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View the PLA Update for July 25, 2014 here.

CFEC Crane Logo 2012
PRESS RELEASE
June 25, 2014
Contact: Eric Christen
(858) 431-6337 

Mailers Highlight Fairfield City Council Vote to Play Favorites with Local Union Bosses While Wasting Tax Dollars and Discriminating Against Most Workers 

  Coalition Sends Mailers to More than 10,000 Voters Educating Them About Project Labor Agreement's Impact on New Train Station  

Fairfield, CA - This week mailers are being received by thousands of Fairfield voters educating them about the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) that the Fairfield City Council voted to approve "negotiations" on with local union bosses in April for the City's new Train Station Specific Plan. A PLA is a scheme crafted by local union special interests that are solely meant to make it more difficult for union-free contractors and workers to successfully bid work they cover.  

One of main reasons the Fairfield City Councilmembers are pushing for a PLA is local hire. Unfortunately what they fail to realize is three of Solano County's most recent projects have failed to have local subcontractors working on their projects. The William J. Carroll Government Center had 20 subcontractors on it. Out of the 20 only one was from Solano County. The Health and Social Services Building (365 Tuolumne) had 37 subcontractors, only 3 were from Solano County. The $58 million Solano County Claybank Detention Center had 18 subcontractors and none were from Solano County. PLAs don't help with local hire at all so why are we doing another one for the train station under the supposed need for local hire?

"Apparently some of these Councilmembers are not being kept up to date by their union donors as to what the results of PLAs actually are." said CFEC's Eric Christen. "If they were fully informed and saw the evidence of how PLAs harm the ability to hire local workers, most of whom are union-free, and saw what they did to costs they'd probably be less inclined to push this special interest scheme."   

PLAs force all workers to pay union dues, pay into union pension plans, and to be hired exclusively through a union hiring hall. They also explicitly discriminate against non-union apprentices who belong to state and federally approved training programs. For these reasons contractors who happen to be union-free are less likely to bid a project covered by a PLA thus reducing competition and increasing costs.  

The mailer is being sent to voters in the City of Fairfield so that they will be fully educated on what is going on and asks them to contact the City Council and demand that worker rights not be harmed in any "agreement" crafted by the unions. If the PLA that comes back before the Council for a final vote does in fact have the typical discriminatory provisions in it, CFEC and its allies will work to see that it is rejected and will hold accountable anyone who votes for such a document.

To learn more about this issue contact CFEC's Eric Christen at 858-431-6337 or go towww.opencompca.com.


 

 

CFEC Crane Logo 2012

May 22, 2014

In This Issue
Sacramento City Council Votes 7-2 to Move Ahead with New $477 Million Arena
Cerritos Community College District Board of Trustees Needs to Hear from You to Help Defeat the Proposed PLA on $500+ Million Bond!
CFEC's Updated PLA Blackbook
Join CFEC at the Home of Pacific Rim Mechanical's Terry Broyles in San Diego on June 18th!
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Sacramento City Council Votes 7-2 to Move Ahead with New $477 Million Arena 

Despite protests from citizens who do not believe the City of Sacramento can afford it and contractors who opposed the union-only Project Labor Agreement (PLA) scheme that is being placed on it, city council members voted 7-2 Tuesday night to approve the plan to build the new Kings Arena.

 
While praise and back slapping was much on hand Tuesday, this "victory" for Sacramento came with casualties, namely taxpayers and the merit shop contractors, workers, and apprentices who have been assigned second class status by the politicians and owners so as to placate union bosses who simply are afraid to compete for the work. 
 
To date no PLA has been agreed to, let alone made public, and CFEC will continue to monitor its progress. Unions continue to push to have all of the work in the surrounding development placed under a PLA as well and are threatening to hold up the project if that is not achieved. 

Cerritos Community College District Board of Trustees Needs to Hear from You to Help Defeat the Proposed PLA on $500+ Million Bond!

On Wednesday, June 4, 2014, CFEC has been asked to make a presentation to the board of trustees of this college in response to a pro-PLA union presentation made last month. Unions are attempting to place a PLA on the college's new $500+ million construction bond.
 
CFEC is requesting that area contractors contact the Cerritos Community College District Board of Trustees and let them know that a PLA is bad for taxpayers, workers, and contractors, many of whom will be paying for this bond.
Trustee Area 2
Stay tuned for more information about the June 4th meeting where CFEC's Eric Christen will be making his presentation so that you can join him in support of keeping this work open for all! 
CFEC's Updated PLA Blackbook  

With so many projects under PLA threat around the state it is often times hard to keep track. CFEC has made it easier by creating the first and only, one of its kind "PLA Blackbook" that tracks past and current threats here. Please review it today to see what is happening on the PLA front! 

Join CFEC at the Home of Pacific Rim Mechanical's Terry Broyles in San Diego on June 18th!   

Download the response form HERE 

Donate Today
Whether it is through the use of our emails, weekly newsletters, gatherings, or other tactics we here at CFEC work hard to educate elected officials, business owners, and other entities about the discriminatory and harmful effects of PLAs. We are able to continue these efforts because of the generous support shown to us by our members. Please donate today and help us continue to keep fair and open competition alive. Thank you! 
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CFEC Crane Logo 2012
 
That was fun.
 
Monday for us at CFEC began with me getting into my car in Grass Valley (think Tahoe) and proceeding to drive 600 miles to beautiful Santa Barbara to fight a PLA on that County's $96 million North County Jail Expansion Project. At 9am the next morning the Santa Barbara County Supervisors discussed the issue and I was there with John Loudon of the California Construction Compliance Group to defend the right of workers, apprentices, and taxpayers in front of a room full of hostile union bosses who were as friendly as they were coherent. The meeting lasted 4 hours and ended with the main PLA proponent on the board promising me that any PLA that was agreed to would not force workers to pay into union health, welfare, and pension plans. Progress.
 
A few hours later, up in the City of Fairfield, that city council took up the issue of a PLA on their new $80 million train station. Representing CFEC was Kevin Dayton. Kevin was joined by other supporters of fair and open competition who did an excellent job of spelling out exactly why PLAs were not in the best interests of taxpayers and workers. Unfortunately this council, which had never adopted a PLA previously thanks to our efforts and despite union attempts, showed how true the axiom is that says politics is about relationships. Unions have spent years getting to know and elect this current council and the final vote reflected this reality with all 5 council members agreeing to begin negotiations with local unions. 
 
At 6:30am that same day CFEC's Alicia Pearlman and Nicole Ganz left San Diego via the Amtrak to join me in Santa Barbara for our event that night where we strategized with local contractors about how to best defeat the County's PLA. We had a wonderful discussion about the issue of PLAs and how to fight them. We agreed to meet again but next time make sure that we had more contractors present.
 
    
 
The next morning we headed down to San Diego stopping on the way at the Oxnard School District offices to meet with staff about a PLA that had just popped up there. Union bosses want to do to the Oxnard School District what they did to Oxnard Union High School District apparently and see to it that their $90 million construction bond is worth 30% less. I was pleased to learn that I will be giving a presentation to the OSD Board of Trustees about the issue of PLAs at an upcoming board meeting. 
 
We then continued our trip down the coast, a trip that was interrupted when I received a call from the Cerritos Community College District informing me that at 6:30pm that night unions would be giving a presentation on the benefits of PLAs. Why? The college in 2012 passed a construction bond worth $350 million, and unions want it all for themselves. The timing was good seeing how I just happened to be driving by the college at that moment. I adjusted my schedule and decided it was a good night to attend a college board meeting.
 
The skunk at the picnic.
 
If I thought the Santa Barbara County Supervisor's meeting was one where we were outnumbered, the meeting at Cerritos made that look like a friendly family gathering. 100 union members and a number of pro-PLA elected officials were there to explain why it was such a good idea to discriminate against workers and rip off taxpayers. Being that I'm not exactly unknown throughout the California union community I was greeted with looks and comments that one might expect a 49er fan to receive at a Raider game. In fact I'm pretty sure every single person in the audience was a Raider fan. Never fearing a chance to inject some reason and common sense into a debate I waited my turn to speak and listened to an hour of pro-PLA rhetoric.  
 
Then it was my turn.
 
Trying to persuade using reason and motivate using emotion I was given more than 6 minutes to explain exactly why a PLA would be terrible for the college, assuming of course it didn't want to emulate a dysfunctional entity like the Los Angeles Unified School District. I hit every key point and then formally asked to be given a chance to officially present our side at an upcoming board meeting, which the board agreed to!  
 
Needless to say the walk back to my seat (now occupied by one pissed off union member) was less than comfortable. I'm pretty sure I heard words and phrases that would make a drunken sailor blush. But the key I learned long ago is to not make eye contact and just keep walking. Done.
 
I was followed back to my car after the board meeting by a group of friendly union members who appeared to want to give me directions home. I thanked them for the great night and proceeded to drive another 100 miles back down to San Diego arriving at 11:30pm exhausted.
 
1100 miles in 72 hours. That I can handle. 150 pro-PLA union members to two of us. That I can handle. The name calling and incoherent rage. That I can handle. But what makes it tough is having to wonder if the lack of contractor support both physically and financially is a sign that, in these areas at least, I'm just wasting my time.
 
I know you are busy running a business and taking care of your family.  Me too. I know you don't like to go to meetings and get yelled at, however incoherently. Me too. But I do it because I feel compelled to protect your right to work and because it's my job. I've been doing this for 15 years and we are good at what we do. But we need your support.
 
Knowing there is the financial backing there to do what needs to be done makes attending these meetings easier. So I'm asking right now if I can count on you?
 
You can support CFEC in one of three ways:
  1. A one time online credit card donation  TODAY. 
  2. A one time donation via check sent by mail to PO Box 1627, Poway, CA 92074.
  3. monthly donation via credit card or check that you can arrange with CFEC staff that spreads your support out over the course of a year versus perhaps giving it all now when funds may be limited. 
On Thursday I left my office in San Diego after I finished this email and jumped in the car to drive 550 miles back home to Northern California. It was a long drive but one that will gave me a chance to decompress and strategize about how to fight these 4 PLAs, PLAs totaling $500+ million in work(!), so that you have a chance to bid them. Then there are the other 50 or so PLAs CFEC is also currently monitoring. I would appreciate you taking time today to consider helping us help you. That would make my upcoming trips just that much easier and make me feel like these past few days were worth all the effort. 
 
Thank you.
Yours in the fight,

 eric

CFEC Crane Logo 2012
PRESS RELEASE
April 8, 2014
Contact: Eric Christen
(858) 431-6337 

Mailers to Thousands of Santa Barbara County Residents Blasts Union Attempt to Exclude Local Workers from County Jail Project Work 

 Discussion to Place Union-Only Project Labor Agreement on $96+ Million County Jail Set for April 15th

The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC) has sentmailers to tens of thousands of Santa Barbara County residents to educate them about the latest attempt in Santa Barbara County to discriminate against union-free construction workers. The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors are currently set to discuss the issue of a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) on the County's $96.1 million Northern Branch Jail project at their April 15th board meeting. In 2010 unions attempted to put into place a county-wide PLA but were beat back when CFEC helped organize a coalition of local businesses, taxpayers, and workers to stop it.

"It is unfortunate that the supervisors are again bringing L.A.-style politics to Santa Barbara by giving serious consideration to a Big Labor scheme whose only intent is to exclude union-free workers, apprentices, and contractors." said Eric Christen, executive director of CFEC. "By doing this they will only increase the cost of this project, something the Oxnard Union High School District School Board just learned about the hard way when their PLA covered high school project came in $10 million over estimates"

PLAs are union crafted "agreements" that force workers to pay union dues, pay into union benefit packages, and be hired through union hiring halls. They also explicitly exclude non-union apprentices from working.

The issue is set to be discussed at the County Administration Building, Board Hearing Room, Fourth Floor, 105 E Anapamu St, Santa Barbara, CA 93101 at 9:00am on April 15th. CFEC will also be holding an informational event  that evening at the Fess Parker Hotel from 5:00-7:00pm on April 15th located at 633 E Cabrillo Blvd, Santa Barbara, CA 93103. For more information or to RSVP for this event contact Alicia Pearlman at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

 

 

The lastest edition of CFEC's PLA Update is out, check it out here.

 

CFEC Crane Logo 2012
PRESS RELEASE
March 6, 2014
Contact: Eric Christen

Coalition Demands that the Union Crafted Agreement be Made Public at Today's Contractor Outreach Meeting!

 Union "agreement" has been kept hidden for months yet will impact how $500+ million arena is constructed. Group will ask once again today "Where is the PLA?!"

Sacramento, CA - Today the Sacramento Kings and their lead contractor, Turner Construction, will be holding a "contractor outreach" meeting to discuss job opportunities for local businesses. Sacramento Mayor Kevin Johnson has even applauded the Kings and Turner claiming a commitment to local and small businesses by promoting contracting in the Sacramento region. However this will never happen if a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) is in place. 
 
Thanks to the PLA that was crafted in a backroom deal by local union bosses and team owners, that has still not been made public, the 85% of the local construction workforce that is union-free will be implicitly excluded from bidding the work unless they essentially become union. The PLA was first announced at a press conference held by Mayor Kevin Johnson on September 4, 2013, that turned into a debacle for PLA supporters when PLA opponents showed up and dominated the media coverage.
 
"With the owners and Turner now having to meet with local businesses to explain how to bid the work, they may actually have to make public this secret deal they have been too embarrassed to show to date." said Eric Christen, executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC). "It's humiliating to be claiming on the one hand that this will be a boon for local businesses when in reality you know that union labor from all over the country will build it because local bidders have been locked out."
 
PLAs typically require workers to pay union dues, pay into union benefit packages (even though they already have such plans), to be hired through a union hiring hall, and explicitly excludes non-union apprentices from working at all. PLAs have been banned in 11 different California cities and counties, and in 16 different states. In 2012 the city of San Diego, America's 8th largest city, voted 58% to 42% to ban their use on city-funded projects.
 
"We will continue to demand that this secret deal that Big Labor special interests have crafted be made public so that everyone can see first hand just how exclusionary and costly it will be for the owners, the contractors, the taxpayers, and the workers."
 
Today's contractor outreach meeting will be held at the Robertson Community Center located at 3525 Norwood Avenue, Sacramento, CA 95838. It will run from 5:00pm to 6:30pm. 
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The lastest edition of CFEC's PLA Update is out, check it out here.

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