WATCH: Mayor Woodfin among 160 officials calling on Biden to overturn ban on ‘local hire’ policy

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Mayor randall woodfin

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April 29 2021 07:00 pm

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — In a letter to President Joe Biden, over 160 local officials, organizations, and academics are calling on the administration to overturn the ban on local hire, create local jobs and fix the economy.

Among the 160 officials, Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin is also requesting these demands.

The coalition’s demand come as a groundbreaking report on USDOT Local Labor Hiring Pilot Program reveals that local hire increases opportunities for marginalized workers and provides more pathways for residents to be part of infrastructure projects in their communities.

Tuesday, officials within the group, including Woodfin, are holding a virtual press conference unveiling a report and letter to the Biden Administration. It is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. CT.

Other officials taking part in the virtual press conference include:

  • CMayor Eric Garcetti (Los Angeles)
  • Mayor Ben Walsh (Syracuse, New York)
  • Dorval R. Carter, president of the Chicago Transit Authority
  • Phillip A. Washington, CEO of the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Authority
  • Deka Dancil, president of the Urban Jobs Task Force
  • Madeline Janis, executive director of Jobs to Move America
  • Christy Veeder, national program director of Jobs to Move America

In a letter to the Biden administration, the coalition wrote:

“As leaders representing communities all across America, we write today to call your attention to a form of job creation that can help cities and states rebuild with racial and economic equity, but that for decades has been prohibited by a federal regulation: local hire. Since 1986, the federal regulation in 2 CFR part 200.319(c) has prevented recipients of federal grant money from including provisions that require or incentivize contractors to hire a portion of workers from communities around a given infrastructure project. At the time, the rationale for prohibiting local hire incentives was that such provisions could reduce the number of bidders on projects, resulting in an inefficient use of taxpayer dollars. However, and significantly, no empirical evidence was ever cited to back up this assertion and Congress itself has never prohibited local hire.”

Along with its letter, the coalition is highlighting new, groundbreaking research of the Local Hire Pilot, launched during the Obama-Biden administration, showing that, from an empirical standpoint, these results indicate that local hire can be used on infrastructure projects without resulting in lower levels of competition or increased bid prices. The report also reveals extensive societal and economic benefits of local hire in creating jobs for local residents, especially for marginalized workers.

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