Re: Kevin Korenthal’s Feb. 29 letter, “Union monopoly”:
Korenthal is at least half right. It is true that construction workers often must travel long distances to jobs outside their own communities, but no worker would choose to do that if jobs were available where they live. That’s precisely the point of the project labor agreement for the hospital project. It would get Ventura County construction workers off the highway commuting to far away jobs, and put them to work in Ventura County, building a project paid for with their own tax dollars to benefit their own community.
The Board of Supervisors can ensure local work goes to local workers and benefits the local economy, and get workers off the road, by approving the PLA.
Faced with mounting costs and stalled negotiations, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors set a drop-dead deadline for a local labor deal to be reached in a $250 million construction job at the county hospital.
In a hearing Tuesday, supervisors set March 13 for a vote on the agreement they hope will ensure that Ventura County residents make up a high percentage of the workforce for the construction. The project involves taking down part of Ventura County Medical Center in Ventura and replacing it with a wing that will meet earthquake standards. The project is estimated to generate as many as 2,000 jobs, labor interests said.
But county officials said it is costing $400,000 a month to delay the project that's six months behind schedule for a variety of reasons.
An effort to pass a labor agreement for the $250 million construction project at Ventura County Medical Center failed Tuesday as a county-imposed deadline expired.
Since late January, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors has been pursuing the agreement as one of the few legal ways the board can promote local hiring within public bidding laws. Whether it would do that is in some dispute, but supporters say the pacts known as project labor agreements promote local hiring because workers are dispatched through local union halls.
The board set tight restrictions on the deal it wanted: support by all contractors and unions, terms that would maximize hiring of local labor, tight control over costs and protection from litigation. With negotiations stalled two weeks ago, the board gave the parties until Tuesday to reach a deal supervisors could approve for the biggest county government project in decades.
It's time for county officials to move ahead with the project to build a replacement wing at the Ventura County Medical Center.
That much is clear after the county Board of Supervisors failed Tuesday to muster the votes necessary to approve a project labor agreement, or PLA, on the $250 million undertaking.
For months, county officials actively promoted a PLA as a way to maximize local hiring on the project, which is expected to create hundreds of construction jobs. The Star agrees that hiring local workers is a commendable policy and should be a priority on this taxpayer-financed hospital building.
Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors will vote to accept or reject the proposed project labor agreement with the emphasis on increasing local hire. While many opinions were expressed in The Star, perhaps a better understanding of the facts may be in order.
By nature the construction industry is migratory, both union and nonunion contractors go where the work is, as they have done for decades.
The board's suggestion that the bidding process be "altered" in some manner by creating an unnecessary project labor agreement (PLA) to insure local hire is nonsense! Many of our locally based contractors do travel out of our market area for work.
Our County Board of Supervisors is pushing hard for a project labor agreement on the new hospital, with the exception of Supervisor Foy. Our county never has used or needed a PLA before, why now?
Private hospitals, such as Community Memorial, now under construction, don't use PLA's. Why, because the majority of studies prove PLA's add cost to construction. Private hospitals and businesses must be financially responsible. Do our supervisors, who are stewards of taxpayer money, not care about costs?
Will the new county hospital be built better than Community Memorial by using a PLA? Absolutely not! The county and state have the same strict building requirements on all hospitals that must be followed without exception.
Time is running short for negotiators to nail down a local labor agreement covering a $250 million construction project at the county hospital in Ventura.
Making it clear that the countdown timer is ticking away, the Ventura County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday set a deadline of March 13 for the supervisors to vote on the agreement, if one is hammered out by then.
Billed as an effort to promote local hiring, the talks have gone on for months among county officials, labor representatives, contractors and others. In The Star's opinion, the county has acted patiently and carefully to avoid missteps during the process so far.
Re: Maricela P. Morales’ Feb. 26 commentary, “Diverse support for local hiring”:
Morales of the Central Coast Alliance United for a Sustainable Economy argues that the Ventura County Board of Supervisors should require construction companies to sign a union project labor agreement with construction unions as a condition of building the new taxpayer-funded county hospital.
Her argument is that “local city, county and school district construction jobs have been filled by workers traveling from out of the county and even out of state.”
Re: Maricela P. Morales’ Feb. 26 commentary, “ Diverse support for local hiring”:
Morales’ comments appeared slanted toward the trade unions and were meant to bully the Ventura County Supervisors into mandating union project labor agreements for the huge upcoming medical center work.
The downside of forcing all contractors to sign such an agreement is the unnecessary added expenses that contractors must figure into their base bid amount. As a taxpayer I’m very concerned of money spent unnecessarily on public projects.
When it comes to lowering the unemployment rate below 10 percent over the last couple of years, rhetoric runs high and solutions are hard to come by in Ventura County.
The county Board of Supervisors is poised to turn rhetoric into solutions by adopting a project labor agreement (PLA) for the Ventura County Medical Center hospital replacement project.
The VCMC hospital project will be the single largest construction project the county of Ventura will have in the coming decade. Over the course of the six-year project, it has been estimated that as many as 2,000 jobs will be created.