Unions Want Port of Long Beach to Require Contractors to Sign Project Labor Agreement to Build Proposed Downtown New Port Headquarters

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Port of Long Beach Headquarters

Port of Long Beach Headquarters

The Long Beach Press-Telegram has always been diligent in reporting labor policy aspects of proposed local construction projects. It reports in its November 13, 2012 article Port of Long Beach Officials Urge Caution in Headquarters Site Search that construction union officials are publicly calling for the Board of Harbor Commissioners for the Port of Long Beach to require contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement to work on a long-proposed new headquarters building.

A couple of people at the meeting – including Tommy Faavae of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, Local Union 11 – were happy that a new building is being considered, wherever it may be.

Faavae asked that the port consider a project labor agreement when it is ready to build.

“I feel that a project labor agreement would bring a project on time and under budget and create real good jobs that’s needed here at the port,” he said.

The commissioners of the Port of Long Beach require contractors to sign these Project Labor Agreement for three major projects: Middle Harbor Stages 1 & 2 Project Labor Agreement 2010Gerald Desmond Bridge Project Labor Agreement 2012North Middle Harbor Project Labor Agreement 2012.

The Long Beach City Council approves the mayor’s appointments to the board of harbor commissioners. Consistent with its routine approval of costly and intrusive policies typical of other California coastal cities, the Long Beach City Council requires contractors to sign this Project Labor Agreement: City of Long Beach Airport Terminal Improvements Phase 1 Project Labor Agreement 2010.

Not so long ago the Long Beach City Council could be described as having a “conservative” or “pro-business” majority. (See LONG BEACH: Donelon Leads in Special Election for City Council – Los Angeles Times – February 8, 1995.) The Left has been whittling away at the city council for years, and now there is only one city council member who could be reasonably described as a fiscal conservative – Republican Gary DeLong, who just lost an election for the 47th Congressional district that encompasses parts of Long Beach and Orange County. DeLong was the one vote at the Long Beach City Council’s August 3, 2010 meeting against the Project Labor Agreement for the airport.

Long Beach Mayor Bob Foster is an outspoken supporter of Project Labor Agreements and claimed in March 2010 before the Harbor Commissioners vote for the Middle Harbor Stage 1 Project Labor Agreement that “in his experience, PLAs always come in ahead of schedule and under budget, and have the added benefits of employing local residents and offering career opportunities for young people.” It’s uncertain where that experience came from, as that was the first government-mandated Project Labor Agreement in Long Beach, but perhaps he’s referring to energy infrastructure projects built by Southern California Edison when he was CEO of that utility. If they exist, such Project Labor Agreements are not generally available and their performance cannot generally be assessed.

Under these current political circumstances, expect a Project Labor Agreement on the new Port of Long Beach headquarters, if it ever becomes reality.

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