I don't object to trying to benefit workers from economically poorer areas, but I do object to the way this article treats those areas as synonymous with minority communities.
I mean literally, the article conflates the two (emphasis mine):
The bill approved yesterday in the council’s Housing Affordability, Human Services and Economic Resiliency Committee requires at least 20 percent of the work on city projects costing more than $5 million to be done by people from economically distressed zip codes. Eligible zip codes are those with high numbers of people who are unemployed, don’t have college degrees, and live below 200 percent of the federal poverty level.
Plus, the 20 percent requirement still applies, so workers from minority communities will still be required on projects.
It may be the case that certain minorities are disproportionately represented in economically disadvantaged areas. And if that's the case, then targeting economically disadvantaged areas should disproportionately benefit those minorities, without requiring racial quotas, and that's great! Further, it's not a problem if such a policy also benefits poor communities that happen to be majority white, either.
Further, using terms like "traditionally disadvantaged groups" tends to lead toward the assumption that everyone with the shared characteristic (say, skin tone) requires or deserves your special treatment or sympathy, regardless of their individual circumstances. That sort of behavior makes you the kind of douche that gives otherwise well-meaning liberals a bad reputation. Examining if someone lives in an economically distressed area is not a perfect solution, but it gives a much better rationale for whether a particular individual should benefit from policy prescriptions like government-mandated preferential hiring practices.
While it's fair to draw conclusions from statistical averages for a given demographic, applying those conclusions to every individual in that demographic is just another form of stereotyping.
Finally, the real buried lede here is the involvement of the unions. I don't have anything against unions, but what a nice handout this seems to be for them. Is it fair to say that policy seems to target those from economically disadvantaged areas who also are willing to pay union dues?