Over the past decade, municipal labour agreements have become one of the best ways to set strong employment quality standards for publicly funded or subsidized construction projects and to outline a plan for recruiting and hiring low-income workers for these projects. A communal employment agreement consists of a project employment contract that contains a targeted hiring provision aimed at placing low-income workers in a career in construction. The Working Families Partnership worked with the AFL-CIO Construction Department to develop a guide for CWA. This guide contains basic information on ASAs, including a discussion of common elements, an overview of good practices and examples from across the country. Community workforce agreements (CWA) are powerful and effective instruments for a number of reasons. The negotiation of a CWA brings together the construction unions and the works council with the user/owner of the project, the general contractor and the communal organizations to develop together the conditions of the project. These agreements define the conditions under which construction unions undertake not to strike or to strike. Local governments have seen these agreements as an added value for projects in which public investment needs to be guaranteed. They help to avoid delays, ensure safety at work and ensure quality construction products that all help protect taxpayers` investments when public money finances part or all of the project.
Local governments in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Oakland, Cleveland and New York have been pioneers in negotiating and implementing SAAs. Their experience shows clear lessons for other cities and shows that CEA construction projects can improve construction projects for governments, workers, contractors and municipalities.