Sonoma's Living Wage Coalition is Leading the Way Towards Standards and Accountability

December 18, 2009 -- Partnership for Working Families

by Ben Boyce, New Economy Working Solutions

NEWS’ community project, the Living Wage Coalition (LWC), is moving forward on several fronts. We are now well into the negotiations with the developers of the Railroad Square project, a mixed-use, transit-oriented development that will serve as the main hub of the newly approved SMART (Sonoma Marin Rapid Transit) passenger train line. We are negotiating for living wage standards for the tenants and contractors at the site and for a labor peace agreement. Our coalition partners are negotiating for affordable housing, green building standards, and a project labor agreement. We had previously succeeded in establishing the requirement to include a community benefits agreement in the project’s RFP (request for proposals), so we are negotiating with a strong legal hand to play.

The LWC is also serving as technical advisor and consultant for the Community First coalition in Healdsburg, which is moving forward to pass a Community Impact Report (CIR) requirement. On September 21, the Healdsburg City Council approved adding discussion of the CIR to its agenda, and we will have the first council hearing on the proposed CIR on November 2. We are also moving ahead with a citizens’ coalition in Sebastopol, which is committed to passing a CIR early next year.