Union workers to build new UCSF hospital under community workforce agreement

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California Construction News staff writer

A proposed hospital build and site improvements would built by union workers, according to a community workforce agreement signed by UCSF Health and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospitals.

The agreement, which set a 30% local hiring goal for both contractors and subcontractors, was signed by the Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County (BTCA) and the project’s general contractor, Rudolph and Sletten, confirms a mutual understanding to hire union workers and follow union hiring practices. An additional agreement was signed by Overaa Construction, the contractor selected for infrastructure improvements for the site.

Bay Area construction company Rudolph and Sletten, Inc., will serve as the general contractor for the new hospital building project. Overaa Construction is the general contractor for a series of site improvements. Both were signatories to the agreement on behalf of their own firms and for subcontractors involved in the project.

“Rudolph and Sletten is proud to be part of this historic project to bring a world-class hospital to the children of the East Bay and Northern California,” said Gary Taylor, senior project executive at Rudolph and Sletten. “We’re proud to hire local, skilled union workers and we recognize that a project of this magnitude can provide beneficial employment opportunities for veterans and small and disadvantaged business enterprises.”

Pending approval from the UC Board of Regents, the $1.6 billion project is expected to require about 400 workers per year through 2030, when it will open as a state-of-the-art hospital and trauma center for children throughout the region. Overall, it is expected to provide 4.1 million work hours over the course of the five-year project.

“This hospital and project are vital to the city of Oakland, and so, too, is supporting the construction and trades workers of our community,” said Nicholas Holmes, president of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. “We are investing in this hospital, in this city, to expand access to world-class care for any child for generations to come, regardless of their ability to pay.

“UCSF Health is committed to creating the region’s most comprehensive care network for kids, and UCSF Benioff Oakland is an integral piece of this vision.”

Through 2030, construction of the hospital will provide:

  • work opportunities for approximately 400 workers per year
  • approximately 4.1 million work hours
  • job training and mentorship for veterans interested in construction careers
  • contracts with small, local businesses where possible

The CWA includes additional agreements to employ apprentices from a state-approved Joint Apprenticeship Training Program, and use the Center for Military Recruitment, Assessment and Veterans Employment’s “Helmets to Hardhats” program to provide job training and mentorship for veterans interested in construction careers. It also sets a goal to contract with small, local businesses where possible.

UCSF Health will be seeking approval for the New Hospital Building project this summer from the UC Board of Regents.

The agreement was announced at a news conference with senior leaders from UCSF Health and UCSF Benioff Oakland, Oakland Mayor Sheng Thao and other local elected officials, and leaders from local trade unions and construction firms involved in the project.

“Generations of Oakland families have relied on the Children’s Hospital, which has been an essential component of our community for over 100 years,” Thao said. “The construction and building trades are the backbone of Oakland, and this project will bring well-paid jobs for union construction workers, job training for apprentices, and new careers for veterans.

“I am thrilled to support it.”

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