The San Diego Union-Tribune, the highest circulated daily newspaper in the San Diego metropolitan area, has endorsed Measure K, which asks Oceanside voters to adopt a charter that includes a ban on project labor agreement (PLA) requirements in city contracts. It also allows the city to establish its own prevailing wage policy for purely municipal projects. Finally, it prohibits unions from withdrawing money from city employees’ paychecks for political purposes without their individual permission (“paycheck protection”).
Earlier this month, the San Diego Union-Tribune also endorsed Proposition G, which asks Chula Vista voters to approve an ordinance that would ban PLA requirements in city contracts. It was inspired by the failed multi-year effort of Gaylord Entertainment to build a billion-dollar hotel and convention center at the Chula Vista Bayfront. Unions threatened to block the project indefinitely with environmental objections unless the developer signed a PLA that covered all construction on the project.
If voters approve the two Fair and Open Competition ballot initiatives in San Diego County on June 8, the Merit Shop will have real momentum to push back against the explosion of PLAs and discriminatory “local hire” ordinances in California since the November 2008 election, which gave construction unions so much additional power and influence at the federal, state, and local governments. In the second and third largest cities in San Diego County, citizens will get a chance to decide for themselves through a direct vote if they want the best quality construction at the best price through fair and open competition.
ABC of California is part of a “Free Enterprise Coalition” that has a strategy called “20 in 2010” to prohibit PLAs at twenty local governments in California in 2010. Coalition leaders have identified more than two dozen targets throughout the state.
The Boards of Supervisors for Orange County (the fifth most populous county in the country) and San Diego County (the sixth most populous county in the country) have recently passed ordinances banning PLAs. (The Fresno City Council banned PLAs in 2000.) Several more county boards of supervisors and city councils are now considering PLA bans.
Part of the “20 in 2010” plan is a sub-strategy called “10 in 2010” to ban PLAs in the ten most populous cities in San Diego County. It includes a signature-gathering campaign (near completion) to ban PLAs in the City of San Diego, the ninth most populous city in the country.
How can YOU help? Consider immediate contributions to the ballot initiative campaigns to guarantee fair and open bid competition in San Diego County’s three most populous cities: San Diego, Chula Vista, and Oceanside. Here are links to all three campaign web sites, where you can make contributions electronically: Fairness for Chula Vista, Pass the Oceanside City Charter, and Reform San Diego (signature collection for November 2 ballot initiative in the City of San Diego).