Municipal Government

Can JMA Move Transit Jobs in New York?

April 19, 2016
By Silver Krieger 

Malika Conner and Marvin Holland

New York, NY – Jobs to Move America wants to see the MTA adopt a new point system for evaluating “procurements” – like a new fleet of buses or rail cars – that puts local community members, women, the formerly incarcerated, and veterans into the jobs mix.

TWU Local 100 Political and Legislative Director Marvin Holland, speaking with JMA’s local organizer Malika Conner recently in Manhattan, signaled that his union – which represents over 40,000 transit workers – wants to see the MTA adopt this program.

Ms. Conner noted that JMA has already had success in the other two largest transit systems in the country. In Chicago community/labor coalition got an agreement to create jobs as part of a $1.3 billion contract which the CTA awarded to train manufacturer CSR Sifang America. That means a new facility on the South Side of Chicago that will create 170 new manufacturing jobs.

In Los Angeles, a $900 million contract that LA Metro awarded to Kinkisharyo in 2012 created 235 union manufacturing jobs for
Angelenos.

In New York, Jobs to Move America has had contact with the office of MTA CEO Tom Prendergast and his staff, and expects to see movement there in the near future. Says Conner: “We are working with Chairman Prendergast and his legal and policy teams to include the U.S. Employment Plan on the MTA's $3.2 billion RFP for the R211 railcars.”

Malika Conner

The tool that JMA uses to get companies to hire community members in within their procurement contracts is called the U.S. Employment Plan. It creates a point system where companies get credit if they add community members, women, people of color, and the formerly incarcerated to their workforce – and the plan mandates that these are high quality, family supporting jobs.

The US Employment plan specifically describes the partnership between labor, manufacturers and JMA. The U.S. Employment Plan requires companies to disclose the number of jobs proposed on a contract, location of the jobs, occupational breakdown, as well as
proposed wages and benefits. While the U.S. Employment Plan doesn't require that the jobs proposed be union, companies are scored based on partnerships with community organizations, workforce development groups, and unions.

Holland said that TWU Local 100 “is very intrigued by what JMA has accomplished around the country. We are supportive of them doing the same thing in New York around the MTA’s projected purchases of new rail cars called the R211 series. He added, “As a progressive state, New York should put the U.S. Employment Plan in the MTA’s RFP.”

Holland said that JMA “has shown how to impact RFP’s in creative ways,” and that the TWU wants to have a similar impact when it comes to language mandating non-polluting clean energy in areas where pollution creates a problem for workers, such as diesel work trains.

He added that he credits TWU International President Harry Lombardo with having the vision to look to build coalitions with communities and organizations like JMA that result in “win-win-wins” for workers, riders, and community members.

April 18, 2016

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