PRESS RELEASE: Metro Board Green Lights Crenshaw/LAX Line and Good Jobs

Agency Awards Contractor Who Will Hire Disadvantaged Residents

through “Construction Careers Policy”

Los Angeles, CA—Today the Metro Board today celebrated the selection of Walsh/Shea Constructors as the contractor for the first phase of the project of the Crenshaw/LAX line. The rail line is the first, large scale transit project in the nation to be covered by a landmark Construction Careers Policy, approved by agency in 2012. Through targeted hiring, these policies will guarantee high job standards like fair wages and benefits, and safety training for low-income communities with barriers to employment.

The contractor, Walsh/Shea, is expected to hire approximately 7,500 workers for the project, with at least 3,000 of these workers expected to come from impoverished areas. Construction is expected to happen immediately. The joint-venture is being led by two companies with over 100 years of experience working on transit projects including the Transbay Transit Center in San Francisco and a local maintenance facility for the Exposition Light Rail Line. Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who represents neighborhoods that will benefit from the construction of the new rail line said, “This is a significant victory for my constituents in the Second District. The community is gaining both much needed rail transit and quality jobs.”

Metro is the first transit agency in the country to adopt a Construction Careers policy that will target communities hardest hit by the recession and most in need of good, new jobs. The Construction Careers Policy requires that at least 40 percent of the jobs created go to workers from areas with high unemployment and that at least 10 percent go to disadvantaged workers, which includes veterans and those who have received public assistance. Individuals who are hired will join multi-year high quality apprenticeship programs in the building trades unions.

Labor and community groups cheered the commencement of the hard-won project and the environmental and economic benefits resulting from the project.

“It only makes sense that public investments that will modernize our transit system and transform Los Angeles benefit our hard working men and women,” said Maria Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. “We are providing meaningful careers at the right time, just as the construction industry is recovering from the recession.”

In November 2008, Measure R was approved by a two-thirds majority of L.A. County voters, committing a projected $40 billion in traffic relief and transportation upgrades throughout the county over the next 30 years. Construction projects at Metro, including those funded by Measure R, total over $70 billion dollars in infrastructure investment, creating over 260,000 construction jobs. Approximately $6 billion in transit projects will be built in the next five years, creating over 23,000 jobs, making Los Angeles County more environmentally sustainable and economically competitive.  Locally, Construction Careers Policies have already been successfully implemented by the Exposition Light Rail Line, Phase II, the Port of Los Angeles, and the Department of Public Works.

“This step forward is the culmination of years of hard work to carve out opportunities for our communities to get out of poverty,” said Jackie Cornejo, Construction Careers Project Director, LAANE. “Workers in the Construction Careers Program, will learn professional skills that allow workers to be employed at any jobsite in the country.”

LAANE is a national leader in the effort to build a new economy for all. Combining dynamic research, innovative public policy and the organizing of broad alliances, LAANE promotes a new economic approach based on good jobs, thriving communities and a healthy environment. LAANE’s work has helped tens of thousands of people attain better wages and health benefits, and has improved public health for hundreds of thousands of people across the region. To learn more on the campaign, visit http://www.laane.org/construction-careers/