Tag Archive for Northern California Carpenters Regional Council

Marin County Citizens Didn’t Know about Project Labor Agreement When Voting in 2013 on Measure F for General Hospital Replacement

At the January 14, 2014 meeting of the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors, a representative of the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council read a letter dated January 13, 2014 from Jon Friedenberg, Chief Administrative Officer of Marin General Hospital. This was unexpected.

In the letter, Friedenberg expressed his support for Project Labor Agreements. He also noted that a union agreement had been approved with the “North Bay Building Trades” (actually the Marin Building and Construction Trades Council) for the Marin General Hospital replacement project.2014-01-13 Marin General Hospital signed PLA

I was not aware of that government-mandated Project Labor Agreement, although I had assumed that this project would be a union target after 68.49% of Marin County voters approved Measure F, on the November 5, 2013 ballot, to borrow $394 million via bond issues (up to 40 years in maturity) to fund the project.

On January 15, 2014, I began my effort to obtain background about this Project Labor Agreement. I soon found out that the elected Marin Healthcare District Board of Directors had voted on June 11, 2013 to require the future construction management firm to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions.

No opponents or members of the public spoke about the proposal at the June 11, 2013 meeting. One union official spoke in support of it, and Michael Vlaming of Vlaming & Associates made a presentation about it.

The Marin Healthcare District apparently hired Vlaming to prepare an official justification for the Project Labor Agreement. Formerly with Scarth-Lyons & Associates, Vlaming has obtained contracts to justify, negotiate, and administer Project Labor Agreements for local governments such as the Contra Costa Water District and the City of Brentwood.

On March 3, 2014, I finally obtained a copy of the “draft tentative” Project Labor Agreement. It was real, but everyone had overlooked it, for obvious reasons.

Board meeting agendas and minutes for the Marin Healthcare District are not easily accessible for review on its web site. There was no reference to this now-celebrated Project Labor Agreement in the Measure F ballot description (approved by the board on July 16, 2013) or arguments. Unions were not acknowledged even where the ballot argument described an “extraordinary coalition of Marin County leaders” supporting Measure F. No news stories about Measure F referenced the Project Labor Agreement, and a representative of the Marin Independent-Journal newspaper (which endorsed Measure F with a routine argument) admitted that supporters of Measure F had never mentioned it.

Basically, the Project Labor Agreement was hidden from Marin County voters, whose support for Measure F barely exceeded the required two-thirds threshold. If voters had known about the costly Project Labor Agreement monopoly for unions, it probably would have failed.

There was one indication that unions had a commitment for a Project Labor Agreement.

Out of $904,216.64 in monetary and in-kind contributions to the “Citizens for Marin General Hospital – Yes on Measure F – Sponsored by and with major funding from Marin General Hospital” campaign, $834,311.84 came from Marin General Hospital itself. But almost all of the supplemental contributions came from construction unions:

Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Issues PAC in Oakland

$12,004.80

Northern California District Council of Laborers Issues PAC in Sacramento

$10,000

Sheet Metal Workers’ International Association Local No. 104 Issues Committee in San Ramon

$8,000

International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 551 Issues PAC in Sacramento

$5,000

Operating Engineers Local No. 3 Statewide PAC in Alameda

$5,000

San Francisco Laborers Local 261 PAC in San Francisco

$5,000

U.A. (Plumbers) Local 38 COPE Fund in San Francisco

$5,000

Sprinkler Fitters & Apprentices Local 483 PAC in Hayward

$5,000

Bricklayers & Allied Craftworkers Local No. 3PAC in San Leandro

$2,000

Carpet, Linoleum & Soft Tile Workers Local Union 12 in San Jose

$2,000

Glaziers, Architectural Metal & Glass Workers Union Local 718 in San Francisco

$2,000

Painters Local 83 in Petaluma

$2,000

Heat & Frost Insulators & Allied Workers in Benicia

$2,000

California Teamsters Public Affairs Council Issues Account in Sacramento

$1,000

DRIVE – Democrat, Republican, Independent Voter Education (Teamsters) in Washington, DC

$1,000

Teamsters Local Union No. 665 in Daly City

$1,000

International Union of Painters & Allied Trades District Council 16 in Livermore

$1,000

Total from Construction Unions

$69,004.80


Sources

Draft Project Labor Agreement for Marin Healthcare District – General Hospital Replacement Project

Marin Healthcare District Board of Directors June 11, 2013 meeting agenda, staff report, and minutes, with the subsequent Chief Administrative Officer letter endorsing the Project Labor Agreement

November 5, 2013 Marin County Election: ballot description and arguments for Measure F

November 5, 2013 Marin County Election: election results for Measure F

Measure F is about Safety and Modern Hospital Care – editorial – Marin Independent-Journal – September 8, 2013

Campaign Contributions as of September 21, 2013 to Citizens for Marin General Hospital

Campaign Contributions as of October 19, 2013 to Citizens for Marin General Hospital

Campaign Contributions as of December 31, 2013 to Citizens for Marin General Hospital

Project Labor Agreement Negotiations Fail, Government Transparency Is Restored, Ferry Agency Resumes Fair and Open Bid Competition

Fair and open bid competition on a $22 million ferry project funded by California taxpayers was preserved after unions would not agree to provisions proposed by the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority for a Project Labor Agreement. Background about the failed union negotiations was revealed when a government affairs representative for non-union construction trade associations pointed out how the agency board planned to discuss the negotiations out of public view in closed session, in violation of state law.

A short time schedule contributed to the failure of Project Labor Agreement negotiations. On May 1, 2013, the City of Vallejo, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority, and the private developer Lennar Mare Island (LMI) issued a joint press release announcing a new $22-million maintenance, administration, and passenger facility to be built on Mare Island, a part of the City of Vallejo that was the Mare Island Naval Shipyard until 1996.

Despite its potential for prosperity based on a beautiful Bay Area water location and climate, its historic and heritage districts, and its Mare Island redevelopment, the City of Vallejo has been troubled. It filed for Chapter 9 municipal bankruptcy in 2008, primarily because of excessive commitments to its public employee unions. The city’s political leadership is notorious for catering to the interests of labor unions. Construction trade union officials have lobbied elected officials to ensure that contractors must sign Project Labor Agreements as a condition of working on major public works construction in Vallejo, whether the projects are built by Solano County, the City of Vallejo, the Vallejo City Unified School District, or the Solano Community College District.

This new project – now known as the North Bay Maintenance and Operations Facility – was an obvious union target. At the May 23, 2013 meeting of the WETA board of directors, the agency’s executive director informed the board that Ben Espinoza, president of the Napa-Solano Building and Construction Trades Council, had contacted her about the upcoming contractor bidding for the ferry facility. Union officials wanted the WETA board to require construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement with the Napa-Solano Building and Construction Trades Council as a condition of working on it.

According to the May 23, 2013 WETA board meeting minutes, the executive director told the board that the unions’ “preferred language was currently under review and that she would keep the Board informed on the status of the item.” In response to a question from one board member asking how the agency would implement the Project Labor Agreement, the executive director said that the agency would meet with union officials to negotiate an agreement for the board to approve at its June 2013 meeting. If a final agreement was not ready when the agency released bidding information for the project, the agency would subsequently add it through an addendum.

Agency negotiations with the unions had to be completed quickly. The project would be funded in part by State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) funds obtained for the City of Vallejo through the Solano Transportation Authority. In order to use the STIP funds allocated to this project, the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority would have to award the contract no later than August 31, 2013.

At the June 27, 2013 meeting, despite the opposition of the Northern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, the WETA board unanimously voted for a resolution requiring construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement. The resolution authorized the agency to modify a draft Project Labor Agreement within 24 hours for inclusion in the bid specifications.

Following the meeting, the executive director of the agency added a modified draft Project Labor Agreement to the July 3, 2013 bid specifications for the project. The Request for Proposals noted that “The final PLA will be released in an addendum to this RFP upon execution by the parties, which we anticipate will occur no later than 10 days prior to the date that proposals are due. A PLA acknowledgement form is also included in this RFP as a form required for submission.”

Here is the text of the Water Emergency Transportation Authority – North Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility – Draft Project Labor Agreement as included in the July 3, 2013 bid specifications. Figuring this would be a done deal, I dutifully added it to the list of Copies of All Project Labor Agreements on California Government Projects (1993-2013) on the www.LaborIssuesSolutions.com web site. I would ultimately have to remove it.

A few weeks later, the first posted July 18, 2013 meeting agenda for the board of the San Francisco Bay Area Water Emergency Transportation Authority (created on July 12, 2013) did not refer to any Project Labor Agreement negotiations. But a revised meeting agenda (created on July 15, 2013) included a closed session item to discuss the agency’s Project Labor Agreement negotiations with the Napa-Solano Building and Construction Trades Council.

A July 15, 2013 letter from the WETA executive director to the Napa-Solano Building and Construction Trades Council president explains the negotiating difficulties leading to this item. Here are some key excerpts:

We have a funding deadline that requires us to be in contract no later than the end of August or we lose significant funding for the North Bay Maintenance and Operations Facility project. We released an RFP for the Phase 1 work two weeks ago that includes the PLA in unexecuted format. However, we cannot go to award of a contract without having finalized the agreement and having it fully executed.

Based on your legal counsel’s representation, it would appear that I have no alternative other than to go to my board at its meeting this Thursday and advise them we will have to pull the PLA from the procurement set. If you think further discussions would be productive, given that I have a limited ability to make further changes, please get back to me immediately. We need to resolve open issues no later than the end of the day on Wednesday…

Please get back to me immediately if you see value in further discussions. Otherwise I have no option other than to advise the WETA board to delete the PLA from the North Bay Operations and Maintenance Facility project procurement.

On behalf of Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA), Air Conditioning Trade Association (ACTA), and the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of California (CAPHCC), Richard Markuson submitted a July 16, 2013 letter to WETA pointing out that discussion of the Project Labor Agreement negotiations in closed session was a violation of the California Ralph M. Brown Act, a law meant to insure government transparency and accountability.

The agency changed its plans. Created on July 16, the revised July 18, 2013 meeting agenda was “corrected” to place the Project Labor Agreement in open session as an “urgency item for consideration.”

At the July 18 WETA board meeting, representatives of the Northern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) and the Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA) called for the agency to negotiate certain provisions into the Project Labor Agreement so that Merit Shop contractors would not be discouraged from bidding. But more stunning was the infighting among representatives of various trade unions, which revealed why the discussion was originally intended for closed session.

A representative of the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council spoke against the Project Labor Agreement in its current draft form. The Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 104 and the Teamsters union also opposed the draft language.

WETA’s executive director recommended that the board dismiss the Project Labor Agreement. After a month of negotiations, the agency could not reach an agreement with the Napa-Solano Building and Construction Trades Council. The attorney with Thompson Coburn law firm negotiating the Project Labor Agreement on behalf of WETA was resisting inclusion of off-site hauling (to and from the job site) and off-site fabrication in the Project Labor Agreement because he believed including these activities would violate the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA).

Meanwhile, the law firm of Weinberg, Roger and Rosenfeld, negotiating the Project Labor Agreement on behalf of the Napa-Solano Building and Construction Trades Council, has historically upheld a strict model of a Project Labor Agreement that includes off-site work and militantly rejects any provisions that acknowledge the existence of a non-union construction sector. Speaking on behalf of the unions, Sharon Seidenstein of Weinberg, Roger and Rosenfeld even objected to WETA changing a provision to allow apprentices to be dispatched from any state-approved apprenticeship program (including programs operated by companies or non-union Unilateral Apprenticeship Committees), rather than exclusively from a program operated by a union-affiliated Joint Apprenticeship Training Committee (JATC).

WETA’s legal counsel asked the union lawyer for case studies to back her position, which she was unable to do because reportedly no party has yet challenged the inclusion of off-site hauling (to and from a job site) or inclusion of off-site fabrication in a Project Labor Agreement. WETA board members tried to convince union representatives to accept the draft Project Labor Agreement and even recommended limiting apprentices on the project to those from union programs. In the end, the WETA board voted that if the unions did not sign the draft Project Labor Agreement by close of business on July 19, 2013, contractors would not be required to sign a Project Labor Agreement to work on Phase 1 of the project.

On July 19, 2013, unions informed the agency that it would not sign the Project Labor Agreement, and the agency removed the requirement from the bid specifications through an addendum. State taxpayers will now benefit from fair and open competition on this project.

News Media Coverage:

Labor Agreement Could Be in Place for New Ferry Facility on Mare IslandVallejo Times-Herald – June 27, 2013

WETA Adopts Disputed Labor Agreement for Vallejo Ferry Facility – Vallejo Times-Herald – June 28, 2013

Vallejo Ferry Hub Accord in Jeopardy – Vallejo Times-Herald – July 27, 2013

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

UPDATE: News Coverage

Solano College Board Weighs Construction OptionsFairfield Daily Republic – February 7, 2013

How Will Solano Community College Spend Bond Funds? – Vacaville Reporter – February 7, 2013 and Interest High in How Solano Community College Will Spend Bond MoneyVallejo Times-Herald – February 7, 2013


George Guynn, Jr., President of the Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group, speaks against the proposed Project Labor Agreement for $348 milllion Measure Q at Solano Community College District, February 6, 2013

George Guynn, Jr., President of the Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group, speaks against the proposed Project Labor Agreement for the $348 milllion Measure Q at Solano Community College District, February 6, 2013.

Representatives of the Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group and various construction organizations, including the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC), the Northern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), and the Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA) spoke out at the February 6, 2013 meeting of the Governing Board of the Solano Community College District against a proposed Project Labor Agreement.

Under the proposal, construction companies would be required to sign a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with unions as a condition of working on projects funded by proceeds from $348 million in bond sales authorized by 63.52% of Solano County voters on November 5, 2012 as Measure Q.

A union official from the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council (Frank Crim) and a union official from the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local Union No. 180 (Dan Broadwater) spoke in support of the Project Labor Agreement. Greg Armstrong of the Northern California Chapter of the unionized National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA) claimed that construction under Project Labor Agreements never goes over budget and never garners any complaints or litigation.

John Takeuchi of Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group speaks against proposed Project Labor Agreement for $348 milllion Measure Q at Solano Community College District, February 6, 2013

John Takeuchi of the Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group speaks against the proposed Project Labor Agreement for the $348 milllion Measure Q at Solano Community College District, February 6, 2013.

Following public comment, the Solano College Vice President of Finance & Administration – Yulian Ligioso – made a presentation about Project Labor Agreements that Eric Christen of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction described afterwards as “the worst, most dishonest report I have ever seen, with many outright fabrications…a horrid report.” Clearly it was based on material provided by union lobbyists, and it ignored material provided by opponents. He indicated that a proposed document may be brought to the governing board for their March meeting. Here’s a copy of the staff report outline: Solano Community College District Staff Report on Project Labor Agreements – February 6, 2013.

The official ballot information provided to Solano County voters for the November 5, 2012 election did not indicate that the college district would consider a Project Labor Agreement. Here’s what was on the ballot:

SOLANO COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT MEASURE Q “SOLANO COMMUNITY COLLEGE DISTRICT STUDENT / VETERANS’ AFFORDABLE EDUCATION, JOB TRAINING, CLASSROOM REPAIR MEASURE.
“To prepare Solano / Yolo County students / veterans for universities / jobs by: Expanding student, military, disabled veteran access to affordable education; Meeting earthquake / fire safety codes; upgrading employer job placement facilities; Upgrading engineering, welding, nursing / firefighter training centers; Acquiring, constructing / repairing facilities, sites / equipment, shall Solano Community College District issue $348,000,000 in bonds, at legal rates, with citizens’ oversight, annual audits / no money for pensions / administrators’ salaries?”

$652,650 Contributed to Measure E Campaign: West Contra Costa Unified School District Seeks to Borrow Another $360 Million “For the Children of West County”

I obtained the paper copies of the campaign finance reports from the Contra Costa County Elections Office from October 1, 2012 through November 1, 2012 filed by the “For the Children of West County” campaign to convince voters to vote for Measure E. Measure E would authorize the school board of the West Contra Costa Unified School District to borrow another $360 million for construction by selling bonds to investors, thus adding $360 million plus interest payments to a $1.77 billion existing debt resulting from previous bond sales.

The total raised since the June 6, 2012 election by this committee as of November 1 is $652,650. It had $92,252 cash-on-hand as of October 20.

There are a few strange things in the October 20, 2012 report. First, the campaign refunded $15,000 to The Seville Group for a July 20, 2012 contribution, even as The Seville Group (aka SGI Construction Management) contributed another $7,500 on October 18. And the campaign refunded $25,000 to WLC Architects for an August 9, 2012 contibution, even as WLC Architects contributed another $5,000 on October 4.

There is also a mystery contribution – $20,000 on October 20 from “Moving Forward, 150 Post Street, Suite 405, San Francisco, CA 94108, ID#1348494.”

Moving Forward - Yes on Measure E Form 460 Campaign Report 2012-10-20 and Late 497

“Moving Forward” toward more than $2 billion in debt? Who thinks so?

There are no records available on the web about this organization; perhaps it filed something on paper with Contra Costa County. (There aren’t any electronic records from “Moving Forward” on the Contra Costa County Campaign Finance web site, either.)

Here’s the revised list of contributors to the campaign to convince voters to approve Measure E, allowing the board of the West Contra Costa Unified School District to borrow $360 million.

DONOR INTEREST AMOUNT
WLC Architects* Architect $175,000
Deems Lewis McKinley Architect $50,000
International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local Union No. 302 Construction trade union $35,000
Fred Powell, architect with Powell & Partners Architect $35,000
The Seville Group (now rebranded as SGI Construction Management)** Construction management $30,000
Quattrocchi Kwok Architects Architect $25,000
Moving Forward – based out of San Francisco-based law firm of Jim Sutton Unknown at this time: ID#1348494 not listed with California Secretary of State or San Francisco Ethics Commission $20,000
Hibser Yamauchi Architects Architect $20,000
Interactive Resources Architect $15,000
Baker Vilar Architects Architect $15,000
Sheet Metal Workers Local Union No. 104 Construction trade union $10,000
Hamilton + Aiken Architects Architect $10,000
Lathrop Construction Associates Construction contractor $10,000
Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Construction trade union $10,000
Orbach Huff & Suarez Law firm for school districts $10,000
District Council of Ironworkers of the State of California and Vicinity Construction trade union $7,500
Employers’ Advocate Construction labor relations $7,500
HMC Architects Architect $6,950
Northern California District Council of Laborers Construction trade union $5,000
California Teachers Association Teachers’ union $5,000
Interface Engineering Engineering $5,000
GCR Law firm for school districts $5,000
Jack Schrader & Associates Consultant for developer fees $5,000
John P. Grossman and Associates Architect $5,000
KNN Public Finance School financing consultant $5,000
Powell & Partners Architect $5,000
Amanco Construction management $5,000
Atkinson Andelson Loya Ruud & Romo Law firm, works for WCCUSD $5,000
AE3 Partners Architect, engineering $5,000
AEKO Consulting Information technology installation $5,000
Matthew Pettler, executive with School Facility Consultants School finance consultant $4,500
Kam Yan & Associates Engineers $4,500
Davillier-Sloan Construction labor relations $4,000
Arcala Land Company Affiliated in some way with Davillier-Sloan $4,000
Carducci & Associates Architect $3,500
CBX Technologies Information technology installation $3,000
Brelje & Race Consulting Civil Engineers Engineering $2,500
Cal Communication Service Company Construction contractor $2,500
[United Association of Plumbers & Steamfitters Local Union No. 159] TRICO Pipe Union-affiliated labor-management cooperation committee $2,500
Northern California Chapter, National Electrical Contractors Association Unionized construction contractor trade association $2,500
Del Monte Electric Construction contractor $2,500
H&M Mechanical Group Engineering $2,500
O’Mahony & Myer Engineering $2,500
ZFA Structural Engineers Engineering $2,500
Contra Costa County Electrical Industry Trust Union-affiliated labor-management cooperation committee $1,500
Vallier Design Associates Architect (landscape) $1,500
Total School Solutions School district administration consultant $1,500
Thornton Tomasetti Engineering $1,500
Sprinkler Fitters & Apprentices Local Union No. 483 Construction trade union $1,250
WHM Engineering $1,200
Cammisa and Wipf Consulting Engineers Engineering $1,000
15000 Incorporated Engineering $1,000
Bay Area Consulting Engineers (BAC Engineers) Engineering $1,000
Skinner for Assembly 2012 Politician $1,000
Kleinfelder West Engineering $1,000
ISSA Structural Engineering Engineering $1,000
McCracken & Woodman Engineering $1,000
Mechanical Design Studio Engineering $1,000
PMC School finance consultant $1,000
Security by Design Engineering $1,000
Cornerstone Structural Engineering Group Engineering $750
David L. Gates & Associates Architect $500
Brokaw Consulting Electrical Engineering Engineering $500
Bricklayers & Allied Craftsworkers Local Union No. 3 Construction trade union $500
Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard Law firm for school districts $500
Ingraham DeJesse Associates Engineering $500
Miller & Associates Construction contractor? $500
Sally Swanson Architects Architect $500
Alexander Murdoch, executive with School Facility Consultants School finance consultant $500
Luk and Associates Engineering $300
SOHA Engineers Engineering $250
RGA Environmental Hazmat consultant $250
Willie Robinson Construction management $250
Alan Kroop & Associates Engineering $250
Ninyo & Moore Engineering $100
KPFF – San Francisco Engineering $100
Not itemized $0
TOTAL $652,650

Sources: contributions since the June 5, 2012 election for the period ending June 30, 2012the period ending September 30, 2012, and the period ending October 20, 2012 with one late contribution.

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

The Fairfield Daily Republic reported today (October 30, 2012) that “supporters of Solano Community College’s Measure Q brought in more than $80,000 in the latest filing period, mostly from firms from outside Solano County…For the latest period, nearly every large donation came from a company or individual donor from outside of Solano County.” (See Measure Q Funding Continues to Grow.)

Say "No" to $348 Million Bond - No on Q - Taxed Enough Already!

Say “No” to $348 Million Bond – No on Q – Taxed Enough Already!

How is the opposition doing? Well, it’s definitely local. According to the article, “The No on Q campaign received and spent less than $1,000, thus isn’t required to report finances at this time. According to John Takeuchi, the Central Solano Citizen/Taxpayer Group spent $590 on a sticker ad and small yard signs.”

Measure Q would authorize the Governing Board of the Solano Community College District to borrow $348 million for construction by selling bonds to investors. The Solano Community College District Governing Board required contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions in order to work on projects funded by Measure G, which authorized the Governing Board to borrow $124.5 million for construction by selling bonds. (See my October 21, 2012 report A Thoroughly Documented History of How Solano Community College Requires Contractors to Sign a Project Labor Agreement with Unions.)

Here is the complete list of contributions to Yes on Measure Q:

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
Robert A. Bothman Construction Construction contractor $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
Keenan and Associates Insurance broker for school districts $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
B&L Properties Property holding company in Fairfield $2,500
Dannis Woliver Kelley Law firm for school & college districts $2,500
Henley Architects & Associates Architect $1,600
Cement Masons Local Union No. 400 Construction trade union $1,000
BCA Architects Architect $1,000
William (Bill) T. Kelly, executive with SunPower Solar contractor $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
KPW Structural Engineers Engineering $750
Creegan + D’Angelo Infrastructure Engineers Engineering $500
MatriScope Engineering Laboratories Engineering $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
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
Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers Local Union No. 3 Construction trade union $200
Blach Construction Construction contractor $200
CSW/Stuber-Stroeh Engineering Group Engineering $100
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
TOTAL $190,250

Sources: Campaign Finance Report through September 30, 2012Campaign Finance Report through October 20, 2012.

Who’s Paying to Convince Sacramento Voters to Take On $414 Million of Additional Debt – Plus Interest – with Measures Q and R?

Measures Q and R on the November 6, 2012 ballot ask Sacramento voters to let the Sacramento City Unified School District Board of Trustees borrow a total of $414 million for construction by selling bonds to institutional investors. Sacramento taxpayers must pay this money back to the investors – with interest! It will cost at least $734 million – perhaps more if the district is lured into selling Capital Appreciation Bonds.

The opposition web site to Measures Q and R: www.fairandopencompetitionsacramento.com

Here are a couple of my observations about contributions to the campaign, based on the Sacramento City Unified School District – Yes on Q and R Campaign Form 460 – through September 30 2012 and the Sacramento City Unified School District – Yes on Q and R Campaign Form 460 – through October 20 2012.

1. This Campaign Is a Sitting Duck for Accusations of “Pay-to-Play”

Here’s a list of all of the campaign contributors through October 20, 2012, with links to the company web sites, the amounts contributed, and the business interest of the contributor.

DONOR INTEREST AMOUNT
Plumbers and Pipefitters Local Union No. 447 Construction trade union $25,000
Lozano Smith Law firm for school districts $10,000
Cumming Construction management $5,000
California Association of Realtors Selling houses and protecting interests at the state capitol $5,000
Landmark Construction Construction company – built past SCUSD schools without and then with a Project Labor Agreement $5,000
Lionakis Architect $5,000
Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe Bond counsel $5,000
Sacramento-Sierra’s Building and Construction Trades Council Construction trade unions $2,500
[Central Valley Sheet Metal Industry] Labor Management Cooperation Trust Union-affiliated labor-management cooperation committee $2,500
DLR Group Architect $1,500
Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Construction trade union $1,000
Operating Engineers Local Union No. 3 District 80 Construction trade union $1,000
Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard Law firm for school districts $500
Loan from Patrick Kennedy for SCUSD Board of Education School board member’s political campaign fund $528
Williams + Paddon Architects + Planners Architect $500
Bricklayers and Allied Craftsworkers Local Union No. 3 Construction trade union $250
Other $25
TOTAL $70,303.00

2. Another Labor-Management Cooperation Committee Contributes to a Campaign

How many people in Sacramento know about the Central Valley Sheet Metal Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust? There’s only one place on the web where you’ll read about labor-management cooperative trusts, and you’re reading it now. These trusts are arcane entities 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. There are no federal or state regulations specifically addressed toward these trusts, and these trusts do not have any reporting requirements to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards.

Who Defeated the City of Auburn’s Proposed Charter, and How Was It Done? (Answer: Three Union Entities, by Spending $56.40 Per NO Vote)

Tonight I spoke during public comment at the Auburn City Council meeting to encourage the five city council members after last week’s defeat of Measure A, a proposed charter for the City of Auburn. I’m sure it was frustrating for them to see 65% of city voters reject an ordinary, reasonable proposal to shift government authority from the state to the local level.

Measure A lost on a vote of 1409 to 748 in the June 5, 2012 election.

As I mentioned in an earlier post, construction unions derailed the proposed charter for the City of Auburn using the same methodology used to defeat the proposed charter for the City of Rancho Palos Verdes in an election on March 8, 2011. In both cases, professional, experienced, and well-funded regional union political operations overwhelmed a local grassroots movement. (In Rancho Palos Verdes, 69% of voters rejected the charter after the unions flooded the city’s voters with deceptive mailers.)

The campaign in support of Measure A scraped together $8,671.00, mostly in small contributions from Auburn residents and local businesses. They spent $2,200 on advertising in the Auburn Journal newspaper and printed some flyers and campaign signs. Nothing unusual for a local campaign in a city with a total population of 13,300.

Meanwhile, as seen in this campaign finance report and this campaign finance report, three union entities contributed a total of $75,000 (plus $4,463.83 in non-monetary contributions) to the campaign opposing Measure A, as a result spending $56.40 per NO vote to defeat the proposed charter. The ratio of union spending (in opposition to Measure A) to local spending (in support of Measure A) was 9 to 1.

The steamrolling was so bad in Auburn that the union opponents of the proposed charter spent more than twice as much on legal/accounting services ($17,618.20 billed by Olson, Hagel & Fishburn LLP) than the local Measure A supporters raised for their entire campaign ($8,671.00).

There were only three donations to the campaign against Measure A, which would have enacted a charter that included provisions allowing the city to establish its own government-mandated construction wage rates (“prevailing wages”) for municipal construction and permanently exempt the city from potential state requirements that volunteer labor be paid at state-mandated wage rates.

Here is an analysis of the three contributions to “Preserve Auburn, No on Measure A, sponsored by California Alliance for Jobs” campaign:

1. $25,000 from the International Union of Operating Engineers Local No. 3, which represents union workers who operate equipment such as excavators and cranes in Northern California.

This contribution appears to come from the union’s general fund. (It is classified in the campaign finance report as “Other” and not as a political committee.) According to its Form LM-2 for 2011 filed with the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor Management Standards, the multi-state Operating Engineers Local No. 3 had total receipts in 2011 of $41,851,469. It spent $630,837 on political activities and lobbying. This union spent more than twice as much in 2011 at Give Something Back Office Supplies ($62,285) than it did against Measure A in 2012.

So what is the typical state-mandated wage rate for an operating engineer in Auburn? The state sets the wage package for a bulldozer driver in the City of Auburn (Group 4, Area 1) at a straight time total rate of $62.00 per hour$37.15 + $24.12 in fringe benefits + $0.73 for “Other.”

2. $25,000 from the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council Issues Political Action Committee (PAC). (The Carpenters also reported $4,463.83 in web site development expenditures against Measure A.)

According to its latest Form 460 filed with the California Secretary of State, this PAC started the year with $223,739.45 and collected another $72,340.12 in 2012, up to May 19. It had money to burn for a campaign in Auburn.

So what is the typical state-mandated wage rate for a carpenter in Auburn? The state sets the wage package for a basic carpenter in the City of Auburn (Area 3) at a straight time total rate of $56.60 per hour$31.62 + $22.69 in fringe benefits + $2.29 for “Other.”

3. $25,000 from the California Alliance for Jobs, an example of an arcane type of union trust 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.

Inspired by the decline of unionized manufacturing in the Northeast, this federal law was meant to help industrial management and union officials build better personal relationships and cooperate against the threat of outside competition. There are no federal or state regulations specifically addressed toward these trusts, and these trusts do not have any reporting requirements to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Office of Labor-Management Standards. (Another example of this kind of trust is the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperative Trust, explained in my past blog posts here and here.)

Collective bargaining agreements for the Laborers and the Operating Engineers in Northern California include mandatory employer payments to the California Alliance for Jobs trust based on hours worked by trade workers represented by those unions. Those payments are incorporated into the state’s construction wage rates (“prevailing wages”) in the Other component established in 2003 through Senate Bill 868 (signed into law in 2003 by soon-to-be-recalled Governor Gray Davis) as California Labor Code Section 1773.1(a)(7-9).

The latest available IRS Form 990 for the California Alliance for Jobs (for 2010) indicates expenses of $2,391,938, including $685,000 in lobbying and political expenditures. So $25,000 sent to a campaign in the City of Auburn is peanuts to this group.

As a major participant in the California Alliance for Jobs, the Northern California District Council of Laborers must be included as the third construction trade union that opposed Measure A.

So what is the typical state-mandated wage rate for a laborer in Auburn? The state sets the wage package for someone holding a stop/slow sign at a road site in the City of Auburn (Group 3, Area 2) at a straight time total rate of $42.93 per hour$25.89 + $16.91 in fringe benefits + $0.13 for “Other.”

Perhaps these wage rates accurately reflect the true prevailing wage rates in Auburn, and Auburn taxpayers are getting their money’s worth when they pay for purely municipal construction performed under these rates. Perhaps it is reasonable to require businesses to make their contractors pay these rates on private construction projects that receive any sort of city financial assistance.

But shouldn’t that be a decision for the Auburn City Council, rather than the California State Legislature and the Division of Labor Statistics and Research (DLSR) in San Francisco?

Tonight I urged the Auburn City Council to prepare another proposed charter, and this time don’t make it typical, ordinary, and reasonable. Develop a manifesto of local control against the power of the state government and the special interests that control it. Offend every group in Sacramento. And then bring it before the voters of Auburn.

I don’t think the people of Auburn will be fooled again, especially if the supporters of the charter abandon the low-key grassroots operation and fight fire with fire in Round Two.

Carpenters Union Gives Someone Trouble in Sacramento

Here are representatives of the Carpenters Union (probably from Local No. 46, based in Sacramento) on April 25, 2012 with a banner in front of a large complex of government-leased buildings on Power Inn Road in Sacramento. As you can see, their banner claims that the Sacramento-based developer and property management firm Separovich/Domich is doing something bad. Apparently it hired a contractor that does not employ unionized workers. The bannering protester on the right is wearing a Carpenters Union jacket on this muggy, rainy day.