San Jose

Labor Council, City of San Jose Clash Over Construction Jobs, Wages

Letter sent to city leaders expressing displeasure with developer fee cuts; ballot measure threatened

A public fight and maybe a legal battle is brewing between South Bay Labor groups, the City of San Jose and local housing developers.

The Santa Clara and San Benito Counties Building and Construction Trades Council and the South Bay Labor Council are upset about proposed fee cuts for developers that doesn't ensure hours or jobs for local workers.

On Wednesday, NBC Bay Area obtained a letter sent to city leaders that not only expressed the labor group's displeasure but threatened a retaliatory ballot measure.

The attached letter references Measure JJJ in Los Angeles over a similar dispute which passed with 64 percent of the vote in November.

The labor groups are demanding, among many things, contractors pay prevailing wages, ensure at least 35 percent of its workforce construction hours be performed by San Jose or Santa Clara County workers.

The letter is in reaction to a proposal providing or extending incentives to primarily downtown developers including fee cuts.

San Jose Mayor Sam Liccardo responded to NBC Bay Area with this statement:

We're studying the issues raised by the advocates for local hire, apprenticeships, and related issues through a formal task force with labor and business representatives. A local hire and apprenticeship program is already incorporated in the high-rise fee reduction proposal that Council will consider Tuesday. The fee reductions on high-rise construction would merely comprise an extension of an prior program that has been critical to enable the city to get shovels in the ground.

The incentives are scheduled to be discussed at the December 13 city council meeting.

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