I've had a meeting with city staff, in preparation for the council presentation on the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA) pilot projects (being held, Thursday Sept. 22 at 2 p.m.), and learned more about what they are planning to say about CBAs and the recommendations they will be looking to get approved by council for how they move forward on city capital projects. The direction they plan to go in is deeply concerning to me, and means that turnout and testimony by community and labor is critical.
They plan to:
· Exclude any PLA language but still have unions held responsible to the goals
· Cap any community investment to 1% of project costs
· Name the “Community Equity and Inclusion Plan (CEIP)” as the go-forward template, to be used by all bureaus going forward. This template is currently in early draft form and has had zero community input, instead has been written by internal City staff and legal. They plan to have it approved by city council in
· Explicitly calls out not using CBAs
· States that the city will only apply the “CEIP” to alternative procurement projects, which are estimated to be merely 5% of total City contracts
· Will shift any oversight committee to an advisory role going forward
For these reasons, the report that city council will be asked to approve is problematic and a) does not accurately describe the success and lessons learned from the CBA pilots and b) will set a precedent going forward that goes in the wrong direction and is unacceptable for community and for labor. (Additionally, there are a number of inaccuracies regarding stakeholder roles and conflicts of interest being used to stir up controversy and bury the real story. These will be addressed directly by those parties on Thursday and by written testimony).
Please come out in support of the CBA pilots and urge city council to not accept the report as written, but instead advocate for including critical elements in any future CBA:
· High road construction career pathways that pull people out of poverty
· A collaborative and transparent process between the community and the city
· Clear and explicit goal setting and data monitoring
· Clear engagement and commitment secured by all relevant parties, specifically including training providers, community partners, contractors, and labor unions
· Built-in mechanisms to support the necessary community capacity building, not capped at 1% of project costs
· Ongoing meaningful oversight and accountability
Please reach out directly to me with any questions, concerns or ideas. I sincerely hope you all will prioritize showing up for this to demand how the city operates and engages with community and labor going forward.