Our friends at the Partnership for Working Families (PWF) and its affiliate organizations do amazing work. So it’s not surprising they are winning big victories – most recently in Pittsburgh and San Francisco, and hopefully another in San Jose this fall.
PWF affiliates work to ensure that low and middle income workers and communities share in the benefit of economic growth and development. Often, they campaign for community benefits agreements (CBAs) – legally binding contracts signed by developers and community coalitions that spell out a set of community benefits that the developer must provide as part of a development project.
In Pittsburgh: Pittsburgh United’s One Hill CBA Coalition, is close to winning the city’s first-ever community benefits agreement for the new Penguins hockey arena and 28 acres of surrounding land. The agreement, which has been tentatively approved by the Penguins, would require that all new jobs in the development pay living wages and provide health benefits. Neighborhood residents would be interviewed first for the new jobs. Also, the arena would have to prepare a LEED Certification Plan (the gold standard for green building).
In San Francisco: The San Francisco Labor Council, ACORN, and the San Francisco Organizing Project have entered into a CBA with housing developer Lennar for a massive redevelopment in the Bayview-Hunters Point neighborhood. Lennar has agreed to ensure that 32 percent of the housing units are affordable, provide neighborhood residents with $27 million in housing assistance and $8.5 million in job training services, require local hiring for project construction, and ensure labor peace in the project’s key industries. In exchange for these concessions, the organizations were strong advocates in support of the project on two city ballot initiatives – helping the initiatives pass on June 3rd. Now Lennar has a green light for the city’s largest redevelopment project since the 1906 earthquake.
In San Jose: Working Partnerships USA is organizing community, faith and labor leaders to support living wages for workers at the Mineta San Jose International Airport. In a recent report, Worker Partnerships found that over half of the surveyed airport employees weren’t trained in critical emergency procedures, such as facility evacuation. Paying a living wage would reduce turnover at the airport, increase the amount of long-term, skilled workers on site and consequently improve airport safety. Airport workers and community advocates spoke in support of a measure to require living wages for airport workers before the San Jose City Council’s Transportation and Environment Committee on June 2nd. Worker Partnerships is hopes to win an airport living wage ordinance this fall.