Tonight at the Crown Cove Aquatic Center in Coronado, the Governing Board of the Southwestern Community College District (based in Chula Vista) voted 4-1 for a resolution to negotiate a “Community Benefits Agreement” (aka Project Labor Agreement) with construction unions in the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council for projects funded by Proposition R, a $389 million bond measure approved by 71% of district voters in the November 2008 election. (The student representative also voted for the resolution.)
The ballot measure and arguments did NOT indicate possible consideration of a requirement for construction companies to sign a union agreement to work on Proposition R projects. See my earlier blog post about the Project Labor Agreement threat for Southwestern Community College District here.
The San Diego Union-Tribune published an editorial today (June 13, 2012) entitled “Southwestern College Risks Its Momentum” against the government-mandated Project Labor Agreement proposal. The Union-Tribune had endorsed Proposition R in 2008, noting in an October 18, 2008 editorial that “The untold story is of a community college that used its funds wisely from the Proposition AA bond issue of 2000. Every project from that bond issue has finished on time and under budget. That’s a testament to John Wilson, in charge of facilities planning…We do recommend a yes vote on Proposition R, Southwestern College bond issue.”
Subsequently, the college’s construction program became tangled in inappropriate and questionable practices concerning contract awards, resulting in indictments in January 2013.
It’s a shame that the governing board has proceeded with a plan to give construction trade unions a Project Labor Agreement at this sensitive time. Project Labor Agreements are routinely associated with fiscally irresponsible, mismanaged local governments with little accountability to the citizens they serve. Requiring construction companies to sign Project Labor Agreements with unions as a condition of work smacks of favoritism and sends the wrong message.
The elected Governing Board voted as follows:
Up for Re-Election in November 2012
Jean Roesch – Seat 1 – NO
Humberto Peraza – Seat 3 – YES
Up for Re-Election in November 2014
Terri Valladolid – Seat 2 – YES
Norma L. Hernandez – Seat 4 – YES
Tim Nader – Seat 5 – YES