Policy & Tools: Community Workforce Agreement Examples

A Community Workforce Agreement is a formal, legally binding labor-management agreement that is negotiated between public or private construction end-users, the local Building Trades Council and prime contractors covering specified projects in a geographically defined jurisdiction. Building Trades Councils typically lead the way in negotiating a CWA, but individual Building Trades Unions are signatory to the agreement. A CWA is binding on all sub-contractors engaged in work on the specified projects.

Community interests are incorporated into the terms of the CWA, often through inclusion of targeted hiring programs that connect low-income residents of neighborhoods around the project to construction careers.

Community Workforce Agreements have been implemented by local government, special quasi-governmental taxing authorities and non-profit organizations in cities across the country. This document provides summaries and access to policy language and implementation documents for a wide array of Community Workforce Agreements from across the country. Each agreement includes a specific set of targeted hiring requirements, with its own process for producing, monitoring and reporting outcomes.

It is important to remember that every CWA is developed in relation to unique local conditions. And in many cases, the provisions that are negotiated in any particular agreement represent a compromise for all parties. If you are interested in developing a CWA approach for a specific project or set of projects in your community, these examples and the documents linked to them should provide you with an appreciation of the range of strategies that can be used to negotiate a good agreement that will create high quality jobs while also helping low-income local residents get access to real construction careers.

But please do not use these examples as a transportable template. Some of the approaches outlined here may be better suited to your community than others. A new approach not yet negotiated may better fit your situation. Be sure to consult an attorney to help draft your Community Workforce Agreement, and don’t hesitate to contact the Building and Construction Trades Department and Partnership for Working Families (Kathleen Mulligan-Hansel, kmh@communitybenefits.org) if you want help developing a targeted hire program that will work for you.


City of Los Angeles

In 2001, the City of Los Angeles began construction on the North East Sewer Interceptor, which was constructed under the terms of the city’s first Community Workforce Agreement. Since then, the city has negotiated CWAs on a wide range of public works projects, including fire, police and detention center construction as well as sewer extensions. In 2010, six CWAs are in effect, covering over $375 million in construction value and over 7500 construction jobs. The agreements vary slightly, but tend to require 30-40% of new construction jobs created be filled by residents of neighborhoods adjacent to the project. The agreements establish further requirements that 10–15% of construction work hours be performed by at-risk workers, including workers from poor households and workers with a history of incarceration or receipt of public assistance, among other things.

With almost a decade’s worth of experience implementing CWAs, the City of Los Angeles has developed strong relationships with pre-apprenticeship programs that can provide job-seekers ready to work as well as community-based organizations whose recruitment helps fill the workforce pipeline. The City’s Bureau of Contract Administration monitors implementation, providing guidance and support for contractors in the system.

See CWA language:

Read the Bureau of Contract Administration’s guidelines for good faith effort.

See Outcomes Reported To Date:


Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles (CRA/LA)

In 2008, the Community Redevelopment Agency of Los Angeles passed a policy requiring all subsidized redevelopment, and all construction on CRA-owned land, to be performed under the terms of a Community Workforce Agreement. This policy is called the Construction Local Hire/Project Labor Agreement policy.

The policy requires any construction on subsidized projects to be covered by a master project labor agreement negotiated between the CRA and the LA Building and Construction Trades Council. Among the terms of the PLA is a requirement that 30% of all work hours under the agreement be performed by residents of low-income neighborhoods. 10% of the total work hours are reserved for at-risk and hard-to-employ workers.

Read the master PLA.

See the CRA’s Policy Overview.

Review the Economic Impact Analysis.


Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD)

In 2001, the LACCD embarked on a comprehensive building program with the goal of upgrading college campuses and implementing a green building and energy efficiency plan. As part of LACCD Builds Green program, the district signed a Community Workforce Agreement covering over $2.2 billion in new construction, renovation and rehabilitation of existing college infrastructure. The project has already created over 15,000 construction jobs. The PLA requires 30% of work hours on covered construction to be performed by workers that live in the same zip code as the project, with further targeting of some jobs to at-risk job seekers. Under the terms of the agreement, up to 30% of work hours should be performed by apprentices, and half of all apprentices that work on these jobs should be in their first year.

See the CWA language.

View the compliance documents.


Los Angeles Unified School District

Over $20 billion in school upgrades and new construction overseen by the LA Unified School District is covered by a Community Workforce Agreement signed in 2003. New construction and renovation of the district’s building stock has already created almost 16,000 construction jobs. The CWA requires 50% of the work hours be performed by residents of zip codes served by one of the 8 school districts that make up the unified district. Additionally, the CWA established a goal that 30% of the work be completed by apprentices.

Contractors demonstrate compliance with the targeted hiring provisions by submitting certified payroll records.

The school district also operates a pre-apprenticeship program, We Build, which is overseen by a joint labor-management board and which delivers a 10-week skills and safety training curriculum developed in conjunction with the Building Trades. Though there is no requirement that contractors hire their workforce through We Build, the pre-apprenticeship program provides a pipeline of trained and oriented workers, many of whom meet the targeting requirements established by the CWA. We Build’s training model enables its graduates to better compete with other aspiring apprentices. The program boasts a 90% placement rate.

See the program overview and how it works.

View the CWA language.

See a PowerPoint overview of the WE Build program.


The Maritime and Aviation Project Labor Agreement for Modernization of the Port of Oakland (MAPLA)

From 2001 - 2008, the Port of Oakland implemented the MAPLA, a project labor agreement covering over a billion dollars’ worth of large infrastructure projects at the Port that included strong targeted hiring requirements. Due to broad support from labor and community advocates, the program was aggressively implemented and is still in effect.

The targeted hiring components included:

  • A requirement that 50% of all construction hours be worked by residents of the Port’s local impact area, which includes the neighboring communities of Alameda, Emeryville, Oakland and San Leandro;
  • A requirement that 20% of all hours worked be performed by apprentices from the local impact area, providing an entry-point into construction careers for new and aspiring construction workers.

The MAPLA laid out a detailed and thorough implementation plan, which included a committee of Port staff, contractors, labor union representatives and community advocates who evaluated each contractor’s compliance with these requirements. By 2007, over 31% of all work hours had been performed by local residents, and local resident apprentices had completed 6.2% of all hours worked.

A broad range of labor and community advocates, and the Port management itself, have pronounced this project a success because of the extent to which it encourages collaborative approaches, buy-in from multiple parties, and has in fact resulted in a significant number of new workers in quality construction careers.

See the project language.

Read a brief description of the MAPLA written by the Port of Oakland.

Read the MAPLA Contractor Information Packet.

Read the MAPLA 2006 Progress Report.

Read the MAPLA 2007 Progress Report.

Review MAPLA 2007 project summary tables.

Read the MAPLA Social Justice Program 2001 Progress Report.


Cleveland University Hospital Vision 2010

In December 2007, the Cleveland University Hospital entered into a Community Workforce Agreement with the Cleveland Building and Construction Trades Council (CBCTC) for the $1.2 billion modernization plan they call Vision 2010. The construction project includes construction or upgrading of four major urban facilities as well as expansion of services at suburban hospitals and outreach centers, and is anticipated to create more than 5,200 construction jobs and generate more than $500 million in wages and benefits.

The CWA establishes as a goal that 20% of work hours be performed by Cleveland residents. Additionally, the agreement recognizes and formalizes the existing relationship between the CBCTC and the pre-apprenticeship curriculum offered to 9-12 grade students at Max S. Hayes Vocational High School, part of the Cleveland Public Schools system. In an attachment to the CWA, the unions agree to participate in development of the curriculum at Max Hayes, and to use reasonable efforts to require contractors and unions to provide jobs to Max Hayes building trades graduates. Furthermore, the trades agree to devote one class of the joint labor-management pre-apprenticeship program, UCIP/ASAP (Union Construction Industry Partnership/Apprenticeship Skill Achievement Program), to Max Hayes building trades graduates. Graduates of UCIP/ASAP receive direct entry into union construction apprenticeships. Those UCIP/ASAP graduates who get into the program by virtue of graduation from Max Hayes high school are to be employed on University Hospital construction projects that are covered by the CWA.

See the Community Workforce Agreement.

Learn more about UCIP/ASAP.


San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Water System Improvement Program (WISPLA)

The San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (PUC) entered into a Project Labor Agreement with local, regional, and national Building Trades unions covering on-site construction work on a $4.39 billion Water System Improvement Program initiated to upgrade and strengthen its water delivery system. Construction began in 2007, and is anticipated to continue through 2015. The agreement itself includes only a general statement of principal and commitment to increase the hiring of low-income local residents to perform this construction. Unions and contractors are required to show they have made a good faith effort to hire locally. However, the PUC has created a detailed apprenticeship and local hiring plan for each construction project initiated under the terms of the PLA. The program as a whole is called the WSIP Local Area Apprenticeship and Employment Opportunities Program.

Contractors submit quarterly data on compliance with the program, and PUC staff compile data and provide updates to contractors and union leaders. The most recent quarterly report covers the fourth quarter 2008 – 09, and shows that 133 San Francisco residents worked on the project, including 16 apprentices and ten journeymen from the targeted employment category. Targeted residents worked just over 14% of all project hours in this quarter.

Read the CWA. [16MB]

Read a summary of the CWA.

Learn more about the Local Area Apprenticeship and Employment Opportunities Program.

Read the 2008-2009 first quarter report.

Read the 2008-2009 second quarter report.

Read the 2008-2009 third quarter report.

Read the 2008-2009 fourth quarter report.

Go to the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission website.


New York City Memorandum of Understanding

In November 2009, the City of New York signed a series of project labor agreements that established the parameters of construction on $6 billion in public projects expected to create over 30,000 construction jobs over four years. The projects covered by these agreements include:

  • Renovation and rehabilitation of city-owned buildings;
  • Eleven large-scale new construction projects, including the Police Academy and a branch library, among others;
  • Funding for renovation and rehabilitation of New York Public Schools, overseen by the New York City School Construction Authority;
  • Renovation and rehabilitation of water systems facilities controlled by the New York City Department of Environmental Protection.

These project labor agreements do not meet the strict definition of a community workforce agreement, because the agreements themselves do not include targeted hiring requirements. But they are relevant because the Building and Construction Trades Council negotiated and signed a separate but related Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the City which lays out the terms of a well-designed and fully detailed initiative to increase access to construction careers opportunities for low-income city residents.

The MOU establishes a direct-entry system, which means that affiliated trades agree to reserve a percentage of their available apprenticeship slots for qualified candidates who also fit into a targeted hiring category. The MOU operates on the theory that these PLAs will create new apprenticeship slots, and a percentage of those slots should be filled by NY residents, especially job-seekers from low-income communities, veterans and communities of color.

The MOU specifically includes the following:

  • A broad goal that 45% of new apprentice slots be filled by New York City residents including public high school graduates, veterans, women, housing authority and Section 8 residents, and adults in need of economic opportunity;
  • A commitment that affiliated unions will reserve apprenticeship slots for direct entry of these groups, meaning that qualified apprenticeship candidates who are also a member of one of these named groups have an easier time getting into an apprenticeship program;
  • A requirement that the city’s joint labor management organization produce an annual report showing progress made toward this goal; and
  • Creation of a Construction Committee with representation from the building trades, community, and various city agencies designated to provide a forum for assessing progress and developing solutions to obstacles that may arise.

See the Project Labor Agreements

Read the Memorandum of Understanding

The Building and Construction Trades Council of Greater New York maintains a pre-apprenticeship program that prepares public high school students and housing authority residents for building trades apprenticeships.

Learn more about the Edward J. Malloy Construction Skills Initiative.

These PLAs build on and enhance the city’s overall commitment to using high-road contractors for publicly-funded work. A 2006 mayoral directive requires contractors that work on large publicly-funded projects to have a state-approved apprenticeship program in place.