Merit Shop Associations Make Wasteful School District Accountable to Voters

0 May 25, 2010  School Construction, State & Local Construction, Uncategorized

For the first time, the Merit Shop in California is making a serious investment to oppose a campaign to pass a local school bond initiative.  The board of trustees of the Concord-based Mt. Diablo Unified School District plopped a $348 million bond measure (Measure C) on the June 8 ballot, apparently without expecting any serious opposition.  They were wrong!

The Golden Gate Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC), the Western Electrical Contractors Association – Independent Electrical Contractors (WECA-IEC), and individual contractors have funded a mailer and a web site (Stop Measure C) urging voters to reject Measure C, primarily because the school board has required contractors to sign project labor agreements (PLAs) with unions for school construction projects since 2006.  Actually, there are numerous reasons why this particular bond measure should repel voters, including the 42-year payoff schedule that will cost a total of $1.87 billion and conclude when many of today’s voters are dead.

An article posted on the Contra Costa Times newspaper web site on May 24 (“Opposition Mounts to Mt. Diablo Schools Bond Measure”) suggests that the campaign to pass the bond is in trouble.  While the article notes that “a group of nonunion contractors also has announced opposition to the bond, saying it fears the district would implement an agreement to exclude nonunion workers from construction if the measure passes,” it also reports that the Contra Costa Taxpayers Association is actively opposing Measure C and numerous school district advocates are quitting the campaign committee.  More telling, the school board cancelled its next regularly scheduled meetingon May 25 and will not meet again until after the June 8 election.  (At the last school board meeting on May 11, opponents of the bond measure smacked the school board during public comments for its support of PLAs and even urged the hapless board to resign.)

At this point, can the Contra Costa County Building and Construction Trades Council save the bond with massive expenditures on glossy mailers about $1.87 billion for union monopolies under anti-competitive PLA schemes? 

What other group in Contra Costa County has the chutzpah to associate itself with such astonishing fiscal irresponsibility?

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