From: Eric Christen
Subject: Questions that the Long Beach Port of Commissioners Won’t Ask Staff About Union PLAs
Date: May 13, 2016 at 8:23:44 AM PDT
To: Port of Long Beach Board of Harbor Commissioners
As you move forward with the political document called a Port-Wide Project Labor Agreement (PLA) I had some questions I thought I’d ask that I know didn’t come up at last night’s meeting nor will they before you approve your Port-wide PLA on the 23rd.
At the very least this will cause you, one would hope, at least a moments reflection on just what you are doing to the 85% of your local constituents that chose to work in a union-free construction environment:
- In the “report” shown by staff last night “local hire” and “City of Long Beach” percentages were given for current PLA projects. Question: What do you weight these percentages against? On previous non-PLA projects what were these percentages? Did the PLA get you anything here?
- You current PLAs and the Port-wide PLA defines “local” as anyone living in L.A. or Orange Counties. Really? Did staff even try and have a truly “local” definition inserted into the language that could then be shot down by union bosses
- How many of these current PLA projects are behind schedule and over budget? What metrics are in place to determine if the PLA had anything to do with these issues? What metrics will you have in place to determine if your Port-wide PLA is successful or not successful? Are local union bosses simply allowed to make “promises”, like they did with “local hire”, yet have zero accountability when it comes to what the PLAs actually fail to accomplish?
- Your current PLAs and the Port-wide PLA that you “negotiated” all have the same language meant to discourage non-union local contractors from bidding your work:
a. All union-free workers must pay union dues
b. All union-free workers must pay into union pension and benefit plans they likely won’t vest in thus losing approximately $20 per hour from their paycheck
c. All union-free contractors are only allowed 5 of their workers at all with the rest having to come from the unions
d. All -union-free apprentices are explicitly excluded
Question: Considering the radical departure from your current SOP did you conduct a survey of local contractors to find what the likely hood is they will not bid your work in the future under a PLA? Why not?
I have conducted a survey and if any of you are interested in knowing what companies will not be bidding your work due to the exclusionary provisions of your PLA please let me know and I will forward them to you. Considering your lack of fiduciary responsibility to date it’s the least you could do.
Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction