Tag Archive for Nicole Goehring

Getting to the Bottom of it: Backroom Administrative/Executive Deliberation Leading to Project Labor Agreement on California High-Speed Rail

UPDATE: I emailed this message to the California High-Speed Rail Authority at 4:51 p.m. on Friday, December 20, 2013:

Today is December 20, 2013, the date cited in the last correspondence from the California High-Speed Rail Authority.

“Under Government Code §6253(a), the Authority invoked a 14 day extension in order to further research your request and make a determination. A determination letter would be sent to you no later than November 18, 2013. The Authority will provide all responsive documents to you by December 20, 2013.”

http://laborissuessolutions.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/2013-11-18-CaHSRA-letter-to-Dayton-on-Public-Records-Request.pdf

Any news on progress to fulfill the October 24, 2013 request?

At 5:58 p.m., the California High-Speed Rail Authority emailed me this letter notifying me that “The amount of electronic records that are responsive to your request are too large to send via email. A CD-ROM with electronic records will be sent via U.S. Mail to your attention no later than December 20, 2013.”

December 20, 2013 California High-Speed Rail Authority Letter to Kevin Dayton on Public Records Request

Then, at 6:14 p.m., the California High-Speed Rail Authority emailed me this batch of letters:

Associated Builders and Contractors of California – State Building and Construction Trades Council of California – California High-Speed Rail Authority 2013 letter exchange on Project Labor Agreement

UPDATE: In a November 18, 2013 letter, the California High-Speed Rail Authority informed me that it will provide me with the requested public records by December 20, 2013.

UPDATE: In a November 4, 2013 letter, the California High-Speed Rail Authority informed me that it is taking an additional 14 days (as allowed by law) to provide me with the requested public records.


On April 29, 2013, I posted the results of my request to the Fresno County Workforce Investment Board for public records related to the development of the Project Labor Agreement with the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California for construction of the California High-Speed Rail system. (See Newly Obtained Documents Reveal Which Elected Official Was the Catalyst for the Project Labor Agreement on California High-Speed Rail: Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin.)

I also listed seven questions that remain to be answered about how this costly union construction monopoly was implemented. It was done without any public discussion or vote by the board of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, obviously because public scrutiny and discussion would have further damaged its reputation in California and even in Washington, D.C.

Today I submitted another request for public records related to the Project Labor Agreement, this time directly to the California High-Speed Rail Authority. I expect these records will answer those seven questions and give the public a complete picture of the backroom wheeling and dealing.


From: Kevin Dayton [mailto:kdayton@laborissuessolutions.com]
Sent: Thursday, October 24, 2013 10:45 AM
To: ‘records@hsr.ca.gov’; ‘xxxxx’
Subject: Public Records Request to California High-Speed Rail Authority: Community Benefits Agreement/Project Labor Agreement

October 24, 2013

Lisa Marie Alley
Assistant Deputy Director of Communications
California High-Speed Rail Authority
770 L Street, Suite 800
Sacramento, CA 95814

Re: Public Records Request – Community Benefits Agreement/Project Labor Agreement

Dear Ms. Alley:

Under the authority of the California Public Records Act, I am requesting the following records to determine the following:

The administrative/executive branch deliberative process within the California High-Speed Rail Authority that led to the execution of the “Community Benefits Agreement” (aka Project Labor Agreement) as signed by Robbie Hunter, President of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, on August 7, 2013 and by Jeff Morales, Chief Executive Officer of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, on August 13, 2013. Here’s a link to that Project Labor Agreement: Project Labor Agreement with Unions for California High-Speed Rail.

“Public records” include any writing containing information relating to the conduct of the public’s business prepared, owned, used or retained by the California High-Speed Rail Authority regardless of physical form or characteristics. “Writing” means handwriting, typewriting, printing, photostating, photocopying, photographing, transmitting by electronic mail or facsimile, and every other means of recording upon any tangible thing, any form of communication or representation, including letters, words, pictures, sounds or symbols or any combination thereof, and any record thereby created, regardless of the manner in which the record has been stored.

“Public records” shall include writing from private email addresses used by the Board and staff of the California High-Speed Rail Authority for public business. For example, if a staff member sends electronic mail through a Google mail account to schedule a meeting with Robbie Hunter, that email is a public record.

Please provide the following public records – in electronic form if possible – from the California High-Speed Rail Authority:

  • All records dated after January 1, 2012 concerning consideration, rejection, and approval from any federal or state agency for a Community Benefits Agreement/Project Labor Agreement and/or “Targeted Hiring Agreement” based on a similar agreement adopted at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority.
  • All records dated after January 1, 2012 concerning evaluation or deliberation of the conditions, benefits, challenges, and negative impact of a Community Benefits Agreement/Project Labor Agreement.
  • All records dated after January 1, 2012 referencing the Community Benefits Agreement/Project Labor Agreement in communications from, to, or citing the following individuals:

a) Robbie Hunter (Current President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California)

b) Bob Balgenorth (Past President, State Building and Construction Trades Council of California and past board member, California High-Speed Rail Authority)

c) Ashley Swearingen (Mayor of Fresno)

d) Tom Richards (Chair of Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board and current board member, California High-Speed Rail Authority.)

e) Lee Ann Eager (Economic Development Corporation serving Fresno County)

f) Chuck Riojas (International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers – IBEW)

g) Blake Konczal (Executive Director, Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board, and Fresno Works Consortium)

h) Ken Price (counsel for Fresno Regional Workforce Investment Board)

i) Michael Bernick (Applied Development Economics)

j) Robert Padilla (Small Business Advocate, California High-Speed Rail Authority)

  • All records dated after November 1, 2012 referencing the Community Benefits Agreement/Project Labor Agreement in communications from, to, or citing the following individuals:

a) Eric Christen (Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction)

b) Nicole Goehring (Associated Builders and Contractors, Northern California Chapter)

c) Kevin Dayton, Labor Issues Solutions, LLC

  • Any other records related to the Community Benefits Agreement/Project Labor Agreement.

Note: the California High-Speed Rail Authority does not need to provide board meeting agendas, minutes, board meeting transcripts, or staff reports for meetings already provided to the public as posted on the California High-Speed Rail Authority web site in association with board meetings. It does not need to provide the Addendum 8 version of the Project Labor Agreement (Addendum 8 Project Labor Agreement for Initial Construction Segment) or the revised Project Labor Agreement linked above (Project Labor Agreement with Unions for California High-Speed Rail).

Upon receiving this request for a copy of records, please, within 10 days, determine whether the request, in whole or in part, seeks copies of disclosable public records in the possession of the California High-Speed Rail Authority and promptly notify me of the determination and the reasons therefor.

In unusual circumstances, the time limit may be extended by written notice, setting forth the reasons for the extension and the date on which a determination is expected to be dispatched. No notice shall specify a date that would result in an extension for more than 14 days, and the notice shall provide the estimated date and time when the records will be made available.

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California’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee Rejects Proposed Audit of California High-Speed Rail Project

Nicole Goehring, Government Affairs Director of the Northern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, just provided me with this report (below) about Assemblywoman Diane Harkey‘s failed proposal to the California’s Joint Legislative Audit Committee (Senate web site, Assembly web site) at its March 13, 2013 meeting to audit the $68-203 billion California High-Speed Rail Project, the most expensive public works project in history.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is requiring construction contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement with the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California as a condition of working on the first construction segment from Madera to Fresno.

Read Assemblywoman Harkey’s request for audit here: 2013-105: Audit Request of California High-Speed Rail Authority – Construction Package 1. It states the following motivation:

Ensuring that the Authority has proper policies, protocols, and resources in place to manage its contractors prior to breaking ground is critical for protecting passenger safety and controlling costs. Missteps during this early planning period could imperil the project for decades with defective construction, expensive litigation, massive cost overruns and lengthy project delays. An active and prominent role for the State Auditor during these crucial months could ultimately save lives and billions of taxpayer dollars.

The request was co-signed by numerous Republican state legislators (including Dan Logue, whose signature was added late and is not on the version linked above).

ABC Northern California Testifies in Favor of California High Speed Rail Audit in the Joint Legislative Audit Committee

From: Nicole Goehring, Government Affairs Director, Northern California Chapter, Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC)

On March 13, I attended the Joint Legislative Audit Committee (JLAC) meeting. The Joint Legislative Audit Committee is statutorily charged with ascertaining facts and making reports and recommendations to the Legislature concerning the State, its agencies, departments and political subdivisions of the State. In carrying out these duties, the JLAC reviews requests for audits from any of the 120 members of the Legislature and approves those requests that are a good use of the resources of the State Auditor.

Six audits were on the meeting agenda for consideration. The committee approved the first two audits without objection: Salton Sea Restoration fund and Military Veterans Employment. Then came Assemblywoman Harkey’s request for an audit of the California High Speed Rail Project, specifically the contracting practices authority given to California High Speed Rail Authority Executive Director Jeff Morales, risk management practices, and land acquisition for the California High-Speed Rail project.

Assemblywoman Harkey said that the California High Speed Rail Authority would spend $1.1 million per day on the project when the land acquisition starts. In addition, the California High-Speed Rail Authority still has not presented a business plan.

Senator Cathleen Galgiani and committee chairman (Assemblyman) Adam Gray objected to the proposed audit because two audits were previously approved in 2009 and 2011. They questioned what could be learned from another audit. Assemblyman Tim Donnelly spoke strongly in favor of the audit. He said the project needs a permanent chaperone and this particular use of public funds needs to be audited every step of the way.

Paul Guerrero from the Associated Professionals and Contractors of California and I spoke in favor of the audit. I also spoke against the government-mandated Project Labor Agreement that contractors must sign with unions to work on Construction Package 1. My testimony can be heard 1:17:47 into the hearing.

Speaking in opposition to the audit – and in favor of Project Labor Agreements – were Cesar Diaz from the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California; Scott Wetch representing the California Coalition of Utility Employees, California State Association of Electrical Workers, and Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers; Keith Dunn of the Association for California High Speed Trains (representing design, engineering, and construction management firms); and a representative from Our Train: Young Voters for California High-Speed Rail.

In the end, the California Joint Legislative Audit Committee rejected (on an 8-3 party-line vote – Democrats opposed, Republicans in support) Assemblywoman Diane Harkey’s request for an audit of the California High-Speed Rail Project.

I will note that the rejection of this audit request is consistent with the comments of Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal at the February 26, 2013 high-speed rail oversight hearing claiming that there was no interest in rehashing old controversies. Supporters of the project are intent on portraying the numerous problems with the project as resolved and in the past.

Opponents of Project Labor Agreement for Solano Community College District Will Make Formal Presentation to Governing Board

The Vice President of Finance & Administration for the Solano Community College District has asked Nicole Goehring, Government Affairs Director of the Northern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), to make a 15-minute presentation about Project Labor Agreements during the March 6 meeting of the Solano College Governing Board in Fairfield.

The board wants more in-depth background about the ramifications of a proposal to require its construction contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions. This would be a condition of working on projects funded by borrowed money obtained through bond sales authorized by the $348 million Measure Q, approved by voters in November 2012.

(Union officials and lawyers: in keeping with your consistent views on appropriate limits of freedom of speech, be sure to contact this person and the superintendent-president and demand their withdrawal of the invitation. How dare this college give opponents of Project Labor Agreements a public forum to present their viewpoints?)

Voters were not provided with any indication from the district that unions would have a monopoly on construction work funded by these bond proceeds, although Associated Builders and Contractors, the Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA), and the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC) tried to alert the public to the district’s history of requiring contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement as a condition of working on the district’s projects funded by Measure G, approved by voters in November 2002. (See A Thoroughly Documented History of How Solano Community College Requires Contractors to Sign a Project Labor Agreement with Unions for the full details of that history.)

There was a small effort by the Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group to warn voters that Measure Q bond proceeds would be squandered on Project Labor Agreements and other wasteful ventures. But a couple hundred yard signs and letters to the editor could not overcome the $227,600 Yes on Q campaign funded by special interests that feed off the college and its construction projects. (See complete list of contributors below.)

Here are my writings on Project Labor Agreements at Solano Community College District:

Governing Board for Solano Community College District in California Hears Debate Over Project Labor Agreement on $348 Million Bond Measure Q – February 6, 2013

Waste Once, Then Do It Again! Project Labor Agreement on Solano Community College District Board Meeting Agenda – February 5, 2013

Updated Chart! Who’s Paying to Convince Solano County Voters to Take On $348 Million of Additional Debt – Plus Interest – with Measure Q? – October 30, 2012

$348 Million Measure Q for Solano Community College: Yes on Q Campaign Fails to Submit Latest Legally-Required Campaign Finance Report – October 27, 2012

A Thoroughly Documented History of How Solano Community College Requires Contractors to Sign a Project Labor Agreement with Unions – October 21, 2012

Solano County’s Measure Q Looks Vulnerable to Defeat: Will Voters Refuse to Authorize Solano County Community College to Borrow $348 Million Through Bond Sales? – October 20, 2012

California Local Election Report: Construction Bond Measures for School Districts and Community College Districts – Four That Obviously Deserve a NO Vote – October 13, 2012

Contributors to Campaign to Convince Solano County Voters to Approve Measure Q

Total Monetary Contributions: $227,600

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
Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 104 Issues Account Construction trade union $5,000
Robert A. Bothman Construction Construction contractor $5,000
Solano Community College Educational Foundation Construction contractor $5,000
Jelly Belly Candy Company Candy company based in Fairfield $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
United Association Plumbers & Steamfitters Local No. 343 Labor-Management Cooperation Committee Construction trade union-affiliated Labor-Management Cooperation Committee $2,500
Keenan and Associates Insurance broker for school districts $2,500
Timothy B. Kelly Executive with elabra: bond transaction management $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
Ratcliff Architect $2,500
B&L Properties Property holding company in Fairfield $2,500
Dannis Woliver Kelley Law firm for school & college districts $2,500
Vanir Construction Management, Inc. Construction management $2,000
Hensel Phelps Construction Company Construction contractor $2,000
Dougherty & Dougherty Architect $2,000
Henley Architects & Associates Architect $1,600
CSW/Stuber-Stroeh Engineering Group Engineering $1,100
Cement Masons Local Union No. 400 Construction trade union $1,000
BCA Architects Architect $1,000
Leland Saylor Associates Construction management $1,000
BRJ & Associates Construction management $1,000
William (Bill) T. Kelly, executive with SunPower Solar contractor $1,000
Atkinson, Andelson, Loya, Ruud & Romo Law firm for school & college districts $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
Daniel Iacofano CEO of MIG – campus planning & design $1,000
KPW Structural Engineers Engineering $750
Creegan + D’Angelo Infrastructure Engineers Engineering $500
MatriScope Engineering Laboratories Engineering $500
PAE Consulting Engineers Engineering $500
TLDC Architecture Architect $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
Denis Honeychurch Solano College Board Member $500
Dovetail Decision Consultants Furniture, fixtures and equipment for educational districts $500
Sylvia Kwan Principal with Kwan Henmi Architecture Planning $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
International Union of Elevator Constructors Local No. 8 Construction trade union $200
Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers Local Union No. 3 Construction trade union $200
Blach Construction Construction contractor $200
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
Dee Alarcon President, Solano Community College Educational Foundation $100
Unitemized $50
TOTAL $227,600

As the California High-Speed Rail Authority Takes Steps to Ensure the Inevitability of the Train, Opponents Plan to Pack January 23, 2013 Board Meeting

The California High-Speed Rail Authority is moving fast to display tangible, physical signs in the Central Valley of its vision for a high-speed rail planned from San Francisco to Los Angeles.

On January 14, 2013, the obscure California Public Works Board authorized negotiations with property owners to obtain 349 parcels of land between Merced and Fresno for the High-Speed Rail. And yesterday (January 18, 2013) was the deadline for the five pre-qualified design-build consortiums to submit their proposals for the first segment of the High-Speed Rail, complete with their commitments to sign a Project Labor Agreement for the first segment of the California High-Speed Rail with the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California (an umbrella lobbying group for construction unions).

Central Valley farmers, frustrated middle class taxpayers, populist radio talk show hosts, and disgruntled small business owners see that time is running short to stop this $68 billion project, by far the most expensive taxpayer-funded public works project in American history.

Ordinary people are trying to offset the multi-million dollar taxpayer-funded public relations juggernaut driven by powerful politicians, labor union leaders, executives for architectural, engineering, and construction firms, and environmentalists to lock in their “Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train.” Behind the scenes, bond investors and financial service firms eagerly await the state to exercise its authority to borrow $10 billion (not including interest and transaction fees) by selling bonds.

But the people are finding out more about the High-Speed Rail all the time; for example, the Northern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors is informing ordinary California citizens through talk radio about the Project Labor Agreement. On January 15, 2013, the chapter’s Government Affairs Director Nicole Goehring was on the Chris Daniel Show on KMJ 580 AM & 105.9 FM in Fresno (the relevant segment is 15:00 – 40:45). And KSFO 560 AM in San Francisco named Nicole Goehring their “Watchdog of the Week” for exposing the Project Labor Agreement on the  “Whistleblower” show (the relevant segment starts at 5:40 on the January 16, 2013 morning show).

Yesterday I received an emailed “Important notice RE HSR Meeting Next Wednesday in Sacramento” indicating that a coalition of grassroots citizens organizations planned to attend the January 23, 2013 meeting of the Board of Directors of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. And this morning the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction emailed this notice:

Action Alert

Despite all of the lies and flaky data the $68 billion choo choo train to nowhere has not stopped. After months denying what we all knew was true, we now know that there will be a Project Labor Agreement covering the California High-Speed Rail project. We need your help in order to stop this Project Labor Agreement.

On Wednesday January 23rd, 2013, the first High-Speed Rail Authority meeting will be taking place since the truth behind the hidden Project Labor Agreement came out. We need you, your workers and staff to attend this meeting. You are welcome to come and speak out against this Project Labor Agreement, but it is most crucial that we have bodies showing strong opposition to this agreement. We must send a message that this is bad for the construction industry, and bad for California.

Can we count on you?

When: Wednesday, January 23rd 2013 at 9:30am 

*Meeting starts at 10am but we want to make sure we get seats 

Where: Sacramento City Hall

915 I Street, Sacramento, CA 95814   

Please let us know ASAP if you can help by contacting us at info [at] opencompca.com.

Thank you for your consideration.

California High-Speed Rail Contracting Conference in Fresno – January 11, 2013 – Round Table Discussion on the Union Project Labor Agreement

UPDATE (January 11, 2013 at 4:26 p.m.): The round table panelist representing the unions in support of the Project Labor Agreement for the California High-Speed Rail – John Hutson, Secretary-Treasurer of the Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare Counties Building and Construction Trades Council [no web site] – objected that fellow panelist and Project Labor Agreement opponent Eric Christen of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction was “edging it on” and “smiling it up.” He said “I think I recognize you from before your sex change operation,” and then stormed out of the round table panel discussion, which lasted five minutes. Here’s a video excerpt now on YouTube: Latest Union Assault Against Eric Christen.

(5:09 p.m.) Now the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction has posted another video on YouTube with an excerpt from the Project Labor Agreement panel discussion at the California High-Speed Rail Conference. In it, the head of the Fresno, Madera, Kings and Tulare Counties Building and Construction Trades Council expresses his astonishment that “some little kid” was handing out information from Associated Builders and Contractors about Project Labor Agreements. He then proceeds to tell a story from “when he was a small boy” about farm life. See the video here: Union Assault on Eric Christen and Children.

(5:59 p.m.) Associated Builders and Contractors of California (my former employer) and the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction just issued a press release with their perspective about what happened at the truncated panel discussion at the High-Speed Rail Conference. See text below. I’ll post the union perspective if it’s released to the public.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: NICOLE GOEHRING
January 11, 2013
CELL: 209-482-1697
CONTACT: ERIC CHRISTEN
CELL: 858-431-6337

Discriminatory Union Agreement Exposed on California High Speed Rail Project

Union Representative Losses His Cool at a High Speed Rail Workshop in Fresno

FRESNO—At today’s High Speed Rail Workshop in Fresno, hosted by the Kern Minority Contractors Association, John Hutson, who claims to be the head of the Fresno Madera Tulare Kings Building Trades Council, stormed out of a panel discussion about Project Labor Agreements (PLA) after it was revealed that a proposed PLA, called a Community Benefits Agreement, will shut out local workers on the California High Speed Rail Project.

“I was astonished when what was supposed to be an honest discussion about PLAs and whether they should be used on California’s High Speed Rail Project fell apart when ABC exposed that the draft PLA was highly discriminatory,” commented Nicole Goehring with the Associated Builders and Contractors Northern California Chapter. “It was sad that Mr. Hutson resorted to personal attacks and stormed off the panel and out of the building.”

Eric Christen with the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, another panelist along with Ms. Goehring and Mr. Hutson was even more offended, “Mr. Hutson couldn’t even have an educated discussion on the matter. In his opening remarks he resorted to name calling, derogatory statements and even hurled insults at my children.” Christen added, “When an organization like the Building Trades Council who claims to be the voice for workers is unable to have a healthy conversation about discriminatory PLAs, how can workers and taxpayers be assured of their true intentions?”

The Associated Builders and Contractors exposed the discriminatory language in the PLA that shuts out a majority of the workers in California’s Central Valley. One example is the referral language on page 16 (section 7.1.2) of the agreement that prevents contractors from hiring their own employees. Not only do workers have to hire all employees through the union hall, they are also prohibited from using more than five of their own employees. This agreement clearly eliminates 83% of qualified workers in California that are not signatory to a union. Where do the unions expect to get the trained workers for this project from out of State?

General Contractor Joe Garcia, a local Fresno contractor specializing in prevailing wage work stated, “I took time away from my workday to be here to discuss this important issue on behalf of my employees that prefer to work in a merit shop environment. The antics displayed today represent the reason why I left the Union many years ago. The taxpayers and voters of California should be deeply concerned about the union favoritism displayed in this agreement.”

To read the PLA, Community Benefit Agreement, go to this link:

http://www.hsr.ca.gov/docs/programs/construction/RFP_AD8_B2_PtD1_CommunBenefits.pdf

Video from today’s event can be found at: http://youtu.be/0kFhhJJULNA

Associated Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) is a national construction association representing more than 22,000 construction and construction-related firms with 74 chapters across the United States. ABC is the only construction trade association providing value-added services throughout the entire channel of general contractors, specialty contractors, suppliers, design professionals and associates. To learn more about discriminatory PLAs visit www.thetruthaboutplas.com.

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The California High-Speed Rail project will be by far the most expensive public construction project in U.S. history, at a cost now estimated at $68 billion but recently estimated at $118 billion.


At 1:30 p.m. today (Friday, January 11, 2013), a round table discussion about the draft Project Labor Agreement for the construction of the first segment of the California High-Speed Rail is scheduled during the 6th Annual San Joaquin Valley Region Public Contracting / Central Valley High Speed Rail Conference / Expo (Jobs & Contracts).

The discussion will take place at 1:30 pm in the Sequoia Ballroom at the Downtown Fresno Radisson Hotel & Convention Center.

Speaking in OPPOSITION to the State Building and Construction Trade Council of California‘s Project Labor Agreement (Addendum 8 in the California High-Speed Rail’s Request for Proposal) will be Nicole Goehring, Government Affairs Director for the Associated Builders and Contractors Northern California Chapter and Eric Christen, Executive Director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction.

See my comprehensive 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.

Here’s a press release sent by the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction.

Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction Press Release
 
January 11, 2012
Contact: Eric Christen
(858) 431-6337

Union Monopoly Agreement for California High Speed Rail Project to be Debated Today

CFEC’s Eric Christen on Panel Discussing Taxpayer and Worker Rip Off

Fresno, CA – CFEC’s Eric Christen has been invited to speak today at 1:30pm in Fresno at the 6th Annual Central Valley High Speed Rail Conference to debate the issue of a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) on the California High Speed Rail Project. As CFEC and others have been warning taxpayers, owners, and workers about for years, the California High Speed Rail Project will in fact have a union-only Project Labor Agreement (PLA).

The State of California is set to begin spending $5.85 billion to acquire land and build the “initial operating segment” of the California High-Speed Rail. In early 2013, the California High-Speed Rail Authority will award several contracts for this first segment through an alternative bidding procedure called design-build. Five entities that are conglomerates of major engineering and heavy construction infrastructure corporations have qualified to bid under this procedure with “a goal” to have 30 percent of the work go to small businesses. It has now been revealed, despite promises to the contrary, that a union-crafted PLA has been agreed to between the unions and each of the five bidders meaning no matter who wins the bid any subcontractor who wishes to work on this project will have to sign a PLA in order to work.

“We have warned for years that this back room deal would be cut at some level and now we have been proven right.” said Eric Christen, Executive Director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction. “Not content with having every independent state entity that has looked at this boondoggle admit that everything from ridership forecasts to funding sources are flawed, now they had to go pay off union bosses with this PLA scheme just so they can buy off another special interest.”

Christen penned an op-ed that ran this past weekend in the Sacramento Bee (Bullet Train Relies on Distortions, Flaky Data) that specifically highlighted the many problems this project, based on a 19th Century mode of transportation, is having and why all Californians should be opposed to this $68 billion scam.

The panel will debate the issue of PLAs at 1:30pm in the Sequoia Ballroom at the Downtown Fresno Radisson Hotel & Convention Center. The address is 2233 Ventura Street, Fresno.

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Board Members of Silicon Valley’s West Valley-Mission Community College District Hear More Arguments For and Against Project Labor Agreements

According to reports from people at the scene, the usual cast of characters made the usual arguments in conjunction with the Project Labor Agreement staff report at the December 11, 2012 meeting of the board of trustees of the West Valley-Mission Community College District (in the South Bay/Silicon Valley region of the Bay Area).

First the board of trustees received a report from the district’s Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services about Project Labor Agreements, as the board had requested at its November 13 meeting. At that same November 13 meeting, the board had also directed district staff to develop a Project Labor Agreement/Project Stabilization Agreement for projects funded by bond sales authorized by Measure C. The board gave staff discretion to negotiate that agreement as it saw fit for the benefit of the district and to bring the agreement to the board for consideration by March 2013 or the soonest practicable date.

At the December 11 meeting, the Vice Chancellor of Administrative Services asked the board to define its policy objective and warned that a Project Labor Agreement could increase costs with unknown benefit to the district. He noted that construction funded from earlier bond sales (authorized by voters in 2004 as Measure H) was done successfully without a Project Labor Agreement. He also indicated his intent to negotiate a “fair” Project Labor Agreement and pick two similar projects to compare for a pilot project – bidding one with a Project Labor Agreement requirement and one without it.

Clearly the board is split on the issue, with board member Adrienne Grey pushing for the Project Labor Agreement. She complained that the Vice Chancellor’s report was inadequate and tried to rebut the 2011 study on the cost of Project Labor Agreements on California school construction from the National University System Institute for Policy Research in San Diego.

The usual crowd spoke in support of the Project Labor Agreement:

Two among the group of contractors at the meeting to oppose the Project Labor Agreement dared to speak openly against it. Also speaking against the Project Labor Agreement were Eric Christen, Executive Director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, and Nicole Goehring, Government Affairs Director of the Northern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors. Ms. Goehring refuted the Working Partnerships USA study, reviewed the recent dismal bid results under the new Project Labor Agreement at Contra Costa Community College District, and reported the latest contractor labor law violations at the San Mateo Union High School District, where contractors are required to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions.

News Coverage:

Education Desk: Project Labor Agreements for Measure C Construction? West Valley-Mission Board Hears ArgumentsThe Santa Clara Weekly – January 2-8, 2013

“I have received voluminous, voluminous material on this topic,” Board President Nick Heimlich noted drily. But that didn’t deter several dozen people who had come out specifically to address the board on the subject from making their statements.