Proponents of fair and open bid competition in Santa Barbara County, California gathered March 10th at the county administrative building to protest a proposed project labor agreement for future county construction. On a 3-0 vote with two absences, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted on February 16 to negotiate a PLA for with the Tri-County Building and Construction Trades Council for future county construction. To hide the PLA, the proposal was called a “Local Jobs Capital Project Construction Stabilization Agreement.” The PLA proposal was pushed by 1st District Supervisor Salud Carbajal.
Here are excerpts from a press release issued by the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction:
Coalition Rallies to Oppose Santa Barbara County Kickback Scheme
Taxpayers, Local Businesses and Contractors Fight for Open Competition and Against County Union-Only CSA
March 10, 2010 – Santa Barbara, CA – Concerned taxpayers, association representatives and small business owners in Santa Barbara County rallied at the Santa Barbara County Administration Building today to oppose the County’s effort to end competitive bidding on county construction projects. Some Santa Barbara County Supervisors recently agreed to move ahead with a kickback scheme known as a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) that will drive up the price of construction for taxpayers by nearly 25%.
“We are disturbed that three County Supervisors voted on February 16th to consider – on behalf of big labor special interests — a discriminatory kickback scheme that will drive up the price of construction for Santa Barbara County taxpayers and exclude nearly 85% of local construction firms from the bidding process,” Eric Christen, the executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction said (CFEC).
CFEC is a statewide non-profit formed 12 years ago to fight for fair and open competition in the construction industry. CFEC has been working with the Santa Maria Valley Contractors Association, Santa Barbara Contractors Association, San Louis Obispo Builders Exchange, Ventura County Contractors Association, Associated Builders and Contractors, Western Electrical Contractors Association, taxpayer groups, and local contractors and businesses to oppose special interest attempts to place an end to competitive bidding on County projects.
Pictures of the event are available below: