Groups Gather to Oppose Measure X, Which Authorizes Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District to Borrow $348 Million

October 25, 2016
Contact: Eric Christen
(858) 431-6337


No on X - Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District Bond Measure 2016

Groups Gather Today to Oppose Measure X, Which Authorizes Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District to Borrow $348 Million

Measure X is not what it seems. It will burden taxpayers for thirty years. It favors union firms and discriminates against local non-union construction workers.

San Diego, CA – Today representatives from a broad swath of the community will hold a press conference to highlight their opposition to Measure X, the Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District’s school construction bond measure.

Measure X’s $651 million in principal and interest payments, along with the ongoing debt for the district’s prior two bonds, will burden East County homeowners with over a billion dollars in debt over the next thirty years. The bond is opposed by the San Diego Taxpayers Association, the East County Chamber of Commerce, and other business groups.

At today’s meeting, the public will hear from Richard Rider of San Diego Tax Fighters about this Measure X debt and the “tsunami of tax increases on the November ballot.”

Measure X is also being opposed by the local non-union construction industry because the District has promised to negotiate a union-friendly project labor agreement (“PLA”) if the bond passes. Studies have shown that PLAs increase costs by up to 15% and local school districts that have put PLAs into effect, such as San Diego Unified and Southwestern Community College, have experienced such cost increases.

At today’s meeting the public will hear from Mary Smith of Interpipe Contracting of Santee. Mary will be harmed by this PLA. Mary’s company helped construct buildings on both Grossmont and Cuyamaca campuses, but will be shut out on future work under this new PLA. “This promised PLA says to my company, my workers, and my apprentices that we are no longer welcome on projects my employees and I pay taxes for!” said Smith.

Measure X is also being opposed by four construction trade associations including the Coalition for Fair Employment (“CFEC”). They are angry because the district promised “fair and open competition” with their 2012 Prop V bond, but later switched and negotiated a Project Labor Agreement. The Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College District is expected to approve the union Project Labor Agreement for Proposition V at their November 15, 2016 meeting.

Eric Christen, CFEC’s Executive Director, said “In 2012 voters approved Measure V, a $398 million construction bond. In the ballot language, the board promised there would be no PLA. But one of their first actions was to ignore this promise to taxpayers and agree to negotiate a PLA. We can’t trust this District with our tax money.”

According to the group,  Big Bad Bonds, there are 184 school bonds on the November ballot in California. While most of these bonds go unopposed, Measure X is strongly opposed in East County. Christen added, “This unprecedented type of opposition to a school construction bond shows just how upset people are about this Board’s betrayal of their trust on their previous bond measure.”

Opposition to Measure X includes the following: The San Diego Taxpayers Association, The San Diego Tax Fighters, The San Diego East County Chamber of Commerce, The Lakeside Chamber of Commerce, The Associated General Contractors of San Diego, The Associated Builders and Contractors of San Diego, The Western Electrical Contractors Association, The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction, The California Republican Assembly, The Lincoln Club of San Diego, and the San Diego County Republican Party.

For more information, see

The press conference will be held at 11am in front of the Registrar of Voters’ office in Kearny Mesa. The address is 5600 Overland Ave, San Diego

Posted on September 7, 2016 by PLA Analyst 3

Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District to Vote on Ad Hoc Committee for Project Labor Agreement

On Wednesday, September 8, the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District board of trustees will vote on creating an ad hoc committee to consider what kind of Project Labor Agreement the district’s contractors would be required to sign to work on future construction contracts funded by the bond measure approved by district voters in June 2016. This agenda item is a follow-up to an August 25, 2016 presentation to the board about Project Labor Agreements.

The proposed ad hoc committee would meet with representatives of construction trade unions and other supporters of Project Labor Agreements to discuss what the agreement would include. This subcommittee would also meet with community members that oppose Project Labor Agreements, such as the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction and Associated Builders and Contractors. In addition, this subcommittee would meet jointly with the Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee (CBOC) to allow the CBOC the opportunity to provide input. The committee would provide its findings and any recommendations to the Board at the November 10, 2016 board meeting, at which time certain board members are expected to push forward with imposing a union monopoly on construction contracts.

See the agenda item at Review and Potential Approval of Governing Board’s Creation of an Ad Hoc Committee to Consider a Project Labor Agreement (Judi Honeychurch)

See a Fairfield Daily Republic newspaper article about the proposal at Panel May Ponder Project Labor Pacts for Fairfield-Suisun School District

See the August 25, 2016 presentation at Project Labor Agreements (PLAs)

After 12 Years, Unions Return to Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District for PLA

In February 2004, the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District board of trustees voted 4-3 not to proceed with negotiations with unions for a Project Labor Agreement on future construction funded by Measure C.

Now it’s 2016, and fiscally responsible elected officials and citizens are becoming increasingly rare in Fairfield. Union officials think the time is ripe to finally take control of construction contracts in this school district. There is even a construction union official on the board.

Tonight (August 25, 2016), the board of the Fairfield-Suisun Unified School District will receive a presentation on Project Labor Agreements. See it here: Presentation: Project Labor Agreements (PLA).

Media Coverage: Two New School Openings, Measure J Bond Sale on Fairfield-Suisun District Agenda – Vacaville Reporter – August 25, 2016

Stockton Has Its Bankruptcy Exit Plan in Place – Time for Project Labor Agreement!

The City of Stockton filed a petition for chapter 9 bankruptcy relief on June 28, 2012, and the petition was accepted on April 1, 2013. Its bankruptcy Plan of Adjustment (bankruptcy exit plan) became effective on February 25, 2015.

That means there’s taxpayer money to give to construction trade unions. On July 26, 2016, the Stockton City Council will vote on requiring construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement on city contracts. To hide the identity of the union deal, the city is calling it a “Community Workforce Training Agreement.”

According to the staff report, “The attached Agreement (Attachment A) is a project labor agreement (PLA) that generally provides for union recognition and the use of union hiring halls for City public works projects with a contracted valued at $1 million or more.” The staff report also notes that “The Agreement was sponsored by the San Joaquin Building and Construction Trades Council.”

It’s the most foolish decision by the Stockton City Council since the secret $1 million Neil Diamond concert.

Stockton’s Path to Bankruptcy and the Secretive $1 Million Neil Diamond Show

ITEM 15.1



It is recommended that the Council consider the revised Community Workforce Training Agreement (Agreement).

Legislation Text

Attachment A – CWTA Agreement

Attachment B – CWTA Agreement Redlined

Attachment C – CWTA Agreement – Additional Staff Recommended Edits

Fremont Unified School District Board Votes July 20 on Final Negotiated Project Labor Agreement

On July 20, 2016, the Fremont Unified School District elected board of trustees will vote on a Project Labor Agreement negotiated with the Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County for future construction contracts funded by Measure E, a $650 million bond measure approved by 61.2% of district voters in June 2014.

During the campaign to pass Measure E, the Building and Construction Trades Council of Alameda County endorsed the bond measure:

Measure E in Fremont —a $650 million Bond Measure for the Fremont Unified School District. “If this bond measure were to pass, coupled with a Project Labor Agreement, it would mean significant hours for our members,” said BTCA Secretary-Treasurer Andreas Cluver. The BTCA is organizing a Precinct Walk for Measure E on Saturday, May 31 at 9 am.

Discussions about Project Labor Agreements held by Fremont Unified School District board members at public meetings in 2015 (on March 15, August 12, and October 28) indicates that none of them have genuine interest in maintaining fair and open bid competition on district construction contracts. All of them appear to be keen to use their power to require all of their construction contractors to be signatory to a union agreement and require all employees of those contractors to be represented by a union and pay mandatory union dues and initiation fees. To hide the motivation for the union deal, the school district is calling it a “Project Stabilization Agreement” rather than a “Project Labor Agreement.”

The Project Labor Agreement includes “construction building material delivery truckers, trucking companies and trucking brokers.” No trade worker who steps foot on a Fremont Unified School District job site escapes the Project Labor Agreement.

Staff Report – Review and Approval of Project Labor Agreement – Fremont Unified School District – July 20, 2016

Project Labor Agreement for Fremont Unified School District

Posted on July 13, 2016 by PLA Analyst 3

Napa County Begins Negotiations for Its First Project Labor Agreement Mandate on a Construction Contract

On July 12, the Napa County Board of Supervisors fulfilled a vision sought for at least six years by the Napa-Solano County Building and Construction Trades Council. The board voted 5-0 to begin negotiations for a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) on a jail project.

In December 2015, while discussing “local hire” (often used as a pretense for PLAs), Napa County County Supervisor Mark Luce raised the issue of PLAs and how they might help facilitate the goal of increased “local hire.” As a result of this meeting, County staff was asked to conduct a ($90,000+) review of the local labor market to see if there is even a need for a “local hire” requirement. Staff hired Craft Consulting Group to conduct the study.

In its final report to the board, Craft Consulting Group provided an analysis of the local labor market but did not include one key component: the breakdown of union vs. non-union firms in the county. Obviously this information is critical to determining the impact a PLA may have on County bids.

Nevertheless, the staff report to the board made it clear that a PLA does not in fact increase “local hire.” Why? Because it is illegal to require contractors to hire people from one area over another, and therefore PLAs cannot impose such a requirement. All PLAs do is include vague language that sets goals when it comes to hiring “local.”

As suspected, the Napa County Board of Supervisors ignored the staff’s report and bowed to the demands of union lobbyists for a Project Labor Agreement. Project Labor Agreements are not about logic: they are about politics.

Sweetwater Union High School District Board in Chula Vista to Vote on Project Labor Agreement

The board of the troubled Sweetwater Union High School District in Chula Vista is voting on June 27, 2016 on a Project Labor Agreement for its facilities construction funded by proceeds from bond sales authorized by voters in November 2006 as Proposition O. According to the staff report for the agenda item, the district modeled its Project Labor Agreement on the union deals instituted at Los Angeles Unified School District and San Diego Unified School District.

Yes, after ten years this district still has money to spend from its $644 million bond measure. And now unions will have a monopoly on the contract construction workforce funded by it.

This Project Labor Agreement even includes construction funded by Mello-Roos taxes for Community Facilities Districts associated with the school district. No contract will escape the grip of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council.

In June 2010, 56% of Chula Vista voters approved Proposition G, an ordinance that outright PROHIBITED the City of Chula Vista from entering into contracts that required companies to sign union agreements as a condition of work. Since then, the union-controlled elected board of Southwestern Community College District in Chula Vista implemented a Project Labor Agreement and the union-controlled boards of Sweetwater Union High School District in Chula Vista and Chula Vista Elementary School District voted to negotiate a Project Labor Agreement. Unions don’t like it when the people say NO.

Staff Report: Sweetwater Union High School District Project Labor Agreement Staff Report 1st Reading – June 27, 2016

Project Labor Agreement: Sweetwater Union High School District Project Labor Agreement 1st Reading – June 27, 2016

Posted on June 2, 2016 by PLA Analyst 3

Sending a Message: Press Conference on San Diego Chargers Stadium Project Labor Agreement

Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction - San Diego Chargers Project Labor Agreement June 1 2016 Press Conference

With just about every news outlet in San Diego present, the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction held a press conference yesterday making it loud and clear that a PLA on the proposed Charger stadium, and the discrimination it represents, will be fought aggressively.

Joined by scores of construction company owners, workers, apprentices, and employees, those assembled laid out exactly why they stood opposed to the San Diego Chargers plans for a new $1.8 billion stadium/convention center. Among those speaking at the event were Ron Smith, owner of Interpipe Contracting who is also a Chargers season ticket holder, Loren Waldapfel of HPS Mechanical, Rolf Wachter, a fourth year apprentice in the Associated Builders and Contractors Apprenticeship Program, and Hasani Fields, a third year apprentice with the ABC program. All spoke passionately about why the insulting manner in which the Chargers had announced how this project would be built using only union labor was not going to stand.

KUSI, FOX, NBC, CBS, CW, Univision and the San Diego Union-Tribune all covered the story in their broadcast last night and CFEC’s Eric Christen was featured on the Carl DeMaio radio show on KOGO yesterday afternoon. You can watch KUSI’s segment HERE. Read the Union-Tribune story:

New Opposition to Chargers Initiative: Non-Union Construction Workers Frustrated with Plan for Project Labor Agreement – San Diego Union-Tribune – June 1, 2016

Here’s Eric Christen on The DeMaio Report, Carl DeMaio’s radio show on KOGO 600 AM:

Campaign Launched to Oppose Chargers Stadium Initiative – The DeMaio Report, KOGO – June 1, 2016

Bonus: You can watch the intense altercation that took place after the press conference when local union boss Tom Lemmon decided to crash the party HERE.

Thank you to all the workers, apprentices, and contractors who participated in our press conference. You’ll hear much more from us as we move forward!

Video of Press Conference – June 1, 2016

Eric Christen, Opening Remarks

Ron Smith, Interpipe Contracting

Rolf Wachter, Associated Builders and Contractors 4th Year Apprentice

Loren Waldapfel, HPS Mechanical

Hasani Fields, Associated Builders and Contractors 3rd Year Apprentice

Eric Christen, Closing Remarks

Eric Christen, Questions and Answers for News Media

San Diego Contractors, Workers, Apprentices Oppose San Diego Charger Stadium Scheme

Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction - San Diego Chargers Project Labor Agreement June 1 2016 Press Conference

June 1, 2016
Contact: Eric Christen, (858) 431-6337

Local San Diego Contractors, Workers, and Apprentices to Announce Opposition to Charger Stadium $1.8 Billion Scheme

Billionaire Chargers Owner Expecting Taxpayers to Pay for Stadium While Discriminating Against Local Workers in the Process

San Diego, CA – Today local contractors, workers, apprentices and contractor associations will hold a press conference to formally announce their opposition to the San Diego Chargers effort to build a $1.8 billion stadium/convention center in downtown San Diego. The reasons the group is opposing the Chargers’ ill-conceived scheme will be laid out at the press conference.

The Chargers have announced that they plan to put an initiative on the ballot that would, if passed, raise the city of San Diego’s hotel room tax to 16.5 percent to pay for construction of a $1.8 billion complex. The initiative will likely require two-thirds voter approval because of the tax hike. The Chargers billionaire owner has pledged to only put in $350 million of his own money effectively leaving the vast majority of the cost for this project to be shouldered by taxpayers.

At the same time the Chargers have announced they intend to discriminate against the 85% of the local construction workforce that is union-free. On April 22 the Chargers and local union bosses held a press conference announcing they would build the project under an exclusionary Project Labor Agreement (PLA) like the PLA that was used to build Petco Park.

“The Chargers have managed to put together a plan that effectively harms just about every citizen in San Diego,” said Eric Christen, executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC). “That is quite an accomplishment. First they expect average citizens to pay for a billionaire’s stadium. Then they tell those same citizens who are non-union workers that they are not wanted in the construction of the project their tax dollars are paying to build.”

How they expect to do this legally considering that San Diego voters in 2012 overwhelmingly banned the use of PLAs on taxpayer funded projects (58%-42%) by passing Measure A has yet to be explained. “Voters in this city have more knowledge of PLAs than any other group of taxpayers in America”, added Christen. “They have voted on this issue and rejected the discrimination PLAs represent. The actions of the Chargers have all but guaranteed the defeat of their initiative. We will make sure of it.”

The press conference will be held at 11am in front of the Registrar of Voters’ office in Kearny Mesa. The address is 5600 Overland Ave, San Diego. View the press packet here.


Questions that Port of Long Beach Harbor Commissioners Won’t Ask Staff About Project Labor Agreements

Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction Header Image - UncroppedFrom: 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

Port 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:

  1.  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?
  2. 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
  3. 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?
  4. 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.

Eric Christen
Executive Director
Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction

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