In 2013, MCU joined with several other community organizations dedicated to racial equity in the workplace and signed a historic community benefits agreement or CBA with the Metropolitan Sewer District or MSD. The CBA was the result of an Environmental Protection Agency(EPA) mandate requiring MSD to reengineer the sewer system to separate the sewage from storm water runoff. This was no small task and MSD had been avoiding the work for years.
The sewer system in St. Louis and parts of the county are a hodgepodge of multiply sewer systems. Once sewer companies were private and ran their own line to their customers. With the creation of the Metropolitan Sewer District, all those sewer lines began to be connected. As a result some lines are strictly sewer, some are strictly storm runoff and many are both. This has resulted in swollen and overflowing drainage creeks and flooded basements.
The mandated work to separate the storm water and the sewers has been estimated to cost close to $5 billion and is expected to take upwards of 20 years to complete. With all that money and time at stake, leaders in the community were determined that the work would be equitable awarded to minority and women owned businesses, that workforce numbers would equitably represent the minority/female community population and training for this specialized work would be funded to insure a new generation of sewer, tunnel and water-treatment workers.
Signing with MCU: NAACP, Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, National Society of Black Engineers, MOKAN(representing Black contractors in Missouri and Kansas, the Metropolitan Clergy Coalition, Universal African Peoples Organization and the Coalition of Labor Union Women. Other organizations working on minority and women’s equity in the workplace are welcome to petition the signators to also join the CBA. To review the CBA and the diversity work MSD has already accomplished: https://msdprojectclear.org/about/diversity/programs-resources/community-benefits-agreement/