This week, UCSF Mission Bay held groundbreaking ceremonies for its new children's, women's, and cancer hospitals -- a $1.5 billion complex being built on the edge of a neighborhood with the highest unemployment in San Francisco.
Proponents of local hiring policies say the hospital development could provide huge benefits for the residents of Bayview-Hunters Point. They want the hospital's contractors to give priority to construction workers from the neighborhood.
While UCSF reps say they won't be ready to announce their local hiring goals until December,
there have been growing complaints from
community job placement agencies that UCSF's local hiring will only amount to "window dressing."
Several local groups, including the Aboriginal Blackmen United
, Anders and Anders
, Positive Directions
, the A. Philip Randolph Institute
, and the Brightline Defense Project
, mounted protests outside the VIP ceremony on Tuesday, as well as at yesterday's community groundbreaking.
the summer, UCSF had tried to play nice with the city's community job
placement agencies, which serve as brokers between construction
projects and their own out-of-work constituents. But on Tuesday, these
groups informed UCSF by e-mail that they were pulling out of the
collaborative that UCSF had formed this summer, citing concern
over the lack of a concrete community hiring plan.
Bagot-Lopez, UCSF's director of community relations, said UCSF is still
meeting with contractors, and that the formal groundbreaking ceremonies
should not be confused with the beginnings of the real work on the
UCSF has a stated, voluntary commitment to local
hiring that goes back to 1993, but it's unclear how substantive that
commitment will be in practice. Over the past 17 years, an average of
12 percent of construction workers on UCSF projects have been hired
through its Community Construction Workforce Program (UCCWP). In
comparison, San Francisco city and county projects averaged 20 percent participation
by local workers over the past year.
Hampton, Jr., a candidate for District 10 supervisor and a longtime
partner of UCSF on hiring issues, was selected as the point person for
UCSF's local jobs outreach this summer. He told the SF Weekly
today that his goal is for UCSF to commit to 50 percent local hiring
for an expected 6,000 jobs. That commitment should include hiring 1,500
neighborhood workers from Bayview, 500 new apprentices, and working
through local unions to hire 1,000 additional local workers from across
San Francisco, Hampton said.
Supervisor John Avalos has been
pushing for a mandatory local hire quota for city projects -- a quota Avalos intitially set at 50 percent, but that he has since agreed to lower to below 30 percent
, after conversations with union members. A city-funded labor market analysis
released last week concluded that, given "high unemployment rates and
underemployment among incumbent workers" there is a supply of
construction workers to satisfy a mandatory quota of "20 to 25 percent"
construction project is not currently funded by state or city money,
their local hiring compliance is voluntary.
protesters outside the VIP groundbreaking on Tuesday received an
unexpected boost from VIP attendee MC Hammer (he was available), who was at the ceremony
to support his friends Marc and Lynne Benioff -- who donated $100 million to the children's hospital. Hammer drove his
orange sports car past the picket line, then re-emerged to talk to the
protesters and promise to make their concerns heard.