Good Jobs & Public Benefits
Good Jobs have been a priority for the Spokane Alliance since our founding. Currently, the Jobs Team is focused on ensuring that all Public Works projects in the Spokane region create benefits for the whole community. We believe that the community is strengthened when more workers have health insurance and retirement benefits.
In 2014, we developed and passed Quality Job Ordinances in Spokane. These policies require the city to hire a 15% rate of apprentices on all projects $350K or higher, give preference for local contractors and purchasing and require all hired contractors to have “responsible” hiring practices. We have been working with the city to make sure they are enforcing the law and that contractors are complying. We developed a Community Benefits Agreement which names the values we want public agencies to use as a guide for how they spend our tax dollars to create a larger public benefit.
We did it! Spokane City Strengthens Quality Jobs
In December 2021 Spokane City Council passed an update to the 2014 Apprenticeship Utilization Ordinance. This is a victory our Jobs Team has been working towards since 2019. This update will ensure that the ordinance works the way it was intended and that we are creating as many opportunities for apprentices as possible. The Apprenticeship Utilization Ordinance sets standards for all public works projects over $350,000. It requires that 15% of the workers employed are apprentices and incentivizes the sourcing of local materials. It will also now:
- require that the apprenticeship hours are completed in each craft not just by one craft, and
- increase the fines for contractors who have repeated violations.
The update passed 6-1. Take a second to say thank you to our allies in the City Council. You can send an email to: [email protected]. A sample email to use can be found at the bottom of this newsletter.
Currently, the Jobs Team is focused on ensuring that all Public Works projects in the Spokane region create benefits for the whole community. We believe that the community is strengthened when more workers have health insurance and retirement benefits.
The Jobs Team is negotiating with a number of public agencies in Spokane to agree to a set of shared values that supports construction workers and their families. The Team is asking these agencies use this set of values when they bid jobs and select contractors. The proposed contract language would encourage general contractors to:
- use more apprentices to provide job training opportunities,
- guarantee a minimum set of worker benefits to all workers including full family health care and retirement plans, and
- give preference for hiring women, veterans, and people of color.
Visit our calendar to find the next meeting time of the Jobs Team.