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Oakland City Council Votes to Redevelop Army Base, Creating Local Jobs

Jazy Bonilla IUPAT DC 16 on the Executive Committee of the Alameda Labor Council

Thousands of quality construction and warehouse/operations jobs are coming to Oakland’s hardest-hit communities, thanks to a recent Oakland City Council decision to redevelop an army base that closed decades ago.

Josie Camacho, executive secretary-treasurer of the Alameda Labor Council, which helped lead a labor-community campaign for jobs, said:

The redevelopment of the Oakland Army Base is a surefire way to kick-start job creation in the construction sector, while also creating a wealth of new jobs to maintain operations on the base. And the vital labor standards that are guaranteed by last night’s vote will benefit all Oakland residents and communities.

The 366-acre base will be developed into a shipping, packaging and distribution facility set to break ground in December of 2013. 

The plan contains several key labor standards to ensure the project promotes sustained economic growth and quality local employment opportunities. At least 50 percent of those employed on the project will be Oakland residents, with special attention given to West Oakland residents, and all workers on the project are guaranteed a living wage.The redevelopment project will operate under a Project Labor Agreement, which ensures fair wages and that the work can be completed on time, on budget and by skilled workers. Additionally, the plan includes the development of a West Oakland jobs center to provide residents with the training and skills needed for the new jobs at the base.

Camacho said this is a huge victory for a labor-community partnership committed to creating new jobs in Oakland. Plans to develop the army base were being discussed for decades. Earlier this year, Oakland City Council Member Jane Brunner facilitated meetings between labor and community organizations before official negotiations. Local unions included the Machinists (IAM) Local 1546, UNITEHERE! Local 2850 and the Teamsters (IBT) Joint Council 70. Camacho and Andreas Cluver, secretary-treasurer of the Alameda County Building and Construction Trades Council, participated in the negotiations.

Camacho said:

This victory is the result of years of hard work and dedication from a broad coalition of Oakland residents, labor, faith and community groups working together. We look forward to working with our partners, the mayor and the council to break ground on the redevelopment of the base as soon as possible. And moving forward, we’re looking to the Port of Oakland to adopt these same policies.

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