Don't Drink the Tea. Think With the WE.
Mar
2012
2

“At this time, the county of Ventura has 34 active public works contracts. Three out of five of these contracts are with contractors from outside Ventura County.”

Project Labor Agreements draw the ire of anti-union Republicans because they view them as a union vs. non-union issue. Yet, many demographics benefit from PLAs, including the demographic of ‘people who get their name called thanks to local hiring provisions therein.’

Maricela Morales of the Ventura County Star recently wrote a piece about the Ventura County Medical Center PLA and its positive impact on both local unemployment numbers and the local economy:

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.

Many of those 2,000 jobs will go to local construction workers and many others in the community will benefit by becoming involved in apprenticeship programs that will train a younger and more diverse generation of future construction workers.

The cities of Santa Paula and Oxnard have among the highest unemployment rates at 15 percent and 13 percent respectively, versus 9 percent countywide. The two cities also have among the highest concentration of Latinos and African-Americans.

The local PLA union apprenticeship training programs have the greatest capacity to train our local diverse workforce.

Since 2002, Contra Costa County, also a general law county like Ventura County, adopted a PLA policy for all county public construction projects exceeding $1 million. According to the Contra Costa County Internal Operations Committee PLA Policy Update report, “the use of PLAs has resulted in no identifiable negative impacts on the overall cost or schedule for the delivery of county capital projects.”

When these provisions are in tact, construction projects can have a very positive effect on the area around the site. Sadly, many Ventura construction projects are not tied to local hire provisions:

At this time, the county of Ventura has 34 active public works contracts. Three out of five of these contracts are with contractors from outside Ventura County. When it comes to where our Ventura County taxpayer dollars are going, a startling 86 percent of all current contracted funding is to contractors from outside Ventura County!

It is only February 2012 and already, this amounts to more than $56 million from county taxpayers that are going to contractors outside of Ventura County.

With the overwhelming majority of local taxpayer-funded public works contracts outside Ventura County, it is only fair and reasonable for the county to adopt a PLA policy to maximize the reinvestment of taxpayer dollars in the form of county residents being hired and having access to quality training programs.

Only fair and reasonable. I repeat. Only fair and reasonable.

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