LA County supervisors agree to hire local workers for MLK Hospital construction

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AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center, MLK-MACC is seen in Los Angeles. File photo.

People who live near Martin Luther King Jr. Hospital in South Los Angeles will get construction jobs as building starts on the new facility. The L.A. County Board of Supervisors agreed on a mandatory hiring policy for local workers Tuesday.

Three charter buses parked outside the supervisors meeting and dozens of Latinos and African-Americans filled the auditorium. Trade union representatives, religious and neighborhood leaders took turns asking the board to set aside jobs for people who’ll live near the hospital.

Watts community organizer John Hernandez encouraged the supervisors to also hire difficult-to-employ mothers and fathers with felony criminal records. “Most of our individuals are qualified and have the skills, but yet we’re still not able to be hired for these jobs and positions. So, how can this local job ordinance address that issue?”

Supervisors agreed that local people should work at least 30 percent of the project's construction labor hours, including 10 percent by disadvantaged workers who could include convicted felons.

“It’s a good progressive step forward,” said Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas. Ridley-Thomas also proposed a Project Labor Agreement. He said that would speed up the project and boost local hiring. The board voted to revisit that issue in two weeks with a benefits and costs plan in hand.

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