Local Hire Law to Include San Mateo County Workers

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Avalos created a "win-win" deal. But will he ... win?
Remember when Assemblyman Jerry Hill tried to kill San Francisco's prized local hire law with his own legislation earlier this year? Nobody could understand his motivation, apparently not even Hill himself. Ever since he labeled his bill "inactive," we've heard not much more than radio silence from him.

And now we kinda understand why. His home county of San Mateo was peacefully working with San Francisco Supervisor John Avalos over the last few weeks to form a tentative deal that deserves to be labeled with the stock phrase "win-win."

According to Avalos, who is running for mayor, contractors working on any city-funded projects that happen to be located in San Mateo County -- such as the airport -- would have to hire an equal number of San Mateo County and S.F. residents.

"Whatever we can do to support job creation in the Bay Area region during this very long recession is going to be meaningful to the families that are struggling to stay in this area," Avalos said in a statement.

Avalos was successful in pushing through his controversial local hire law in San Francisco, which essentially says firms working on any city-funded projects must draw 20 percent of their workforce from within the city limits. That minimum would gradually increase to 50 percent by 2016.

But San Mateo County understandably didn't like the fact that some of San Francisco's major projects were located on the Peninsula, namely the San Francisco Airport and the San Bruno Jail, which is scheduled for demolition. San Francisco has some $27 million in contracts over the next 10 years.  

Hill tried to put the kibosh on San Francisco's labor law with his own Assembly Bill earlier this year, which would strip state funding from local hire projects. He also tried to stop San Francisco from applying its new law to any project located within 70 miles from the city.

All that did was bring local laborers from all over the state to protest Hill's legislation. He eventually rolled back his bill, and then tossed it into the "inactive file," says Joshua Arce, executive director of San Francisco's Brightline Defense Project, a nonprofit advocacy group.

"Jerry Hill is running for higher office, he wants headlines, so he jumped on the chance to throw grenades," Arce tells SF Weekly. "Now he's just crawled back into a hole."

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Why should state tax payers be forced to fund projects that discriminates against them?  Local hire agreements are a feel-good farce.  Because prevailing wage (required on all government funded jobs) requires travel pay for workers from out of the area, local workers are always going to have an advantage.  If a builder can use out-of-town workers and still be the low bidder, it is ONLY because the local builder (with the no-travel-advantage) is lining their pockets with taxpayer money.

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