People vs. Unions: Struggling for Open Competition in California

0 July 22, 2010  State & Local Construction, Uncategorized

FOX News’ Special Report with Bret Baier is the latest to cover the grassroots effort to bring quality and accountability to taxpayer-funded construction by preventing the use of government-mandated project labor agreements (PLAs) in California.

Here is the video from the July 21 edition of Special Report:

The FOX News Liveshots blog also covered this story in a sister piece to the video report above.  Here are some excerpts (“Liveshots: People vs. Unions,” 7/21):

“You are getting less product for a higher price and we believe in quality, accountability and value,” says Eric Christen of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, a group that lobbies on behalf of non-union contractors.

Christen says that voters in many communities throughout the Golden State are frustrated by the cost of union labor.

None more than the city of Chula Vista, a small community near San Diego, which Christen says lost a contract for a 32-acre hotel and entertainment complex because union leaders scared off investors by demanding a Project Labor Agreement (PLA), a term used to describe a legal agreement common between union contractors and public agencies.

And while Gaylord Entertainment, the sponsors of that project, will not confirm that organized labor kept them from pursuing the venture further, Christen says voters in Chula Vista responded this June by officially banning city officials from engaging in union agreements when negotiating future construction.


But more communities are taking Chula Vista’s lead.

This month, San Diego County supervisors passed an ordinance opening the bidding process for all construction projects to all contractors, both union and independent.

San Diego County Supervisor Bill Horn believes this change in how the county does business will save his community 10 percent to 20 percent on future projects.

And in a 4-to-1 vote, the San Diego Supervisors decided to give their constituents the final word on whether to award contracts regardless of union affiliation. An initiative is slated for the November ballot.

Now proponents of union agreement bans are pointing their efforts to putting similar measures on other local ballots in Los Angeles, Sacramento and 20 other cities in California.

These reports do a great job of breaking down this issue.  They also highlight the tremendous opportunity that the people of San Diego County have to make sure that Big Labor’s demands never cost them jobs again.

Please visit our earlier posts for more information on the efforts to prevent wasteful and discriminatory PLAs both in California and Chula Vista specifically.

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