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California Democrats Introduce Legislation to Overturn PLA Bans as San Diego Upholds PLAs for School Construction

On the day after Labor Day, California Democrats introduced Senate Bill 922, legislation which seeks to overturn local blanket bans on Project Labor Agreements (PLAs) for public works projects. The bill would also bar state funds from being used on projects by agencies that ban PLAs. State Senator Michael Rubio, D-Bakersfield, expressed support for efficient, community building PLAs:

“The measure was crafted to ensure that project labor agreements are decided on a case-by-case basis rather than by a blanket ban. It doesn’t require PLAs,” he said.

“Such agreements generally cover all of the different trades needed on a project under one agreement. They typically cover pay, benefits and skill levels. Some are written to encourage minority hiring and on-the-job training.”

San Diego Unified School District has already made it a requirement that any project over $1 million be covered by a PLA. The California Supreme Court recently declined to hear a case which reviewed an appeals court decision that upheld the Project Stabilization Agreement (PSA) entered into by the San Diego Unified School District in 2009. According to

“This puts the final nail in the coffin of the Associated General Contractors (AGC) novel arguments on being discriminated, and helps clear the pipeline for creating local jobs on school construction,” said Tom Lemmon with the San Diego County Building & Constructions Trades Councils, AFL-CIO.

Following up on their repeated threats to stop the local hire agreement, AGC had sued the San Diego Unified District. In trial court, Judge Judith Hayes’ ruling on December 11, 2009 found that the PSA’s provisions “are legal and do not violate state law,” and that the PSA “does not discriminate against non-union contractors.”

In May 2011, AGC appealed to the California 4th District appeals court that also rejected the AGC’s arguments, citing evidence that union joint-labor management apprenticeships were of superior quality.

Republican critics say that Project Labor Agreements waste tax payer money by forcing contractors to pay their workers union wages, but California Democrats aren’t buying the rhetoric. Sen. Rubio said, “Consolidating all of the pacts, including various collective bargaining agreements for all of the involved trades, saves time, improves efficiency and saves taxpayers money.”


2 Comments on “California Democrats Introduce Legislation to Overturn PLA Bans as San Diego Upholds PLAs for School Construction”

  1. You forgot to mention that this law takes power away from local voters. If voters in local communities don’t want PLAs, why should the state be able to force local cummunities to permit them. Unions tout local hire provisions of PLAs (total BS by the way); but what about local voting rights? The people don’t want PLAs and should be allowed to vote accordingly! Stop frustrating local voting rights. The unions’ resort to the state legislature to take power from local voters will not be forgotten. Your article stinks and is not accurate.

  2. Unions are so bad.

    PLA shakedown
    From the Sacramento Bee
    As late as last Thursday, Sen. Gloria Negrete-McCloud’s Senate Bill 922 was an innocuous measure that would have added tuberculosis to information that may be disclosed under the state’s immunization system.

    Then Friday, just a week before the legislative session ends, the word tuberculosis disappeared from the measure and so did the original author. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John A. PĂ©rez are the new authors of a far more controversial measure. The amended SB 922 would bar city councils and county supervisors or even local voters from banning “project labor agreements,” essentially agreements that require public agencies to use union labor for public works projects.

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