by Mike Hall, May 27, 201
It’s going to be a bit crowded and quite green in the winners’ circle created by a new Project Labor Agreement (PLA) in Boston to retro-fit more than 4,000 older area apartments.
Not only will it put hundreds of area construction workers on the job, residents, many of them lower-income families will see lower utility bills, young people will have new job training opportunities and the energy savings will lighten the apartments’ carbon footprint.
The “greening” of the 4,300 units will include installing energy efficient lighting, converting electric heat to gas, upgrading or replacing old central heating plants, installing co-generation and a rooftop photovoltaic electric system, Energy Star rated fiberglass windows, high reflective “cool” roof membrane, replacing water closets, showerheads and faucet aerators and healthy apartment improvements.
The $63 million PLA is between the Boston Housing Authority (BHA), the Boston Building and Construction Trades Council (BBCTC) and the construction firm, Ameresco.
At this week’s groundbreaking ceremony, Boston Mayor Thomas Menino pointed to the job and job training segments of the PLA.
In this economy we need agreements like this to keep construction going, get people trained and working, I’m proud to be able to create good paying union jobs for Boston residents.
Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Shaun Donovan said
Boston’s Project Labor Agreement will create hundreds of jobs for local union workers, public housing residents and small and minority owned businesses, which is exactly why the Obama Administration is actively supporting these agreements across the country as a key step to winning the future.
The agreement also creates a pre-apprenticeship program that will be open to BHA public housing and Section 8 residents, YouthBuild eligible participants, and very low-income Boston residents. Graduates who successfully complete the pre-apprenticeship training will be given direct entry slots into apprenticeship opportunities through the Building and Construction Trades Council.
PLAs are pre-hire agreements between labor and management. The agreements require all construction jobs to be filled by local workers, include diversity requirements, establishes wages and work rules covering overtime, working hours and dispute resolution and ensures that safety guidelines on the job site are enforced. They protect taxpayers by eliminating costly delays due to labor conflicts or shortages of skilled workers
In a related development, earlier this month the AFL-CIO Housing Investment Trust (HIT) announced it will invest $58.2 million of union pension capital in construction of new affordable apartments in the Charlesview area of Boston. The project will build 240 units of affordable rental units, while creating approximately 860 union construction jobs.
AFL-CIO and President Emeritus and HIT Chairman John Sweeney said:
The HIT is proud to be part of the Charlesview development team that is working to maintain good, affordable housing in Boston.
The project is 100 percent union labor and says BBCTC Secretary-Treasurer Martin J. Welsh
With construction unemployment still unacceptably high here in Boston, these family-supporting jobs will mean a lot to our members, This is a major project that will keep hundreds of union members working as it meets the need for affordable housing for local residents.