• Feb. 4, 2020

Labor Peace on Sand Dunes: East Bay Regional Park District Gets a Grant with Union Strings Attached

Letter to East Bay Regional Park District Board

Re: Item C.1.h - Authorization to Execute a Project Labor Agreement for Construction of the Encinal Dune Restoration and Shoreline Stabilization Project

Dear East Bay Regional Park District Board Members:

You have a strange item on your agenda today (February 4, 2020).

You’re going to vote to authorize Park District staff to "negotiate" a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with unions for dune restoration and shoreline stabilization. Allegedly this will ensure "labor peace," as if removing ice plant is the equivalent of a multi-year massive infrastructure project such as building a dam or an airport.

This PLA will actually cut bid competition and raise project costs for the Park District. On the bright side, there will be no picket lines disturbing wildlife and vegetation on your dunes (unless the union workers decide to picket anyway for some reason, as they have a right to do and have done on many PLA projects).

Unfortunately, when the District accepts a $450,000 grant from the San Francisco Bay Restoration Authority for this project, it also accepts a mandate that companies working on the project sign a labor agreement with trade unions.

That’s what happens when governments collect money from property owners and then distribute that money to other agencies. Any of you on the board who might happen to celebrate the special interest strings that come with this grant will have no justification to criticize any special interest strings that come with federal grants from the Trump Administration.

Did you know that the parcel tax used to collect this $450,000 is assessed at the same flat fee for a parcel owned by Google as it is for a parcel owned by a senior citizen on a fixed income who lives in a trailer? The method of revenue collection is as unjust as the conditions of political favoritism imposed on the method of distribution.

For those of you who think this union mandate is ridiculous, unnecessary, and costly, you’re right.


Eric Christen

Executive Director

Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction


PO Box 1627
Poway, CA 92074

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