Voters in Chula Vista, Calif., and Oceanside, Calif., approved ballot initiatives that prohibit local entities from requiring project labor agreements (PLAs) on city-funded construction projects. Chula Vista and Oceanside join the City of Fresno, Orange County and San Diego County in prohibiting PLAs on locally funded work. These two initiatives mark the first time voters have been given the opportunity to consider a ballot initiative to ban these special interest handouts, although we suspect it won’t be the last.
The adoption of these ballot initiatives represents a rebuke of Big Labor’s strong-arm tactics, particularly in Chula Vista. Union demands cost Chula Vista a proposed $1 billion bayfront development by Gaylord Entertainment in 2008. Chula Vistans were forced to watch thousands of potential jobs leave town because Gaylord Entertainment refused to give into Big Labor’s demands and sign a PLA. Union bosses greenmailed Gaylord Entertainment with so much environmental red tape that they decided to seek opportunities elsewhere – Mesa, Arizona in this case.
Additionally, the margin by which voters approved these initiatives is further evidence of a well-publicized trend in 2010, that taxpayers are sick of feeling as if their government is not working for them. The adoption of these initiatives shows that taxpayers want the best public construction at the best price. Always and with no exceptions. People believe that their public officials should spend their hard-earned money wisely and they clearly don’t want to see it end up as a handout to political connected special interest groups.
In an extension of the point above, the adoption of these initiatives shows that voters are sick of politics as usual as well. As we have documented on this site, Big Labor resorted to some underhanded tactics in their stop at nothing opposition to Proposition G. These tactics include dishonestly claiming that Proposition G would prohibit union workers from competing for locally funded construction projects, intimidating Proposition G supporters and even trying to deceive Chula Vista’s Spanish-speaking population by insinuating that Proposition G is the same as the new law enacted in Arizona on April 23 (Senate Bill 1070) regarding the enforcement of federal immigration laws. It is apparent that Big Labor was willing to do almost anything to protect their ability to con public officials into supporting PLAs.
Americans are tired of these types of misleading and patently offensive campaign tactics. By soundly adopting Proposition G and Measure K, the people of Chula Vista and Oceanside said that there is no room for Big Labor’s lies in their communities.
Finally, by voting for these initiatives, residents of these two cities essentially rejected President Obama’s Executive Order 13502, which encourages federal agencies to use PLAs on federal construction costing $25 million or more. After hearing both sides, voters clearly decided that they do not believe that forced agreements with Big Labor increase economy or efficiency in contracting. These results should give the Obama administration serious pause when deciding whether to move forward with federal government-mandated PLAs, particularly in the San Diego area.
Here at TheTruthAboutPLAs.com, we congratulate the people of Chula Vista and Oceanside. You have told Big Labor to look for their wasteful handouts somewhere else. As a result, you can expect the accountability that you deserve on construction funded by your tax dollars.
That’s not a bad feeling, is it?
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