Tom Curato, an official with the Plumbers & Pipefitters Union Local No. 228, had a opinion piece in the February 10, 2012 Redding Searchlight newspaper entitled Prevailing Wage Supports Skilled Workers And Their Families. It was a response to my February 4, 2013 letter to the editor Redding Needs a City Charter.
In 2011, construction unions used a Charter City Exploratory Committee to undermine a campaign to ask Redding voters to approve a charter that would have given the city authority to establish its own policies concerning government-mandated construction wage rates. Ultimately, the Redding City Council voted 3-2 to reject the concept of a charter, pleasing top union officials in Sacramento.
At the same time, the Plumbers & Pipefitters Union Local No. 228 and other unions were repeatedly trying to get the California Department of Industrial Relations to issue a determination declaring a private hotel project as a “public works” project subject to state laws that define and calculate construction wage rates. Under an administrative appeal, they finally won their desired outcome from the Department of Industrial Relations in January 2013.
See comprehensive information at Redding Needs a Charter to End Nonsense Definition of Private Hotel as a “Public Works” Project.
The union op-ed defending state-mandated construction wage rates received 58 posted comments, showing the intense debate on this issue in Redding (and elsewhere). My earlier letter to the editor had 39 posted comments – some about prevailing wage, some about the concept of charter city status for Redding.
The exchange of opinions was reported in the union-oriented web site www.wepartypatriots.com: see UA Local 228 Rep. Defends the Prevailing Wage for Redding, CA. Of course, the article never mentions that taxpayers ultimately pay for “public works” projects.
For more information on charter cities and prevailing wages, see Are Charter Cities Taking Advantage of State-Mandated Construction Wage Rate (“Prevailing Wage”) Exemptions?