Nashville voters decided Thursday that large public construction projects should hire more local workers. Amendment 3, the only charter amendment to pass, requires that 40 percent of the hours worked on Metro-funded construction need to go to Davidson County residents.
Christi Dortch was among the 58 percent of voters who supported the amendment. Nashville is growing rapidly, she says, “and I think it should be very easy to support the people living here with that opportunity.”
The amendment faced fierce pushback from the construction industry, which said it would be bad for business. Melaton Bass-Shelton of North Nashville acknowledged that was an issue, but she still voted for the amendment.
“Of course they wouldn’t like it if it’s hurting your business," she says. "Of course you're going with what's best for your business. But I do think we need to hire from within.”
Other cities with similar policies have also faced opposition. A contractor group in Washington D.C. is suing the city for its own local hire law. In Ohio, the state legislature is trying to outlaw local hire policies that a few cities there have implemented.