Communities are working hard to rebuild and recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic, the climate crisis, and economic instability. Local officials, labor unions, and community groups have advocated for years that hiring local workers for infrastructure projects would have a major positive impact on regional economies.
But something is blocking our road to a just recovery: Cities and states are hindered from using federal funds to create jobs and advance economic opportunities in their communities. As historic federal investments flow to our cities and states, like the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act and Inflation Reduction Act, we have the opportunity to create more resilient, sustainable, and equitable communities that can combat the climate crisis and address critical infrastructure needs.
It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way
A set of decades-old federal regulations (known as the Uniform Guidance) currently impede cities and states from using innovative programs in the procurement process that can amplify the benefit of federal funds for communities. The procurement process can be a powerful tool to address historic inequities and uplift millions of struggling people—particularly people of color—but current rules inhibit this ability. With trillions of dollars set to be spent on infrastructure projects—over 800 billion in federal grant money was set aside for states in 2023 alone—it is critical that we act now. By updating these federal rules, we can allow cities and states to maximize the benefits of federal investments for our local communities!
We urge the Biden Administration to make the following changes to the Uniform Guidance to allow cities and states to incorporate community-centered policies that:
Address racial and gender equity, expand local jobs, and support community engagement by:
- Removing the ban on local hire
- Expanding opportunities for local small, minority, and women-owned businesses (MWBEs)
- Encouraging targeted hire and Project Labor Agreements
Support the creation of high-road U.S. jobs, including by:
- Allowing cities and states to ensure employees and contractors are paid a family-sustaining wage
Protecting good jobs through workforce transitions, such as by:
- Requiring the training of incumbent workers when purchasing new green technologies
We need a broad coalition to urge the Biden Administration to make these changes. Will you join us?