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Quick links:

Read our press release about the campaign launch.

Read our report about the local hire pilot program.

Watch our March 2 press conference and campaign launch.


Across the country, cities and states are working hard to rebuild communities and recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic on working families.

But something is blocking our road to a just recovery: the local hire ban, an arcane rule that prevents cities and states’ from creating local jobs with public infrastructure dollars.

What is the local hire ban?

The story starts in the 1980s, during the anti-apartheid movement in the US. To put pressure on apartheid South Africa, certain local governments in the US decided to withhold public contracts from businesses that were profiting from apartheid.

These cities and states were met with fierce opposition from the Reagan administration, which responded by imposing strict rules on public contracting.

One of these rules was an all-out ban on local hire, which prohibited cities and states from using federally-funded public contracts to create jobs in local communities.

Today, the ban on local hire is still active, even though local officials, labor unions, and community groups have argued for years that connecting local infrastructure projects with good jobs for local workers is not only something that communities desperately want, but something that would have a major positive impact on regional economies.

Now, new research from Jobs to Move America shows that the justification for the ban – that linking local hire to infrastructure projects would suppress competition and increase costs – is simply not true. While the USDOT has reinstated a local hire pilot program, removing the federal prohibition is what is needed to create lasting change in our communities.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

Too many people are suffering – unable to pay their bills, losing their homes, and struggling to survive.

To recover from the pandemic and build equitable local economies, we need to create millions of good local jobs and invest in infrastructure for the future – from high speed trains to a stronger electric grid.

Overturning the ban on local hire would:

  • create good local jobs in communities that need them most,
  • advance racial justice, and
  • create strong, worker-centered local economies.

Our public dollars should always do the most public good. We need the Biden administration to lift the ban on local hire.

Learn more

Read a public letter signed by over 160 public officials, community groups, unions, advocates, and academics calling on Biden to overturn the local hire ban.

Read our latest report that analyzes data from the DOT’s local hire pilot program and found that local hire policies do not raise costs or reduce competition.

Check out our press release about the campaign launch and letter here, and watch our press event from March 2 here.


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