For an Equitable Economy

Why the CBA?

Understanding the CBA


The CBA (Community Benefits Agreement) is an agreement between the community, labor unions, and public or private institutions which ensures that workforce diversity and community inclusion are integral parts of project planning and bidding processes for all contractors. The CBA strengthens our communities, brings benefits to workers and community members, promotes the training and placement of women and people of color, and helps to grow the demand for minority and women-owned businesses.

Why do we need a CBA?

Before the CBA was implemented, federal standards required contractors to hire just 6.9% women and 4.5% minorities (out of their total workforce) for city or county projects. This leads to a public project workforce which lacks diversity and doesn’t accurately represent the very population it serves. Furthermore, minority and women owned businesses have experienced difficulty getting public contracts due to their inability to compete with the larger, established firms.

Who created the CBA?

The CBA was created by the Metropolitan Alliance for Workforce Equity (MAWE), which represents a historic partnership between the Carpenters, Operating Engineers, Building Trades, Pre-Apprenticeship Programs and Community-Based Organizations. MAWE has a deeply held respect for community expertise, and community organizations have been equal partners in the creation of the CBA.

What does the CBA do?

Recruitment & Training: Owners and employers under the agreement agree to set money aside to promote workforce equity through the recruitment, training and hiring of a diverse and qualified workforce. This funding will support recruitment and training opportunities for historically disadvantaged or underrepresented people, including people of color, women, and low-income individuals.

Workforce Diversity: Women and people of color have historically been denied access to high wage building and construction trades workforce. This agreement tackles this long-standing inequity head-on by setting participation and outreach goals for women and people of color. MAWE intends that this CBA sets a new standard for a diversified workforce in the Metropolitan area: the goals of 9% for Women and 18% for people of color.

Utilization of Minority and Women-Owned Businesses: The CBA sets goals and bid preference related to minority and women-owned business utilization, as well as funds for Contractor Technical Assistance to build the capacity of these firms.

How is the CBA implemented and enforced?

The CBA sets up an ongoing governance structure to ensure oversight, constant improvement and continuity between projects. The CBA ensures that projects that adopt the agreement will mimic the process that created the agreement, and MAWE will continue to actively engage with community, labor, owners and contractors.

On the Labor-Management-Community Oversight Committee, representatives from Unions, project owners, contractors and community groups will meet regularly to resolve disputes and conflicts, monitor worker utilization and diversity, improve CBA goals and processes, and administer funds related to recruitment, training, contractor assistance and oversight