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Gerding Edlen Development, Inc.

Oregon commercial real estate developer Gerding Edlen Development, Inc., is well-known for its sustainable transit-oriented development projects up and down the west coast. The company has more LEED certified green buildings than any other private developer in the country, including seven LEED Platinum projects and 27 LEED Gold projects. This demanding work depends on the skills of a highly-trained workforce. As CEO Mark Edlen says: “Union workers are more likely to bring the skill set, creativity, and workplace safety the company needs to execute such complex projects: that’s why Gerding Edlen uses union labor.”

In addition to providing skilled labor, unions, through their pension funds, have invested in numerous projects developed by Gerding Edlen, and currently are investors in the firm’s green real estate fund that seeks to retrofit and develop sustainable buildings. This partnership has served to bring much needed capital to potential projects that revitalize cities, reduce carbon emissions, and create thousands of jobs extending beyond the initial construction. Edlen says, “Without labor’s ongoing commitment to invest in our projects through this downturn, we would not have been able to continue with the urban, mixed use, highly sustainable projects that our company is so well known for.” Despite the recession, Gerding Edlen has avoided layoffs, and in 2009 the company was ranked first in the Oregon Business’ “100 Best Green Companies to Work For” survey.

Industry: Real Estate
Headquarters: Portland, OR
Union: Laborers’ International Union of North America
Union Employees: Varies; 90-99% of contractors belong to unions
Total Employees: 42 direct plus union contractors for each job

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