Labor Resource Director Co-Convener of Community Group Designed to Increase Diversity in Construction
The work underway on the University of Massachusetts Boston’s Integrated Sciences Complex has been cited in a new manual aimed at ensuring construction owners, managers, contractors, and building trade unions have a diverse workforce.
Susan Moir, director of UMass Boston’s Labor Resource Center, is one of the co-conveners of the Policy Group on Tradeswomen’s Issues (PGTI), whose manual, Finishing the Job: Best Practices for a Diverse Workforce in the Construction Industry, was published this week. The manual is a companion piece to a 2011 report, Unfinished Business: Building Equality for Women in the Construction Trades, coauthored by Moir and Christa Kelleher, interim director of UMass Boston’s Center for Women in Politics and Public Policy.
“Giving high-paid career opportunities to women and people of color who are our neighbors is the right thing to do,” Moir said.
The new manual provides checklists of best practices especially designed for five groups: owners and developers, construction managers and general contractors, subcontractors, building trades unions, and community-based organizations. PGTI says all groups need to set workforce targets and make them known in bid packages and in a written workforce participation plan, establish the partnerships needed to achieve a diverse workforce, and continually monitor progress.
PGTI says many of the practices have been tested during the work on the Integrated Sciences Complex through the project labor agreement (PLA) signed by the two groups overseeing the construction of new facilities on the UMass Boston campus, the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) and the UMass Building Authority, in 2010.
DCAMM set access and opportunity goals for the number of minorities and women involved in the project based on the Boston Resident Jobs Policy (BRJP). As of March 13, DCAMM had met its goal for the percentage of work hours completed by women (10 percent), and exceeded its goal for a percentage of work hours completed by minorities. (The goal was 25 percent; that figure is currently at 29 percent.) The goals and monthly status reports are posted online.
“Working with the Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance’s Access and Opportunity Committee, PGTI has been instrumental in making UMass Boston’s Integrated Sciences Complex the most diverse public construction project in Massachusetts history,” Moir said.
PGTI is made up of community stakeholders who want to increase the number of minorities and Boston residents on construction projects. The other co-conveners of PGTI are Liz Skidmore, New England Regional Council of Carpenters; Janet Jones, Dorchester Roxbury Labor Committee; and Brian Doherty, Boston Building Trades Council’s Building Pathways Pre-Apprenticeship Program.
About UMass Boston
With a growing reputation for innovative research addressing complex issues, the University of Massachusetts Boston, metropolitan Boston’s only public university, offers its diverse student population both an intimate learning environment and the rich experience of a great American city. UMass Boston’s nine colleges and graduate schools serve nearly 16,000 students while engaging local, national, and international constituents through academic programs, research centers, and public service activities. To learn more about UMass Boston, visit www.umb.edu.