Unions Emerge As New Roadblock For San Francisco And Oakland Home Building

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October 31, 2016

For San Francisco to get home prices back under control, the city needs new stock. A multitude of forces is preventing that from happening.

Along with high land prices, inhibiting regulations, and NIMBYs, the San Francisco Business Times reports that construction unions are battling housing developers.

The unions have filed appeals that challenge projects’ approvals, opposing their use of cheaper non-union labor. In Oakland, an up-and-coming housing market, four housing projects have been targeted with appeals from unions over the last six months.

It’s a high-stakes game: Unions say the appeals give them leverage to pressure developers to commit to using union labor and to hire locally. But such disagreements can delay the construction of projects for months, and critics say more concessions will lead to less new production, hurting all residents looking for homes. Even if some unions get what they want and switch to support a project, opposition from other groups may continue.

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