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In an effort to encourage the creation of good-paying U.S. manufacturing jobs, Mayor Emanuel announced today that the Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) and the Chicago Federation of Labor (CFL) have launched the “Build Chicago” partnership, a collaboration on the upcoming purchase of the transit agency’s next-generation of rail cars as part of the CTA’s ongoing modernization of its rail fleet.
As part of the process of seeking companies to manufacture the new 7000-series rail cars, the CTA will include a “U.S. employment” provision that will ask bidders to provide the number and type of new jobs they will create related to the production of the new rail cars. The provision will also ask bidders to outline their job recruitment and workforce training plans.
“Our goal is to help create as many U.S. job opportunities as possible, and to encourage local opportunities wherever possible,” said Mayor Rahm Emanuel. “Additionally, we believe this will increase competition among bidders and result in the best prices and highest quality product for CTA customers, essential in building a world-class transit system.”
“The jobs disclosure and evaluation tools used in this purchase can improve Chicago’s transit system, create good jobs, and revive Illinois’ manufacturing economy, all at the same time,” said Jorge Ramirez, President of the Chicago Federation of Labor. “This approach to transit procurement, as outlined by the Jobs to Move America coalition, creates more competition between companies vying to create good American jobs. This program further demonstrates Mayor Emanuel's commitment to bringing high quality, high paying jobs to Chicago and the Region."
The Mayor, CTA President Forrest Claypool and other CTA officials met with CFL representatives to discuss the upcoming procurement and its job creation opportunities. CTA will tailor its plan for its procurement of up to 846 rail cars, drawing on the experience of Amtrak and the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority, both of which included U.S. employment provisions for their purchases of trains and buses. The CTA will submit its plan to the Federal Transit Administration to ensure compliance with federal requirements.
"By including incentives for U.S. job creation and workforce development in its procurement, CTA is using its purchasing power for community benefit,” said International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) International President Edwin Hill. “IBEW applauds Mayor Emanuel and the CTA for using the power of this $2 billion purse to spur job creation and opportunities for working families.”
“Let’s reward companies for doing the right things: creating good jobs with living wages, recruiting and training veterans, women and minorities, and making workplaces safe,” said IBEW Local 134 Business Manager Terry Allen.
The CTA anticipates seeking bids for the new rail cars later this year. Bidders’ submissions will be evaluated on a number of criteria, with their plan for job creation factoring into the evaluation of bids. CTA’s initial base order will seek 200 rail cars, with additional quantities in coming years.
The CTA originally sought bids for the 7000-series cars in 2013, but received just two bid submissions. Earlier this year, the CTA opted to seek new bids in an effort to encourage a wider range of bids from rail-car manufacturers around the world.
The new 7000-series rail cars will replace CTA’s oldest rail cars, many of which are more than 25 years old. The estimated total cost for the rail cars is $2 billion, funded through a combination of federal and local funds.
The 7000-series procurement is just the latest effort by the Mayor and CTA to promote U.S. and local Chicago job creation. Several recent large-scale construction projects have generated jobs in construction, engineering and other building trades, including the ongoing Your New Blue project to upgrade stations and tracks along the Blue Line’s O’Hare Branch and the Red Line South reconstruction in 2013—which not only created about 1,000 construction-related jobs but also more than 400 bus operator positions.