Tonight (Wednesday, October 27, 2010), the Palmdale Water District in northern Los Angeles County became the seventh local government in California and the first water district in California where fair and open competition for ratepayers is guaranteed and project labor agreements (PLAs) are prohibited. On a 3-2 vote, the elected board of directors adopted a resolution to amend the rules and regulations of the Palmdale Water District to prohibit the requirement of project labor agreements and other anti-competitive measures.
This photo was taken at the standing room only meeting.
This project labor agreement prohibition is particularly noteworthy because the Palmdale Water District was targeted by the Los Angeles/Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council in late 2006 and early 2007 to require its contractors to sign PLAs for future construction projects. The International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) had an official on the board at the time who wanted construction unions to have a monopoly on district construction. In the end, the district did not adopt a PLA, in part because ABC of California and the ABC Los Angeles/Ventura Chapter informed board members, agency staff, and ratepayers about the negative effects of PLAs.
Primary credit for pursuing this sorely-needed project labor agreement prohibition goes to Kevin Korenthal, who has diligently followed the affairs of the Palmdale Water District for four years as the unions attempted to control it. Kevin Korenthal is running for a seat on the board of the Castaic Lake Water Agency, based in Santa Clarita, 35 miles from Palmdale.
Also speaking in support of the PLA ban were Eric Christen of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction and several local employees of an electrical contracting firm.
The union message at the meeting was bluntly anti-competitive: union workers should be the only people performing construction at the district. Everyone else is unworthy. Union representatives clearly stated their intention to get control of the work by getting the current board removed from office.
Hopefully ratepayers of the Palmdale Water District will know that three of their board members withstood union intimidation and threats to vote in the interest of ratepayers and ALL workers, and not in the interest of union bosses. Please send an email to board members Gordon Dexter, Raul Figueroa, and Steve Cordova thanking them for their votes to ban project labor agreements:
Directions: Copy the three addresses here and paste into the “To” box of your email.