The State Building & Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC) has long championed the use of ‘Skilled & Trained’ labor requirements as a way of improving the lives of workers in the residential construction industry. Despite attempts to weaken this effort by a few legislators, momentum continues to build for ‘Skilled & Trained’ language being included in housing bills coming out of Sacramento. This is GREAT NEWS for residential construction workers.
‘Skilled & Trained’ labor standards, crafted by the SBCTC, require a percentage of all journeyperson-level workers to be graduates of state-approved apprenticeship programs. When implemented in other industries, these labor standards have proven to increase demand for apprenticeship opportunities in communities across California. As apprenticeship opportunities increased, more pathways to the middle class were created, wealth accumulated on Main Street instead of Wall Street, and our construction workforce became better trained, more inclusive, and even more diverse. If incorporated into residential construction, these standards could be transformative.
Over the last month, the SBCTC has cemented more allies in our fight to bring justice to the residential construction industry. In early July, the Executive Board of the California Democratic Party voted to support AB 2011 (Wicks) only if amended to include ‘Skilled & Trained’ labor standards. Taking things a bit further, this past week the California Labor Federation unanimously approved a resolution that concluded:
“Therefore, be it resolved, that the California Labor Federation (CLF) supports the efforts of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (SBCTC) to bring the proven success of ‘Skilled and Trained’ labor protections to the residential construction industry.”
On top of that, two of California’s largest cities will see ballot measures in November aimed at addressing the housing crisis in a way that incorporates ‘Skilled & Trained’ workforce protections. In Los Angeles, the ‘United to House L.A.’ initiative will create $8 billion in funding to build accessible housing with ‘Skilled & Trained’ workers if approved by voters; the effort is supported by over 150 community organizations. In San Francisco, voter approval of the ‘Affordable Housing Production Act’ will result in a similar path, streamlining permits for eligible housing projects if a ‘Skilled & Trained’ labor force is utilized. Just like the ‘United to House L.A.’ initiative, the San Francisco effort is backed by a broad list of labor unions, affordable housing advocates, developers, contractors, and business organizations.
All these signs point to one thing: the support for ‘Skilled & Trained’ in housing construction is growing while the list of those opposing such efforts is shrinking. If the trend continues, California’s long-abused residential construction workforce stands to finally see their plight improved. Until we see these systemic changes in the residential construction sector, the SBCTC will continue fighting for these workers. After all, WHEN WE FIGHT, WE WIN!