Photo caption: (From left to right): Violet Lavatai, Maria Batayola, Marquise Robinson and Sili Savusa at the campaign launch on March 23rd. Photo credit: Inye Wokoma.

More than 130 community members gathered in support of a targeted local hire ordinance in Seattle, a campaign the Construction Jobs Equity Coalition (CJEC) launched on Saturday, March 23rd.

At the kick-off event, half a dozen unemployed residents and construction workers testified in support of a local hire policy in Seattle.

Michael Woo, director of Got Green, a Seattle-area group advocating for an equitable, green economy, made a call to action to make this policy a reality the way it is in San Francisco, Calif. and Cleveland, Ohio.

“And I’m telling you that the most effective policies start out because of the community: you. Because the community initiated this conversation,” Woo told advocates at the event. “And in San Francisco, after their first year [implementing their local hire policy], the number of local residents that worked on public projects went up by 70 percent.“

CJEC formed last year when Got Green banded together with more than 15 other agencies and organizations serving communities of color and Southeast Seattle neighborhoods.

Preliminary estimates project that thousands of new construction and construction-related jobs will be available in Seattle with the development of a new basketball stadium, seawall, public housing and new transit.

Advocates have noted this as an opportunity to significantly increase employment in neighborhoods that have been hit hardest by the recession.

The ordinance has garnered public support from Seattle City Council members Nick Licata, Mike O’Brien and Sally Clark.

The campaign launch brought 130 community members to South Seattle. Photo credit: Inye Wokoma.
The campaign launch brought 130 community members to South Seattle. Photo credit: Inye Wokoma.
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