Local-Hiring Law Proposed

Seven alders want to see more New Haveners working on New Haven government-funded construction sites—by law.

To achieve that goal, they will officially submit a proposed new city ordinance at Monday evening’s meeting of the Board of Alders.

The new ordinance would require developers who benefit from city assistance to complete their new buildings using at least 50 percent New Haven construction workers.

The proposal will be assigned to a committee for scrutiny, including a public hearing, before a vote by the full board.

Alders from the breakaway People’s Caucus are putting the bill forward, joined by Upper Westville Alder Darryl Brackeen. The Peoples Caucus supporters are Alders Michael Stratton, Anna Festa, Richard Spears, Brenda Foskey-Cyrus, Claudette Robinson-Thorpe, and Carlton Staggers.

A jointly signed letter to the board President Jorge Perez explains the details of the ordinance proposal. Read the letter here.

For construction projects receiving city support:

• 50 percent of construction workers would have to New Haveners, and have lived in New Haven for at least six months prior to the signing of the construction contract.

• Preference would be given to construction bids “submitted by any general contractor whose principals all reside in the city and have so resided for at least two years prior to the contract being put out to bid and whose headquarters is in the city and who promises by contract to utilize 90 percent of the project labor from New Haven residents.” The preference means that the city would have to accept the bid even if it’s 20 percent higher than the lowest bid, as long as the contractor is qualified.

• Developers violating the ordinance would be “subject to fines of 1 percent per day of the value of the total contract for every day the general contractor remains out of compliance with these residency requirements. ”

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posted by: robn on June 2, 2014  8:18am

I’m voting yes but suggest this bill be written very carefully.

1) Set a reasonable level of city financial involvement as a trigger, or make the percentage of local hiring a sliding scale based upon the city’s investment.
2) Purposefully exclude zoning variances from the discussion because that realm of law deals with form and use.
3) To protect the law from challenge, deeply ponder state funding which often comprised 80-90% of school construction funding. It could be argued that constructors in surrounding town should have access to those jobs because their tax dollars went towards them.

posted by: budman on June 2, 2014  8:21am

Okay, let’s write a complete article.  Do we have any residency requirements today?  What happens if we have more construction jobs than qualified workers, will construction and subsequent growth in the city be halted?  Do the alders that proposed this have the support of their constituents, or are they just going off in their own direction?  And why the 6 month prior residency?  Is this about keeping jobs and money local, or is their another agenda?  Why wouldn’t we support more people living in the city?  There seems to be a lot more information needed here to complete the story.

posted by: Anderson Scooper on June 2, 2014  8:39am

Over the years I’ve had several union guys tell me that compliance on local and minority hiring is a complete joke. Is that true?

posted by: connecticutcontrarian on June 2, 2014  9:52am

If this were truly an effort to keep taxpayer dollars within the city then we would have residency requirements for city employees. That we don’t have (or can’t have) such requirements renders this particular proposal suspect. Perhaps preference could be given to contractors who employ a certain percentage of city residents. In other locales preference is given to contractors who employ particular types of workers (e.g. veterans; formerly incarcerated; women; etc).

posted by: Atticus Shrugged on June 2, 2014  10:27am

To the extent this is legal, why not?  Ignoring for a minute the question of legality, there is the more acute challenge of crafting such a bill and achieving a good goal.

Does 50% mean 50% of the total payroll or the total number of employees.  If you’re hiring 20 general laborers at $10 per hour but 20 electricians, carpenters, etc., at $30 or more per hour.  And what is the penalty for when the quotas aren’t met and how does one rebut the statement that the local talent pool is not deep enough?

This could work but it’s got a long way to go from what has been stated above.  Many complex issues to think through.  I hope that they are up to it.

posted by: Brutus2011 on June 2, 2014  11:21am

I agree with the comments posted thus far.

I particularly wonder if the proposed ordinance will attract legal challenge.

The White case provides precedence but the dissent in the White case clearly shows that a compelling argument can be made that the proposed ordinance would violate the Art IV Sec 2 Privileges and Immunities clause. This is because the proposed ordinance is not imposing this hiring restriction upon the city’s own hiring but upon the hiring of private contractors. This seems to cast the city in the role of market regulator and not as market participant because its own hiring is not being regulated but the hiring of private contractors is being regulated.

I also dislike the intervention of government into business affairs vis a vis hiring. As a minority, I understand that a job is a job and that is what we need here is jobs. If many of our folks had jobs then many problems we face as a city would likely disappear. The problem is that government jobs attract corruption which ultimately leads to where we are now.

So what is the answer? I confess I don’t really know.

Having said all of this, I give my qualified support to the Caucus proposed ordinance primarily because our citizens need jobs.

I thank the alders for putting forth this proposal. It really is all about the J.O.B.

posted by: FacChec on June 2, 2014  11:36am

The most recent amendment with regard to small business construction requirements and hiring goals for city residents is specified in:

Ordinance No. 1629


An Ordinance Amending Chapter 12 ¼ , Regarding the Small Business Enterprise Construction Development Program.

This current proposal by the peoples caucus does not reference the current ordinance, or, specify how the new proposal amends or otherwise updates the June 7, 2010 ordinance.

Someone did not do their homework, back to the drawing board.



Sec. 12¼-1. Declaration of policy.

Sec. 12¼-2. Scope.

Sec. 12¼-3. Definitions.

Sec. 12¼-4. Registration.

Sec. 12¼-5. Utilization goals for city construction contracts.

Sec. 12¼-6. Small business enterprise contractor capability-building.

Sec. 12¼-7. Set aside opportunities for small business enterprises.

Sec. 12¼-7.1. Set-aside opportunities—School construction contracts.

Sec. 12¼-8. Minority business enterprise requirements for informal bids up to fifty thousand dollars ($50,000.00).

Sec. 12¼-9. MBE subcontractor utilization and good faith effort requirements.

Sec. 12¼-10. Compliance.

Sec. 12¼-11. Exceptions.

Sec. 12¼-12. Prompt payment for registered small business enterprises.

Sec. 12¼-13. Protest procedure.

Sec. 12¼-14. Administration.

Sec. 12¼-15. Monitoring compliance.

Sec. 12¼-16. Dissemination of chapter provisions.

Sec. 12¼-17. Duration of chapter.

Sec. 12¼-18. Severability.


posted by: robn on June 2, 2014  12:08pm


The PC proposal isn’t law, its intent to make law. The law you mention has to do with minority hiring and to avoid the appearance of being a quota, is limited to what they thought at the time was the proportion of minorities in the construction industry (metric? I dunno, but its hovering around 10% of the contract for minority participation). In any event, the PC proposal has to do with residency in New Haven, not race or gender (the word resident” doesn’t appear in this chapter, and the word “local” does only 5 times and is ambiguous.).
You are right though that the PC proposal will have to be coordinated with this existing law.

posted by: FacChec on June 2, 2014  2:52pm


It would seem legislatively responsible if a alder first reviewed all state national and local law as it pertains to residency hiring in the construction trades. Currently state statue does not allow a obitrary percentage be applyed to local contruction contracts.Nor does the city of New Haven. The Key here is that the proposal states ” The requirements of this ordinance shall be overseen by the minority contractor program already in existence in New Haven”.

Therefore, the proposal attempts to tie inwith established ordinance #1670.

From the city of New haven on equal opportunities:

The City of New Haven and State of Connecticut spends more than one billion dollars each year to purchase supplies and public works contracting services. Those who contract with the city to provide these services have a special responsibility to assure that the employment and subcontracting procedures promote equal opportunity for all persons.

Ordinance Requirements
Section 12 _ -19 through 33 of the New Haven Code of Ordinances, ensures that contractors doing work on city and/or city related construction projects must comply with established goals which have been set in place for utilization of protected classes as follows:

Minority-group: 25 % utilization in each craft or trade working on site per contractor. Female-group: 6.9 % utilization in each craft or trade working on site per contractor.


1. Petition the state for a residency hiring provisions law

2. Rewrite the proposal to include the EOC requirement above, but only after state approval.

posted by: FacChec on June 2, 2014  3:03pm


Current state residency requirement.

Sec. 31-52a. Residents’ preference in work on other public facilities. (a) In the employment of mechanics, laborers or workmen in connection with any public works project, including, but not limited to, construction, remodeling or repairing of any public facility, structure, except public buildings covered by section 31-52, site preparation or site improvement, appurtenances or highways or in preparation or improvement of any land or waterway on or in which a structure is situated or to be constructed by the state or any of its agents or by persons contracting therewith, preference shall be given to persons who are residents of the state, and, if they cannot be obtained in sufficient numbers, then to residents of other states. Nothing herein shall abrogate or supersede any provision regarding residence requirements in a collective bargaining agreement to which the contractor is a party. Any contractor who knowingly and wilfully employs any person in violation of any provision of this section shall be fined two hundred dollars for each week or a fraction of a week each such person is employed.

    (b) Each contract for any such project covered by this section under the supervision of the state or any of its agents shall contain the following provision: “In the employment of mechanics, laborers or workmen to perform the work specified herein, preference shall be given to residents of the state who are, and continuously for at least six months prior to the date hereof have been, residents of this state, and if no such person is available then to residents of other states.”

    (1967, P.A. 757, S. 2.)

posted by: THREEFIFTHS on June 2, 2014  8:26pm

Good luck.look what happen in D.C.

Is the District Unconstitutionally Forcing Contractors to Hire Local?
Posted by Lydia DePillis on May. 30, 2012

For years now, contractors have complained about District rules that require them to hire local residents on construction projects built with city money (which, most of the time, they haven’t obeyed). Last year, the D.C. Council tightened the First Source law even further, mandating that D.C. residents account for a majority of the hours worked on a job, not just 50 percent of the new people hired.

That was too much for the Associated Builders and Contractors of Metro Washington, which filed suit in federal court on May 25 charging that the law is unconstitutional.