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Groundbreaking Labor Agreement Signed for Yesler Terrace Redevelopment

New training, job opportunities for local low-income residents on Yesler construction projects

SEATTLE — January 14, 2013 — Seattle Housing Authority and organized labor have agreed to collaborate on groundbreaking social equity goals for Seattle Housing Authority construction projects at Yesler Terrace. On January 3, 2013, the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Construction Alliance II, Seattle/King County Building and Construction Trades Council and Seattle Housing Authority signed the Yesler Terrace Community Workforce Agreement, which applies to all Seattle Housing Authority Yesler Terrace redevelopment construction projects that are valued at more than $500,000.

Guided by the agreement, Seattle Housing Authority will collaborate with labor and contractors to promote the employment of low-income residents, the utilization of women and minority businesses, and employment of women and minority workers on Yesler Terrace construction projects developed by Seattle Housing Authority. The Community Workforce Agreement also ensures that construction will proceed without interruption, efficiently, economically, with a sufficient supply of skilled craft workers, and with protection of labor standards, wages, and working conditions.

"Our core belief in the importance of social equity infuses every aspect of our work at Seattle Housing, and is at the heart of this historic agreement," said Andrew Lofton, Executive Director of Seattle Housing Authority. "Labor's leadership in helping us craft this agreement ensures that an exciting new range of opportunities for high-quality training and skilled, living wage careers for our low-income residents are a fundamental part of the transformation of Yesler Terrace."

The Community Workforce Agreement integrates the goals and principles of Section 3 of the HUD Act of 1968 into the partnership between labor and Seattle Housing for Yesler Terrace redevelopment. Section 3 ensures that local low-income residents benefit from jobs that are created as a result of the investment of federal dollars, such as the HUD Choice Neighborhood Initiative grants that Seattle Housing has received for the redevelopment of Yesler Terrace. Seattle Housing has a robust existing social equity program on all construction projects, which incorporates all the goals included in the Community Workforce Agreement.

"This Community Workforce Agreement is important because it takes obstacles and replaces them with opportunities," said Lee Newgent, Executive Secretary of Seattle/King County Building and Construction Trades Council. "The workforce of tomorrow requires vision today."

"This agreement truly embodies the values that inspire us in the labor community," said Ed Triezenberg, Director of Contract Administration for the Pacific Northwest Chapter of the National Construction Alliance II. "Not only can we help to renovate low-income housing with Seattle Housing Authority, we can provide a gateway to successful, life-long careers for residents of our community."

Highlights of the Community Workforce Agreement

  • Local low-income residents will be given preference in hiring by contractors working on Seattle Housing Authority Yesler Terrace construction projects.
  • Local low-income residents who successfully complete approved pre-apprenticeship programs will be given preferred entry into union apprenticeships.
    Goals for equal employment for each construction project
  • 21% of work performed by minorities.
  • 20% of work performed by women.
  • 4.5% of work performed by minority women.
  • 15% of all construction work performed by apprentices, to aid them in gaining meaningful experience on the job.
  • Goals for small business opportunities
  • 14% of work performed by women and minority-owned businesses.
  • 10% of work performed by Section 3 businesses (owned by or predominantly staffed by people with low incomes).

The overall vision for a redeveloped Yesler Terrace includes creating a safe, vibrant mixed-income community, supporting economic and cultural diversity, increasing economic opportunity for residents and employing sustainable, green building principles. Seattle Housing Authority's main focus in redevelopment is replacing the existing 561 aging public housing units in locations throughout Yesler Terrace and enhancing services and quality of life for low-income residents and others throughout the community.