Community Benefits Agreements: Lessons From New Haven

Source: Louise Simmons, Stephanie Luce, WorkingUSA, Vol. 12 no. 1, March 2009
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From the abstract:
Community Benefits Agreements (CBA) are a new tool for labor-community coalitions, designed to ensure that economic development projects benefits workers and residents. In 2006, a labor-community coalition in New Haven, Connecticut won a CBA with Yale-New Haven Hospital after a two-year campaign, and much longer campaign to unionize hospital workers. The CBA included provisions for affordable housing, job training, local hiring, access to healthcare, environmental and planning protections, and a commitment to union-organizing rights. This article analyzes the campaign for the CBA and examines some outcomes, including its implementation. The CBA campaign was successful in building labor-community alliances and political power, and had resulted in some concrete gains for residents. However, the Hospital has blatantly violated the union-organizing rights part of the agreement, highlighting some of the limits of the CBA strategy in the face of a hostile employer.

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