The Imperial County Board of Supervisors (California) rejected a wasteful and discriminatory project labor agreement requirement as part of a green job training and weatherization/retrofit program at their December 22 meeting.
Here is Associated Builders and Contractors – San Diego Chapter’s press release:
Imperial County Supervisors Reject Big Labor’s Monopoly Scam Disguised as Green Jobs Program
Taxpayers Spared Added Expense from Scheme to Cut Competition and Raise Costs of Green Jobs Construction
EL CENTRO, CA – On December 22, the Imperial County Board of Supervisors wisely rejected a resolution that would have implemented a taxpayer-funded, union-controlled scheme allegedly meant to create “green jobs.”
Despite packing the meeting room of the county board of supervisors with militant union activists, Big Labor officials based in San Diego failed to browbeat the county supervisors into approving their political agenda of Project Labor Agreements on taxpayer-funded construction.
“We’ve been watching Big Labor as they’ve conspired to use Project Labor Agreements to gain monopoly control of green construction in the City of San Diego and now in Imperial County,” said Scott Crosby, President and CEO of Associated Builders and Contractors.
Imperial County supervisors were right to reject the special interest plot and instead ensure that taxpayers get the best quality construction at the best price.
There is one other issue to note with this PLA rejection. This item from the Imperial Valley Press’ coverage of the Board of Supervisors jumped out to us:
The Imperial County Board of Supervisors did not approve a green retrofit and workforce training program that some said would increase local construction jobs while others countered that it would limit the county by forcing them to contract with a union.
After an almost hour-long discussion and with a room filled with about 120 people, the Board gave direction for staff to continue to look for construction grants and see whether it is possible to prioritize for local workers.
The county has not seen a real contract, which makes it hard to agree with the program, said Supervisor Mike Kelley. The supervisors are caught between a rock and a hard place because it wants to support local workers, but can’t with the presented program.
In other words, Big Labor asked the Board of Supervisors to require PLAs for all work covered by this initiative even though the board didn’t know what the PLA would entail. Public entities make this mistake all the time.
This is the best possible situation for Big Labor. It allows unions and their allies to make their promises without giving those hurt by these agreements – including everyday citizens – the opportunity to take Big Labor to task for the PLA’s wasteful and discriminatory provisions.
Additionally, public entities that approve blanket PLA requirements like the one proposed for this program in Imperial County put all contractors – both union and nonunion – in a terrible position when bargaining with the union over the terms of the PLA.
By getting a public entity to approve a non-specific PLA requirement, Big Labor knows that any contractor who wants to work on a project covered by the requirement must sign a PLA. Therefore, the union has all the leverage in their negotiations with contractors and very little incentive to act in good faith. The local unions are in a position to make whatever demands they want and know that contractors must ultimately come to an agreement with the unions if they want to work on the project.
This PLA requirement would have been a no-win situation for both union and nonunion contractors and a raw deal for the public. Thanks go out to the Imperial County Board of Supervisors for rejecting this special interest handout.
Hopefully, our friends in San Diego are paying attention to this display of good government in their own neighborhood.