Immigrant Labor Takes Over Unions On Los Angeles Construction Sites

Ted Goodman | Reporter

Construction in Los Angeles has shifted from a unionized, white workforce to one that is non-union, heavily immigrant, and 70 percent Latino, according to the Los Angeles Times.

Since 1973, construction in the Los Angeles area went from an industry that was 39.5 percent unionized to one that is just 13.9 percent unionized in 2017, according to the the LA Times. Furthermore, Latinos made up 69.6 percent of the construction workers in Los Angeles County in 2015, up from 24.2 percent in 1980, according to the LA Times.

Downtown Los Angeles is undergoing its largest construction boom since the 1920’s, thanks to foreign investment from Asia. Chinese developers are involved in at least seven multi-million dollar building projects in downtown L.A., including a $1 Billion plaza across from the Staples Center.

South Korean developers are completing the Wilshire Grand, which is the tallest building on the West Coast. The influx of investment has raised demand for skilled labor in the City of Angels.

American construction workers make $5 less per hour in 2017 than they did in the early 1970’s according to the LA Times. In 1972, construction workers made $32 an hour when adjusted for inflation, compared to $26 today. Construction unions must balance the interests of members with a policy position centered around diversity.

Construction unions in the area are focused on providing work for its close to 100,000 members in the Los Angeles-Orange County metropolitan area.

The Daily Caller News Foundation reached out to the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building & Construction Trades Council for comment, who would not go on the record by press time.

President Donald Trump spoke at the annual North America’s Building Trades Union conference in Washington, D.C. in early April. The president touted his $1 trillion infrastructure plan and pushed his America first policy positions on trade and the economy.

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