City of Somerville

Agenda Item
Placed on File
Sep 26, 2013 7:00 PM

That the City adopt the attached Local Hiring Ordinance.


Department:City CouncilSponsors:Ward Two Alderman Maryann M. Heuston, Bruce M. Desmond, j and the Entire Board
Category:OrdinancePurposes:Aldermanic Ordinance


  1. DRAFT - Somerville Local Hiring Ordinance

Official Text

That the City of Somerville adopt a Local Hiring Ordinance.  (Draft attached)

Meeting History

Jun 9, 2011 7:00 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting
Sep 20, 2011 7:00 PM  Legislative Matters Committee Committee of the Whole
draft Draft

Mr. Shapiro discussed similar ordinances and the legal issues that may be associated with this proposal. The Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution does not present a problem but the privileges and immunities clause of the Constitution does. If an Ordinance can be read to impact workers from out of state, then court decisions place a heavy burden on a community to justify the ordinance. Vice Chairman White asked that Mr. Shapiro provide the members with a decision from the seventh circuit appeals court that provided an in depth analysis of the requirements that local communities must follow to meet the privileges and immunities clause of the constitution. Mr. Stern spoke about the diversity of the community and expressed his opinion that fostering local hiring is fostering diversity. Members then raised the issue of whether the ordinance would not be subject to challenge if it didn’t apply to out of state workers and Mr. Shapiro opined it would. Vice Chairman White then said one decision the committee would be required to make would be whether the ordinance should exclude applicability to out of state workers. That issue would be debated at the next meeting. Vice Chairman White also stated that he would be prepared to go over the draft ordinance line by line at the next meeting. Questions were raised about the proposal’s impact on the city’s Responsible Employer Ordinance and collective bargaining agreements that unions might have with contractors, which Attorney Shapiro will address at the next committee meeting.

Oct 11, 2011 7:00 PM  Legislative Matters Committee Committee Meeting
draft Draft

Vice Chairman White requested that the City Solicitor email any legal decisions dealing with what type of evidence justifies the ordinance and he discussed exempting out-of-staters. Mr. Buckley stated that the out-of-state exemption is necessary to comply with the privileges and immunities clause and Mr. Shapiro discussed ways discrimination against out-of-staters could be justified. Mr. Buckley will forward his research on this matter to the full Board of Aldermen. Vice Chairman White will schedule a public hearing on the matter and will notify the Building Trades Labor Council of the date, time and place.

Nov 17, 2011 7:00 PM  Legislative Matters Committee Committee Meeting
draft Draft

Mr. Buckley discussed a recent court decision which struck down a similar ordinance in Fall River as being unconstitutional and he spoke about the federal preemption of the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA), citing benefits, medical care and apprenticeship programs as issues. It is Mr. Buckley’s opinion that the proposed ordinance is also unconstitutional and is open to challenge, exposing the city to litigation and associated costs. He noted that Fall River had to pay $150,000 in legal fees to the party that sued and was the victor in court.

Chairman White referenced a recent case in Cleveland and suggested that the Privileges and Immunities Clause should be looked into and questioned how not applying the proposed ordinance to New Hampshire residents would impact it. Members of the committee also questioned how the proposed ordinance would impact the city’s Responsible Employer Ordinance.

Alderman Desmond requested that Mr. LeBlanc, of the Somerville Community Corporation, provide the committee with the documentation he referenced at this meeting.

Dec 1, 2011 6:30 PM  Legislative Matters Committee Committee Meeting
draft Draft

Mr. Buckley spoke about viewing the proposed ordinance as a goal, adding that it would have to be written without penalties, otherwise it could be challenged as a violation of the Privilege and Immunities Clause, possibly opening the City to liability issues and costs. He believes that further research on the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) is necessary. Chairman White suggested keeping the reporting requirements and submitting them as public documents. The committee discussed the possibility of creating a resolution in place of the proposed ordinance as well as the option to exclude out of state residents from the proposal.

Chairman White’s motion that the proposed Local Hiring Ordinance be presented to the full Board of Aldermen for instruction as to how the committee should proceed on the item as to whether out of state residents be excluded from the local hiring ordinance, whether the ordinance should be drafted so that local hiring ordinance requires reporting and is goal oriented, with no penalty for failure to meet the 30% requirement or replacing the ordinance with a resolution, was approved.

Jan 17, 2012 7:00 PM  Legislative Matters Committee Committee of the Whole
draft Draft
Sep 25, 2013 7:00 PM  Legislative Matters Committee Committee Meeting
Sep 26, 2013 7:00 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting