Wednesday, 05 November 2014 12:28

Labor issue, data stall tunnel approval

The biggest water project in the Salinas Valley in many decades will have to wait a couple of weeks for a green light because of a labor controversy and multiple requests for more data on cost estimates of the $48 million Interlake Tunnel.

The project that would add billions of gallons of stored water from winter rains in the Salinas Valley ran afoul of quick approval Tuesday during a joint meeting of the Monterey County Board of Supervisors and the county Water Resources Agency Board of Directors.

Wednesday, 05 November 2014 04:19

Debate over Interlake Tunnel project rages on


Assemblyman, county water GM at odds over labor rules

Friday, 17 October 2014 10:38

Supervisors revisit labor agreement

Erin Lennon

Lompoc Record

October 14, 2014 7:08 pm 

The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors discarded the proposed pilot Project Stabilization Agreement for the Northern Branch Jail on Tuesday, although staff will explore a new PSA for another component of the new jail facility.

The board also voted 3-2 -- with 4th District Supervisor Peter Adam and 5th District Supervisor Steve Lavagnino dissenting -- to have staff negotiate a possible PSA for construction of the 228-bed Sheriff's Transition and Reentry Complex, for which the Santa Barbara County Sheriff's Department received a $38.9 million grant from the Board of State and Community Corrections.

Andy Caldwell

October 2, 2014

Santa Barbara News Press 

Next Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors is planning on approving a Project Labor/Stabilization Agreement with the Tri-County Building and Construction Trade Council.

The agreement will determine who eventually gets hired to build the North County Jail, the largest and most expensive project in the history of the county, estimated to cost over $100 million. The ostensible goals of the agreements are to ensure as many locals are hired to do the work and to prevent any work stoppages during the course of the construction project.

576-bed project would be good for 20 years, officials say

By Jim Johnson 

Montery Herald

Salinas, A long-anticipated expansion of the Monterey County Jail would have little impact on it's surroundings, and what little impact it would have can be offset, according to a draft environmental impact report.

The draft EIR, released in late June, finds the $89 million, 576-bed jail expansion project planned for a staff parking lot and a grassy area next to the current jail off Natividad Road could create some noise and traffic capacity issues, among other impacts. But the report says those impacts can be offset by limiting construction hours and equipment, and the payment of traffic fees to the city of Salinas for intersection and pedestrian access improvements on Natividad. Laurel Drive and Constitution Boulevard near the project site.

Today (July 8, 2014), the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors voted 4-1 to negotiate a Project Labor Agreement (disguised as a "Project Stabilization Agreement) with the Tri-Counties Building and Construction Trades Council for Phase II of construction of the county's North Branch Jail and for the Sheriff's Transition and Reentry (S.T.A.R.) Complex. These would be the first government-mandated Project Labor Agreements in Santa Barbara County.

Union leaders have tried since 2010 to convince the county's elected board to require construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement as a condition of contract work. To address unsubstantiated union claims why the county must mandate Project Labor Agreements, the board has passed various measures to encourage local hire and ensure contractor compliance with labor laws. These new policies have not satisfied the unions, nor have they satisfied Supervisor Salud Carbajal, the primary champion on the board for the union agenda. Also jumping onto the quest for a Project Labor Agreement is Central Coast Alliance United for A Sustainable Economy (CAUSE), a leftist community activist organization.

On April 15, 2014, the board voted 5-0 to direct staff to develop a "framework" for negotiating a Project Labor Agreement on the jail project. In its report for the July 8 meeting, the staff warned the Board of Supervisors of potential negative impacts:

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - Santa Barbara County has won a $38 million state grant to build an inmate rehabilitation, recovery and re-entry facility next to its planned new North County Jail west of Santa Maria along Betteravia and Black Roads.

The County Board of Supervisors were told they needed to act on accepting the grant for the so-called STAR Complex facility, and agree to commit millions more of county funds to complete and operate the 227-bed facility that will focus on helping non-violent, repeat offenders return to society as productive, law-abiding citizens.

"It will increase safety and improve working and housing conditions for both staff and inmates", Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown told Supervisors during a project update Tuesday morning, "and ultimately it will increase public safety by helping turn lives around and delivering programs that improve inmate re-entry into the community and reduce recidivism and the revolving door of people going back into the criminal justice system."

If you have extra money to spend to pay off extortionists, the quickest way for politicians to do this is to create a Project Labor Agreement with unions. These assure a 15-20% premium for the work done on behalf of the public. In exchange, the unions privately agree no strikes or work stoppages. This is called blackmail in the real world—in government it is called labor peace. Then at election time the unions used the forced dues to pay for the election of those that paid them off and the defeat of those that opposed this form of legal corruption.

Santa Barbara County is so rich, they have no problem paying off unions.

“The General Services Department has developed an Engineers Estimate to construct the Northern Branch Jail AB 900 Phase II Project (Attachment #1) that does not include the provisions required of a PSA…PSAs also require that all contractors working on a project adhere to a collective bargaining agreement; even nonunion contractors must operate under negotiated rules…Establishing a Project Stabilization Agreement will require discussion with various stakeholders and negotiation with the Tri-County Building and Construction Trades Council (TCBT).”

A roundly praised interlake tunnel project will get an initial $500,000 in start-up funding from the county's general fund, but any further funding will come with conditions.

On Tuesday, the Monterey County Board of Supervisors agreed to tap the county's own accounts to get the project started, but insisted that any request for more of the estimated $2.5 million to get the project to construction must include a bidding process.

The $25 million project calls for building a pipeline between Lake Nacimiento and Lake San Antonio in South County to allow water to flow from the former, which fills up faster, to the latter, which can be used to store the water for later use.

Sometimes you can predict the future.

In the fall of 2013, business and taxpayer organizations warned the elected board of the Oxnard Union High School District in Ventura County (north of Los Angeles, on the coast) that it would endure reduced bid competition and higher construction costs if it required companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement with the Tri-County Building and Construction Trades Council as a condition of working on the Rancho Campana High School construction project.

The union-backed proposal abruptly emerged at the board's October 9 meeting and consumed the board and district administrators for more than two months.

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