FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Michele Daugherty, President and CEO, 925-960-8519, michele@abcnorcal.org

Attempt at Statewide Project Labor Agreement Defeated—For Now
Construction group applauds removal of Senate Bill 825 from further consideration
 
LIVERMORE, Calif., June 25, 2018—The association representing 500 large and small construction companies throughout Northern California today applauded last Tuesday’s removal of Senate Bill 825 from further voting. 

The measure would have imposed a statewide project labor agreement (PLA) on publicly funded construction projects undertaken by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR). Traditionally, PLAs require the use of union labor, even when the successful bidding company is non-union. So, when a non-union company is granted the contract, it is not able to use their own skilled and trained journey-workers and apprentices (including minorities, veterans, and those employees formerly incarcerated). Instead, a company must attempt to perform the work using workers sent by a union hall that the company has no previous experience with. PLAs discourage 82 percent of the entire construction workforce from competing on these projects.

The removal of SB 825 from consideration for a vote was made by state Sen. Jim Beall, the bill’s author, right before the Assembly Public Safety Committee was to take it up.

Senate Bill 825 would have required CDCR to sign a 10-year community workforce agreement (PLA) for all construction of $500,000 or more. Furthermore, Section 1 of the measure would prohibit further CDCR use of National Center for Construction Education and Research CORE curricula that 18,000 individuals have completed in the past 10 years at one of 108 locations throughout California.

Commenting on Tuesday’s committee action, Michele Daugherty, president and CEO of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Northern California said, “This removal of the bill holds out a ray of hope for smaller construction firms, especially those owned by women, minorities. Taxpayers will also benefit because PLA’s always inflate the cost of public projects at the expense of money for schools, roads, public safety, and meeting public pension obligations.”

Even though SB 825 was halted and its PLA requirement on CDCR put on hold for the remainder of the year, Section 1 of the proposal was placed into the next state budget and passed out of committee. “There is work to be done on two fronts,” said Daugherty. “Protecting the existing curricula for pre-apprentice training for individuals coming out of the prison system is also a priority for the construction industry,” said Daugherty. 

“Regrettably, the pre-apprenticeship component of SB 825 has been inserted into two budget trailer bills. One of the measures, Assembly Bill 1832, passed the Senate Budget Committee Monday, so there will be no slowing down our lobbying efforts to preserve a program the state is already using in 33 of its 35 correctional facilities.”

Section 1 would prohibit use of the National Center for Construction Education and Research’s (NCCER) CORE curriculum, a curriculum that 18,000 individuals have completed in the past 10 years at one of 108 locations throughout California. The California Department of Education, the California State University system, and the state’s community college system have all partnered with NCCER. SB 825 would turn all pre-apprentice training over to labor organizations.

“Competition is always healthy, monopolization never,” added Daugherty.

Related News Releases

May 25—Comment on Today’s Bad Decision by State Senate Committee

April 24—Senate Committee Gives Working Californians a Reprieve

April 12—Another State Senate Committee Ignores Compelling Testimony

April 9—Will Senate Committee Vote to Eliminate Construction Opportunities?

March 20—Senate Committee: No Turning Your Lives Around

March 19—Workers Will Urge Senate Committee on Tuesday Not to Limit Prison Jobs

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Representing more than 21,000 construction and industry-related firms nationwide, the Associated Builders and Contractors was founded in 1950 and today has 70 chapters. The ABC NorCal chapter started in 1976 and now represents 500 large and small companies across Northern California.