Photo courtesy of the Port of Long Beach.
A plan to hire more local, disadvantaged and veteran workers for more than $700 million in construction projects for the Port of Long Beach (POLB) was approved by the Board of Harbor Commissioners on Monday, officials announced.
The approved Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council would require at least 40 percent of port construction jobs to be done by local residents—meaning those living in the counties of Los Angeles or Orange—15 percent by disadvantaged workers and 10 percent by veterans, according to the POLB.
The five-year agreement would also encourage apprenticeship and training programs and establish hiring programs like job fairs near project sites. It covers $717 million in port infrastructure projects, including rail improvements, terminal redevelopment and public safety buildings.
“I am so pleased that the agreement approved by the Harbor Commission ensures that the Port is reaching out to local residents and disadvantaged workers to create good-paying opportunities,” Harbor Commission President Lori Ann Guzmán stated. “And for the first time, we’ve added outreach to veterans. This agreement ensures ample, well-qualified workers on Port projects and is a win-win for our city and region.”
The port’s existing labor pacts cover the Middle Harbor terminal modernization and Gerald Desmond Bridge replacement projects, according to the release. The new agreement will build on the the port’s existing pacts, which affects $1.6 billion in construction projects in the past five years, and results in more than 5,300 local jobs.
The POLB stated that as many as 15 percent of Middle Harbor construction hirees and 26 percent of Gerald Desmond Bridge construction hirees were disadvantaged workers, including individuals who are unemployed, single parents, lacking a General Education Development (GED) certification or high school diploma, or apprentices with les than 15 percent of the apprenticeship hours required to graduate to journey level.
“We’ve been incredibly successful with these agreements,” port CEO Jon Slangerup said in a statement. “It’s good policy to invest in local workers when we’re making these upgrades to enhance our competitiveness in the global market.”