Allowing all contractors to bid will ensure competition, avoid excessive cost
Project labor agreements (PLAs) have never been used on Sonoma County public projects. In fact, on Sept. 18, 2012, the county board of supervisors considered a similar policy that was never enacted. The county subsequently awarded a $22.7 million contract for the Sonoma County Airport Runway project without a PLA.
On Jan. 14, after more than three hours of public comment, the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors backed a proposed policy for PLAs on public construction projects of more than $10 million that will decrease local opportunities for 84 percent of construction workers. While some would have you believe PLAs are a good thing, research and experience shows they result in reduced competition and increased costs.
Pros and cons of the latest Solano Community College project labor agreement were aired Thursday during a governing board meeting at the school's main Fairfield campus.
Trustees are considering the agreement to guide how construction will be done during the rollout of the $348 million Measure Q bond, approved by voters in November.
Through the years, the bond will pay for several major building projects in the community college district, which includes the Vacaville Center on North Village Parkway, as well as for expansion of military and disabled veteran access to affordable education, upgrading employer job placement facilities and improving nursing and firefighter training centers.
A labor agreement which has generated considerable interest among contractors and union groups goes before the Solano Community College board at tonight's trustee meeting.
The board will make no decision on the proposed Project Labor Agreement slated to cover all projects funded with the voter-approved Measure Q bonds.
Instead, trustees will review the latest proposal during a study session and hear from anyone wishing to speak on the issue.
Decision day for Apple Campus 2 is Tuesday. That's when the Cupertino City Council will vote on the massive spaceship campus - either to let the tech giant move forward or to halt it in its tracks.
It's hard to remember another city council meeting with so much anticipation. Which is odd, because Cupertino's decision on whether to approve one of the country's largest buildings doesn't seem to be very up in the air. At public meetings so far, and in comment letters submitted to the city, it's been pretty much a love-fest. (The Merc's Troy Wolverton has a very different take in his must-read column out today, which you can read here.)
I spent part of the morning poring through the council packet for tomorrow's meeting. Here are a couple takeaways, along with a few residual questions I have.
If spending a lot of dough and outsmarting a determined defense is what it takes to get the team a new arena on the San Francisco waterfront, the Golden State Warriors owners say they are game.
The cost to rehabilitate the aging piers where the arena would perch - as much as $170 million -"is a lot higher than we originally started with," co-owner Joe Lacob said at a San Francisco Chamber of Commerce luncheon Monday to kick off the team's NBA season and promote the proposed $1 billion arena project.
"It's a big number," Lacob said. "But look, we're privately doing this, and we've made the decision we're going to do it. It's more expensive than we thought, but you only live once."
The San Jose City Council on Tuesday wasn't buying a union's environmental challenge to One South Market, the sleek new apartment high-rise coming out of the ground downtown.
The council voted 9-2 to reject the claim made by the Santa Clara and San Benito Building and Construction Trades Council. We first told you about the appeal Tuesday morning.
At Tuesday's council meeting, union CEO Neil Struthers said the group supports the tower's construction, but takes issue with hiring out-of-area subcontractors and what he characterized as inappropriate exemptions from certain city requirements, such as underpaying for affordable housing fees.
SAN JOSE -- Critics of California environmental law called a labor group's legal challenge to a downtown San Jose high-rise an example of "greenmail" abuse in which unions threaten builders with bogus claims to control hiring.
The San Jose City Council voted 9-2 Tuesday to reject environmental approval appeals brought by the Santa Clara & San Benito Counties Building and Construction Trades Council over the 23-story One South Market project.
"I think this is just an abuse of the environmental process," Mayor Chuck Reed said.
Dear MUSD Board of Education,
My name is Eric Christen and I am the executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction. CFEC was formed 14 years ago to stand against the waste and discrimination represented by Project Labor Agreements. We are a statewide organization that seeks to educate owners and taxpayers about the true nature of PLAs.
We are disappointed to have learned thatÊyou agreed to a limited PLAÊfor a certain number of projects without consulting our organization. Before you had undertaken such a radical change in the way a school district does business I would have hoped that the board and your staff would have at least taken a moment to research these "agreements." A quick Google search would have revealed not just how contentious they care but how unpopular they are. Eleven entities now have outright banned PLAs in California in just the past 36 monthsÊwhile 15 different states have done the same.ÊJust last June 58 percent of voters in America's 10th largest city (San Diego) voted to ban them. You would also have found how few school districts use them. In point of fact there have been more than 400 school bonds passed over the last 15 years in California. Of those only 28 have had PLAs placed on them. Why is this? What do the vast majority of school districts know about PLAs that you do not?
FAIRFIELD — A conversation that was to discuss the pros and cons of a project labor agreement quickly devolved into arguments about the merits of union versus nonunion workers.
Solano Community College District governing board members listened to the discussion at their Wednesday meeting and heard both sides of the argument on whether or not to use a project labor agreement for future construction projects. The board is in the early stages of planning for how to spend $348 million from Measure Q, passed by voters in November.
No vote was taken after more than an hour of public comment from the over-capacity crowd. Board members made no comments after the public and made no mention of when a vote on the subject could come.