The passage of Measure M in November of last year means that LA County Metro will soon be in charge of the largest public works program in the country. This will mean more than 450,000 new construction-related jobs in the County. It is vital to ensure an equitable distribution of the benefits that these new jobs will bring to the region.

Within California, the average percentage of workers who are women on federally funded construction jobs is 2.1% and within LA County Metro it is 3.35%. This is in contrast to a 6.9% national female utilization goal established by Executive Order by President Jimmy Carter in 1978. Women who do manage to get work in construction tend to face a less dramatic pay disparity compared to their male coworkers than women in other sectors do. In fact, women, in general, make about 80% as much as their male peers, while on union construction jobs they earn 93% of what men make.

In order to ensure that contractors who meet and exceed the national female utilization goal of 6.9% for federally funded construction projects are recognized, the Metro Board voted to create a report card system for those contractors who enter into project labor agreements with LA Metro. The system would recognize contractors that meet and exceed the utilization goal by requiring the Chief Executive Officer to include female utilization attainment rates in quarterly project labor agreement reports to the Metro Board as well as on the Metro website.

The Metro Board will also encourage female hiring by amending the Employment Hiring Plan to require contractors to demonstrate how they create and promote a diverse and inclusive work environment on the job. This will include reporting if they provide child care, restrooms, and sexual harassment prevention strategies. It will also encourage contractors to coordinate with LA Public Social Services to stay up to date on resources available to women working on these contracts.

Supervisor Kuehl, the lead on this motion, said, “We want to make it clear to all the contractors who work with Metro that increasing female utilization is a Board priority and that we are willing to sit down face to face with them to help them meet this goal. As a lifelong champion of women’s issues, I am particularly pleased to be investing in female achievement in the construction trades.”