The Los Angeles Board of Airport Commissioners has approved labor agreement coverage of an estimated $1.8 billion in projects that are part of the first phase of Los Angeles International Airport’s (LAX) Capital Improvement Program. The improvement program is part of the established Project Labor Agreement of Los Angeles World Airports (LAWA), the agency that operates LAX and other city airports.

“This agreement will ensure that construction projects can proceed quickly using a highly qualified workforce,” said Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “The agreement will also make sure that our multi-billion-dollar construction program at LAX will provide high-quality job opportunities for local residents.”

Richard Slawson, executive secretary of the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council, said, “The board action to cover LAX modernization projects under the longstanding LAWA Project Labor Agreement is a huge step toward continuing the partnership for growth, economy and quality.

“The citizens of Los Angeles will gain tremendously from good jobs and successful projects that will be completed under this program.”

Airport commissioner Joseph Aredas added that the board’s action will “ensure a stable workforce, fair wages and working conditions, and employment of affect- ed local residents during the upcoming construction of public works projects vital to the future of LAX and our region’s economy.”

The project labor agreement was negotiated with the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council and their affiliated local unions.

An earlier agreement covers the ongoing $723-million Tom Bradley International Terminal Interior Renovation Program.

The airport commission’s action will extend labor agreement coverage to certain LAX development projects, including two related cross-field taxiway projects and six related gate projects on the west side of the Tom Bradley upper terminal, airport officials said.

The city airport agency’s existing ten-year project labor agreement was signed in November 1999 and extends through 2010. There is a provision for a one-time extension not to exceed ten years, which must be approved by the end of next year.