Unemployed workers and community supporters are planning informational pickets at the site where the Rainier Beach Community Center and Pool are being rebuilt by CE &C, a Tacoma-based contractor. “We’re asking CE&C (the general contractor) to insure members of our community will have an opportunity to work on reconstructing a very popular recreational center that has been closed for over a year” Leonard Sims, area resident and journey-level laborer.
The issue is the contractor’s lack of any local hiring plan that would create jobs in a neighborhood burdened with double the unemployment rates of the City overall and a lack of employment opportunities.
The project is owned by the City of Seattle and funded with $14.8M of local tax dollars. Members of the South Seattle Jobs Committee* have attempted to secure a commitment to creating job opportunities on this project with City officials and the contractor since last August. During these meetings, the City said it is committed to the hiring of a local and diverse workforce on City contracts. “Following our meetings with the contractor and City, we’re skeptical there will be any jobs for workers from this community” according to James Williams, an organizer for Working Washington.
Every day the facility was used by hundreds of southeast Seattle youth, adults, and seniors and served as a focal point for community activity. Its closure in 2010 and subsequent delays in awarding a contract for construction has drawn both criticism and praise from Rainier Beach community leaders. The new center and pool will not open until the summer of 2013, leaving its users with few options for nearly 30 months. “My 8-yr old son and I used the center regularly and I wish I had a rec center nearby … at least our community should get the benefit of jobs during its construction!” Jacquel Redmond, Member of Rainier Beach Community Empowerment Coalition.
Michael Woo, director of Got Green in Columbia City said, “As we’re all more conscious of our environment we’re thankful a newer community center is being built green and will ultimately help conserve resources. While the project is good for the planet – shouldn’t it benefit the community thru green job creation too?”
What: Informational Pickets at Rainier Beach Community Center
When: January 17, 18, 19 & 20, 2012 starting at 11:30am
Where: 8825 Rainier Avenue South, Seattle