Demand for jobs interrupts work at Hunters Point 

click to enlarge Aboriginal Blacks United President James Richards (in fedora) leads a rally demanding more local jobs. - MIKE KOOZMIN/THE S.F. EXAMINER
  • Mike Koozmin/The S.F. Examiner
  • Aboriginal Blacks United President James Richards (in fedora) leads a rally demanding more local jobs.

A human blockade of neighborhood residents upset over lack of job opportunities interrupted work at the former naval shipyard at Hunters Point for two hours Thursday.

About 30 protesters with Aboriginal Blackmen United — one of the groups active in The City's push for strong local-hire requirements — blocked tractor-trailer trucks delivering dirt and concrete to the shipyard beginning at 11 a.m. A line of members stood in front of a bright red Mack truck at the intersection of Donahue and Innes streets as other protesters tended to a barbecue — both hallmarks of ABU protests.

ABU vowed to do it again next week unless promised jobs are delivered.

"They're getting ready to build 200 homes up here, and we want to be involved," said James Richards, ABU's president.

Construction projects that involve taxpayer or other public funds are required by city law to hire a certain number of local residents.

However, the local hire agreement at the shipyard development projects is a "good faith" effort to hire at least 50 percent locals, according to a 2008 signed memorandum of understanding between The City's Building Trades Council and Lennar Urban.

Construction on homes has yet to begin, but ABU vowed to shut down contractor Roberts Obayashi's efforts unless ABU members are guaranteed job offers ahead of time.

In the past, jobs have been offered to groups like the ABU via CityBuild, but Young Community Developers, a Hunters Point-based nonprofit that has Building Trades Council members on its executive board, is responsible for local hires on the home construction. YCD did not respond to requests for comment Thursday.

No member of ABU has yet been offered a job on homebuilding projects, Richards said.

Police responded to the protest site about noon Thursday. By about 1 p.m., Capt. Robert O'Sullivan of the nearby Bayview Police Station convinced Richards and ABU to let the trucks continue.

The trucks blocked Thursday were Navy contractors delivering supplies to the shipyard, drivers said.

About The Author

Chris Roberts

Chris Roberts

Bio:
Chris Roberts has worked as a reporter in San Francisco since 2008, with an emphasis on city governance and politics, The City’s neighborhoods, race, poverty and the drug war.
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