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Sunday, January 30, 2011

Local hiring numbers lead to dispute at hospital project

From the SF Examiner,
How many San Franciscans are hired for a project at the University of California San Francisco’s new hospital project in Mission Bay will continue to spur protests, despite the hospital making it clear that they hope to hire at least 20 percent local residents.

The Aboriginal Blackmen United have been picketing the hospital construction site for several days because they say UCSF is not hiring enough workers from the neighboring Bayview-Hunters Point district, where unemployment far outpaces much of the rest of The City.

University staff put out a press release Friday reiterating their goal to hire 20 percent local employees, a goal they set in December. UCSF spokeswoman Amy Pile said that last month, the average exceded that goal, with 22 percent of the workers on the project coming from The City.

The goal falls short of the requirements set forth by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors for city-funded projects last month, which will go into effect later this year.

The legislation will not set a goal, but instead set a mandate, that city-funded projects hire 20 percent local workers, with that requirement increasing by 5 percent each year until it reaches 50 percent. The legislation does not affect UCSF project because it is not a city-funded project.

James Richards, leader of the ABU, said the protesters are not satisfied with the goal.

“I don’t think it’s sufficient at all,” he said. “I think we need 50 percent [local hires].”

He said that protests will continue.

“We’re going to take this to a higher level,” he said. “If we have to go to jail, if we have to stop the work – whatever we have to do to be heard. If we don’t work, nobody works.”

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