Tag Archive for Metropolitan Water District of Southern California

Project Labor Agreements at California Port Districts, Water Districts, Utility Districts, Airport Districts, Hospital Districts, Transportation Districts, Irrigation Districts, Housing Authorities, and Redevelopment Agencies


Port of Oakland: “Vision 2000” Project Labor Agreement 1999, Maritime and Aviation Project Labor Agreement 2000, Maritime and Aviation Project Labor Agreement with Addendums 2004

Port of Long Beach (City of Long Beach Harbor Department): Middle Harbor Stages 1 & 2 Project Labor Agreement 2010Gerald Desmond Bridge Project Labor Agreement 2012, North Middle Harbor Project Labor Agreement 2012

Port of Los Angeles (City of Los Angeles Harbor Department): Seven individual projects: Port of Los Angeles Pier 400 Development Phase 2 Project Labor Agreement (2003), Berths 90-91 Cruise Terminal Baggage Handling Building (2005), 2006-2007 Site Improvements (2005), Berths 145-147 Wharf Improvements – Trapac Terminal (2008), Harry Bridges Boulevard Buffer Project (2008), Port of Los Angeles Cabrillo Way Marina Project (2008), and Berth 102 Wharf and Backland Improvements – China Shipping Terminal (2009). Then, City of Los Angeles Harbor Department (Port of Los Angeles) Project Labor Agreement Capital Improvement Program 2011


Costa Costa Water District: Los Vaqueros Conveyance Facilities Project Labor Agreement 1994, Bollman Water Treatment Plant Project Labor Agreement 1995, Multi-Purpose Pipeline Project 2000, Brentwood Water Treatment Plant Project Labor Agreement 2005, Alternative Intake Project 2007, Los Vaqueros Dam Expansion 2010

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission Water System Improvement Program Project Labor Agreement 2007

Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District Project Labor Agreement 2011

Central Basin Municipal Water District Project Labor Agreement 2012

Water Replenishment District of Southern California Project Labor Agreement Resolution 2008

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California: Eastside Reservoir Project Labor Agreement 1994, Inland Feeder Project Labor Agreement 1996Skinner Filtration Plant, San Diego Pipeline 6, Recreational Facilities Project Labor Agreement 2003

San Diego County Water Authority Emergency Storage Project Labor Agreement 1999


Northern California Power Agency Lodi Energy Center Project Labor Agreement 2009

Sacramento Municipal Utility District (SMUD): Carson Ice-Gen Plant Project Labor Agreement 1993, Proctor & Gamble Cogen Project Labor Agreement 1995, Campbell Soup Cogeneration Plant 1996, Cosumnes Power Plant Project Labor Agreement as of 2005, East Campus Operations Center Project Labor Agreement 2010, Solano Phase 3 Wind Project Project Labor Agreement 2010

Los Angeles Department of Water & Power Valley Generating Station 2001

City of Santa Clara Pico Power Project 2003

City of Burbank Magnolia Power Project 2003

City of Pasadena Glenarm Power Plant Units 3 and 4 Project Labor Agreement 2003

City of Vernon Malburg Generating Station 2003

City of Roseville (Roseville Electric) Energy Park Project Labor Agreement 2004

Canyon Power Project (in Anaheim) Southern California Public Power Authority Project Labor Agreement 2009

City of Palmdale Solar Hybrid Power Plant Project Labor Agreement 2009


San Francisco Airport Commission: Master Plan Project Labor Agreement 1996Master Plan Project Labor Agreement still in effect as of 2007

Los Angeles World Airports Project Labor Agreement 1999 Extension 2011

(Note: San Jose International Airport Master Plan Project Labor Agreement 2002 was approved by the San Jose City Council – not the Airport Commission, which has an advisory role – and is therefore classified under Project Labor Agreements at California Cities for Individual Projects.)


El Camino Hospital District Project Labor Agreement 2006


Sacramento Regional Transit District South Corridor Phase 1 Project Labor Agreement 1998

Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) District: Oakland Airport Connector Project Labor Agreement 2009, eBART East Contra Costa Extension Project Labor Agreement 2011

Metropolitan Transportation Commission Bay Area Headquarters Authority Project Labor Agreement 2012

Transbay Joint Powers Authority Transbay Transit Center Project Labor Agreement 2011

Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority Silicon Valley Berryessa Extension Project Labor Agreement 2011

Santa Cruz Metropolitan Transit District Judy K. Souza Operations Facility, Parking Structure, and Related Site Conditions Project Labor Agreement 2012

Exposition Metro Line (Expo Line) Construction Authority Phase 2 Project Labor Agreement 2011

Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority – Measure R and Other Capital Improvements Project Labor Agreement 2012


Kings River Conservation District Peaking Plant Project Labor Agreement 2004

Imperial Irrigation District: Imperial Irrigation District Niland Gas Turbine Plant Project Labor Agreement 2006, El Centro Generating Station Unit 3 Project Labor Agreement 2007


San Francisco Housing Authority 1994 Revised 1996


Los Angeles Community Redevelopment Agency Project Labor Agreement 2008

Unions Once Deemed Project Labor Agreements to Be Appropriate for Massive Infrastructure Construction Projects; Now They Demand PLAs for Bathroom Renovations

There was a time not too long ago when construction union officials in California and nationwide argued that Project Labor Agreements were an appropriate “construction management tool” for large multi-year infrastructure projects that require contractors to coordinate large numbers of workers in many trades.

For example, the only Project Labor Agreement case to come before the California Supreme Court was Associated Builders And Contractors, Inc., Golden Gate Chapter v. San Francisco Airports Commission (San Mateo County Building And Construction Trades Council, AFL-CIO, Real Party In Interest And Respondent). The San Francisco Airport Commission required contractors to sign a PLA for a ten-year, $2.4 billion expansion and renovation of the San Francisco International Airport.Photo of San Francisco International Airport taken by Kevin Dayton on July 1, 2012Here is how the court, in its August 16, 1999 decision against the Golden Gate Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors, described Project Labor Agreements (referred to here as a PSA, or so-called Project Stabilization Agreement):

The PSA is an example of a type of prehire agreement designed for large and complex construction projects. It is designed to eliminate potential delays resulting from labor strife, to ensure a steady supply of skilled labor on the project, and to provide a contractually binding means of resolving worker grievances. Such agreements, also called project labor agreements, have long been used in large construction projects…

The immense size of projects once subjected to Project Labor Agreements is also revealed in the only Project Labor Agreement case to come before the U.S. Supreme Court. This case was Building & Construction Trades Council of the Metropolitan District v. Associated Builders & Contractors of Massachusetts/Rhode Island, Inc. (aka Boston Harbor), decided on March 8, 1993. Here is the description of the Boston Harbor project in this decision:

The cleanup project was expected to cost $6.1 billion over 10 years…In the spring of 1988, MWRA [Massachusetts Water Resources Authority] selected Kaiser Engineers, Inc., as its project manager. Kaiser was to be primarily in charge of managing and supervising construction activity. Kaiser also was to advise MWRA on the development of a labor relations policy that would maintain worksite harmony, labor-management peace, and overall stability throughout the duration of the project. To that end, Kaiser suggested to MWRA that Kaiser be permitted to negotiate an agreement with the Building and Construction Trades Council and affiliated organizations (BCTC) that would assure labor stability over the life of the project…MWRA accepted Kaiser’s suggestion, and Kaiser accordingly proceeded to negotiate the Boston Harbor Wastewater Treatment Facilities Project Labor Agreement.

And the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals weighed in with a decision on October 28, 1998 about the legality of a Project Labor Agreement imposed by the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD). Once again, notice the size of the projects and the rationale for the PLA:

MWD determined that it would construct the Eastside Reservoir Project, which will expand water storage capacity for the area it serves. The cost of that project will be in the neighborhood of two billion dollars. It will, obviously, require large numbers of companies and laborers to bring it to completion. MWD also decided to construct the Inland Feeder Project, which is a water distribution pipeline that will cost about one billion dollars. In an attempt to assure a good measure of labor harmony, MWD pursued the negotiation of the PLAs with a number of unions.

Times have changed. Now, watch a few excerpts from this video of the April 10, 2012 Duarte City Council meeting at 25:00 and at 32:05:

Duarte (California) City Council Meeting – April 10, 2012 – PLA Policy Discussion

Ron Miller of the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council emphasizes that local governments should follow the lead of the Los Angeles Unified School District and require contractors to sign Project Labor Agreements for “$50,000-$60,000 toilet room remodels.” Then Ray Van der Nat, a lawyer for construction unions, brags that the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District imposed a PLA for specialty projects worth $25,000 or more and general projects worth $125,000 or more. He noted that the Los Angeles Unified School District also has a specialty project cost threshold of $25,000, so that projects are included such as “remodeling a bathroom.”

Somehow, the union targets for Project Labor Agreements have evolved from airports, reservoirs, and dams to dinky bathroom remodels meant to ensure government compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). They’ve gone from the Hoover Dam to the too-low toilet bowl.

Unions can argue it would not be in the public interest if students were forced to relieve themselves behind the palm trees in the school’s central courtyard or smoke their cigarettes behind the gym because union-instigated work stoppages delayed a bathroom remodelling job. This is what could happen if a Project Labor Agreement was not in place to address labor strife, a dearth of skilled labor, worker grievances, union-versus-management disharmony, or worksite instability in the bathroom.

Obviously the traditional arguments for Project Labor Agreements have changed quite a bit since the decisive court cases of the 1990s.

Project Labor Agreements are justified by Section 8(e) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA). Consider that Section 1 of the NLRA states findings that the law was enacted to reduce “strikes and other forms of industrial strife or unrest” and to “eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of commerce.”

Unimpeded bathroom remodels may eliminate the causes of certain substantial obstructions to the free flow of something, but is this really the intent of the National Labor Relations Act?

Perhaps it’s time to reopen the legal challenges to Project Labor Agreements now that they’re used for bathroom remodels and – as listed in Appendix B of the 2000 Orange County Project Labor Agreement – “Bird/Weed/Dust Control.”