It is all too common to see that when the economy improves, those who benefit most from the recovery are those at the very highest income levels, many of whom were insulated from recession in the first place.
In fact, in the years after the Great Recession real wages fell for everyone but the wealthiest 10 percent of Americans. During that same time, the number of billionaires worldwide doubled.
A reversal of this trend, ensuring that a greater share of wealth returns to workers and working families, will require wholesale reform, but there are immediate, simple measures that can be taken to make a difference now.
One of those is the project labor agreement, bargained collectively between a given project’s owner/manager/contractor and the workers who will build it, establishing basic terms. This makes a difference because economic recovery manifests itself in public investment – building things, infrastructure and public facilities, in particular.
Requiring negotiated labor agreements ensures everyone’s boat rises, that benefits accrue to all, to working families as well as to millionaires.
Project labor agreements can also be extremely effective at promoting other goals, including workforce development, and employment and opportunity for underrepresented communities.
The City Council of Stockton recently affirmed the value of project labor agreements by voting to require them on all new public construction, action I was confident the council would take.
I stand behind the use of project labor agreements, and the important social and economic goods they provide.