California Developers Fed Up with Unions Blocking Their Projects with California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA)
Since the 1998 founding of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, California private developers and public agencies have endured the relentless practice of "greenmail," or blackmail using environmental laws. In the mid-1980s, unions discovered they could exploit the state's cumbersome environmental review process in order to force project owners to sign labor agreements, including Project Labor Agreements.
As shown at the website Phony Union Tree Huggers, the practice is an epidemic. And the politicians who control California don't care.
Because the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) is essentially a labor law, there is no plan or interest in the California legislature in defying unions by amending state law to curtail the practice. Now, some of the victims of greenmail have decided to take their tormentors to court.
In December 2018, a hotel company sued Unite Here Local 30 (a hospitality workers union) and the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council (a conglomerate of construction unions) for using CEQA as an extortion tool against the company as it sought for years to win permits for a new hotel in San Diego.
In January 2019, a real estate developer in Los Angeles sued the Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters (a construction union) and Laborers International Union of North America (LIUNA) Local 300 (also a construction union) for using CEQA as an extortion tool against the company as it sought for years to win permits for a mixed use development in Los Angeles.
There are rumors that other developers are about to file lawsuits against these "greenmail" artists. Finally, justice may be served.
NEWS MEDIA COVERAGE
Lawsuit: Labor Unions Sank SeaWorld Hotel Deal - San Diego Union-Tribune - December 21, 2018
Developer Accuses Two Construction Unions of Engaging in Racketeering and Extortion - San Diego Union-Tribune - January 10, 2019 and also in Los Angeles Times at Developer Accuses Two Construction Unions of Engaging in Racketeering and Extortion.