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Apr
2014
10

Orange County Ends Ten Year Labor Agreement Drought, Signs PLA for Community College Construction

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In California this week, the State Building Construction Trades Council (SBCTC) signed its first Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with an Orange County public agency in more than a decade.  By a 4-2 vote, the Board of Trustees of the Rancho Santiago Community College District agreed that $198 million of upcoming construction projects would be done under the guidelines of a PLA with the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council.  The vote came after a year of intense debate.  

In a statement, SBCTC President Robbie Hunter praised the board, saying, “Across California, more and more public officials are learning of the great value and quality of construction projects delivered under PLAs. It is especially noteworthy that a public agency in traditionally conservative Orange County agrees.”

Board of Trustees President Jose Solorio voted in favor of the PLA partially due to its provisions mandating local hire.  He noted that the agreement will create more opportunities for workers who live within the borders of the Rancho Santiago Community College District.  Solorio stressed the importance of these types of agreements. “A project of this magnitude has a multiplier effect that positively impacts not just these workers, but our entire local economy,” he said.

Also thrilled with the concept of local hire was L.A./Orange Council Executive Secretary Ron Miller.  He noted that the PLA will provide much needed relief for the county’s workers who have seen few job opportunities of late:

“We could not have done this without the outreach of our local leaders and representatives, who effectively stood up for their members,” Miller said. “Orange County has had a high unemployment rate for a long time and this will help to put some of those folks back to work.”

Miller also suggested that the building trades and community college leadership have successfully worked together before, maintaining joint labor-management programs with the district.  The success of these programs factored into the Board of Trustees’ decision to enter into the PLA. The have seen firsthand the quality of work that comes out of these training programs, Miller explained.

“These are long-time programs with a proven track record and a very high graduation rate,” he said. “They have been very successful at creating career paths for the local community.”

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