70 per­cent of hires to be lo­cal work­ers


Austin American-Statesman - - THE SECOND FRONT - Con­tin­ued from A Con­tact Kirk Laden­dorf at 445-3622.

Visa won quick pas­sage of the city in­cen­tives agree­ment last Thurs­day af­ter it agreed to a wage floor of $11 an hour for con­struc­tion work­ers on its project.

The com­pany’s wages for per­ma­nent work­ers at its IT cen­ter will be far greater than that. Visa has said that the jobs it cre­ates in Austin will have an av­er­age salary of more than $113,000 a year.

Visa is ex­pected to start work on the new cen­ter soon. The com­pany plans to spend $27.2 mil­lion on retrofitting and equip­ping the 175,000-square-foot North­west Austin of­fice build­ing it has se­lected.

The cen­ter will em­ploy at least 794 new full-time work­ers and re­tain 47 ex­ist­ing jobs by the end of 2017. The com­pany has pledged to fill at least 70 per­cent of its new jobs in Austin with lo­cally hired work­ers. Many of those are ex­pected to be in soft­ware devel­op­ment re­lated to the fi­nan­cial ser­vices and prod­ucts that Visa sup­ports world­wide.

The com­pany, which does busi­ness in 200 coun­tries, runs the world’s largest pay­ment net­work, which is ca­pa­ble of han­dling more than 20,000 trans­ac­tions per sec­ond.

The fact that the build– ing in Austin was al­ready built and just needs ren­o­va­tions al­lowed Visa to of­fer a wage floor for con­struc­tion work­ers, the com­pany said. If it had been an en­tirely new build­ing, it would not have made a wage floor of­fer be­cause that would have in­volved sub­stan­tial ad­di­tional cost, ac­cord­ing Brad By­ers, head of the com­pany’s real es­tate fa­cil­i­ties for the Amer­i­cas re­gion.

The Austin City Coun­cil is ex­pected to vote in Jan­uary on a pro­posal to re­quire com­pa­nies that get lo­cal tax in­cen­tives to agree to pro­vide an $11-an-hour floor wage both for full-time work­ers hired and for work­ers em­ployed by re­lated con­struc­tion work.

“Visa is con­tin­u­ally look­ing for op­por­tu­ni­ties to add world-class tal­ent to our or­ga­ni­za­tion,” com­pany spokesman Will Valen­tine said in a state­ment. “Austin of­fers a vi­brant tech­nol­ogy com­mu­nity and busi­ness­friendly cli­mate.”

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