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Agreement Requires Metro Construction Jobs Go to Low-Income and Disadvantaged Workers

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The Metro board approved a new policy today requiring that 40 percent of the work hours on its major transportation projects go to low-income and other struggling workers.

It is the first transit agency that uses federal funds for a targeted hiring policy, according to City News Service. Metro's new policy has support from Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas and labor leaders. Ridley-Thomas told CNS: "This is a matter of economic justice. This is a matter of the proper, the more equitable distribution of public resources so they end up in the communities that most desperately need them."

City News Service explains how the targeted hiring policy works:

The provision requires that at least 40 percent of construction work hours on 12 countywide transit projects created by passage of ballot Measure R in 2008 go to people who live in areas where the annual median income is less that $40,000.
Another 10 percent of the work hours will go to disadvantaged union workers who meet the targeted hire income requirement and at least two of the following criteria: they must be homeless, a single custodial parent, receiving public assistance, lack a GED or high school diploma, have a criminal record, have experienced chronic unemployment, emancipated from foster care, a veteran of the Iraq or Afghanistan wars, or be an apprentice with less than 15 percent of the required hours to graduate to the journey level.
Other provisions prevent workers from going on strike or contractors from locking workers out.
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One of the first projects to benefit from this policy will be the Crenshaw/LAX light rail line that is scheduled to begin construction this summer.