Archive for Labor-Management Cooperation Committees

Morning View Studios in Dixon: A Union Project Labor Agreement on an Imaginary Project?

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Northern California was stunned last weekend when the Sacramento Bee published an extensive investigative report about the developer of Morning View Studios, a proposed $2.8 billion film studio planned for 300 acres, or maybe even 548 acres, in and near the City of Dixon, in Solano County, west of Sacramento. Reading the June 2, 2013 report (Hollywood Coming to Dixon? Executive’s Financial Troubles Raise Questions) is a painful experience if you empathize with the people who were apparently lured or duped into a scheme that was too good to be true.

The report and related news articles have inspired numerous reader comments referring to the plot of the musical The Music Man or to TV shows in which con artists routinely swoop into small towns to try to victimize the local citizenry. One June 2 armchair psychiatrist, going by the moniker WALLYSMOM, suggested the article evoked “a picture perfect example of someone with Histrionic Personality Disorder with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.” (Refer to the DSM for more details.)

I’ve been watching this project because it has been aggressively promoted by officials with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Union Local No. 180, which has jurisdiction in Solano and Napa Counties. Supposedly there was a Project Labor Agreement for the construction of Morning View Studios. (Who negotiated and signed it?)

This is not the first time the IBEW Local 180 has been caught in a large proposed project in Dixon that collapsed in the end. In November 2004, Mike Smith (Michael C. Smith), a business development official with the IBEW Local 180, was elected to the Dixon City Council. During his one term in office, a now-bankrupt Canadian company called Magna Entertainment Corporation proposed a horse racetrack with associated hotel and retail development in Dixon. Unions supported the development after the company committed to sign a Project Labor Agreement for the $250 million Dixon Downs development, and the city council approved the project 4-1. Dixon residents qualified a ballot referendum to stop the project, and in April 2007, 53% of the 5,340 voters overturned the city council votes and ended the dream.

See below for the two educational mailers sent from the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction and what is now the Northern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) to the residents of Dixon informing them about the Project Labor Agreement for Dixon Downs and encouraging them to start asking questions about the behind-the-scenes deal. A press release explains the mailers.

In the early 2010s, a woman claiming to represent big-money entertainment interests proposed building a film studio in Dixon, without need of public subsidies. The economic opportunities for this project obviously got local people very excited, including IBEW Local 180 officials. A major unionized California general contractor, Rudolph & Sletten, became involved as the chosen construction company for the massive project. At the heart of this effort was the aspiration of the IBEW Local 180 leadership that the union would get guaranteed construction work with a Project Labor Agreement and studio work with a Master Labor Agreement.

Here’s the union angle as Morning View Studios moved forward, with key points highlighted in red:

1. IBEW Local 180 Newsletter September-October 2012

Dan Broadwater, Business Manager: I have been working with Morning View Studios for over two years now to bring a facility to our jurisdiction…One of the concerns is the additional cost of a City Planner to process the documentation and follow through the entitlement process. Through our Market Recovery program and the buy in from our Nor Cal NECA partnership, we will assist the City of Dixon in funding the cost of a Planner with a wage and benefit package to get this done. This along with contributions from our Building Trades affiliates to assist with this cost will pay dividends for years to come on not only the new construction but the set work that will be on going at the studios.

It appears a Labor-Management Cooperation Committee was going to reimburse the City of Dixon for the staff costs of preparing this project. These union-affiliated committees are obscure; go to www.LaborManagementCooperationAct.com for an explanation. “Nor Cal NECA” refers to the Northern California Chapter of the National Electrical Contractors Association, a trade association for unionized electrical contractors.

I submitted a public records request about this to the City of Dixon in September 2012 and received a response in February 2013 stating there weren’t any records concerning such a transaction.

2. IBEW Local 180 Newsletter November-December 2012

Morning View Studios in Dixon

Things were moving along great before this Measure N hit Morning View. Deals were struck with the landowners that covered 800 acres of land. The City provided a letter to fast track and streamline the process. Financing is in place, the PLA is done and we are ready to move forward. We were helping Morning View through the approval process so things did not get “hung up”. Then bam, we hit the wall and need your help like never before. This project is currently at a stand still due to Measure N. Measure N kills business and thus jobs; that is an understatement….

Our role currently is to support the No on Measure N campaign and we desperately need members’ support. We were asked to help walk precincts in Dixon, only two brothers helped. Folks, Morning View has signed a PLA to build AND operate this studio with 100% UNION people. We are talking about 1000 construction jobs short-term (2 years) and 300 full-time long-term jobs. Can we get you to help a brother out?

If we do not step up and show human support and kill Measure N, we lose big. Not only the project, but the fact our word of “support” is worthless. It pains me to be that direct but the Local’s reputation is on the line…

January 24, 2013 Morning View Film Studio Update – Mike Smith’s Blog – Dixon California Patch

Comment posted by Mike Smith in response to a critical comment about his blog post:

Both people with and without union membership will have an opportunity to work on the construction of the project. Many private businesses will be supportive vendors to the studio. But to work for the studio – you have to be union – that is what Morning View requires. We have had nonmembers working on PLA’s in the past – membership is not a requirement to get a job through the IBEW and many other unions. Building green requires sourcing materials and labor as close to a project as possible. To assure this, you use specifications for materials and a PLA for labor. A new blog on who will use the studio is coming soon. Mike Smith

The June 2, 2013 Sacramento Bee article exposing the background of the studio developer noted the heavy involvement of the IBEW Local 180:

Among the project’s most ardent supporters in Solano County have been officials with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers. On local websites, and at public meetings, union leaders have extolled the virtues of the project and urged public support.

Robert W. Naylor, Carpenter’s Morning View attorney and a former state legislator, recently told The Bee that the IBEW is “prepared to make a major investment of their pension fund” into the movie studio project.

Dan Broadwater, business manager of IBEW Local 180, referred calls to Naylor.

Did the IBEW or NECA-IBEW invest anything in the end? Was there really a Project Labor Agreement? Will everything end up OK, as it did in The Music Man?

Mailers Informing the Residents of the City of Dixon about the Project Labor Agreement on the Proposed Dixon Downs Development of Magna Entertainment Corporation

Read the press release explaining the 2007 Dixon Downs Project Labor Agreement mailers.

Dixon Downs Project Labor Agreement Mailer #1 2007 Front

Dixon Downs Project Labor Agreement Mailer #1 2007 Back

Dixon Downs Project Labor Agreement Mailer #2 2007 Front

Dixon Downs Project Labor Agreement Mailer #2 2007 Back

Opponents of CEQA Reform Cite New Study with Union Connections (Who Wrote It, Who Paid for It?) – My Article in www.UnionWatch.org

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My article Opponents of CEQA Reform Cite New Study with Union Connections was posted on www.UnionWatch.org on March 12, 2013. Here’s the introduction:

A broad coalition opposing any changes to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) held a press conference today (March 12, 2013) that included the findings of a newly-released study, The Economic and Environmental Impact of the California Environmental  Quality Act.

The study was written by a University of Utah professor with a long history of academic work biased toward the construction union agenda. It was funded by the union-affiliated California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Trust. Study results were summarized at the press conference by Bob Balgenorth, chairman of the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust and the former head of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California.

Read the full article here: Opponents of CEQA Reform Cite New Study with Union Connections

Updated Chart! Who’s Paying to Convince Solano County Voters to Take On $348 Million of Additional Debt – Plus Interest – with Measure Q?

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The Fairfield Daily Republic reported today (October 30, 2012) that “supporters of Solano Community College’s Measure Q brought in more than $80,000 in the latest filing period, mostly from firms from outside Solano County…For the latest period, nearly every large donation came from a company or individual donor from outside of Solano County.” (See Measure Q Funding Continues to Grow.)

Say "No" to $348 Million Bond - No on Q - Taxed Enough Already!

Say “No” to $348 Million Bond – No on Q – Taxed Enough Already!

How is the opposition doing? Well, it’s definitely local. According to the article, “The No on Q campaign received and spent less than $1,000, thus isn’t required to report finances at this time. According to John Takeuchi, the Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group spent $590 on a sticker ad and small yard signs.”

Measure Q would authorize the Governing Board of the Solano Community College District to borrow $348 million for construction by selling bonds to investors. The Solano Community College District Governing Board required contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions in order to work on projects funded by Measure G, which authorized the Governing Board to borrow $124.5 million for construction by selling bonds. (See my October 21, 2012 report A Thoroughly Documented History of How Solano Community College Requires Contractors to Sign a Project Labor Agreement with Unions.)

Here is the complete list of contributions to Yes on Measure Q:

DONOR INTEREST AMOUNT
Piper Jaffray Investment Bank/Bond Broker $25,000
Kitchell Construction Construction Manager for Solano College Measure G $25,000
RBC Capital Markets Investment Bank/Bond Broker $18,000
Swinerton Construction Management $15,000
Steve M. Nielsen, MuniBond Solar Bond consultant $10,000
Steinberg Architects Architect $10,000
VBN Architects Architect $10,000
tBP Architecture Architect $7,500
Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Construction trade union $5,000
Sonoma/Napa Counties Electrical Contractors Construction trade union-affiliated Labor-Management Cooperation Committee $5,000
[Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 104] Bay Area Industry Promotion Fund Construction trade union-affiliated Labor-Management Cooperation Committee $5,000
Robert A. Bothman Construction Construction contractor $5,000
Stradling , Yocca, Carlson and Rauth Law firm $3,500
WRNS Studio Architect $3,500
Barnes & Noble corporate headquarters Operates Solano College bookstore $3,000
Zampi Determan & Erickson Law firm for community college districts $3,000
Keenan and Associates Insurance broker for school districts $2,500
CSDA Architects Architect $2,500
Alfa Tech Engineering $2,500
Sandis Civil Engineers Engineering $2,500
Northern California Mechanical Contractors Association Unionized construction trade association $2,500
Lionakis Architect $2,500
B&L Properties Property holding company in Fairfield $2,500
Dannis Woliver Kelley Law firm for school & college districts $2,500
Henley Architects & Associates Architect $1,600
Cement Masons Local Union No. 400 Construction trade union $1,000
BCA Architects Architect $1,000
William (Bill) T. Kelly, executive with SunPower Solar contractor $1,000
Stafford King Wiese Architects Architects $1,000
The Lew Edwards Group Political consulting firm in Oakland, works to pass bond measures $1,000
LPAS Architect $1,000
Roy Stutzman Consulting Financial consulting for school & college districts $1,000
Student Insurance Insurance company for school districts $1,000
KPW Structural Engineers Engineering $750
Creegan + D’Angelo Infrastructure Engineers Engineering $500
MatriScope Engineering Laboratories Engineering $500
Devin Conway, engineer for Verde Design, Inc. Landscape architect, engineering, construction management $500
Turley & Associates Mechanical Engineering Group Engineering $500
Noll & Tam Architect $500
Optimal Inspections Inspector $500
Kurt Forsgren, executive with Webcor Builders Construction contractor $500
Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin Metz & Associates Polling firm for political campaigns $500
Andre Stewart, The Doctors Company Candidate for Benicia School Board $250
Gary Moriarty, executive with Kitchell Construction management $250
Teresa Ryland, executive, TRR School Business Consulting Consultant for education administrators $250
Thorton Tomasetti Engineering $250
Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers Local Union No. 3 Construction trade union $200
Blach Construction Construction contractor $200
CSW/Stuber-Stroeh Engineering Group Engineering $100
Marsha Perry Park, executive with Vanir Group Construction management $100
Jason Reiser, engineer with Miyamoto International Engineering $100
Law Offices of Larry Frierson Lawyer for community college districts $100
Elñora Tena Webb, President, Laney College Peralta Community College administrator $100
Yulian Lisioso Solano College Administrator $100
Sarah Chapman Solano College Board Member $100
Rosemary Thurston Solano College Board Member $100
Anne Marie Young Solano College Board Member $100
James Dekloe Solano College Faculty Member $100
TOTAL $190,250

Sources: Campaign Finance Report through September 30, 2012Campaign Finance Report through October 20, 2012.

Gee, Do You Think a Charter Is a Meaningful Way for California Cities to Pursue Fiscal Responsibility? $500,000 of Union Opposition Confirms It.

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Obviously a 4-1 majority on the Costa Mesa City Council has discovered a truly effective way in California to use taxpayer money wisely and responsibly. The evidence: labor unions and their allied organizations have raised almost $500,000 to convince Costa Mesa voters to reject Measure V, which would enact a city charter.

Charters currently give 121 California cities the authority to determine their own policies concerning their purely municipal affairs. It is a right given to cities in the California Constitution.

Unions hate charters because they give power to cities to circumvent costly union-backed state mandates imposed by the California State Legislature, such as government-mandated construction wage rates (so-called “prevailing wages”). See Are Charter Cities Taking Advantage of State-Mandated Construction Wage Rate (“Prevailing Wage”) Exemptions?

So how much money have groups reported raising and spending against Measure V as of October 20, 2012?

1. $359,634.74 (including $18,834.74 of non-monetary contributions) has been collected by “Taxpayers for Open and Accountable Government, No on Measure V, sponsored by the Orange County Employees Association.” This includes the following contributions from labor unions:

  • $274,634.74 from the Orange County Employees Association
  • $20,000 from the Orange County Professional Firefighters Association
  • $10,000 from the California Federation of Teachers
  • $5,000 from the Orange County Labor Federation AFL-CIO
  • $5,000 from the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals

It has spent $278,411.32 against Measure V as of October 20, 2012.

2. $110,000.00 (including $10,000.00 of non-monetary contributions) has been collected by “Committee for Costa Mesa’s Future – No on V – Sponsored by Labor and Management Organizations.” All of this money came from the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Committee. (See my article Union Slush Fund Sends Mailers to Costa Mesa Residents Attacking Measure V, the Proposed Charter.) It has spent $56,291.23 as of October 20, 2012.

3. $8,229.30 has been SPENT by “Costa Mesans 4 Responsible Government (CM4RG)” against Measure V. This back-to-Big Labor-as-usual organization has collected a total of $39,439.67. Besides opposing Measure V, this group is trying to get a slate of three pro-union, anti-charter candidates elected to replace three fiscally responsible, pro-charter incumbent city council members. Note that these candidates are also expressing opposition to Measure V in the context of their own campaigns.

Who’s Paying to Convince Sacramento Voters to Take On $414 Million of Additional Debt – Plus Interest – with Measures Q and R?

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Measures Q and R on the November 6, 2012 ballot ask Sacramento voters to let the Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Trustees borrow a total of $414 million for construction by selling bonds to institutional investors. Sacramento taxpayers must pay this money back to the investors – with interest! It will cost at least $734 million – perhaps more if the district is lured into selling Capital Appreciation Bonds.

The opposition web site to Measures Q and R: www.fairandopencompetitionsacramento.com

Here are a couple of my observations about contributions to the campaign, based on the Sacramento City Unified School District – Yes on Q and R Campaign Form 460 – through September 30 2012 and the Sacramento City Unified School District – Yes on Q and R Campaign Form 460 – through October 20 2012.

1. This Campaign Is a Sitting Duck for Accusations of “Pay-to-Play”

Here’s a list of all of the campaign contributors through October 20, 2012, with links to the company web sites, the amounts contributed, and the business interest of the contributor.

DONOR INTEREST AMOUNT
Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union No. 447 Construction trade union $25,000
Lozano Smith Law firm for school districts $10,000
Cumming Construction management $5,000
California Association of Realtors Selling houses and protecting interests at the state capitol $5,000
Landmark Construction Construction company – built past SCUSD schools without and then with a Project Labor Agreement $5,000
Lionakis Architect $5,000
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe Bond counsel $5,000
Sacramento-Sierra’s Building and Construction Trades Council Construction trade unions $2,500
[Central Valley Sheet Metal Industry] Labor Management Cooperation Trust Union-affiliated labor-management cooperation committee $2,500
DLR Group Architect $1,500
Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Construction trade union $1,000
Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 District 80 Construction trade union $1,000
Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard Law firm for school districts $500
Loan from Patrick Kennedy for SCUSD Board of Education School board member’s political campaign fund $528
Williams + Paddon Architects + Planners Architect $500
Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers Local Union No. 3 Construction trade union $250
Other $25
TOTAL $70,303.00

2. Another Labor-Management Cooperation Committee Contributes to a Campaign

How many people in Sacramento know about the Central Valley Sheet Metal Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust? There’s only one place on the web where you’ll read about labor-management cooperative trusts, and you’re reading it now. These trusts are arcane entities authorized by the obscure Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978, a law signed by President Jimmy Carter and implemented by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. There are no federal or state regulations specifically addressed toward these trusts, and these trusts do not have any reporting requirements to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

$348 Million Measure Q for Solano Community College: Yes on Q Campaign Fails to Submit Latest Legally-Required Campaign Finance Report

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UPDATE: The Yes on Q campaign for Solano Community College District submitted its overdue Form 460 today (Monday, October 29, 2012). Better late than never.

As of October 20, 2012, the campaign has raised over $200,000. Big contributions between October 1 and October 20 include $15,000 from Swinerton (a construction management firm) and $10,000 from MuniBond Solar, run by someone named Steve Nielsen, which has collaborated with companies such as SunPower Corp to secure “Qualified Energy Conservation Bonds” (QECBs) for several California educational districts. (An executive with SunPower Corp also contributed $1000.) As shown in this May 2, 2012 Solano Community College Financial and Budget Planning Advisory Council meeting, MuniBond Solar wants a relationship with Solano Community College District.

Other contributors include the usual suspects: architects, construction trade unions, and unionized construction associations that look forward to a Project Labor Agreement.


Yesterday (October 26, 2012) I went to the Solano County Registrar of Voters office to obtain the paper copies of the Form 460 reports that the “Yes on Q – Solano College” campaign must legally submit to the county. These reports are meant to inform the public about campaign receipts and expenditures. The staff there was quite professional and helpful, but I left knowing that the Yes on Q campaign was breaking the law and getting away with it.

Measure Q asks Solano County voters to let the Solano Community College District Governing Board borrow $348 million for construction by selling bonds to institutional investors. Solano County taxpayers must pay this money back to the investors – with interest! It will cost at least $500 million – perhaps more if the district is lured into selling Capital Appreciation Bonds.

The Solano Community College District Governing Board wants to borrow $346 million by selling bonds

The Solano Community College District Governing Board wants to borrow $348 million by selling bonds.

The Solano College governing board voted 6-1 in 2003 and 2004 to require its construction contractors to sign Project Labor Agreements with unions as a condition of working on projects funded by bonds authorized by the $124.5 million Measure G, barely approved by 55.6% of Solano County voters in November 2002. A majority of governing board members are likely to again make a deal to give unions control of additional projects funded by Measure Q. Project Labor Agreements raise costs and cut competition, as shown by the failure of the Project Labor Agreement pilot project at Solano Community College in 2005. (No one on the board cared at the time.)

The Yes on Q campaign finance report for the period from October 1 to October 20 was due by October 25, but it was not at the Solano County Registrar of Voters on October 26. After further inquiry, I learned this afternoon that an official of the Solano County Registrar of Voters had contacted the treasurer of the ”Yes on Q – Solano College” campaign to check on the status and was told the report would not be turned in until Monday or Tuesday of next week.

So much for openness and transparency for citizens as they fill out their absentee ballots this weekend. I guess the local newspapers won’t be informing the voters in their Sunday editions who is giving to the Yes on Q campaign and who is getting from the Yes on Q campaign. Does anyone care?

I did get a copy of the campaign finance report of the “Yes on Q Solano College” for the period from July 1, 2012 to September 30, 2012. Here are a few items of interest:

1. This Campaign Is a Sitting Duck for Accusations of “Pay-to-Play”

Here’s a list of all of the campaign contributors through September 30, 2012, with links to the company web sites, the amounts contributed, and the business interest of the contributor.

DONOR INTEREST AMOUNT
Piper Jaffray Investment Bank/Bond Broker $25,000
Kitchell Construction Construction Manager for Solano College Measure G $25,000
RBC Capital Markets Investment Bank/Bond Broker $18,000
Steinberg Architects Architect $10,000
VBN Architects Architect $10,000
[Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 104] Bay Area Industry Promotion Fund Construction trade union-affiliated Labor-Management Cooperation Committee $5,000
Stradling, Yocca, Carlson and Rauth Bond counsel – worked before with Solano College on bond sales $3,500
Keenan and Associates Insurance broker for school districts $2,500
B&L Properties Property holding company in Fairfield $2,500
Dannis Woliver Kelley Law firm for school & college districts $2,500
The Lew Edwards Group Political consulting firm in Oakland, works to pass bond measures $1,000
LPAS Architect $1,000
Roy Stutzman Consulting Financial consulting for school & college districts $1,000
Student Insurance Insurance company for school districts $1,000
Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin Metz & Associates Polling firm for political campaigns $500
Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers Local Union No. 3 Construction trade union $200
Sarah Chapman Solano College Board Member $100
Rosemary Thurston Solano College Board Member $100
Anne Marie Young Solano College Board Member $100
James Dekloe Solano College Faculty Member $100
TOTAL $109,100

There’s very little financial participation in this campaign from anyone in Solano County, but there is much interest from various professional service firms that do business with Solano Community College District and/or want business if voters approve Measure Q and let the Governing Board sell $348 million in bonds. I guess that’s how the world works, but taxpayers will pay the bill.

2. Underwriters Among Top Contributors – These Firms Get Fees When Selling Bonds

After the investment bank/bond underwriter Piper Jaffray got smacked around along with other financial service firms earlier this year about contributing to campaigns for bond measures for which it subsequently became the underwriter for those bonds, I figured that firm would back off from the practice. I was wrong.

Piper Jaffray $25,000 campaign contribution to Yes on Measure Q Solano College November 2012

Piper Jaffray $25,000 campaign contribution to Yes on Measure Q – Solano College (November 2012)

Piper Jaffray is tied with Kitchell Construction – the construction management firm for Solano Community College’s Measure G (2002) program – for making the largest contribution to the Yes on Q campaign.

3. Another Labor-Management Cooperation Committee Contributes to a Campaign.

Bay Area Industry Promotion Fund - $5000 Contribution to the Yes on Measure Q Solano College

Bay Area Industry Promotion Fund – $5000 Contribution to Yes on Measure Q Solano College

I snickered when I saw this one: how many people in Solano County know about the Bay Area Industry Promotion Fund? There’s only one place on the web where you’ll read about labor-management cooperative trusts, and you’re reading it now. These trusts are arcane entities authorized by the obscure Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978, a law signed by President Jimmy Carter and implemented by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. There are no federal or state regulations specifically addressed toward these trusts, and these trusts do not have any reporting requirements to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

This committee receives employer payments as indicated in the Master Labor Agreement negotiated between the Sheet Metal and Air Conditioning Contractors’ National Association (SMACNA) and the Sheet Metal Workers International Association Local Union No. 104. Here are references to the Bay Area Industry Promotion Fund in their Master Labor Agreement. It says the fund pays to replace stolen tools, but says nothing about political contributions, of course. Note also that employer payments to the Bay Area Industry Promotion Fund are incorporated as part of “Other” into the State of California’s government-mandated construction wage rates (so-called “prevailing wages”).

4. If Yes on Q Raised $109,100 by September 30, 2012, How Was It Spent?

Solano County newspapers have noted the lack of visible campaign activity in support of Measure Q. In fact, this situation apparently deprived Yes on Q of an endorsement from the Vacaville Reporter newspaper:

The Reporter Editorial Board likes the vision and very much wants to support it. But board members have qualms about this bond. The impact of the state’s fiscal mess has meant the college can’t afford to operate the programs it has now. Is it wise to add new programs before the state’s budget is under control?

There are also qualms about the way the bond campaign has been mishandled. In July, when the Editorial Board supported trustees’ decision to put the bond on the ballot, it was with the caveat that an aggressive campaign be mounted to educate the community about its need.

Instead, the campaign has been lackluster and late, not ratcheting up until after mail-in ballots were already out. Where are the trustees, who can speak as individuals in support of the measure and who should have lined up supporters to drive it? Where are the other public agencies and private businesses that stand to benefit from these plans? Where is the faculty, whose union put on a get-out-the-vote drive for Propositions 30 and 32 without even mentioning Measure Q in its publicity? Does the lack of organization in the campaign reflect a lack of organization and follow-through by campus leaders?

I drove on the major thoroughfares of Vacaville, Fairfield, and Vallejo on October 26. I only saw THREE signs supporting Measure Q – all close to the entrance to the main Solano Campus campus in Fairfield.

An elusive Yes on Q campaign sign in Solano County.

An elusive Yes on Q campaign sign in Solano County.

Not that I put much value on campaign signs stuck in public areas, but I would have expected more for a campaign that already had over $100,000 by the end of September. This lack of visibility is so pitiful that it was tied with the three No on Q signs I saw in Solano County. That campaign is a small, committed group of informed local taxpayer activists with very little money to spend.

Say "No" to $348 Million Bond - No on Q - Taxed Enough Already!

Say “No” to $348 Million Bond – No on Q – Taxed Enough Already!

The September 30 campaign report for Yes on Q shows about $25,000 spent on consultants, slate mailers, some apparent development of signs and mailers, and people at phone banks. It will be interesting to see how the remaining money was spent, provided the Yes on Q campaign ever submits its campaign finance reports.

Union Slush Fund Sends Mailers to Costa Mesa Residents Attacking Measure V, the Proposed Charter

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UPDATE (October 23, 2012): news coverage of the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust contributions against Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa:

Trade, Labor Groups Spending Big to Defeat Costa Mesa Charter - Orange County Register – October 18, 2012

Construction industry trade groups and labor unions are spending aggressively against Costa Mesa’s Measure V, the city charter initiative that could severely limit labor unions’ influence. The most money so far has come from the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust, a Sacramento-based organization representing trade unions and major companies in the construction industry. It has contributed $100,000 this year to fight the measure, according to city campaign finance filings…

The money from outside groups has infuriated Councilman Jim Righeimer, the proposed charter’s architect and its chief advocate. He said construction labor groups are spending to preserve their high wages, as the charter would abolish the city’s requirement to pay a union-level wage for city-funded public works projects. ”They don’t want to give up prevailing wage,” Righeimer said. “That’s the whole issue…”

The construction industry group says it is only natural for them to oppose a measure that could lower wages and toss out state rules on public works contracting. Lower wages ultimately harms the local economy, said Bob Balgenorth, chairman of the industry trust. His members “believe that prevailing wage benefits the community…it makes sure that low-wage contractors don’t bring in workers from out-of-state.”

Measure V Becomes a Six-Figure Battle - Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – October 23, 2012

When it comes to Costa Mesa’s charter ballot initiative, organized labor so far has raised more and outspent its opposition, campaign finance records show…The majority has come from the Committee for Costa Mesa’s Future and its $100,000 contribution from the Sacramento-based California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust.

Mayor Pro Tem Jim Righeimer — the architect of the charter, which he contends will lead to taxpayer savings — said the campaign spending demonstrates the outside influence of the labor unions trying to decide city matters.


The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust has provided $100,000 as of September 30, 2012 as the sole donor to “Committee for Costa Mesa’s Future – No on V – Sponsored by Labor and Management Organizations.” This a political committee established to oppose Measure V, the proposed charter on the November 6, 2012 ballot in the City of Costa Mesa, California.

The treasurer for the ”Committee for Costa Mesa’s Future – No on V – Sponsored by Labor and Management Organizations” is Robbie Hunter, head of the Los Angeles-Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council.

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust is a secretive group authorized by the obscure Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978, a law signed by President Jimmy Carter and implemented by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. The head of the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust is Bob Balgenorth, head of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California and California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE).

California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust 2010-2011 Form 990

For information about how this organization gets its money, see my www.UnionWatch.org article Mysterious Union Slush Fund Spends $100,000 Against Costa Mesa Charter.

For more information about this organization spends its money, see my article Where the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust Spends Its Money: Now We See How Unions Spread It.

Here are examples of mail funded by the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust through the “Committee for Costa Mesa’s Future – No on V – Sponsored by Labor and Management Organizations.”

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust funded this mailer opposing Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa, California, in the November 6, 2012 election.

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust funded this mailer opposing Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa, California, in the November 6, 2012 election.

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust funded this mailer opposing Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa, California, in the November 6, 2012 election.

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust funded this mailer opposing Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa, California, in the November 6, 2012 election.

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust funded this mailer opposing Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa, California, in the November 6, 2012 election.

California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust funded this mailer opposing Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa, California, in the November 6, 2012 election.

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust funded this mailer opposing Measure V, the proposed charter in Costa Mesa, California, in the November 6, 2012 election.

 

Feds Need Better Oversight of Labor-Management Cooperation Committees, Such as the Union Slush Fund that Spent $1.1 Million in the June 2012 Election in the City of San Diego

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An August 27, 2012 article on the Investigative Newsource – Southern California web site contains the latest fleeting news reference to the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Trust. The last two paragraphs of “Outside Donors Fuel Prop. Opponents, Fund Mayoral Hopefuls” states the following about Proposition A campaign in the City of San Diego for the June 6, 2012 election:

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust, a nonprofit located in Sacramento that promotes and protects project labor agreements around the state, donated more than $1 million to try unsuccessfully to defeat Prop. A, which banned project labor agreements. The agreements set some of the terms of employment, such as wage rates, on construction projects.

The Trust gets much of its money from laborers themselves. Clauses in some project labor agreements dictate that a portion of money per hour worked goes to the Trust.

The same Investigative Newsource was alone among news media groups in highlighting the extensive campaign involvement of this obscure organization before the June 6, 2012 election. From the May 25, 2012 article “Business Groups, Builders and Labor Battle over Propositions:”

All of the money for the one of the committees opposing Proposition A has come from the same donor.

Since March 18, the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust donated $675,000 to Taxpayers to Preserve Community Jobs.

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust is a tax-exempt Sacramento-based organization, which says its mission is, among other things, to “improve public awareness of the benefit of using organized labor contractors and workers.” The group is not required by the IRS to list specific sources of funding, but in general, it reported on its 2010 tax returns collecting $678,000 in membership dues. It reported more than $3 million in assets.

And the trust fund is also cited in the June 1, 2012 Investigative Newsource article “Fundraising Amps Up for Proposition A, B Committees:”

In the past week, a union trust gave an additional $320,000 into defeating Proposition A, a ballot measure that would ban project labor agreements for San Diego city projects if passed.

That brings to $1.18 million the amount raised by the anti-Prop. A forces, far outpacing the business interests pushing Proposition A. That committee, Fair and Open Competition, has raised $755,000 so far.

Taxpayers to Preserve Community Jobs — an anti-Prop. A committee — has benefited mainly from the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust. The trust is responsible for more than 90 percent of its donations.

The labor trust is “heavily involved” with promoting and protecting project labor agreements (PLAs) around the state, according to secretary/treasurer Scott Strawbridge. A PLA is a type of collective bargaining agreement that a city can enter into with workers for city projects.

“We think (PLAs) are good business for our contractors and union members,” Strawbridge said.

A big part of the money in the trust comes from laborers themselves, he said. Clauses in certain PLAs specify that a small amount of money per hour worked goes into the trust.

The San Diego Union-Tribune briefly and generally mentioned the fund after the election, in the June 7, 2012 article “Impact of Proposition A on State Funds in Dispute:”

The major backer of the No on A campaign was a Sacramento-based group headed by Robert Balgenorth, the president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, a statewide union, which donated $1.1 million to stop it from passing.

This brief public reference was enough to provoke Scott Strawbridge (cited in the Investigative Newsource article above) to defend the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust publicly with an opinion piece in the Union-Tribune. (“In Response: Prop. A Put San Diego Citizens in Difficult Position,” June 22, 2012)

In doing so, he provided a public service in highlighting the unregulated slush fund that spent $1,095,000 to oppose Proposition A, a fair and open competition ordinance approved by 58% of San Diego voters on June 5.

This mysterious, Sacramento-based California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust is authorized by the obscure Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978, a law signed by President Jimmy Carter.

The law lists specific purposes for these trusts: “improving labor-management relationships, job security, organizational effectiveness, enhancing economic development or involving workers in decisions affecting their jobs including improving communication with respect to subjects of mutual interest and concern.” And many trusts operating under this law do just that.

Nevertheless, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust circumvents these purposes without consequence.

The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service hasn’t implemented regulations to monitor or limit how such trusts operate. And these trusts don’t have any reporting requirements to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Management Standards.

Who wouldn’t enjoy having a slush fund with minimal oversight and controls?

The California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust recently gave $100,000 to the Apollo Alliance, $250,000 to a campaign committee opposing reforms to state eminent domain laws, and $770,000 to the biased California Construction Academy of the University of California Miguel Contreras Labor Program. It also gave $164,550 to “Other.”

How does the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust get its money? Do people contribute to it through the goodness of their hearts?

Actually, owners of proposed power plants (and their construction contractors) fund it when they sign Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) that require payments to it.

Power plant owners don’t sign these union agreements because they want union monopolies on construction or appreciate the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust.

Instead, they sign them to discourage California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE) from exploiting environmental laws to interfere with approval of their proposed power plants at the California Energy Commission and other government agencies.

It’s a tangled conspiracy. Especially intriguing is that one union official is the head of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust, and California Unions for Reliable Energy.

Another interesting angle: when publicly-owned utilities sign these Project Labor Agreements, their electric customers ultimately fund the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust through their bills.

Senate Bill 790 – signed into law by Governor Jerrry Brown in 2011 – allows publicly-owned utilities to pass through to ratepayers the cost of payments to trusts authorized by the Labor Management Cooperation Act of 1978.

In its annual Form 990 statements to the IRS, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust classifies its receipts as “membership dues.” How do “members” such as the Northern California Power Agency and the Southern California Public Power Authority decide to contribute $1,095,000 to the No on A campaign in the City of San Diego?

It’s time to stop these abuses. If Mitt Romney is elected President, his appointees to oversee the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service and the Office of Labor Management Standards need to implement reasonable regulations for trusts authorized under the Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978.

Excluded! I’m Not One of the 300 Guests Invited by the Northern California Power Agency to Attend the August 10, 2012 Dedication of the Lodi Energy Center Power Plant

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The Northern California Power Agency’s Lodi Energy Center under construction on July 26, 2011. Notice the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union banner on the left side.

The Northern California Power Agency (NCPA) did not include me among the 300 important people invited to the dedication tomorrow (August 10, 2012) of its new Lodi Energy Center power plant. It’s going to be a celebration, and party-poopers aren’t wanted.

They never liked me anyway. As the NCPA’s State Government Relations Representative wrote in an October 21, 2009 email to another NCPA executive about my former employer, Associated Builders and Contractors: “Associated Builders and Contractors is a right-wing anti-union, anti-regulation trade group…they really must miss Bush.”

Actually, Associated Builders and Contractors supports fair and open competition, freedom of choice for workers concerning their union affiliation and training programs, fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, reasonable regulation, and getting the best quality work at the best price for taxpayers and ratepayers.

These people detested Associated Builders and Contractors because we did our research on this obscure conglomerate of publicly-owned utilities. We tried to make it accountable to electricity ratepayers for surrendering to California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE) and signing a Project Labor Agreement (see it here, and its side letter here) to build the Lodi Energy Center power plant and a Maintenance Labor Agreement (see it here) to give unions a 30-year monopoly on maintenance contract work.

ABC and its allies were able to force the Northern California Power Agency to reconvene its Board of Commissioners in a special conference call meeting to have a re-vote on the Project Labor Agreement. (See below for a summary of what happened.)

We were able to cut the NCPA’s payment to the union-affiliated slush fund from $150,000 to $90,000. (See Section 13.1 of the original rejected Project Labor Agreement and Section 13.1 of the revised approved Project Labor Agreement.)

Then we exposed the lack of documentation concerning claims about local hiring of construction workers and exposed the utter and complete failure of the Helmets to Hardhats commitment in the Project Labor Agreement, even as the Northern California Power Agency was bragging about these achievements in press releases.

Finally, we exposed how the Northern California Power Agency signed a Project Labor Agreement that included a $90,000 payoff to a union-affiliated slush fund called the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Committee. The head of that committee is also the head of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California and the head of California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE). To see how the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Committee spends its money on politics and propaganda, read my May 31, 2012 post, “Where the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust Spends Its Money: Now We See How Unions Spread It.”

I’m sure the NCPA staff and its outside public relations consultants will make sure ratepayers only hear the sunny side of the story on August 10, 2012. They’ll probably invite representatives of California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE) to speak, just like they asked them to speak against us at the November 2, 2009 meeting of the Board of Commissioners.


Union Extortion Succeeds in Second Vote: Northern California Power Agency Approves Union Agreements for Lodi Power Plant – November 2, 2009

Second time is the charm for the union-funded environmental extortionist organization California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE).  At a specially-convened meeting in Roseville on November 2, the 20 commissioners of the Northern California Power Agency (NCPA) voted 9-2 with four abstentions and five absences to approve a costly and discriminatory Project Labor Agreement (PLA) and Maintenance Labor Agreement for the proposed Lodi Energy Center power plant.

The union agreements were rejected at a commissioners meeting on October 23 on a 3-3 vote with five abstentions and nine absences.  The chairman of the NCPA commissioners, Lodi Mayor Larry Hansen, then brought the union agreements up again for a second vote after NCPA staff determined that there was not a quorum for the first vote.

Two commissioners representing the City of Lompoc and the City of Healdsburg changed their votes from NO at the October 23 meeting to YES at the November 2 meeting.  Commissioners from the City of Ukiah and the Power and Water Resources Pooling Authority voted NO at the November 2 meeting.

The Project Labor Agreement includes a $90,000 direct and immediate payment to a union trust fund used by the State Building and Construction Trades for political purposes.

Four contractor association representatives and four industrial contractors spoke at the meeting against the agreement, including a Lodi-based contractor that specializes in power plant construction.  They argued that these union agreements would cut bid competition, raise costs, and prevent ratepayers from getting the best quality construction at the best price.

Supporters of the union agreements emphasized that if the NCPA commissioners did not approve the union agreements, the approval of the power plant would be delayed for at least a year.  California Unions for Reliable Energy routinely uses lawsuits and its intervener status at the California Energy Commission to try to block the approval of energy projects that are bid with open competition.

The Northern California Power Agency (NCPA) is a public consortium based in Roseville that represents and provides support for the public electric utilities of 20 local governments in California.  (See list below.)  Each of these local governments selects and assigns one of their own representatives to serve as an NCPA commissioner.  For more than a year, the NCPA has been seeking a permit from the California Energy Commission (CEC) to build the Lodi Energy Center, a natural gas-fired, combined-cycle electrical generating facility.

Below is the November 2 ROLL CALL VOTE to approve the Project Labor Agreement and Maintenance Labor Agreement with California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE).  The votes in parenthesis were from the October 23 ROLL CALL VOTE.

  1. City of Alameda – Abstained (Abstained)
  2. Bay Area Rapid Transit District – Yes (Absent)
  3. City of Biggs – Absent (Absent)
  4. City of Gridley – Yes (Yes)
  5. City of Healdsburg – Yes (No)
  6. City of Lodi – Yes (Yes)
  7. City of Lompoc – Yes (No)
  8. City of Palo Alto – Abstained (Abstained)
  9. Port of Oakland – Absent (Absent)
  10. City of Redding – Absent (Abstained)
  11. City of Roseville – Abstained (Abstained) – commissioner Carol Garcia made a statement opposing the union agreements, but abstained because Roseville is not a participant in the power plant.
  12. City of Santa Clara – Yes (Yes)
  13. Turlock Irrigation District – Abstained (Abstained)
  14. Truckee-Donner Public Utility District – Absent (Absent)
  15. City of Ukiah – No (No)
  16. Plumas-Sierra Rural Electric Cooperative – Absent (Absent)
  17. City of Azusa* – Yes (Absent)
  18. Modesto Irrigation District* – Yes (Absent)
  19. California Department of Water Resources* – Yes (Absent) – made motion to approve the union agreements.
  20. Power and Water Resources Pooling Authority* – No (Absent) 

*non-member participant

A Convenient Compilation of My Six Recent Campaign Finance Investigative Reports, in One PDF Document for Easy Review and Circulation

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Someone asked me on Monday if Labor Issues Solutions, LLC could compile the Dayton Public Policy Institute’s recent blog posts about campaign finance into one PDF document for easier review and distribution, since no one else is researching and reporting on such matters. Here is a copy of the document, entitled “There’s Nothing Wrong with Letting the People of California Know How Unions Collect Money and Spend It on State and Local Politics.”

Six Recent California Campaign Finance Investigative Reports

Here are the titles of the six investigative reports, with links to five of the original blog posts and the link to the original article in www.FlashReport.org about the radio advertising campaign of Californians Against Identity Theft and Ballot Fraud, supported by labor organizations.

1. Who Defeated the City of Auburn’s Proposed Charter, and How Was It Done? (Answer: Three Union Entities, by Spending $56.40 Per NO Vote). Link to June 11, 2012 Blog Post

2. How Has the No on Proposition A Campaign in the City of San Diego Shelled Out Its Money? An Analysis. Link to June 3, 2012 Blog Post

3. California’s Top Construction Union Boss Opens the Slush Fund Hydrant: $1.14 Million Full-Blast Against San Diego’s Proposition A Voter Initiative. Link to May 29, 2012 Blog Post

4. Where the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust Spends Its Money: Now We See How Unions Spread It. Link to May 31, 2012 Blog Post

5. Investigative Report: Unions Spent $522,500 in Summer 2011 Radio Campaign to Discourage Californians from Exercising Their Right to Petition the Government. Featured Column for May 16, 2012 in www.FlashReport.org. Also, see Kevin Dayton’s full set of FlashReport columns here.

6. Why Have Construction Unions Funded 92 Percent of the Campaign of Placer County Supervisor Candidate Pam Tobin? Link to May 25, 2012 Blog Post

Regrettably, I have not yet analyzed the reports for what was expected to be a close race for the District 2 seat on the Contra Costa County Board of Supervisors between Candace Andersen and Tomi Van De Brooke. It deserves a closer look because of the surprising results of that race on June 5. Andersen blew union-backed Van De Brooke out of the water – Andersen won 60% while Van De Brooke only received only 28% of the vote. See Stunning Vote Gap in Contra Costa Supervisor Race Traced to Multiple Factors – column by Lisa Vorderbrueggen – Contra Costa Times – June 9, 2012.

In the meantime, why is no one else besides the Dayton Public Policy Institute producing this kind of investigative report on campaign finance? Here are my guesses:

  • It takes years of experience to master this kind of arcane research.
  • This kind of research is time-consuming and detailed – overworked, underpaid journalists don’t have the time to do it themselves.
  • People don’t want to pay for this kind of research, because they don’t see how it translates into profit, market advantage, or other “value propositions.”
  • This kind of reporting is too analytical and “boring” to ordinary people and doesn’t attract readers, listeners, or viewers, and therefore it is not generally useful for the media.
  • Business groups, trade associations, 501(c)(3) policy institutes, foundations, and other corporate entities are doing the same thing and don’t want to be subjected to scrutiny themselves in retaliation.
  • Non-profits that focus on campaign finance are usually on the Left of the political spectrum and aren’t inclined to report on union campaign spending, since they regard unions as the voice of the ordinary worker.
  • By the time anyone can adequately analyze spending in a campaign, the campaign is over, the voters have spoken, and the world has moved on to follow the latest hot trend.

Personally, I think this situation is a shame. It reflects some of the fundamental governance problems we have in this state.

Please contact me if you would like to fund this type of investigative work. For now, I’ve been doing it simply based on personal interest and as a strategy to develop credibility as a researcher and reporter on public policies and politics. Yes, I am seeking contracts just like any other small business owner.

Where the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust Spends Its Money: Now We See How Unions Spread It

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As I mentioned in an earlier post, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust is an arcane entity authorized by the obscure Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978, a law signed by President Jimmy Carter and implemented by the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service. There are no federal or state regulations specifically addressed toward these trusts, and these trusts do not have any reporting requirements to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Since its founding in 2006, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust has collected $5,110,095 in receipts, consisting of $2.6 million in seed money from another trust, about $1.7 million in ”membership dues” (paid by power plant owners and contractors as a condition of Project Labor Agreements extracted by California Unions for Reliable Energy), and $450,000 in net investment returns. A chart of the organization’s finances is at the end of this post.

Where does the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust send its millions of dollars? I attempted to find out using the organization’s IRS Form 990s (2011, 2010, 2009, and 2008), state and local campaign finance reports, and other sources. See the list below.

1.  $1,095,000 – Taxpayers to Preserve Community Jobs, No on Measure A, sponsored by labor and management organizations (June 5, 2012 election in City of San Diego)

As of May 25, 2012, the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust has contributed $1,095,000 to the campaign committee opposing Proposition A, a “Fair and Open Competition” measure on the June 5, 2012 ballot in the City of San Diego that would prohibit the city from requiring construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with unions as a condition of working on a taxpayer-funded project. The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust has provided 92% of all receipts for this campaign committee.

2.  $770,000 – UCLA Labor Center (aka UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education), part of the University of California Miguel Contreras Labor Program

The California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust has contributed a cumulative total of $770,000 to the UCLA Labor Center, primarily or exclusively for the establishment and operation of the UCLA Labor Center’s California Construction Academy, a propaganda operation that issues biased studies and bogus reports about construction labor issues using the UCLA name and affiliation.

The UCLA Office of Research Administration’s Office of Contract and Grant Administration received $250,000 in 2010-11, $250,000 in 2009-10, and $150,000 in 2008-09 from the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust. In 2007-08, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust contributed $120,000 for a “Workforce Development Leadership Academy Grant” sent to PO Box 951478 in Los Angeles, zip code 90095. (This is the address for the UCLA Labor Center.)

There seems to be confusion at the UCLA Labor Center about how much the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust has contributed to the UCLA Labor Center’s California Construction Academy. The 2010-11 annual report for the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education recognizes a grant of $450,000 from the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust, but a footnote added on April 4, 2012 indicates that the $450,000 is a cumulative amount for several years, with $180,000 as the actual amount for 2010-11. A press release from the UCLA Labor Center’s California Construction Academy tries to rebut a March 27, 2012 article from www.PublicCEO.com entitled Project Labor Agreement Debate is as Complex as It is Conflicted by stating that “according to the 2009 990 IRS Form, the UCLA Labor Center received $450,000. In fact, when clicking on the document, the amount the Labor Center received was $180,000.” (See this link: Correction on PublicCEO.com Post: CCA Advances Broad Construction Industry InterestsCalifornia Construction Academy: A Project of the UCLA Labor Center – March 27, 2012.) PublicCEO.com then countered with its own correction that stated “Editors note: Originally, the UCLA Annual Report showed a donation of $450,000, as was reported in this article. That was an incorrect total. The report, and this article, now accurately reflect a donation of $250,000. The $450,000 UCLA reported was a total of several years.”

This outfit of five professional staff promotes the political agenda of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, including government-mandated Project Labor Agreements and union control of so-called “green jobs” in the construction industry. The founding Academy Director and Senior Advisor is David Sickler, former Southern California Regional Director of the State Building and Construction Trades Council. The advisory board for the UCLA Center for Labor Research and Education consists extensively of officials representing building trades unions. 

The UCLA Labor Center California Construction Academy was the organization used by the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California to awkwardly and ineffectively challenge a study published in July 2011 by the National University System Institute for Policy Research in San Diego indicating that schools built in California with Project Labor Agreements cost 13%-15% more than schools built under fair and open competition. As part of this response, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust mailed a letter to local elected officials throughout the state attacking the study, and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson mailed a letter to county superintendents and other educational officials attacking the study and providing the report from the UCLA Labor Center California Construction Academy.

3.  $250,000 – No 98/Yes 99 – A Committee of City and County Associations, Taxpayers and Environmental Groups, League of California Cities, Californians for Neighborhood Protection, Coalition of Conservationists

On April 7, 2008, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust contributed $250,000 to this No on 98/Yes on 99 campaign committee to oppose a statewide ballot proposition on the June 2008 ballot that would have restricted the ability of governments to gain possession of private property through eminent domain. The proposition failed – it only received 39% of the vote.

4.  $164,550 – “Other” (?)

The California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust reports that it spent $164,550 on “Other” fees for services (non-employees) in 2010-11. No additional information is given, and these expenditures are not classified as administrative, accounting, or legal services. I’m unable to determine where this money went, but I’m guessing it was used for something political that promoted unions and socked it to California taxpayers. Any ideas?

Contrary to some rumors, “Other” does not appear to be the union front group Citizens Against Identity Theft and Ballot Fraud, sponsored by labor organizations, which funded a radio advertising scam in the summer of 2011 meant to discourage Sacramento and San Diego voters from signing petitions to place Fair and Open Competition measures and a Paycheck Protection initiative on the 2012 ballots. See my post thoroughly outlining this scheme here.

5.  $100,000 – Apollo Alliance

The Apollo Alliance received $75,000 in 2010-11 and $25,000 in 2009-10 from the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust. This is currently a project of the Blue-Green Alliance, a coalition of environmental organizations and unions on a quest to stop global warming through government programs and a union workforce. President Obama’s former “Green Jobs Czar” Van Jones was an influential founder and leader of this organization.

6.  $100,000 – Paxton-Patterson Construction Lab/Shop in San Joaquin County

In 2007-08, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust contributed $100,000 to the San Joaquin Office of Education’s Career and Technical Education Program to establish a Paxton-Patterson Construction Lab/Shop.

The story behind this contribution is a mystery. Public records provided by the San Joaquin Office of Education in October 2011 did not include any documents dated earlier than September 17, 2007, when the former County Superintendent sent a letter to Bob Balgenorth (chairman of the the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust, president of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, and chairman of California Unions for Reliable Energy – CURE) thanking him for the contribution. Surely there was something beforehand that led to a private contribution of $100,000 arriving at the office! Those kinds of checks usually don’t arrive in the mail without extensive solicitation.

In addition, the records did not indicate whether or not the Paxton-Patterson Construction Lab/Shop was ever built. Where are the two plaques celebrating Bob Balgenorth (as referenced in the letter)? When was the photo op? Where are the photos? How was the money spent?

In May 2007, the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 to require contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions as a condition of working on the county’s New Administration Building. (See my post here providing some background on that vote.) Is there a connection between the two incidents? 

7.  $50,000 – Taxpayers to Preserve Community Jobs, No On Measure G, sponsored by labor and management organizations (June 8, 2010 election in City of Chula Vista)

The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperative Trust contributed $50,000 to the campaign committee opposing Proposition G, a “Fair and Open Competition” measure on the June 8, 2010 ballot in the City of Chula Vista that would prohibit the city from requiring construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with unions as a condition of working on a taxpayer-funded project. The funding was in vain, as 56.37% of Chula Vista voters approved the proposed ordinance.

The ordinance is now Chula Vista Municipal Code Section 02-59. At the behest of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, Governor Brown and the Democrat Party leadership in the California State Legislature tried to financially punish the citizens of Chula Vista for enacting this ballot measure with Senate Bill 922 (signed into law in 2011) and Senate Bill 829 (signed into law in 2012). See my blog posts about these laws here and here.

8.  $50,000 – Fresno Area Construction Team (F.A.C.T.)

A group called the Fresno Area Construction Team received $50,000 in 2010-11 from the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Trust to promote union contractors, union construction, and union apprenticeship programs in the Central Valley. It appears to have the involvement of the Sheet Metal Workers Union Local No. 162, Plumbers Union Local No. 246, and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local No. 100. This group advertises, spent $51,862 on “consulting,” and even spent $992 on “travel and entertainment for public officials,” according to this form.

Financials: California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust

Year Gross Receipts Contributions & Grants/Program Service Revenue/Other Investment Income Total Revenue
   $ 2,595,954 “Contribution from Prior Trust”
2007-08  $    593,950  $    283,670  $      97,150  $    380,820
2008-09  $    463,792  $    506,403  $    (42,611)  $    463,792
2009-10  $    522,782  $    274,437  $    200,583  $    475,020
2010-11  $    933,617  $    678,209  $    195,780  $    873,989
Total  $ 5,110,095  $ 1,742,719  $    450,902  $ 2,193,621

 

Year Grants & Similar Amounts Other Expenses Total Expenses
2007-08  $    220,000  $    290,859.  $    510,859
2008-09  $    150,000  $      21,143  $    171,143
2009-10  $    205,000  $      16,839  $    221,830
2010-11  $    375,000  $    234,319  $    609,319
Total  $    950,000  $    563,160  $ 1,513,151

 

Year Revenue Minus Expenses Total Assets
2007-08  $  (130,039)  $ 2,595,954
2008-09  $    292,649  $ 2,888,603
2009-10  $    253,181  $ 3,141,784
2010-11  $    264,670  $ 3,406,454