Tag Archive for Robbie Hunter

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.

###

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.

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

At the link immediately below is a copy of the DRAFT Project Labor Agreement (aka Community Benefits Agreement) between the California High-Speed Rail Authority and the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California and the Signatory Craft Councils and Local Unions. It was Addendum 8, issued on December 26, 2012, for the Request for Proposal for Design-Build Services for the first construction segment between Madera and Fresno. Tutor Perini/Zachry/Parsons, a Joint Venture, won the contract.

California High-Speed Rail Authority Addendum 8 Community Benefits Agreement

At the link immediately below is the FINAL executed version of the Project Labor Agreement for California High-Speed Rail, signed by the CEO of the California High-Speed Rail Authority on August 13, 2013.

California High-Speed Rail Authority Executed Community Benefits Agreement


A draft Project Labor Agreement for the first segment of the California High-Speed Rail is now included as Addendum 8 in the Request for Proposal (RFP) to the five pre-qualified design-build consortiums. These entities have a January 18, 2013 deadline to bid on design and construction of the first 28-mile segment of the high-speed rail line in the San Joaquin Valley, from Madera through Fresno.

Consistent with the Community Benefits Agreement resolution approved at the December 6, 2012 meeting of the California High-Speed Rail Authority board of directors, the Project Labor Agreement is disguised under the term “Community Benefits Agreement.” But as you’ll see below, it’s the standard boilerplate language used in most Project Labor Agreements that contractors must sign with unions to work on government projects in California. And a close reading of the specific provisions in the agreement shows that the alleged benefits are nothing but efforts, goals, acknowledgement, an exercise of full support, and even one recognition of a desire!

And a close reading of the specific provisions in the agreement shows that the alleged benefits are nothing but efforts, goals, acknowledgement, an exercise of full support, and even one recognition of a desire!

Here’s a little more, buried deep in the bid documents:

Section 7.11.3 of the Request for Proposal for Design-Build Services for the first segment of the California High-Speed Rail project states that “Proposers are advised that, subject to FRA [Federal Railroad Administration] approval, the Authority intends to develop a Community Benefits Agreement consistent with the Community Benefits Policy adopted by the CHSRA [California High-Speed Rail Authority] Board at its December 6, 2012 meeting with which the Contractor will be required to comply.”

And Section 10.1 of the Request for Proposal states that  “The Authority [that is, the California High-Speed Rail Authority CEO Jeff Morales] will not make a recommendation for award of the Contract [to the California High-Speed Rail Authority Board of Directors] unless the successful selected Proposer has submitted the following: Escrowed Proposal Documents and corrected any deficiencies identified by the examination of the EPDs, and A letter of assent executed by the Proposer agreeing to be bound by the Community Benefits Agreement.” This indicates a government-mandated Project Labor Agreement.California High-Speed Rail Project Labor Agreement Mandate

Obviously the California High-Speed Rail Authority‘s inclusion of this Project Labor Agreement as an addendum in the RFP is also a strong suggestion for pre-qualified design-build entities to commit to signing this agreement in order to fulfill the conditions of the Community Benefit Agreement resolution. A contractor who commits to sign the union agreement will likely receive the full amount of points assigned to this objective in the “best value” scoring criteria used by the California High-Speed Rail Authority as the basis to award the design-build contract.

This long-anticipated union agreement will be signed by Robbie Hunter, new President of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, by a representative of the California High-Speed Rail Authority, and by representatives of the design-build entity and its subcontractors.

The Project Labor Agreement’s Phony Community Benefits: Just Nice Words 

Pages 3 and 4 of the draft Project Labor Agreement identifies certain kinds of special workers who will allegedly get the community benefits:

Section 1.15 states that aNational Targeted Worker” means (a) an individual whose primary place of residence is within an Economically Disadvantaged Area or an Extremely Economically Disadvantaged Area in the United States; or (b) a Disadvantaged Worker.

Section 1.9 states that anEconomically Disadvantaged Area” means a zip code that includes a census tract or portion thereof in which the median annual household income is less than $40,000 per year, as measured and reported by the U.S. Census Bureau in the 2010 U.S. Census and as updated by the parties upon the U.S. Census Bureau issuing updated Median Annual Household Income data by census tract in the American Community Survey.

For some reason, this definition does not limit the area to the San Joaquin Valley or even to California. And how many zip codes qualify?

Section 1.10 states that anExtremely Economically Disadvantaged Area” means a zip code that includes a census tract or portion thereof in which the median annual household income is less than $32,000 per year, as measured and reported by the U.S. Census Bureau in the 2010 U.S. Census and as updated by the parties upon the U.S. Census Bureau issuing updated Median Annual Household Income data by census tract in the American Community Survey.

Once again, this definition does not limit the area to the San Joaquin Valley or even to California. And how many zip codes qualify?

Section 1.8 states that aDisadvantaged Worker” means an individual who, prior to commencing work on the project, resides in an Economically Disadvantaged Area or Extremely Economically Disadvantaged Area as defined in Sections 1.9 and 1.10, and faces at least one of the following barriers to employment: (1) being homeless; (2) being a custodial single parent; (3) receiving public assistance; (4) lacking a GED or high school diploma; (5) having a criminal record or other involvement with the criminal justice system; (6) suffering from chronic unemployment; (7) emancipated from the foster care system; (8) being a veteran; or (9) being an apprentice with less than 15% of the apprenticeship hours required to graduate to journey level in a program as described in Section 1.2.

Keep in mind, this definition does not limit the area to the San Joaquin Valley or even to California.

Seven – and possibly eight, depending on the individual veteran – of the nine barriers to employment listed in the definition of “Disadvantaged Worker” are significant liabilities for getting into a state-approved apprenticeship program and more importantly, staying in it. But it’s easy to see that #9 is a loophole for how the contractors and unions could fulfill the goal for a “Disadvantaged Worker” – they’ll simply dispatch apprentices who are in their final 15% of the number of hours needed to qualify to graduate from their union apprenticeship program.

The language in the Project Labor Agreement associated with actually finding and employing National Targeted Workers is vague and sometimes unintentionally humorous in its exaggerated sincerity.

The language in the Project Labor Agreement associated with actually finding and employing National Targeted Workers is vague and sometimes unintentionally humorous in its exaggerated sincerity:

[Page 15] Section 7.1  The Unions will exert their best efforts to recruit and identify individuals, particularly National Targeted Workers, as well as those referred by the Jobs Coordinator, for entrance or reentrance into the labor/management apprenticeship programs, and to assist individuals in qualifying and becoming eligible for such programs.

[Page 17] Section 7.3.1  The C/S/Es [that is, the contractors, not the unions] must document all efforts made to comply with the targeted hiring process to locate and hire National Targeted Workers.

Note that the unions give the responsibility for documenting recruitment and hiring to the contractor, even though it’s the unions that run the hiring halls and dispatch the workers.

[Page 17] Section 7.4  Unions will make their best effort to recruit sufficient numbers of skilled craft persons to fulfill the requirements of the Contractors/Employers.

[Page 17] Section 7.5.1  The Unions will make every effort to recruit National Targeted Workers and to refer and utilize National Targeted Workers on the Project.

This provision also contains a subtle but useful conditional loophole: “National Targeted Workers” will be recruited, referred, and used “as long as they possess the requisite skills and qualifications…” How many National Targeted Workers (such as homeless people) can be reasonably expected to possess these skills and qualifications?

[Page 18] Section 7.5.3 (A)  All Contractors/Employers performing Project Work will every effort [sic] to employ the maximum number of Apprentices allowed by State Law.

[Page 19] Section 7.8.1 The C/S/Es and Unions recognize a desire to facilitate the entry into the building and construction trades of veterans…

How touching!

[Page 2] WHEREAS, the Parties signatory to this Agreement acknowledge the Authority’s Small Business Policy and established overall 30% Small Business Goal, inclusive of microbusinesses, a 10% DBE and a 3% DVBE goal within the 30% overall goal and shall exercise full support of this Policy in the implementation of this Agreement in ensuring maximum utilization of Small Businesses on the project…

The “Jobs Coordinator” is going to be busy.

Section 1.12 defines “Jobs Coordinator” as “the Prime Contractor designee responsible for the facilitation and implementation of the Targeted Hiring Requirements of this Agreement. The Jobs Coordinator must be able to demonstrate or document to the AUTHORITY the requisite qualifications and/or experience to fulfill the duties and responsibilities.”

Section 7.6 states that “Disadvantaged Workers will be referred to the Unions from the Jobs Coordinator qualified to perform construction jobs coordination and related services…” 

It appears that the design-build consortium will need to hire internal staff or an outside firm to handle the Jobs Coordinator responsibilities. Once again, the unions give the responsibility for documenting recruitment and hiring to the contractor, even though it’s the unions that run the hiring halls and dispatch the workers.

Hiring of Veterans: A Lot of Talk, but What Is the Actual Performance?

Section 7.8 of the Project Labor Agreement is a vague summary of Helmets to Hardhats. Unions that are pressuring public officials for Project Labor Agreements focus quite a bit of their lobbying and public relations message on their “Helmets to Hardhats” program, meant to initiate veterans into careers in the construction trades – or more accurately, careers in the unionized construction trades. The program is operated through a union-affiliated program authorized by the Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978. The program appears to be a contact point for veterans looking for construction trade work. It refers them to the applicable local union office.

The one case I’ve seen in which someone tried to measure the success of Helmets to Hardhats revealed a stunning 100% failure. See my article www.PublicCEO.com Exposes Empty Promises of Helmets to Hardhats Program Under Project Labor Agreement in Northern California.

Here’s something particularly outrageous in this Project Labor Agreement related to the Helmets to Hardhats program:

[Page 20] Section 7.8.3  In recognition of the work of the Center and the value it will bring to the Project, the Authority shall make a contribution of $2,000 per month to the Center on behalf of itself and all other Employers employing workers under the terms of this Agreement. The contribution shall begin the first month during which Project Work is performed and end upon completion of all Project Work. Section 7.8.5  If the Authority fails to pay contributions owed to the Center within thirty (30) days of the date when such contributions are due, it shall be liable to the Trust for all costs of collection incurred by the Trust, including, attorneys’ fees and court costs. The Trustees are empowered to initiate proceedings at law or equity, and to take any other lawful action necessary to collect contributions due.

These unions are so cheap that they are contractually requiring the taxpayer-funded California High-Speed Rail Authority to pay $2000 per month to their own Helmets to Hardhats program. And they threaten to take the High-Speed Rail Authority to court if it doesn’t pay on time!

Terms and conditions of employment and labor peace procedures are the real meat in this Project Labor Agreement, of course.

Terms and conditions of employment and labor peace procedures are the real meat in this Project Labor Agreement, of course. Here’s my analysis of key provisions:

[Page 1] The purpose of this Community Benefits Agreement (Agreement) is to facilitate careers in the construction industry and to promote employment opportunities during the construction of the High Speed Rail System (Project) awarded by the California High Speed Rail Authority, remove potential barriers small businesses may encounter in participating in this Project…

Comment: The requirement to sign a 29-page union agreement would normally be regarded as a barrier for a small business to participate in a project, rather than the removal of a barrier. Also, the requirement to pay union dues and fees (Article 6.2) and be referred to a job by a union (Article 7.1) would seem to complicate employment opportunities.

[Pages 1-2] The purpose of this Community Benefits Agreement (Agreement) is…to provide for the orderly settlement of labor disputes and grievances without strikes or lockouts…the interests of the general public, the Authority, the Unions, contractors, subcontractors, employers and workers would be best served if the construction work proceeded in an orderly manner without disruption because of strikes, sympathy strikes, work stoppages, picketing, lockout, slowdowns or other interferences with work…

Comment: Do union officials anticipate that there may be strikes and other union work disruption during the construction of the California High-Speed Rail unless all contractors sign the Project Labor Agreement with the unions? Someone needs to ask!

[Page 1] WHEREAS, increasing access to employment opportunities with prevailing wages is one way for the Authority to directly combat poverty and unemployment;

Comment: Contractors are already required by state law to pay state-mandated wage rates (“prevailing wages”) to construction workers on projects of the California High-Speed Rail Authority. And the Project Labor Agreement actually EXEMPTS the project from state monitoring and enforcement compliance programs that would normally apply!

California Labor Code Section 1773.1(b)(3) – enacted through Assembly Bill 436 (2011) and supported by the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California – exempts a project funded by state bonds from making payments to the State Public Works Enforcement Fund of the California Department of Industrial Relations for prevailing wage compliance and enforcement “if the awarding body has entered into a collective bargaining agreement that binds all of the contractors performing work on the project and that includes a mechanism for resolving disputes about the payment of wages.” This is the definition of a Project Labor Agreement.

Section 8.3 of the Project Labor Agreement states that “the Authority shall monitor the compliance of all Contractors and Subcontracts with all Federal and state prevailing wage laws and regulations. All complaints regarding potential wage violations shall be referred to the Authority for processing, investigation and resolution.” It appears that unions are using the Project Labor Agreement to compel the California High-Speed Rail Authority to establish a labor compliance program (internally or contracted to an outside firm) for prevailing wage compliance and monitoring (as opposed to using the Department of Industrial Relations Compliance Monitoring Unit). Are the unions too cheap to do it themselves through their own union-affiliated labor compliance programs?

[Page 4-5] Section 1.17 …On-site fabrication work includes work done for the Project in temporary yards or areas near the Project. All fabrication work over which the AUTHORITY possesses the right of control…and which is traditionally claimed as on-site fabrication shall be performed on-site…such work may be performed off-site. In that event, such fabrication work shall be performed in accordance with the union standards established by this Agreement for the appropriate craft Union or a fabrication agreement approved by the craft’s International Union. On-site construction shall also include…

Comment: This long section is meant to prevent a contractor from classifying work covered under union Master Labor Agreements (collective bargaining agreements) as off-site fabrication in order to evade the conditions of the Project Labor Agreement or state-mandated construction wage rate (“prevailing wage”) requirements. The Sheet Metal Workers Union is especially concerned about off-site fabrication of duct work, and the Project Labor Agreement specifically cites coverage of their classifications of work.

[Page 6] Section 2.3  Project Labor Disputes: The provisions of this Agreement, including the Schedule A Agreements, (which are the local collective bargaining agreements of the signatory Unions having jurisdiction over the work on the Project, as such may be changed from time-to-time and which are incorporated herein by reference) shall apply to the work covered by this Agreement. All Project Work shall be performed as provided in the applicable Schedule A Agreement. Where there is a provision in a Schedule A Agreement and not covered by this Agreement, the provision of the Schedule A Agreement shall prevail. Where there is a provision in this Agreement, it shall prevail over any conflicting provision of a Schedule A Agreement. All disputes relating to the interpretation or application of this Agreement shall be subject to resolution by the dispute resolution procedures set forth herein.

Comment: As acknowledged in the section of this provision surrounded by parenthesis, a contractor that signs this Project Labor Agreement is not only bound by its provisions, but is also bound by certain provisions of the standard Master Labor Agreement (collective bargaining agreement) that applies to work classifications within the jurisdiction of the applicable union in that applicable geographical region. Some non-union contractors foolishly sign a Project Labor Agreement without realizing that it extends to provisions in other union agreements.

However, notice that Section 3.1 states that “This Agreement is not intended to supersede collective bargaining agreements between any of the Contractors/Employers performing construction work on the Project and Union Signatory thereto except to the extent the provisions of this Agreement are inconsistent with such collective bargaining agreement, in which event the provisions of this Agreement shall apply.” In other words, the Project Labor Agreement is supreme. Some union contractors and unionized construction associations object to government-mandated Project Labor Agreements because those agreements – often negotiated with deference to the demands of the unions – subvert the collective bargaining agreements they worked hard to negotiate.

[Page 7] Section 2.4.6  Notwithstanding the foregoing, it is understood and agreed that Building/Construction Inspector and Field Soils and Material Testers (inspectors) are a covered craft under this Agreement. This inclusion applies to the scope of work defined in the State of California Wage Determination for that Craft. Every Inspector performing under these classifications pursuant to a professional services agreement or a construction contract shall be bound to all applicable requirements of this Agreement…

Comment: Construction trade unions such as the Operating Engineers continue their efforts to organize workers in construction-related professional services into unions, as if these occupations were traditional building trades. In 2000, Governor Gray Davis signed into law Senate Bill 1999, which added a section to the definition of “public works” in California Labor Code Section 1720(a)(1) to include “design and preconstruction phases of construction including, but not limited to, inspection and land surveying work.” This placed such work under state-mandated construction wage rate (“prevailing wage”) requirements.

[Page 7] Section 3.2  It is understood that this Agreement constitutes a self-contained, stand-alone agreement…[the contractor] will not be obligated to sign any local, area or national collective bargaining agreement as a condition of performing work within the scope of this Agreement…Section 3.3  Contractors not signatory to the established Joint Labor/Management Trust Fund Agreements, as described in the Schedule A Agreement(s) for the craft workers in their employ, shall sign a “subscription agreement” with the appropriate Joint Labor/Management Trust Funds covering the work performed under this agreement before work is commenced on the Project.

Comment: This provision means that if a non-union contractor signs the Project Labor Agreement, it is not bound to the collective bargaining agreement for the applicable union for that trade in that geographic region. However, the contractor WILL have to sign “subscription agreements” binding it to the terms and conditions of the union-affiliated health insurance programs, pension programs, vacation programs, apprenticeship programs, and “other” union-affiliated slush funds used for labor compliance monitoring, contract administration, and a wide variety of vague “industry advancement” programs authorized under the obscure federal Labor-Management Cooperation Act of 1978. (Some of that “other” money is contributed to California state and local campaigns for and against ballot measures – a practice becoming more common each election.) All of these employer payments are incorporated into state prevailing wage determinations.

[Page 8] Section 3.4  So that the public, the Unions and the employees have complete information, the AUTHORITY shall immediately post copies of all executed Letters of Assent on a dedicated page on its website…[the contractor] shall be removed from the Project unless an executed Letter of Assent is posted within 48 hours.

Comment: As the former head of the Los Angeles-Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council, new State Building and Construction Trades Council of California president Robbie Hunter is surely aware of how small contractors sometimes try to slip in and out of construction projects for local governments such as the Los Angeles Unified School District without signing the Project Labor Agreement and making the fringe benefit payments to the union trust funds. There will be extra accountability on the High-Speed Rail project.

[Pages 9-14] Article 4  Work Stoppages and Lockouts

[Pages 21-24] Article 9  Dispute Resolution Procedure

[Pages 24-25] Article 11  Jurisdictional Disputes

[Page 25] Article 12  Employee Grievance Procedure

[Page 27] Article 16  Pre-job Conference

Comment: These are the substantial provisions about procedures and arbitrators in Project Labor Agreements that governments and developers hope will prevent strikes and other work disruption directed by top union officials. It doesn’t always work: sometimes workers decide on their own to walk off the job (note the provision in Section 4.4 that No Union shall be liable for independent acts of employees), and sometimes a union is simply determined to make a statement about a grievance during a jurisdictional dispute with another union over work classifications. Nevertheless, Section 4.3 states that “the Union will promptly make good efforts to cease such Project work disruption. (A For Effort.)

[Page 15] Section 6.1  [the contractors] recognize the Unions as the sole and exclusive bargaining representatives of all craft employees working within the scope of this Agreement.

Section 6.2  No employee covered by this Agreement shall be required to join any Union as a condition of being employed, or remaining employed, for the completion of the Project work…employees working on the Construction Contract…comply with the applicable Union’s security provisions for the period during which they are performing on-site Project work to the extent, as permitted by law, of rendering payment of the applicable monthly dues and any working dues…

Comment: Workers don’t have to be full-fledged members of the union, but they have to pay union initiation fees, monthly dues, and working dues as the cost of union representation. California is not a Right-to-Work state, and unions don’t want any “freeloaders” on the job who don’t pay dues and fees.

[Page 15] Section 7.1  [Contractors] recognize that the Unions shall be the primary source of all craft labor employed on the Construction Contract for the Project. For each craft, the local Union with geographic jurisdiction over the work to be performed shall make referrals of employees to the requesting [contractor]. [Contractors] utilizing core employees shall follow the procedures outlined below…

Section 7.2. [Contractors] shall be bound by and utilize the registration facilities and referral systems established or authorized by this Agreement and the signatory Unions…

Comment: Contractors will obtain their workers from the “hiring halls” of the construction trades through the unions’ internal dispatching procedure for workers waiting for a job. Unions have certain rules about who gets priority in the list of workers waiting to be dispatched.

[Page 16] Section 7.1.2  The number of Core Workers on the Project for C/S/Es covered by this Agreement shall be governed by the following procedure: one Core Worker shall be selected and one worker from the hiring hall of the affected trade or craft and this process shall repeat until such C/S/E’s requirements are met or until such C/S/E has hired five (5) such Core Workers for that craft., whichever occurs first. Thereafter, all additional employees in the affected trade or craft shall be hired exclusively from the applicable hiring hall list.

Comment: There is one limited exception in the Project Labor Agreement to the requirement that a contractor obtain workers via the union hiring hall dispatching process. As stated in Section 7.1, a contractor can keep a limited number of “Core Workers” whom the company has employed for 60 of the 100 days immediately before the job is awarded (apparently by the design-build entity) to the contractor. But the contractor has to alternate between using a Core Worker and getting a worker dispatched from the union, and no more than five Core Workers can be used.

[Page 21] Section 8.1  All employees covered by this Agreement (including foremen and general foremen if they are covered by the Schedule A Agreement) shall be classified and paid wages, benefits, and other compensation including but not limited to travel, subsistence, and shift premium pay, and contributions made on their behalf to multi-employer trust funds, all in accordance with the then current multi-employer Schedule A Agreement of the applicable Union. 8.2  Each [contractor] adopts and agrees to be bound by the written terms of the applicable, legally established, trust agreement(s), to the extent said trust agreements are consistent with this Agreement…[contractors] further agree to sign the applicable trust agreement “subscription” agreement(s) if required by the Craft Union on behalf of the Craft employees in order to make the employee contributions to the pension, annuity, health and welfare, vacation, apprenticeship, training trusts, etc.

Comment: Contractors pay fringe benefits (health care, retirement, training, etc.) to the unions. If contractors have their own employee benefit programs (401k, etc.) independent of unions, they are still required to pay their employees’ fringe benefits to the union programs. This can be a supplemental flow of money into underfunded union-affiliated pension plans, as such employees will not enjoy those benefits unless they remain with the union until eligible or vested.

The requirement for non-union contractors to pay fringe benefits to union programs instead of their own benefit plans (unless they want to pay benefits twice) is a major deterrence and competitive disadvantage for non-union contractors that might otherwise consider signing a Project Labor Agreement. Other ramifications of this provision include possible contractor liability for unfunded multi-employer pension plans and exposure of company financial data to union officials for audits.

Is this what 52.5% of California voters wanted in November 2008 when they approved Proposition 1A, the Safe, Reliable High-Speed Passenger Train ballot proposition? Of course not!

The Plot Develops to Require Contractors to Sign a Project Labor Agreement with Unions to Build California’s High Speed Rail

UPDATE: News Coverage of the Project Labor Agreement for California High-Speed Rail

‘Needy’ Workers Will Get Jobs on High-Speed Rail – Fresno Bee – December 7, 2012 (reveals that all five prequalified bidders for the first segment of the California High-Speed Rail project have signed a Project Labor Agreement with unions)

High-Speed Rail in Bed with Unionswww.CalWatchdog.com – December 7, 2012 (provides a thorough background on union officials seeking a monopoly on construction of the California High-Speed Rail project and cites the Dayton Public Policy Institute as a source)


The agenda for today’s (December 6, 2012) meeting of the California High Speed Rail Authority included an item to approve a policy concerning “enhanced community benefits” for construction of the high speed rail system. Construction industry observers believe the High Speed Rail Authority will use this policy as justification for contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions for construction of the rail system (including related structures such as stations).

The policy, approved unanimously by the board this morning, is here: California High Speed Rail Authority – Community Benefits Policy for Construction – December 6, 2012. The approved resolution to approve the policy is here: California High Speed Rail Authority – Community Benefits Policy for Construction – Resolution – December 6, 2012.

This “community benefits” policy seems innocuous on the surface. It is supposed to enhance employment opportunities for economically disadvantaged and low-income workers, veterans, youth, unemployed, homeless, single parents, people with criminal records, etc. and “ensure that California benefits as much as possible,” according to staff. During discussion of this policy at today’s meeting, staff emphasized that it would help with the hiring of veterans and the adoption of pre-apprenticeship programs. (These are customary union talking points in support of Project Labor Agreements).

Staff also reported at the meeting that the policy would be implemented in various ways with “different stakeholders.” I’ve long predicted that the politically powerful stakeholder known as the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California would use a scheme like this to get a monopoly on High Speed Rail construction through a Project Labor Agreement.

The High Speed Rail Authority will be awarding construction contracts using a “design-build” bidding procedure, which means it can use somewhat subjective criteria, in addition to price, as the basis for selecting its construction contractors. This approach to implementing a Project Labor Agreement will allow the board and union officials to avoid controversial and high-profile votes for the High Speed Rail Authority to negotiate and implement a Project Labor Agreement directly with union officials. In addition, the public will remain generally unaware of the Project Labor Agreement, because reporters will have difficulty researching and explaining this complicated procedure.

The High Speed Rail Authority will also avoid accountability for the Project Labor Agreement. It can portray the agreement as a private and voluntary business decision that originates internally with the design-build contractor. There are recent precedents for this approach on large government projects in California.

As I reported last month, Clark Construction has signed Project Labor Agreements for the San Diego Convention Center Expansion Phase III and the new Governor George Deukmejian Courthouse in Long Beach. The City of San Diego and the California Administrative Office of the Courts even claim that the Project Labor Agreements are not a matter of public record, and Clark Construction declines to provide them to the public.

Staff told the board that prospective contractors will indicate in their bids how they will fulfill the policy. There will be a monitoring program handled through the High Speed Rail Authority’s auditing committee, and contractors will be penalized for failing to comply.

Marvin Dean calls for fairness and opportunities for all at California High Speed Rail Authority Board Meeting - December 6, 2012.

Marvin Dean calls for fairness and opportunities for all at California High Speed Rail Authority Board Meeting – December 6, 2012.

Eric Christen of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction spoke at the meeting today during public comment against a Project Labor Agreement, along with Nicole Goehring of the Northern California Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors and Richard Markuson, representing the Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA), the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors Association of California (PHCC), and the Air Conditioning Trade Association (ACTA). In addition, Marvin Dean of the Kern Minority Contractors Association spoke during public comment and asked that both union and non-union contractors have the opportunity to work on the High Speed Rail.

Chairman Dan Richard (a former board member of the Bay Area Rapid Transit District – BART) concluded discussion of the proposed policy by remarking on the public comments against a Project Labor Agreement. Richard declared that while no decision has been made about how this policy will be implemented, he attended a meeting yesterday with the minority community, which expressed very strongly that a Project Labor Agreement was the way to achieve the policy objectives. He also claimed that Project Labor Agreements are effective in improving the efficiency of project delivery, reducing the number of conflicts, and providing a way for minority contractors to get work.

Mr. Richard also took a moment after public comment to recognize two important people in the audience: Bob Balgenorth, outgoing head of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California and former High Speed Rail Authority board member, and Robbie Hunter, the head of the Los Angeles-Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council, who is the incoming head of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California.

This Project Labor Agreement Scheme Has Long Been Expected…

See California’s Top Construction Union Officials Love the State’s $100 Billion High-Speed Rail Project, my January 12, 2011 blog post on www.TheTruthaboutPLAs.com that provides a history of union involvement with the High Speed Rail.

I’m not the only observer who sees what’s going on. Here’s the text of a notice sent this morning by the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction:

PLA ALERT!: CA High Speed Rail Authority to Vote on Union-Only Project Labor Agreement TODAY!

Today at 10:00am at City Hall in Sacramento, the California High Speed Rail Authority will be doing something we have warned about ever since this ill conceived, deceitfully presented plan to create a slower and more expensive way to travel verses flying was concocted: Have this 19th Century choo-choo train built with union-only labor by way of a Project Labor Agreement or “PLA”.  That should help keep this projects runaway costs down.

Because of CFEC’s pointed questioning of Authority staff and board members at previous meetings regarding a PLA, they have been forced to state there would’t be a PLA.  So what they have done now is give this PLA the euphemism “Community Benefit Agreement.”

You can watch the proceedings live by going here.

CFEC and others have been warning taxpayers, owners, and workers for years about the fact that the California High Speed Rail Authority is a prime target for a union-only Project Labor Agreement (PLA).

With Senate Bill 1029 having passed the State is set to spend $5.85 billion to acquire land and build the “initial operating segment” of the California High-Speed Rail. This month the California High-Speed Rail Authority is scheduled to 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.

Instead of awarding contracts to design the project and then awarding contracts to the lowest responsible bidder to build it, the California High-Speed Rail Authority is authorized to award contracts to qualified corporate entities that combine project design AND construction work.

The California High-Speed Rail Authority will select the design-build entities using a somewhat subjective list of “best value criteria” that could result in design-build entities winning contracts without being the lowest price. The State Public Works Board, which will oversee the awarding of the project, and the California Department of Finance, will approve the criteria to award the design-build contract.

As required by SB 1029, by October 1, 2012, prior to awarding a contract to start construction of the first segment of the California High-Speed Rail, and prior to advertising additional contracts to be awarded in September 2013 and October 2013, the California High-Speed Rail Authority will provide a comprehensive staff management report that includes a list of “proposed steps and procedures that will be employed to ensure adequate oversight and management of contractors involved in the construction contracts funded in this act.” The California High-Speed Rail Authority will also need to submit a report with the same content requirements before additional contracts are awarded in March 2017.

With the eight-member Board of Directors of the California High-Speed Rail Authority including or having included union bosses like Bob Balgenorth, recent head of the State Building and Construction Trades Council of California, this was pretty easy to see coming.  But we will continue to expose it to California taxpayers and fight it.

At today’s meeting CFEC’s Eric Christen, among others, will be asking tough questions about the CBA. The meeting will be held at 10:00am at Sacramento City Hall located at 915 I Street in downtown Sacramento.

Contact Eric Christen at (858) 431-6337 for more information.

News Media Coverage:

Approved Policy Targets Disadvantaged People for High-Speed Rail Jobs – Fresno Bee – December 6, 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.