Community workforce agreements: A tool to grow the union market and to expand access to lifetime careers in the unionized building trades

Maria Figueroa, Jeff Grabelsky, J. Ryan Lamare

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations


This paper profiles and explores variations in the nature and extent to which community workforce provisions have been effectively negotiated into Project Labor Agreements (PLAs). Community Workforce Agreements broadly aim to advance employment and career models for demographic groups underrepresented in the construction industry but have implications for coalition building and may facilitate a broader role for labor in long-term economic development. These arrangements are the focus of intense policy and research debate, where the issue of using PLAs on publicly funded projects has long been considered. However, the types of provisions regularly included in these PLAs, and the manner in which these provisions vary by geography, time, and size of the Building and Construction Trades Council, are not well understood. This paper profiles the most common provisions and their variability and briefly touches on outcome effects of these agreements to communities, using a content analysis of 185 negotiated agreements over fourteen years, a survey of over 300 building trades councils, and three case studies from projects in Washington, D.C., Cleveland, and New York.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7-31
Number of pages25
JournalLabor Studies Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 1 2013
Externally publishedYes



  • Community workforce agreements
  • Construction
  • Project labor agreements
  • Unions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Industrial relations
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science

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