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Report says city’s mandate on local hiring for construction projects isn’t working

SF Public Press
 — Aug 2 2010 - 5:31pm

A new report from Chinese for Affirmative Action and the Brightline Defense Project said the city is not meeting its local hiring mandate for construction projects in the city.

Vincent Pan, executive director of  Chinese for Affirmative Action, a non-profit organization that advocates hiring local residents, said San Francisco is well below its mandate.

The report titled “The Failure of Good Faith,” shows only 24 percent of city work hours are filled by city residents in 29 projects surveyed.“We have to change this mandate to make it more solid so that San Francisco residents are getting the jobs,” said Pan.

City law states that contractors for construction projects in the city must make a “good faith effort” to have at least 50 percent of their work hours done by San Francisco residents.

Joshua Arce, executive director of the Brightline Defense Project, a non-profit civil rights advocacy group, said the report shows the good faith effort policy has “no teeth.” He calls for mandatory compliance and enforcement so that work on San Francisco projects go to city residents.

Pan adds that ethnic minorities are being shut out from construction projects, saying that only 4 percent of the hours worked on the construction projects were Asian Americans. African Americans had 13 percent of the work hours.

Both Pan and Arce made several recommendations for city officials including a comprehensive city-wide policy for hiring residents for construction projects and better tracking of local hires.

“To do local hiring right, San Francisco needs policy changes. It is time to replace good faith efforts with mandatory local hiring,” said Arce. He believes this is achievable with several projects in works including the Transbay Terminal and Central Subway projects.

City officials had no immediate comment on the report.