For an Equitable Economy

Case study: Portland, OR


The Metropolitan Alliance for Workforce Equity (MAWE) presented a Community Benefits Agreement to the Portland City Council on September 5th, in an effort to bring benefits to workers, promote training and placement of women and people of color, and grow demand for disadvantaged businesses. This agreement was approved and it is the first of its kind in Portland.

MAWE members have worked together for over a year to develop the Community Benefits Agreement (CBA). MAWE represents a historic partnership between Community-Based Organizations, Carpenters, Operating Engineers, Building Trades, Pre-Apprenticeship Programs and Contractors. These groups have overcome differences and rallied their collective power around common goals of equity and family supporting jobs for community members. The CBA Resolution before City Hall is the result of the City’s willingness to engage in this important work and strategic outreach by MAWE. MAWE aims to work with the City of Portland and other public project owners to adopt the CBA on major projects early on, and include workforce diversity and community as integral parts of project planning and bidding for all contractors.

The Community Benefits Agreement proposal is a three-pronged plan that includes:

  • Concentrated efforts to promote inclusion, improve workforce diversity, increase utilization of disadvantaged businesses, and ensure workers are treated fairly and paid high-road wages;
  • Establishment of funds to support outreach, training, oversight and technical assistance for disadvantaged contractors; and
  • Continuous oversight and improvement by a balanced Labor-Management-Community Committee representative of all CBA stakeholders. MAWE truly walks the talk, and has elevated and valued community and disadvantaged contractor participation in this effort.