Special to the Vanguard
Sacramento, CA – Aggie Square Development reached an agreement with AFSCME Local 3299, which had be initiated a lawsuit that will pave the way for the project to go forward.
Under the terms of the agreement announced today, AFSCME 3299 will withdraw its petition challenging the project’s Environmental Impact Report under the California Environmental Quality Act and the parties have also avoided a potentially costly fight over employment standards at the project.
“Today’s agreement sets a new standard for public-private partnerships that will guarantee more local workers have access to living wage jobs, while meaningfully addressing potential impacts on air quality, traffic congestion, and housing affordability in one of the region’s most historically disadvantaged communities,” said AFSCME Local 3299 President Kathryn Lybarger.
Developed in partnership between the City of Sacramento, University of California Davis, and Wexford Science and Technology LLC, Aggie Square is a proposed innovation hub that will bring together research programs, private industry partners, classrooms, student housing, and public-facing programs that engage local communities and entrepreneurs at UC Davis’ Sacramento campus.
All told, the $1.1 billion project is expected to attract as many as 5,000 workers and nearly 1,000 students and is expected to break ground in 2022.
Lybarger noted that the agreement “ensures that this proposed development will proceed in manner that uplifts the local community and honors the University of California’s stated commitments to economic, racial and environmental justice.”
UC has committed to fund a $5 million housing stabilization fund that will be administered by the City of Sacramento to provide rental and down payment assistance to UC service workers employed at the development who might otherwise be at risk of displacement.
UC also committed to utilize university employees for service and maintenance in the development’s common areas, and to various tenants, which could create as many as 200 additional union-represented custodial and food service jobs at the facility.
It has also guaranteed service workers employed by non-UC organizations leasing space in the development will receive wage and benefit parity with UC employees performing similar jobs.
The agreement further provides transit passes for UC service workers who will be employed on site to reduce traffic congestion, requires installation of air quality monitors and additional planting of fruit trees at the development, and ensures that the development will meet or exceed environmental standards set forth in state law.
“We are confident that Aggie Square will be a win-win-win for workers, for the University, and for the City of Sacramento and we are grateful to all parties who worked so diligently to forge this important agreement,” Lybarger said.