantaged communities, and at least half of those hours will go to apprentices—meaning a career path for workers who might otherwise be stuck in dead-end, low-wage jobs.
As Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the LA County Federation of Labor, and Move LA Executive Director Denny Zane put it in a recent blog post,
This policy is the most significant policy of its kind nationwide to create thousands of good jobs while investing in much needed transportation infrastructure…. In Los Angeles, we have figured a way to get out of the recession, get Americans working again and fight income inequality. Los Angeles can become a model for what is possible across the rest of the country.
A recent Cornell report supports their claims. The study, “Community Workforce Provisions: A Tool for Building Middle Class Careers,” found that public and private construction projects across the country are increasingly implementing community workforce agreements (CWAs) to ensure that all Americans have a path to a brighter economic future. Like the agreement in LA, these CWAs are creating jobs for thousands of women, workers of color, veterans, and low-income residents.
Hopefully, other cities will soon follow LA’s lead and invest in shared prosperity for our communities. With millions of Americans still out of work, we’ve got no time to lose.