PALMDALE — The City Council on Tuesday ap­proved changes to the city’s ordinances to better align them with the community workforce agreement put in place in October.

The community work­force agreement between the city and Los Angeles and Orange counties Build­ing and Construction Trades Council and the Sig­na­tory Craft Councils and Unions allows for on­go­ing union training of local residents in the var­i­ous crafts and trades and an emphasis on local hir­ing.

Before any workers are hired on a project, con­struc­tion unions have bar­gaining rights to determine the wage rates and benefits of all em­ployees working on the projects and to agree on provisions of the agree­ment.

The Trades Council con­sists of approximately 27 local unions including, but not limited to, masons, elec­tric­ians, iron workers, la­bor­ers, roofers and car­penters.

The provisions of the agree­ment meet the some of the same goals as the Local Preference program es­tab­lished by the city in 2010, specifically where that program was found de­fic­ient in ensuring local hiring for construction proj­ects, according to the staff report.

It does not apply to the pro­gram’s provisions for goods and services.

The Local Preference pro­gram has not been very successful in at­tract­ing local bidders for pub­lic works projects, Coun­cil­man Richard Loa said.

“I think it’s a fantastic thing that’s being proposed and I think it’s been ef­fect­ive around Southern Cal­if­ornia,” he said.

To that end, the Council approved an addition to the ordinance that exempts ap­plicable contractor and sub­contractor agreements from the Local Preference rules.

The change provides a bet­ter-defined process for which contractors can ob­tain local labor through the community workforce agree­ment, Assistant City At­torney Noel Doran said.

“It’s a different way of defining local preference,” he said.

Mayor Steve Hofbauer said the changes make for a much more robust Local Pref­erence program.

In a separate vote, the Coun­cil also repealed the Palm­dale Economic Op­por­tunities Program, which was created in 2007 to en­cour­age contractors on city pub­lic works projects to hire local residents, with a goal of 50% local hiring. However, there has been no appreciable increase in local labor on the applicable projects, according to the staff report.

It has, however, reduced the number of bids for projects, Doran said.

The program also con­flicts with the community work­force agreement pro­vis­ions, he said.

“I’m still very concerned about using local labor,” Coun­cil­woman Laura Bet­ten­court said. “I want our people working from our cities.”

She cautioned about re­mov­ing requirements for local hiring, but was as­sured the community work­force agreement has local hiring goals, as well, and it provides a way for con­tractors to acquire local labor.

Hofbauer also noted there are more training pro­grams to provide a trained and qualified work­force locally than there were in 2007 when the Palmdale Economic Op­por­tu­nities Program was created.

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