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

3 comments

  1. amanaplanacanalpanama says:

    These things you speak of, “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” do they exist somewhere in California? These are the very qualities that the economic development recruiter from Texas told me would await me if I moved my business from Los Angeles to Houston.

    I say you crash that party Mr. Dayton!

  2. […] This 300 megawatt natural gas-fired power plant was built under a Project Labor Agreement demanded by California Unions for Reliable Energy (CURE), as I described in my August 9, 2012 web post “Excluded! I’m Not One of the 300 Guests Invited by the Northern California Power Agency to Attend ….” […]

  3. […] Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust was supposed to be $150,000, but aggressive opposition to the Project Labor Agreement forced the unions to cut it down to $90,000 in order to win approval from the board of […]