Equity Transparency and Accountability in Public Works
In addition to its permanent programming, the Los Angeles Black Worker Center advances economic and racial justice for Black workers and the families that rely on them through timely campaigns to promote best practices in public policy.
This worker-led campaign is fighting against racial discrimination and for equal opportunity in the construction industry. Black workers are grossly underrepresented in the construction sector in Los Angeles. Although Blacks represent nine percent of Los Angeles County’s population, they make up just 4.9% of the construction workforce. Black representation on publicly funded projects in Los Angeles is even lower, hovering around three percent.
Click on the thumbnails below to learn more about this campaign.
LA Metro FAQ
Metro’s new Project Labor Agreement (PLA) establishes the terms of work site conditions and dispute resolution, and requires workers from certain disadvantaged neighborhoods and backgrounds to be hired. Learn all about it in these FAQ’s.
Improving Access to Construction for Black Workers in Los Angeles: Focus on PLAs and Local Hire
Union construction jobs are a pathway to middle class, with salaries averaging between $23 and $26 an hour. Blacks make up 9% of LA and 10% of LA’s union apprentices, but only 4.9% of construction workers. This two-page brief sets forth the Black Worker Center’s proposed solutions in clear bullet points.
Construction Workers Know and Stand Up For Your Rights
The Los Angeles Black Worker Center wants YOU to understand your right not to be discriminated against in the workplace. Any form of racial or gender discrimination in employment robs our communities of valuable opportunities. This two-page flier explains your rights under Federal and California law and gives you helpful resources if you’ve experienced discrimination.
The Need for Good jobs and Anti-Discrimination Protection in Public Sector Jobs
African-Americans represent 10% of all new construction apprentices and 9% of LA’s total workforce—but only 5% of LA’s construction workers.
Discrimination in the public construction sector since Proposition 209 shapes not only the workforce, but also the economic climate for those groups excluded from new construction opportunities. Proposition 209 has made it difficult to demand equitable representation of Black workers and women on these projects and in apprenticeship training programs. The City of Los Angeles, working with local unions, recognized the need to address deficits and through apprenticeships have been able to make some improvement in the participation of Black workers in the sector. Despite recent gains, Black workers are still severely underrepresented in union construction jobs. There is clearly a gap in the pipeline to work.
Los Angeles Black Worker Center's Recommendations
The Los Angeles Black Worker Center recommends stronger anti-discrimination language in PLA/local hire policy to ensure equity in access to public sector construction jobs, which are funded by the ethnically-diverse communities of Los Angeles County. While Local Hire provisions in PLAs have sometimes improved the access of women and people of color to construction work around the country, they have been most successful when coupled with monitoring, oversight and enforcement efforts.
Contractors and sub-contractors elude anti-discrimination mandates by following the letter, but not the spirit, of the PLA/ local hire laws. Political leadership is needed to set expectations for diversity and non-discrimination in public works while at the same time. Policy is needed to protect workers and to set forth monitoring and oversight mechanisms that prevent discrimination. Contractors, unions, workers and the extended Black community must work together to meet these challenges and create real fairness in the economy and equitable access for all workers.