Today’s news:

City makes pact for minority, female and local labor at Willets Point

Queens Borough President Helen Marshall announced Wednesday that a deal has been struck that would guarantee a substantial portion of the workforce associated with the Willets Point redevelopment will be set aside for minority and women-owned businesses should the project be approved.

The deal would guarantee that minority, women and Queens-based labor would be used in every aspect of the project  — from every aspect of the construction of the project itself to the jobs and businesses available at the site upon its completion. The agreement also includes the creation of a $2.5 million fund to increase the capability of smaller construction firms to bid on contracts for the project.

Marshall, who gave her official blessing to the city’s vision to transform Willets Point into a sprawling residential and commercial development just last week, called the agreement a major achievement.

“I worked hard to negotiate and obtain the goals that we are announcing today. And the $2.5 million funding will go a long way toward increasing the ability of smaller firms to compete in the large arena,” said Marshall.

“It will also help to ensure that the redevelopment project moves forward in a fair and equitable fashion that takes advantage of local opportunities. And, establishment of the goals will ensure that the building of a new Willets Point will have a Project Labor Agreement.”

Deputy Mayor for Economic Development Robert Lieber also applauded the agreement.  

“This comprehensive participation, capacity building and mentoring program will be a vital part of the plan for Willets Point moving forward,” Lieber said.

Under the agreement, at least 20 percent of the construction contracts associated with the project would be awarded to minority-owned firms, while at least 10 percent would be set aside for women-owned firms. Additionally, at least 35 percent of the work hours will be awarded to minority construction workers while no less than 10 percent will be reserved for female construction workers.

Once the project is completed, the agreement guarantees that minority-owned enterprise would be guaranteed 15 percent of the total dollar value of post-construction purchasing and services contracts, while 10 percent would be assured for women-owned enterprise.

Under Marshall’s agreement, Queens will also benefit. The agreement guarantees that 25 percent of construction contracts and 15 percent of the businesses and service contracts will be awarded to businesses based in Queens. The workforce hiring goals will include specific commitments to communities directly impacted by the project, including Corona, Flushing and East Elmhurst, according to the agreement.

“This is a major step forward,” Marshall said.

Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e-mail at Sstirling@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

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