VIDEO: South Bay construction workers demand higher wages, local hiring


SAN JOSE (KRON) — South Bay construction workers are demanding that developers hire locally and pay fair market wages.

Construction is booming in downtown San Jose. There are several new high rises going up, and while that means more badly needed housing and property taxes, one group is feeling left out of the boom–local construction workers.

Plumbers and pipe fitters from Local Trade Union 393 picketed Wednesday at the construction site of the silvery towers luxury condominium high-rise project going up in downtown San Jose.

They’re upset that the developer of this and other such projects are not hiring local workers, and they’re not paying the prevailing wage.

“It’s bad not just for our workers like the ones here, it’s also bad for the local economy because those workers who are working these jobs are taking their paychecks, going back to Texas or some other place, and they’re spending them there, and we think that’s got to stop,” South Bay Labor Council Executive Officer Ben Field said.

Union labor says “the last straw” was the recent approval of another residential condo project on the site of the former Greyhound bus depot. The developer has agreed to pony up $15 million in park fees and millions more for affordable housing and property taxes.

But the city cannot require the developer to use specific contractors or the payment of prevailing, union-scale wages.

“…All we’re saying is that if those developers get benefits from the public, they get taxpayer dollars to help them build, then they ought to give something back to the community and one of the things they should be giving back to the community is local jobs,” Field said.

Labor leaders say they have conducted a poll, which found considerable support for a ballot measure next year that would force developers to hire a certain percentage of local workers on big projects.



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