GJLN Demanding MORE from Redevelopment Projects

November 18, 2008 -- Citizen Action of Wisconsin Educati...

Jobs Jobs Jobs!

Over the course of the summer, members of the Good Jobs & Livable Neighborhoods Coalition and our faith-based partner Milwaukee Inner-City Congregations Allied for Hope (MICAH) attended every meeting of the City of Milwaukee Common Council wearing red shirts with the slogan “Jobs Jobs Jobs.” At each meeting, more than 50 community residents were mobilized to support the passage of quality job standards in the proposed MORE ordinance.

Milwaukee is facing an economic and job crisis that rivals any city in the country. At a time where about 24% of the Milwaukee’s population lives in poverty, nearly doubling the national average, we need real solutions to the creation of family-sustaining jobs. The MORE ordinance would build on established community benefits principles that raise hiring and wage standards for construction and end-use jobs for development projects that receive over $1 million in public financial assistance from the City of Milwaukee.

To build support for the passage of the ordinance, GJLN and MICAH engaged in widespread community outreach to educate residents on the need to require quality job standards from development projects that receive substantial public investment.

The MORE Ordinance has the following components:

  • 30% of workers hours on covered projects must be performed by residents of disadvantaged neighborhoods in Milwaukee.
  • 25% of total construction contracts and 18% of professional service contracts on covered projects must be with Emerging Business Enterprises.
  • Hire apprentices in accordance with the maximum ratio of apprentices to journeymen established by state Department of Workforce Development.
  • Pay construction employees the prevailing wage rate.
  • Ensure that at least 75% of persons employed on the development site after construction is completed receive a living wage of not less than $8.46 per hour. The living wage shall be annually adjusted for inflation.
  • The ordinance provides a bidding advantage to Milwaukee-based businesses.

On September 9th, nearly 200 people were present at a press conference announcing the pending introduction of the MORE ordinance and to celebrate the leadership of four aldermanic co-sponsoring the legislation.

Attendees at the press conference were treated to some very inspiring remarks about how to shape the future of Milwaukee and were challenged by the four aldermen present to get active in support of the MORE ordinance. "Don't just hand clap, take the necessary action" were the words of Alderman Willie Wade.

Alderwoman Milele Coggs, Milwaukee’s only female Common Council member, shared with the crowd the thought she had while taking a tour of new development sites in her district. "It's not just seeing a building go up on some land,” says Alderwoman Coggs, “it's the jobs that matter." “The impact of family supporting jobs is immeasurable. It is critically important to me who makes the money and who keeps the money from all of the development that will take place.”

Once the draft and legal review of the MORE ordinance is completed in November, the legislation will be introduced to the full Council. In the meantime, GJLN is continuing to attract new members to this exciting campaign, providing leadership development opportunities to emerging leaders, preparing residents to testify before the Common Council, and engaging undecided Common Council members on the importance of the proposed MORE ordinance to the working families of Milwaukee.

At a time when the value of community organizing has been publicly called into question, GJLN can say without a doubt that our work is connecting inner city Milwaukee residents to public policy advocacy and unprecedented levels of civic engagement. Through community organizing efforts of the MORE campaign, working families of Milwaukee are receiving the education, information, and encouragement they need to demand solutions that meet their needs and build a local economy where shared prosperity is possible.

The winds of change are in the air...and they are blowing throughout Milwaukee. We’re on the move for MORE!

For more information on the MORE ordinance campaign, contact Pam Fendt at 414-443-2090.

To view TV coverage of the September 9th press conference, click here