The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC) remains determined to see that the California Administrative Office of the Courts and the Judicial Council of California are accountable to the judicial branch and to the public for a behind-the-scenes deal to require construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions as a condition of working on the $600 million New San Diego County Central Courthouse. For more information on how this scheme was discovered, see Union Quest for Project Labor Agreements from Judicial Council of California and Administrative Office of the Courts Succeeds with San Diego County Central Courthouse.
The Judicial Council of California has received public comments from three groups opposing the Project Labor Agreement in advance of its June 28, 2013 meeting in San Francisco.
On June 20, 2013, San Diego construction companies and their employees held a press conference and rally opposing the decision of California’s judicial branch to give unions monopoly control of this major state project in a city and a county where voters banned government-mandated Project Labor Agreements on city and county projects. See the press release announcing this gathering at Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction to Hold Press Conference – June 20, 2013 at 11:00 a.m. – Condemning San Diego Courthouse Project Labor Agreement.
Judges, prominent San Diego business and government leaders, and ordinary taxpayers have now received a mailer about the Project Labor Agreement. A press release from the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC) announcing the mailer is below.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
June 24, 2013
Contact: Eric Christen, (858) 431-6337
Mailers Hit the Judges: Courthouse Construction in California Now Favors Unions
Costs Will Rise After Project Labor Agreement Repels Potential Bidders
Increasing Risk to Public Safety
The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC) has sent mailers to California taxpayers and key stakeholder groups announcing a secret sweetheart deal between the California Administrative Office of the Courts (AOC) and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California. View the mailer here.
Allegedly requested by the state’s central lobbying group for construction unions, this deal requires all construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with unions as a condition of working on the $600 million new San Diego Central Courthouse. It gives unions monopoly control over the construction workforce for this project.
The Judicial Council of California, comprising the leadership of the state’s judicial system, has never deliberated on union agreements for courthouse construction contracts. This deal happened behind the scenes, out of sight of the public.
“The Administrative Office of the Courts has done very little to inform judges – or the public – in California that it’s now wheeling and dealing with construction union lobbyists,” said Eric Christen, executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction. “We’re letting the judges – and the public – know that the court system is scheming behind the scenes to cut competition and increase costs of construction on this courthouse project.”
Christen points out that the union-exclusive Project Labor Agreement is happening in a city whose citizens are quite educated on the issue of PLAs and who oppose them.
“Staff did so little homework before rushing headlong into this scheme that they failed to even consider the fact they are pushing this PLA in a city that one year ago voted 58% to 42% to ban PLAs.” added Christen. “People here understand what PLAs represent: Higher costs and discrimination.”
The decision of the Administrative Office of the Courts to adopt a costly union contracting requirement on the new San Diego Central Courthouse is particularly surprising, because this proposed project has been substantially reduced in size and function to reduce the cost.
“Even the internal staff reports acknowledge the danger of increased costs resulting from this union deal,” said Christen. “Something compelled the Administrative Office of the Courts to start guaranteeing work to unions. This does not bode well for the future fiscal responsibility of the state’s judicial system.”
The mailers that CFEC sent out are part of a broader effort to educate the AOC’s Judicial and Facilities Working Group Committees on what is being done in their name, and that it will not pass quietly.
For more information contact Eric Christen at (858) 431-6337 or visit CFEC’s website at www.opencompca.com.