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Norton Releases New Hiring Statistics Ahead of Roundtable Hearing Tuesday

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

The Office of Congresswoman Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) today released new comprehensive statistics on the hiring of District of Columbia residents on federal construction projects underway in the city. Norton was responsible for getting the funds for the General Services Administration (GSA) projects in her role as chair, and now ranking member, of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over GSA. The figures, which Norton says show a slight overall improvement in hiring D.C. residents, will be a key part of the Congresswoman's roundtable hearing on Tuesday, August 21 at the Rayburn House Office Building Room 2167 from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., which will provide a basis for evaluating the hiring of D.C. residents and use of D.C. small businesses at the various General Services Administration (GSA) projects, as well as at the Smithsonian Museum of African American History and Culture project. Contractors, D.C. business owners, and residents will take part in Tuesday's roundtable. Federal construction contracts cannot require hiring from a particular geographic area, but the federal government encourages the aggressive local outreach that Norton has been doing, and GSA will take into account how well each company has engaged the local community when the company competes for future federal construction work.

The statistics to date, which are based on payrolls, of D.C. residents working at the largest ongoing GSA project in the District, the St. Elizabeths Department of Homeland Security headquarters project in Ward 8, show: Clark Construction, U.S. Coast Guard Headquarters building, 413 of 1986 or 21% (21% last month); Balfour Beatty Construction, security perimeter fence, 12 of the 312 or 4% (5% last month); Grunley Construction, adaptive reuse, 48 of the 565 or 8% (2% last month); and the first monthly report from General Dynamics, which has the information technology infrastructure contract for the campus and recently began work, shows 10 of the 97 or 10% of workers are D.C. residents. There has been little change in the percentage of D.C. residents hired on the St. Elizabeths project in recent months, because congressional appropriations have significantly slowed. Still, Clark Construction has continued to employ above 20%, a consistently higher percentage of D.C. workers, while Balfour Beatty and Grunley, working on the same site, have lagged far behind. Norton will meet with the contractors and unions involved. D.C. residents are 10% of the regional hiring population for most construction jobs. However, the St. Elizabeths site, which has used many crafts, has set a benchmark of over 20% that allows Norton's office to gauge the available qualified pool of labor for other projects.

The statistics to date on D.C. residents working on other federal projects in the city are as follows: Whiting-Turner, GSA headquarters building, 52 out of 754 or 8% (5% last month); Gilbane-Grunley, the Hoover building, 92 out of 904 or 10% (10% last month); Turtle Associates, the Roosevelt building, 7 out of 80 or 9% (14% last month); Turtle Associates, the Ronald Reagan building, 8 out of 44 or 18% (50% last month); Marada Contracting-DS East, the Markey National Courts building, 5 out of 40 or 13% (13% last month); Grunley Construction, the Lafayette building, 27 out of 523 or 5% (5% last month); Teng Construction, the Cohen building, 0 out of 14 or 0% (0% last month); DS East Joint Venture, the Environmental Protection Agency building, one out of 17 or 6% (6% last month); and Marada Contracting, the Housing and Urban Development headquarters building, 8 out of 61 or 13% (13% last month). These statistics represent a 2% overall increase in hiring of D.C. residents compared to July's statistics, with most improving, but some still lagging.

At the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, 30 out of the 217 or 14% of workers are D.C. residents. This project is in the pre-construction and excavation stages, a period when there is typically a significant pool of well-qualified D.C. workers. Norton said, "Since the protest by the Laborers International Union of North America last month, the percentage of D.C. residents on the project has increased from 8% to 14%. This progress shows an improvement and a good faith effort as the project is starting up. However, the goal of our monthly reports, visits to sites, and meetings with contractors is to ensure that the agencies continue to improve and sustain D.C. employment on projects," Norton said. "We will continue to look at many factors, including what crafts are being used, when the work began, what outreach efforts companies have used, and whether the contractor and union have improved or sustained the hiring of D.C. residents. We have been gathering witnesses for tomorrow's roundtable since June, because it is important for the community to hear directly from people on the site, but the hearing is only one tool available to us to ensure and help employers and unions hire where they work."

The Congresswoman's office also reported that current D.C. small business results are still coming in. They will be discussed at the hearing, and will be reported on a monthly basis.

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