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Transbay Joint Powers Authority Approves Historic Labor Agreement

SAN FRANCISCO — Earlier today, the Board of Directors of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority (TJPA) approved an historic agreement with organized labor (*see list of signatory unions below) designed to ensure labor peace and equal opportunity for small, local, disadvantaged, union, and non-union businesses throughout the construction of the $4 billion Transbay Transit Center Project. 

Construction of the Project will create more than 125,000 jobs.  The Project Labor Agreement (PLA) is a pact that all construction and trade workers, both union and non-union, must abide by while working on the Transbay site.  Under the pact, all workers agree to work by the same rules, on an equal playing field.  In return, workers are provided uniform benefits and protections.

The Transbay Transit Center Project will require workers from diverse crafts, including plumbers, carpenters, operating engineers, ironworkers, sheet metal workers, electricians, and laborers.  These workers are represented by 28 separate unions, each with its own separate contract.  Because of the Project Labor Agreement, all unions are now bound to a single labor agreement, maximizing the economy of operations. 

The nature of this construction project will require that multiple contractors and multiple crafts work on the job site at the same time, over an extended period of time, creating a substantial potential for work disruption.  The PLA ensures that construction of the Transbay Transit Center will not be delayed due to strikes or other labor-related issues. 

“This is a critical tool for us,” said Maria Ayerdi-Kaplan, TJPA Executive Director. “Project Labor Agreements have been used successfully since the New Deal to complete major public works projects.  A PLA was critical to the construction of BART, and more recently played an important role in the renovations at the San Francisco International Airport and in the seismic upgrades to the Hetch Hetchy water system.”

“The Project Labor Agreement is a testament to the commitment and hard work of both the Transbay team and organized labor,” said Supervisor and TJPA Board Chairperson Jane Kim.  “Fostering harmonious labor relations on the job site is critical to the success of this transformative project.  I’m particularly happy to see the PLA promotes job opportunities for young people and workers from disadvantaged communities.”

The PLA provides a range of benefits to the Project: standardizing working conditions and wages; minimizing uncertainty about the supply and cost of labor during the project; preventing work stoppages; fostering productive labor relations; reducing the likelihood of cost over-runs; increasing the likelihood of on-time performance; increasing productivity and job site safety; and many others.

The agreement is especially notable for its commitment to small and disadvantaged business enterprises.  It ensures these businesses can compete effectively with large-scale, national construction companies by creating equal opportunity.  The PLA also contains strong, enforceable protections against discrimination, a top priority for the TJPA.

In addition to these benefits, the TJPA is proud to announce a series of provisions that seek to assist veterans and disabled veterans through the “Helmets to Hardhats” non-profit organization and the “Wounded Warrior” program, which connect National Guard, Reserve and transitioning active-duty military members with career training and employment opportunities in the construction industry (for more information, visit http://www.helmetstohardhats.org).

"The Veterans Affairs Commission of the City and County of San Francisco extends its hearty congratulations to all parties to the Project Labor Agreement for the massive construction project which will, under the Transbay Joint Powers Authority bring a modern Transit Hub to reality," said Raymond Wong, President of the Veterans Affairs Commission of San Francisco. "We are particularly gratified that all parties to the agreement have seen fit to insure that under the Community Outreach terms of the agreement, concrete efforts are made to insure that area veterans are afforded specially identified employment opportunities under the Helmets to Hardhats program..." said Wong.

Additional unique and innovative aspects of the agreement include sections that will:

·         Assist local youth to pursue careers in the trades, by a commitment to engage in outreach efforts with high school students to promote involvement in pre-apprenticeship and apprenticeship programs; and
·         Assist women and economically disadvantaged individuals to pursue careers in the trades, with a commitment to recruit applicants for apprenticeship programs from appropriate community-based programs.

The Transbay Transit Center is a visionary, $4 billion transportation and housing project that will transform downtown San Francisco and the Bay Area’s regional transportation system by creating a “Grand Central Station of the West” in the heart of a new, transit-friendly neighborhood surrounding the Transit Center.  Phase 1 of the project (the Transit Center) is set to be completed by 2017 and will serve up to 45 million people annually.

The Transbay Transit Center project is managed by TJPA staff and is overseen by its six-member Board of Directors.

For more information about the project, visit www.transbaycenter.org.
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