California Water District Soaks Taxpayers with Sop to Big Labor

0 March 17, 2010  State & Local Construction, Transportation & Infrastructure, Uncategorized

The Pasadena Sun-Times is reporting that the the Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District has caved to Big Labor’s special interests and pledged to use PLAs on future construction projects (“San Gabriel water district gives big win to organized labor,” 3/14).

Those projects are expected to include a $210 million water recycling plant and several multi-million dollar endeavors to extend pipeline throughout the district’s territory.

The nod to organized labor should help strengthen union support for an $11.1 billion water bond coming before voters in November, board member Charles Treviño said.

Specifically, the district’s board of directors voted 4-1 earlier this month to pass a resolution directing staff to use project labor agreements (PLAs) on public works construction projects.

The PLA measure was pushed by board member Charles Trevino and Ed Chavez.   It is time for ratepayers and citizens to hold those officials in favor of the discriminatory and costly PLA accountable.

Bill Robinson was the only dissenting vote.

Robinson said PLAs would result in future water projects costing ratepayers more. And he said state and federal laws already require contractors be paid prevailing wages and set other labor standards.

It’s clear board members cut a corrupt deal with Big Labor in order to get Big Labor behind the November $11.1 billion bond measure. While citizens of this water district likely need critical infrastructure improvements , it’s a shame they have to pay an additional 12 percent to 18 percent in construction costs via the PLA “upcharge” in order for politicians to feel comfortable that citizens are going to make the right choice to improve their community.

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