Tag Archive for Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council

California Public Agencies Revert to Closed Session When Construction Unions Have a Spat Over Who Gets Taxpayers’ Money

UPDATE (November 13, 2013): At its November 12, 2013 meeting, the board of trustees for Rancho Santiago Community College District voted unanimously to continue a practice adopted in August 2013 not to discuss its Measure Q Project Labor Agreement negotiations in closed session until the college chancellor gets legal clarification from California Attorney General Kamala Harris. An opinion from the Attorney General is not likely to be produced for several months.

Speaking in support of having the discussions in open session was Dave Everett, Government Affairs Director for the Southern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, and Craig Alexander of the Pacific Justice Institute. On behalf of trustee Phil Yarbrough, Alexander wrote a November 5, 2013 memo to the board explaining why discussing Project Labor Agreement negotiations in closed session was not legal.

The head of the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council was at the meeting but didn’t speak. Also silent was board member José Solorio, who is running for California State Senate in 2014 and appears to be the impetus for the Project Labor Agreement.

During his public comments, Dave Everett asked the college to identify its source for the list of local governments that have discussed Project Labor Agreements in closed session. The chancellor responded that staff obtained the list, but Mr. Everett then asked if those governments had indicated their closed session discussions on public meeting agendas. The chancellor did not know. Mr. Everett then expressed concern that the list was provided by a union lawyer based on personal experience and knowledge – not a reliable source of information for making decisions concerning a $198 million bond measure.

In addition, when the board president asked Mr. Everett if he assumed the construction plan would not move forward while the college and unions were negotiating a Project Labor Agreement, Mr. Everett responded by asking “Are they planning the projects with or without a PLA?” The board president replied “I’m not going to tell you that”  and then the Chancellor declared the exchange to be out of order.

Thank you to elected trustee Phil Yarbrough for being a champion of the people on this issue.


There are always a few “people on the fringe” who stubbornly fight for what is right after most people choose to acquiesce to the prevailing culture for their own good and the alleged “common good.” I’m told that a few aggressive opponents of the construction union political agenda are spoiling negotiations for “peace in our time” and making California’s political, corporate, and union leaders very angry.

Construction trade union lobbyists and lawyers are continuing to advance legislative strategies that will neutralize these people, described as “radicals” by one union official. These union strategies eliminate or circumvent structural checks and balances that advocates of fair and open competition use to expose and derail Project Labor Agreements and other union initiatives.

In my September 17, 2013 article in www.UnionWatch.org (California Construction Unions Circumvent Public Scrutiny of Project Labor Agreements), I reported on “the end of public deliberation and votes for Project Labor Agreements in the legislative branch of state and local governments. Instead, backroom deals are made in the executive branch to give unions control of the work.”

Now, in my November 9, 2013 article in www.FlashReport.org entitled Smoothing Over Project Labor Agreement Disputes in Closed Session: The Latest Union Scheme for “Progress” in California, I report that “In order to evade public scrutiny of government-mandated Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for construction contracts, union officials are implementing a strategy to redirect certain discussions of this controversial issue into ‘closed session’ at board meetings of government agencies.” The board of trustees for the Rancho Santiago Community College District will discuss the legality of the practice at its November 12, 2013 meeting.

The public learned about this abuse of “closed session” through my July 23, 2013 article in www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com entitled Project Labor Agreement Negotiations Fail, Government Transparency Is Restored, Ferry Agency Resumes Fair and Open Bid Competition, followed by a July 27, 2013 article in the Vallejo Times-HeraldVallejo Ferry Hub Accord in Jeopardy.

It’s not hard to figure out what’s happening. Ultimately, the negotiation and execution of Project Labor Agreements for government projects will always occur administratively through backroom deals, without unpleasant and embarrassing public discussions and votes. The perspectives of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, Associated Builders and Contractors, certain districts and chapters of Associated General Contractors, the Western Electrical Contractors Association, and local business and taxpayer groups will be moot.

Pugnacious Defense of Economic Freedom in Orange County Can Inspire California’s Free-Market Activists: My Article Today in www.FlashReport.org

Today (March 11, 2013), www.FlashReport.org published my article Pugnacious Defense of Economic Freedom in Orange County Can Inspire California’s Free-Market Activists.

It’s inspired by the current sneaky effort of the Coast Community College District board of trustees to require contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement with the unions of the Los Angeles-Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council as a condition of working on construction projects funded by $698 million in borrowed money authorized by Measure M, approved in November 2012 by 57% of voters in Huntington Beach, Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Seal Beach, Westminster, Garden Grove, and Fountain Valley.

This college district serves a relatively affluent, Republican area. Why are four of the five board members Democrats, at least some of whom are inclined to give unions a monopoly on taxpayer-funded construction? Why doesn’t the one Republican on the college board tell people in the district what is happening, so they can comment on this costly proposal?

For more information, see these articles:

Union Officials and Their Buddies Running Orange County’s Coast Community College District Have Been Sneaking a Project Labor Agreement Past the Public – www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – March 4, 2013

My Email to Orange County’s Coast Community College District Board of Trustees on Their Sneaky Project Labor Agreement for $1 Billion of Taxpayer-Funded Constructionwww.LaborIssuesSolutions.com – March 5, 2013

College District Caught in Labor Agreement Fight – Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot and Huntington Beach Independent – March 8, 2012

In my www.FlashReport.org article, I encourage Orange County Republican activists and other advocates of economic and personal freedom to study and learn from past examples of aggressive campaigns to stop and reverse Project Labor Agreements at local governments such as the County of Orange, Santa Ana Unified School District, and Rancho Santiago Community College District. Make elected officials – Democrats and Republicans – accountable to the people for their votes, as was done with State Senate candidate Ken Maddox in 2004.

Read Pugnacious Defense of Economic Freedom in Orange County Can Inspire California’s Free-Market Activists – www.FlashReport.org – March 11, 2013.

Union Officials and Their Buddies Running Orange County’s Coast Community College District Have Been Sneaking a Project Labor Agreement Past the Public

NEW UPDATE (March 4, 2013): Here are the actions of the board of the Coast Community College District on February 6, 2013 concerning the Project Labor Agreement proposal:

3.04 Explanation of Project Labor Agreements/Continuity of Work Agreements by District General Counsel, Jack P. Lipton

Dr. Jack Lipton provided an overview to the Board of Trustees regarding Project Labor Agreements/Continuity of Work Agreements.

1.08 Public Comment (Items on Open Session Agenda)

  • Steve Young [trial lawyer and failed State Senate candidate]
  • Ray Van der Nat [union lawyer for the Los Angeles and Orange Counties Building and Construction Trade Council]
  • Jim Adams [Orange County representative for the Los Angeles and Orange Counties Building and Construction Trade Council]
  • Ron Miller [executive secretary for the Los Angeles and Orange Counties Building and Construction Trade Council]
  • Doug Mangione [International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union No. 441 official]
  • David Abbott
  • Craig Morrison
  • Glen Nolte [United Association of Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union No. 582]
  • Larry Lindquist
  • Don Summers
  • Dean Mancina [Coast Federation of Educators, AFT Local 1911]

addressed the Board regarding Continuity of Work Agreements.

3.05 a. Consider the Concept of Adopting Continuity of Work and Local Employment Agreements for Coast Community College District Projects Which Spend or Will Spend Any Measure M Funds

b. Discuss Appointing a Land Development/Measure M Committee or a Task Force to Negotiate a Continuity of Work Labor Agreement with the Los Angeles and Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council and the Craft Unions and District Councils Signatory to This Agreement for Approval by the Board of Trustees

After in-depth discussion, on a motion by Trustee Patterson, seconded by Trustee Moreno, the Board voted to appoint a task force consisting of Trustees Grant and Patterson, the Chancellor or his designee, Vice Chancellor Dunn or his designee, Sr. Director of Facilities, Planning and Construction, Jerry Marchbank, a Citizens’ Oversight Committee member once appointed, and District General Counsel, not as a voting member but in an advisory capacity, to explore developing a Continuity of Work and Local Employment Agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council and the Craft Unions and District Councils, which Agreement would be used for all Coast Community College District construction projects which spend or will spend Measure M Funds. It was requested that a status report be brought back to the Board at the April 3, 2013 meeting.

Motion carried with the following vote:

Ayes: Trustees Moreno, Patterson, Prinsky, Hornbuckle, Grant and Keo (5-0)


UPDATE (March 4, 2013): Staff of the Board of Trustees Office of the Coast Community College District just informed me that it is “traditionally not their practice to share information” about the actions at their public board meetings until the board approves the minutes. That includes orally reading me the results of votes. Because the board has not yet approved the minutes of its February 6, 2013 meeting, I will not be able to inform you about the status of the Project Labor Agreement for Coast Community College District at this time.

Sunshine Week is March 10-16, 2013 – “Open government is good government”


To my dismay, on March 2, 2013 I discovered that on January 24, 2013, in a “special meeting,” the board of trustees for the Coast Community College District had scheduled a vote to negotiate a “Continuity of Work and Local Employment Agreement” (aka, a Project Labor Agreement) with unions that construction contractors would have to sign in order to work on future construction funded by Measure M, which authorizes the college district to borrow $698 million for construction by selling bonds to investors.

I’ve reported that construction trade union lobbyists are becoming much more sophisticated about circumventing public opposition and hastily whipping costly government-mandated Project Labor Agreements through elected boards of California local governments.

Unions are now consistently using two political strategies to foil opposition:

(1) Hiding the item in public meeting agendas and associated staff reports by using phony euphemisms for Project Labor Agreements, such as Project Stabilization Agreement, Construction Stabilization Agreement, Community Benefits Agreement, Community Workforce Agreement, Construction Careers Agreement, and Continuity of Work Agreement. They know that the term “Project Labor Agreement” has become familiar enough in California to be instantly associated with controversy and negative attention.

(2) Abruptly scheduling “special meetings” for elected boards to approve mandates for contractors to sign Project Labor Agreements with unions, thus circumventing anyone monitoring local agency meetings based on a routine assigned schedule.

The sneaks fooled the public again.

Measure M was approved by 57% of district voters in November 2012, with no indication in the ballot statements that the district would consider a government-mandated Project Labor Agreement. In 2002, voters approved Measure C, which authorized the district to borrow $370 million for construction by selling bonds to investors. That construction was bid under fair and open competition.

The Coast Community College District encompasses Newport Beach, Costa Mesa, Fountain Valley, Huntington Beach, Seal Beach, Westminster, and Garden Grove. Much of this district includes some of the wealthiest, most Republican cities and neighborhoods in California. This college district even includes The School of Sailing and Seamanship in Newport Beach!

The Orange County Taxpayers Association (OCTax) endorsed Measure M, noting that the Coast Community College District was one of only two educational districts to present ballot measures to the OCTA for review and that it complied with all 13 criteria for support, including #13: “The bond initiative states clearly to voters whether the district plans to build and maintain its bond-financed facilities under a Project Labor Agreement.”

But apparently union lobbyists worked behind the scenes to convince elected and administrative leadership of this community college to consider giving unions a monopoly on taxpayer-funded construction. A comprehensive staff presentation to the board on January 16, 2013 during a study session about Measure M did not refer to any sort of labor agreement with construction trade unions. It was sprung without warning.

Here were the union-backed items as listed on the January 24, 2013 agenda:

5. Consideration of the Concept of Adopting Continuity of Work and Local Employment Agreements for Coast Community College District Projects Which Spend or Will Spend Any Measure M Funds.

6. Authorize and Direct the Land Development and Measure M Committees of the Board of Trustees to Negotiate a Continuity of Work Labor Agreement with the Los Angeles and Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council and the Craft Unions and District Councils Signatory to this Agreement for Approval by the Board of Trustees.

According to the minutes of the January 24, 2013 Coast Community College District board meeting, board member [Lorraine] Prinsky “stated she would pull Items 5 and 6 to be re-visited at a later Board Meeting. After discussion by the Board, on a motion by Trustee Prinsky, seconded by Trustee [Mary] Hornbuckle, the Board voted to pull these items…On a motion by Trustee [Jim] Moreno, seconded by Trustee [Jerry] Patterson, the Board voted to bring Items 5 and 6 back to the February 6, 2013 Agenda.”

The head of the Los Angeles-Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council (Jim Adams) and union lawyer Ray Van der Nat addressed the Board and encouraged the board to proceed to adopt a draft Project Labor Agreement included in the board packets.

And on February 6, 2013, as promised, the Project Labor Agreement was again on the board’s agenda:

3.04 Explanation of Project Labor Agreements/Continuity of Work Agreements by District General Counsel Jack P. Lipton.

3.05 a. Consider the Concept of Adopting Continuity of Work and Local Employment Agreements for Coast Community College District Projects Which Spend or Will Spend Any Measure M Funds.

b. Discuss Appointing a Land Development/Measure M Committee or a Task Force to Negotiate a Continuity of Work Labor Agreement with the Los Angeles and Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council and the Craft Unions and District Councils Signatory to This Agreement for Approval by the Board of Trustees.

The February 6, 2013 board minutes are not yet posted [posted] on the Coast Community College District web site, and I have been unable to find any news media coverage or even any union newsletter reports about what happened. Strangely, the chancellor’s news briefs about events at the district each week do not mention anything about a Project Labor Agreement.

Here is the party affiliation of the five Coast Community College District board members, according to an outstanding database of Orange County local elected officials posted on www.OCPolitical.com by political consultant Chris Emami. (See 2012 School Board Party Affiliation Post – November 16, 2012)

COAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT David Grant (D) 2014
COAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT Jim Moreno (D) 2014
COAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT Mary Hornbuckle (R) 2016
COAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT Jerry Patterson (D) 2016
COAST COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT Lorraine Prinsky (D) 2016

It appears that Lorraine Prinsky, Jim Moreno, Jerry Patterson are politically active Democrats who endorse candidates in races for offices such as the state legislature. Jim Moreno appears to be running for a seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors to be vacated by John Moorlach, who cannot run again because of term limits. California Board of Equalization member Michelle Steel – a Republican – also plans to run for this seat.

David Grant is a former president of Orange Coast College, one of the colleges in this district.

After 20 Months of Antics, Board of El Monte Union High School District Poised to Require Contractors to Sign a Project Labor Agreement

UPDATE (June 7, 2013): on a 5-0 vote, the board of trustees of the El Monte Union High School District approved a Continuity of Work Agreement (Project Labor Agreement) with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trade Council at its June 5, 2013 meeting.

Board member Juanita M. Gonzales – an organizer for United Teachers Los Angeles – made the motion to approve the Project Labor Agreement. She sent these tweets on June 6, 2013:

 


UPDATE (May 8, 2013): according to the minutes of the March 6, 2013 meeting of the board of trustees of the El Monte Union High School District, a motion to table consideration of the “Continuity of Work Agreement” (aka Project Labor Agreement) between the school district and the Los Angeles and Orange Counties Building and Construction Trade Council was approved 3-2 by the board:

Ms. Talamantes motioned to Table this agenda item to a future board meeting.
Motion by Maria-Elena Talamantes, second by Theresa A Velasco.
Final Resolution: Motion Carried
Yes: Salvador Ramirez, Maria-Elena Talamantes, Theresa A Velasco
No: Juanita M Gonzales, Carlos G Salcedo

According to the minutes, “Ray Van Der Nat, Building Trades representative, addressed the Board to speak in favor of the continuity agreement up for consideration this evening. He said that it would be a wise decision for the Board to approve the construction trade agreement in order to help the community and the district residents. It could give students a chance to learn a job trade because everyone is not cut out to go to college and they offer an alternative route to job skills. He felt that it was a no brainer that the continuity would do for the district and the residents.” Also, “Ron Miller, Building Trades representative, addressed the Board also in regards to the Board approving the continuity agreement and would be available for questions later.”

In addition, during the Round Table/Board Member Comments, “Ms. Gonzales brought up the topic that her current job was questioned as being a possible conflict of interest. She said that she will never stop supporting labor unions. She will never apologize for being a labor worker. Ms. Velasco said that she did not ask Ms. Gonzales to apologize, but she was concerned and asked to verify if Ms. Gonzales paycheck was a conflict of interest.”

On April 10, the board of trustees pulled approval of the Project Labor Agreement from their agenda at the beginning of the meeting. It did not appear on the subsequent meeting agenda.


On February 12, 2013, Juanita M. Gonzalez, board member at the El Monte Union High School District, announced triumphantly on the Facebook page of Lynwood Unified School District board member José Luis Solache that “Great EMUHSD should be approve (sic) at our next meeting.” She was responding to Solache’s announcement that the board of the Lynwood Unified School District had just voted at its February 12, 2013 meeting to require contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement.

Below is the official record of the development of the Project Labor Agreement expected to be considered by the El Monte Union High School District Board of Trustees at its March 6, 2013 meeting for certain projects funded by borrowed money from Measure D, a $148 million bond measure approved by voters in November 2008.

Notice the July 11, 2012 minutes, where it’s revealed that the lawyer for the Los Angeles-Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council tried to force a standard boilerplate Project Labor Agreement on the district, while the district’s legal counsel wanted to have a legitimate negotiation.

As you can read below, the union agreement was pushed by board member John Tran, who was running for California State Assembly at the time, thus proving yet again my axiom “Behind every push for a Project Labor Agreement is a politician with ambitions for higher office.” (See El Monte School Board Member and Former Rosemead Mayor John Tran Plans Run for 49th Assembly District SeatWhittier Daily News – August 30, 2011) Tran ended up resigning his school board position and abandoning his campaign for Assembly because of scandal. (See Federal Prosecutors: Former Rosemead Mayor John Tran Took Bribes, Solicited Sexual Favors from DevelopersPasadena Star-News – November 23, 2012)

Nevertheless, the Project Labor Agreement proposal has lingered at the school district.

July 6, 2011 Minutes – Written/Oral Communication

Mr. [John] Tran:  …He asked the Board and district if they could explore the opportunity to do project labor agreements (PLAs), which would provide job opportunities for members of the community for our new and upcoming construction projects. He hoped that the Board would start dialogue to move forward for the project labor agreement. He asked the Board and Superintendent for clear direction on labor negotiations on the PLAs. With some discussion, Mr. [Nick] Salerno [the superintendent] would work with legal counsel on this issue and get back to the Board with some basic information.

September 7, 2011 Minutes – Round Table/Board Member Comment

Project Labor Agreement (PLA): Mr. Salerno said that an Ad Hoc committee should be formed.  Mr. Olivarez spoke with someone in Building Trades, Robby (sic) Hunter, in regards to the Board’s interest in entering a project labor agreement, but before he could do anything further with this, he needed directions as to the parameters. He recommended that two members of the Board create an ad hoc committee in which they come up with some ideas as to what they would like to accomplish with the PLA and some ideas a deal points. With this information, he could get the process started with Mr. Hunter. Mr. Tran and Mr. [Carlos] Salcedo have volunteered to be on the Ad Hoc Committee.

September 28, 2011 Minutes – Round Table/Board Member Comments

Mr. Tran asked about when the Ad Hoc committee would be meeting for the Project Labor Agreement. Mr. Salerno said he would schedule a date with legal counsel and get back to him soon. Mr. Tran asked for a couple of sample agreements to look over.

January 11, 2012 Minutes

Presentation Regarding Proposal of a Project Labor Agreement Between the EMUHSD and Regional Labor Organization Which Would Apply to Certain School District Construction Contracts.

An informational presentation was given by Richard Padilla, legal counsel (Olivarez, Gallagher, & Padilla, PC) on Project Labor Agreements (PLA). His presentation gave a general overview of PLAs, the scope of PLAs and how to define the scope of agreement, and other common features. He talked about the exceptions that apply to PLAs, work stoppages, and a typical term of a PLA. His presentation gave information on the potential benefits, challenges, and considerations for PLAs. Mr. Padilla introduced Mr. Robbie Hunter from the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building & Construction Trades Council.

Mr. Hunter handed out material from the Building & Construction Trades Council. He and another representatives (sic) spoke to the Board about who they represent and what they do. He said that PLAs go back into the 1930s and have been strong up to this day. He continued to mention many construction projects that used PLAs. Studies have been done to evaluate the PLAs and how they have stayed within budget, produced quality work and have completed within the time frame. He gave a large amount of general information about PLAs that have taken place in the area. Some questions and answers took place between the Board, Mr. Padilla, and Mr. Hunter.

Mr. Padilla recommended that the Board provide the staff and legal counsel with some basic parameters of the proposal and then come back to the Board for approval. Some members of the Board requested a comparison sheet that shows some different entities, what the thresholds and parameters are for the PLAs that have taken place. Also, Mr. Padilla said that he would have a meeting with the District and Mr. Hunter to lay down some expectations of what the PLA should contain.

Mr. Tran said that he was ready to go forward with this and asked if the Board was ready to go forward as well. Mr. Salcedo said that he liked the potential benefits of a PLA but was not ready to give a recommendation. He felt that the Ad Hoc committee can meet first and report back to the Board with their recommendation. Mr. [Salvador] Ramirez agreed and said to let the Ad Hoc committee meet first. Ms. Gonzales would like to review other project labor agreements from surrounding school districts. She would also like to have any district construction projects utilize a PLA. She was ready to move forward to a project labor agreement. Mr. Hunter gave a suggestion that he and legal counsel create a draft of a PLA and present it to the Board to look over and get familiar with the language. At the same time, they can look over the data presented to help them move forward. Mr. Padilla said that probably at the February 1 meeting, they can present the draft.

[On February 3, 2012, board member John Tran resigned. In the same month, the San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported on rumors of mismanagement of bond funds – see Oversight of Local School Bond Spending Criticized.]

March 7, 2012 Minutes

Discussion Regarding Basic Mechanics of Typical Project Labor Agreement and Overview of Upcoming District Projects and Catalog of Similar Agreements From Nearby Jurisdictions

Mr. Richard Padilla and [Chief Business Official] Mr. [Ryan] Di Giulio gave a presentation on project labor agreement (PLA) with the district. The PLA is a set of labor standards, specifically toward wage compliance and work conditions. He said that in some sense, the proposed agreement was straight forward and other sense more intense. He suggested that an ad hoc committee get together to break down the specifics and numbers of the proposed agreement and narrow down what would be suitable projects for this agreement. There is a pre-existing ad hoc committee and there was a vacancy for another board member to join the ad hoc committee. There was much discussion between the Board and Mr. Padilla and Mr. Di Giulio regarding how to proceed with the ad hoc committee and when to bring in the building trades representatives. Mr. [Ray] Vandernat (sic) gave some information about the different thresholds that they have agreed upon. The majority of the Board agreed that Mr. Salcedo and Mr. Ramirez be on the ad hoc committee and work with legal counsel and the Building Trades representatives to come up with an agreement. The hope was to have an agreement brought forth by the April board meeting.

See the March 1, 2012 staff report to the Board of Trustees of the El Monte Union High School District on Project Labor Agreements.

April 4, 2012 Minutes

Update and Discussion Regarding Development of Proposed Project Labor Agreement with Los Angeles and Orange Counties Building Trades Council and Consideration of Proposed Agreement for Execution by District

Mr. Richard Padilla gave a summary of the progress made by the ad hoc committee to develop basic deal points and deal terms. A preliminary draft agreement had been sent to the Building Trades Committee and he was waiting to hear if they would accept it or not. The agreement incorporates some of the features discussed in the ad hoc committee meetings, most significant was to define the scope and parameter of this project labor agreement. Two main points in the agreement were flexibility and accountability. Mr. Padilla explained both points in more detail. Some discussion took place between the Board and Mr. Padilla regarding the details of the draft agreement presented to the Building Trades Committee.

July 11, 2012 Minutes

From the meeting agenda: Information and Discussion on Potential Project Labor Agreement – Richard Padilla, District’s legal counsel representative from Olivarez, Madruga, Gallagher, Padilla, Birrueta Law (OMGPB Law), will present information on the progress that has transpired between the District’s legal counsel and the Building & Construction Trades Council on the proposed Project Labor Agreements.

Information and Discussion on Potential Project Labor Agreement

Mr. Salerno mentioned that he did not have much information about the PLA because he had been emailing the Trades Council and no one had responded back, but Mr. Ray Van der Nat was present during the meeting to respond. Mr. Van der Nat mentioned that the Building Trades Council had proposed a generic agreement that was used by many entities and the District’s legal counsel only needed to turn in a redlined proposal back to the Trades Council. Instead, the District’s legal counsel had returned to the Trades Council a completely different agreement. He continued to give a summary of what had happened between legal counsel and the trades council. Mr. Van der Nat did not review or redline the District’s proposal because it would take a lot of time to cross reference the two proposals.

Mr. Richard Padilla commented on how that all of sudden the email that he and the district had been using for Mr. Van der Nat was not working. Ms. Gonzales said that getting a PLA should not take so long. She felt that by not having a PLA in place, it was costing the District money. Mr. Ramirez said that the district had an Ad Hoc committee that took time to create a proposed agreement and the Trades Council should have made contact with the committee to review the agreement instead of contacting individual board members. He said that the District should not accept a one-size-fits all agreement. He continued to say that the Ad Hoc committee had put together a legal document and the Trades Council did not take the time to review it. Mrs. [Theresa] Velasco said that it was pettiness of both sides blaming the other of who should have done what. She felt that everyone should be able to work together and come out with an agreement. But she did say that the District should not have a generic agreement that might fit a water district because we were different, we are a school district. Ms. Talamantes asked Mr. Van der Nat why the Trades Council did not review the District’s proposed agreement and redline it and then return it. That would have been easier if they would have taken the time to look over the agreement. Mr. Van der Nat said that it would have taken time and money to review a completely new agreement and did not know which contract language was taken from the original agreement and placed in the new agreement. She said that his answer did not make sense because all they needed to do was just read our agreement.

Mr. Salcedo said that he was still interested in what could come out of the Building Trades Council and what agreement could be reached. Mr. Van der Nat said that he would take the time to review the District’s proposal and redline it. Mr. Van der Nat would contact Mr. Salerno with some possible dates and times to meet with the Ad Hoc committee to review the redlined District’s proposal.

Lynwood Unified School District’s Bond-Funded Construction Falls to a Project Labor Agreement

At its meeting last night (February 12, 2013), the school board of the Lynwood Unified School District approved a Project Labor Agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council. A copy of the Project Labor Agreement was not included with the packet provided to the public, but a staff report indicates that contractors will need to sign it to work on projects funded by borrowed money from $93 million in bond sales authorized by Measure K, which was barely approved by 57% of voters (7719 to 5733) in November 2012.

There was apparently a web site in opposition to Measure K (hosted at www.noonmeasurek.org) titled NO ON MEASURE K VOTE NO ON NOV. 6 … HELLO: LYNWOOD RESIDENTS, THIS IS YOUR OPPORTUNITY TO DEFEAT MEASURE K. Perhaps those opponents suspected this school board would spend the bond proceeds unwisely.

In addition, an inaccessible-without-registration article in the Los Angeles Wave/Lynwood Press newspaper from mid-January was titled Lynwood School District Defends Actions on Measure K Contracts. Sounds like the type of place that would require contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions.

A school board member named José Luis Solache tweeted the following message last night, which linked to an announcement on his Facebook account:

José Luis Solache ‏@JL_Solache

NEWSFLASH: The Lynwood Board of Education unanimously votes to create local jobs!!! A Project Labor Agreement has…http://fb.me/224unI6g1

This created a lot of excitement from people looking for a job. Here are the responses:

  • Great EMUHSD should be approve at our next meeting
  • Let’s start with our high school students.
  • Lets start with me first
  • I want to know more about it
  • keep up th good work!!
  • How do we apply please tell
  • How and were will a person be able to apply for a job?
  • First gotta join da union! (posted a few days later – someone figured it out)

How does someone without a substantial background in the construction trades get a job to work on construction at the Lynwood Unified School District under this Project Labor Agreement? At some point in the process, you have to be accepted into a union apprenticeship program or pre-apprenticeship program, pay the union dues and fees, and then get the classroom instruction and on-the-job training through the union. (Read the Project Labor Agreement for more information, if you can obtain a copy.) Perhaps you can contact the school board about it, although they do not have their contact information on their web site. Perhaps you can contact the Los Angeles-Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council about it, but they don’t have a web site. Looks like you’ll have to use the phone book.

News Coverage:

Lynwood Unified Passes Labor Agreement for Local Hires – South Gate-Lynwood Patch – February 15, 2013

City of Carson’s Project Labor Agreement Failure for Local and At-Risk Hiring: “Tracking Progress on That Goal Has Been Problematic.”

On January 16, 2013, the truth came out about the dismal failure of the Project Labor Agreement in place since June 30, 2005 and extended in 2010 for almost all construction in the City of Carson, California, near Los Angeles.

The Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council [no web site] was apparently so arrogant about its political grip on Carson construction projects that it didn’t bother to fulfill its contractual obligation to track and report its own compliance with the worker recruitment and dispatching goals in the agreement! Now the city will be taking charge of the unions’ responsibility, at a cost of $100,000 to taxpayers.

Consider that a June 1, 2010 staff report to the Carson City Council stated that “it is staff’s best estimate that implementing a PLA on public works projects does likely involve some net increase cost to the city of Carson for such projects,” and a Carson resident might wonder how much this union sweetheart deal is costing the taxpayers. The Carson City Council’s belated response to seven years of union baloney received local newspaper coverage: see Carson Hires Firm to Ensure More City Residents Are Hired for Public Construction Projects – Daily Breeze (Torrance – “LAX to LA Harbor”) – January 16, 2013.

What happened? According to a January 15, 2013 staff report to the Carson City Council about its Project Labor Agreement performance, “Among its provisions, the PLA [Project Labor Agreement] calls for an employment goal of 30% Carson residents. Tracking progress on that goal has been problematic. Available data has suggested local hire rates have not met the goal.” (The report does not mention the employment goal of 5% “at-risk” workers.)Carson Project Labor Agreement Failure Staff Report Page 1

This outcome should not have surprised the Carson City Council. When the Carson City Council considered renewing the Project Labor Agreement for another five years at its June 1, 2010 meeting, a staff report indicated that although the city had awarded ten construction contracts totaling $5.86 million to contractors with a requirement to sign the union Project Labor Agreement, “staff has yet to obtain from the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council data on the local hires for the projects noted above.” The report noted that “the PLA requires the unions to recruit city of Carson residents and refer city of Carson residents to city projects.” (The staff report did not mention the “at-risk” workers that were supposed to get job opportunities under the Project Labor Agreement.)

In fact, a series of staff reports produced in 2004 and 2005 warned about the credibility of the unions’ worker recruitment and dispatching claims, even as the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council spent a tortuous fourteen months pressuring the City of Carson city council and staff to submit to requiring its construction contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement.

As stated in a May 4, 2004 staff report to the Carson City Council, proponents (that is, union officials) claimed that the Project Labor Agreement would result in “increasing the potential for local and ‘at-risk’ hires.” That same staff report also stated that it will “require the city to establish a monitoring mechanism to ensure that the terms and conditions of the PLA are being enforced.” Included in the list of tasks for whichever party ended up overseeing contractual compliance with the Project Labor Agreement was “monitor representative numbers of local and/or ‘at risk’ employees.”

Then, a June 15, 2004 staff report to the city council expressed reservations about the Project Labor Agreement actually helping to recruit and dispatch local and “at-risk” workers, as well as the question of how such efforts would be tracked and reported:

Given Carson’s diversity, it would seem the implementation of a PLA would assist in the City’s desire to see more and greater involvement by minority and female workers and contractors. However, the opposite has been shown. Minority- and female-owned contractors tend to be small, nonunion shops who find the restrictive clauses in PLAs particularly onerous. Compounding this problem is the limited supply of female and minority employees to work these projects. Both minorities and females are underrepresented in the building trades.

The hiring of local workers, which has been a supported cause in Carson, would appear to be a welcome recipient of a PLA. Unfortunately, this may not be the case. The rules governing worker deployment would not necessarily place Carson workers in an advantageous position versus other union members. Moreover, should these Carson residents be nonunion, they may be required to join the union to even be placed on its lists.

The issue of local, minority and female hiring lends itself to a related issue, that of monitoring. Should these requirements be placed in the City’s PLA, staff must be in place to ensure that these clauses are being fulfilled. As this data is not necessarily readily available unions do not traditionally collect this information – this task maybe arduous, if not impossible, to complete.

Issues to Consider:  As was stated earlier, the requirements the City wishes to include in the PLA will determine the level of monitoring that must be done to ensure that the terms and conditions are being met.

An October 5, 2004 staff report to the city council elaborated on this problem:

Though PLAs can ensure the use of local workers, this applies to those residents who are already members of the union, or are willing to pay the union dues and fees required by the agreement. With the majority of construction workers not affiliated with any union, the number of local hires may be small.

But in the end, the city council voted to require its construction contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement for city projects of more than $125,000 for general construction work and $25,000 for specialty construction work. It also included this language in Article VII concerning the “concentrated effort” of unions to recruit and dispatch local and “at-risk” (“disadvantaged”) workers to contractors (language that turned out to be meaningless):

7.4  Unions will be required to recruit sufficient numbers of skilled craft persons to fulfill the requirements of the Contractors/Employers. In recognition of the fact that the communities closest to the Project will be impacted by the construction of these Projects, the parties agree to support the development of increased numbers of construction workers from residents of these communities. Toward that end, the Unions agree to make a concentrated effort to recruit residents of the City enrolled in local trade schools or otherwise and to refer and utilize qualified City residents on the Projects.

The Unions shall submit written documentation to the City on an annual basis which sets forth the steps taken by the Unions to recruit, refer and utilize qualified City residents and the number of City residents recruited by the Unions and referred to or utilized on the Projects. In recognition of the City’s mission to serve the residents of the City, the Unions and Contractors/Employers agree that, to the extent allowed by law, and as long as they possess the requisite skills and qualifications, residents of the City shall be first referred for Project work, including joumeypersons, apprentices, or other positions. The purpose of this section is to provide employment opportunities for those residents, which live in communities, which have historically been economically depressed.

7.5  A goal of 30% of all of the labor and craft positions shall be from workers residing within the Project area described in Section 7.4 above. In addition, a goal of 5% of all of the labor and craft positions shall be from the City wide labor pool classified as “at risk”.

7.6  The “at risk” workers will be referred to the Unions from community-based job placement organizations and brokers such as City of Carson Job Clearinghouse located at 1 Civic Plaza, Sui1e 200, Carson, CA 90745, and the Workforce Investment Network (WIN), located at 1 Civic Plaza, Suite 500, Carson, CA 90745. The job broker shall pre-screen any applicant prior to referral to the Unions. Drug screening will be a prerequisite to employment. The following criteria will be used to identify the “at risk” worker:

-Household income below 50% of the median;

-Homeless;

-Welfare recipient;

-History of involvement with the justice system;

-Unemployed; and

-Single parent.

For the applicant to qualify under this program, the job broker shall verify the presence of a minimum of two of the above criteria.

And who was responsible for monitoring compliance with these contractual provisions? The answer is in Article X:

10.1  It shall be the responsibility of the Contractors/Employers and Unions to investigate and monitor compliance with the provisions of the Agreement contained in Article VIII. [and also in Article VII – editor] The City may designate a representative to monitor and investigate issues related to this Agreement including, but not limited to, the prevailing wage requirements, local and “At Risk” hiring compliance, and the affirmative action provisions of the City.

So the unions failed to abide by the contractual requirements in their Project Labor Agreement, and the Carson city council and staff are responding by hiring an outside consultant for $100,000 to take care of it – once again proving that a promise in a Project Labor Agreement is a meaningless statement designed for public relations and political campaigns.

As the California High-Speed Rail Authority trumpets its “Community Benefits Policy” provisions in its Project Labor Agreement with the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (now led by Robbie Hunter, the previous head of the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council), keep in mind that local hiring, at-risk hiring, and veterans hiring are simply nice goals placed as decorative toppings for union-only hiring. Reflecting the same skepticism held by the City of Carson staff, my analysis of the Project Labor Agreement for the High-Speed Rail can be found at Analysis of the Phony Community Benefits and Other Provisions in the Union Project Labor Agreement for the First Segment of California’s High-Speed Rail.

Newport Beach Is Latest California Charter City to Establish Its Own Prevailing Wage Policy: 7-0 Unanimous Vote for Fiscal Responsibility and Common Sense

On January 22, 2013, as shown in this meeting video, the Newport Beach City Council voted 7-0 to exercise its home-rule power as a charter city to establish its own policy concerning government-mandated construction wage rates (so-called “prevailing wages”). See the text of the resolution below.

RESOLUTION NO. 2013-6
A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF NEWPORT BEACH EXEMPTING LOCALLY FUNDED PUBLIC WORKS PROJECTS FROM PREVAILING WAGE

WHEREAS, the California prevailing wage law requires contractors on public works projects to be paid the general prevailing rate of per diem wages for work of a similar character in the locality in which the work is performed;

WHEREAS, under the California Constitution, Article XI, Section 5, the laws of charter cities supersede state law with respect to municipal affairs of the city;

WHEREAS, the California Supreme Court has held that the wage levels of workers constructing locally funded public works are a municipal affair, and therefore a charter city’s prohibition on the payment of prevailing wage supersede state law; and

WHEREAS, the City of Newport Beach (“City”) is incorporated as a charter city, and thus the City may exempt locally funded public works projects from prevailing wage to conserve the City’s limited resources.

NOW, THEREFORE, the City Council of the City of Newport Beach resolves as follows:

SECTION 1: The City of Newport Beach exempts locally funded public works projects from prevailing wage, unless: (1) prevailing wage is compelled by the terms of a federal or state grant or is otherwise funded from a source that requires prevailing wage; (2) the public work is a matter of statewide concern; or (3) the payment of prevailing wage is separately authorized by the City Council, because the project is of a complexity and nature that the public interest would be served by requiring prevailing wage.

SECTION 2: This resolution shall take effect immediately upon its adoption by the City Council, and the City Clerk shall certify the vote adopting this resolution.

ADOPTED this 22nd day of January, 2013.

The January 22, 2013 staff report to the Newport Beach City Council recommended the establishment of its own government-mandated construction wage rate policy:

…the City of Newport Beach, as a charter city, is not required to pay prevailing wage for locally funded public works projects. The City may adopt either an ordinance or a resolution to affirm its municipal autonomy and conserve valuable financial resources by exempting itself from the prevailing wage requirement for locally funded public works contracts. In the absence of an ordinance or resolution, the City may exempt itself from the payment of prevailing wage through the insertion of language into individual contracts (i.e., creation of an “actual conflict” through explicit contract terms). However, to ensure consistency staff recommends the adoption of the attached resolution. The attached resolution provides an exemption for public works projects, unless: (a) prevailing wage is compelled by the terms of a federal or state grant, or other funding source; (b) the public work is a matter of state-wide concern; or (c) the payment of prevailing wage is separately authorized by the City Council due to a project’s complexity or nature that the public interest would be served by requiring prevailing wage” to the third type of project for which the City might wish to pay prevailing wage.

Before the vote, the city attorney pointed out that the state’s definition of “public works” is ridiculously broad and recommended that the city council ensure flexibility and adopt a policy to “opt-in” to state-mandated construction wage rates. Councilman Michael Henn had the courage to state publicly that “prevailing wage” is a unique “anachronism of the construction industry” and noted that most business in America is done without government-mandated prevailing wage rates.

Study Session: Applicability of Prevailing Wage to City Projects

As a prelude to the agenda item, the Newport Beach City Council convened earlier in the day for what the city attorney described as a “fairly long study session” (Discussion Regarding the Applicability of Prevailing Wage to City Projects) to discuss exercising its right as a charter city to establish its own policy concerning government-mandated construction wage rates (so-called “prevailing wages”) on purely municipal construction projects.

Jim Adams of the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council [no web site] led off the public comment by showing a professionally-produced video called “Right the First Time” that promotes state prevailing wage laws through anecdotes and interviews with union-backed politicians. It neglects to mention the state’s absurd methods of calculating prevailing wage and defining public works. In addition, the video claims that prevailing wages are set by the free market, even though California Labor Code Section 1773 authorizes the state to set prevailing wage rates based on the applicable union collective bargaining agreements.

Other speakers represented union-affiliated groups such as Smart Cities Prevail and unionized construction trade organizations such as the Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board of Southern California, the Western Wall & Ceiling Contractors Association, the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) – Orange County Chapter, and the Western Steel Council. A few unionized contractors (locked into multi-year collective bargaining agreements) also spoke in defense of state-mandated construction wage rates.

Evening Meeting: Unanimous Approval of the Resolution

At the evening meeting, a collection of union representatives, unionized construction trade associations, and unionized contractors once again asked the city council to keep state-mandated construction wage rates. They again cited the usual union arguments about cheap, unskilled, out-of-town labor by uninsured and unlicensed contractors.

Notice how this letter from the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) says that quality construction requires “living wages and benefits,” as if the alternative to state-mandated construction wage rates is the California minimum wage of $8.00 per hour. Actually, state-mandated prevailing wages are typically four to six times higher than “living wage” rates set by local governments. For example, the “living wage” for the City of Irvine (in Orange County, near Newport Beach) is currently $13.13 per hour including benefits. The median wage (not including benefits) for an electrician in Orange County is $27.15, according to the California Economic Development Department. But the state-mandated total straight time “prevailing wage” for an inside wireman electrician in Newport Beach is $54.83 per hour.

Samantha Draper of Smart Cities Prevail (a union-affiliated labor-management cooperation committee) argued against the resolution, claiming the policy could result in economic “uncertainty and insecurity.” A representative of the unionized Fire Sprinkler Advisory Board of Southern California noted that prevailing wage contractors offer quality. Jim Adams of the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council encouraged the city council to continue requiring its contractors to abide by the state-mandated wage rates and warned of cheap labor from out of the area. A representative of the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) claimed that construction workers are “part-time workers” that work eight months a year and don’t get vacations or sick days. A union contractor said “we can afford it in Newport Beach” and noted many sections of the California Labor Code would be nullified. Also speaking against the policy was Jim Conway, a union-oriented consultant formerly involved with labor relations for the Sheet Metal & Air Conditioning Contractors National Association (SMACNA) in the San Francisco Bay Area.

News Coverage:

Newport Triggers Dock-Fee Increases, Cost-Saving Labor Contracts – Orange County Register – January 23, 2013

City Eschews Prevailing Wages: The City Council voted to exempt Newport Beach from a state requirement that compels cities to pay workers prevailing wages – Newport Beach/Corona Del Mar Patch – January 24, 2013.)

Council Closes Book on Dock Fee Increases (In other business…) – Newport Beach/Costa Mesa Daily Pilot – January 23, 2013

For More Information:

Are Charter Cities Taking Advantage of State-Mandated Construction Wage Rate (“Prevailing Wage”) Exemptions? – 3rd Edition

List of California’s 121 Charter Cities

California Supreme Court Affirms State Prevailing Wage Requirements Do Not Apply to Charter Cities – League of California Cities – July 2, 2012

Project Labor Agreements at California Cities for Individual Projects

Note: go to California Cities with Project Labor Agreements Covering Multiple Projects to see the multi-project Project Labor Agreements for the cities of Berkeley, Carson, Compton, Los Angeles, and San Fernando.

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

City of Brentwood

City of Brentwood Civic Center Project Labor Agreement 2009

City of Brentwood Civic Center Project Labor Agreement Parking Garage Addendum 2010

City of Concord

City of Concord Police Facilities Project Labor Agreement 1995 (Resolution)

City of Concord Parking Structure Project Labor Agreement 1999 (Minutes indicate an informal suggestion to staff; not an agenda item for consideration)

City of Richmond

City of Richmond (California) Project Labor Agreement Resolution 2001

City of Richmond (California) Civic Center Project Labor Agreement 2007

LOS ANGELES COUNTY

City of Long Beach

City of Long Beach Airport Terminal Improvements Phase 1 Project Labor Agreement 2010

City of Los Angeles

The City of Los Angeles and its Board of Public Works imposed Project Labor Agreements on at least a dozen individual projects and a program to improve Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control (ATSAC) systems before the city council adopted its multi-project Project Labor Agreement in December 2010. See City of Los Angeles List of Individual Project Labor Agreements November 2009. Here are a few examples from the mid-2000s:

City of Los Angeles Metro Detention Center Project Labor Agreement 2006

City of Los Angeles Police Headquarters Project Labor Agreement 2006

City of Los Angeles Harbor Area Police Station & Jail Facility Project Labor Agreement 2006

City of Los Angeles Fire Station 64 Project Labor Agreement 2006

City of Los Angeles Avenue 45 & Arroyo Drive Relief Sewer Project Labor Agreement 2007

City of Los Angeles Automated Traffic Surveillance and Control (ATSAC) Project Labor Agreement 2008

SACRAMENTO COUNTY

City of Sacramento

City of Sacramento Sump 2 Improvement Project Labor Agreement 1998

SAN MATEO COUNTY

City of San Mateo

City of San Mateo New Main Library Project Labor Agreement 2003

City of San Mateo New Police Station Project Labor Agreement 2005

SANTA CLARA COUNTY

City of Milpitas

City of Milpitas New Library Project Labor Agreement 2006

City of Milpitas Senior Center Project Labor Agreement 2008

City of San José

City of San Jose Civic Center Project Labor Agreement 2002

City of San Jose International Airport Master Plan Project Labor Agreement 2002

San Jose McEnery Convention Center Expansion & Renovation 2011*

SOLANO COUNTY

City of Vallejo

City of Vallejo Station Parking Garage Project Labor Agreement 2010

City of Vallejo Ferry Maintenance Facility Improvement Project Project Labor Agreement 2011

YOLO COUNTY

City of West Sacramento

City of West Sacramento Palamidessi Bridge Project Labor Agreement 1996 (Brown and Root)

* I am seeking a copy from the agency.

Project Labor Agreements and Project Labor Agreement Policies at California Counties

ALAMEDA COUNTY

Alameda County – East County Hall of Justice Project Labor Agreement 2012

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY

Contra Costa Regional Medical Center Project Labor Agreement 2004 (Resolution Only)

Contra Costa County Family Law Center Project Labor Agreement 2001 (Resolution Only)

Contra Costa County Project Labor Agreement Policy (Not Implemented) 2002

Contra Costa County Project Labor Agreement Policy Revision 2003

Contra Costa County Standard Project Labor Agreement 2003 (2011 Example)

LOS ANGELES COUNTY

Los Angeles County Martin Luther King, Jr Medical Center Multi-Service Ambulatory Care Center Project Labor Agreement 2011

ORANGE COUNTY

Orange County Project Labor Agreement Policy Resolution 2000

Orange County Standard Project Labor Agreement 2000-2005

Orange County Project Labor Agreement Policy Termination 2004

SAN JOAQUIN COUNTY

San Joaquin County New Administration Building Project Labor Agreement 2007

SAN MATEO COUNTY

San Mateo County Replacement Jail Project Labor Agreement 2012

SANTA CLARA COUNTY

Santa Clara County Valley Specialty Center Bid Package #2 Project Labor Agreement 2004

Santa Clara County Project Labor Agreement Policy 2005

Santa Clara County Standard Project Labor Agreement as of 2009

Santa Clara County Replacement Bed Building Project Labor Agreement 2010

SOLANO COUNTY

Solano County New Government Center Project Labor Agreement 2002

Solano County Project Labor Agreement Policy 2004

Solano County Project Labor Agreement Policy Amendment 2007

Solano County Claybank Adult Dentention Center Project Labor Agreement (Signed) 2007

Solano County William J Carroll Government Center Project Labor Agreement 2010

Solano County Claybank Adult Dentention Center Project Labor Agreement in Bid Documents 2012

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

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.