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  • Feb. 5, 2019

Antioch City Council Could Have Done Project Labor Agreement "Negotiations" for Free


What a racket!

The Antioch City Council plans to build a brackish water desalination plant and realized that it would never get state funding or complete adequate environmental review unless it gave unions a monopoly on the work. So it voted on June 12, 2018 to approve a contract with a consultant named Michael Vlaming to negotiate a Project Labor Agreement with unions on the city's behalf.

Vlaming is closely connected with construction trade unions and makes money researching, negotiating, and administering them for victimized local governments in California. He's often portrayed at meetings as a "neutral" scholar, carefully examining each situation and then concluding that a Project Labor Agreement is feasible,

The city council has now received the finished negotiated Project Labor Agreement and will be voting on it at their meeting tonight (February 5, 2019). See the agenda item here:

9. BRACKISH WATER DESALINATION PLANT – PROJECT STABILIZATION AGREEMENT

Recommended Action:

It is recommended that the City Council adopt a resolution authorizing the City Manager or his designee to execute a Project Stabilization Agreement and direct staff to include the agreement in the bid documents for the construction of the Brackish Water Desalination Plant.

It's the same old boilerplate Project Labor Agreement language that appears in every other San Francisco Bay Area Project Labor Agreement. The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction could have given the city our copies, for free.

From beginning to end, Project Labor Agreements siphon money from taxpayers for union officials and their cronies. What a racket!

Below is text of an email that the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction sent to the Antioch City Council on June 12, 2018.


Subject: How did you allow Michael Vlaming to "study" the issue of a PLA on your water treatment plant?

Dear Councilmembers:

Tonight you will hear from staff, via Michael Vlaming, that you should begin negotiating a union Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for your proposed wastewater treatment plant. This is astounding considering Mr. Vlaming not only works for the same union special interests who would benefit from the PLA but he himself would financially benefit from the PLA!

We encourage you to investigate yourself whether your contractor for Project Labor Agreement negotiations will benefit financially from the Project Labor Agreement before agreeing to vote for any PLA.

Michael Vlaming of Vlaming and Associates is the executive director of a few associations that are signatory to union Master Labor Agreements, including an organization called Industrial Contractors, UMIC, Inc. He is also involved in some way with a labor-management cooperation committee called Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT).

If a contractor that employs Ironworkers signs a Project Labor Agreement, that contractor must make payments on behalf of journeymen and apprentices to the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT), which then disburses the money to a variety of activities throughout the country. If a contractor was not mandated to sign a Project Labor Agreement, it would not have to make employer payments to the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT).

Industrial Contractors, UMIC, Inc. obtains dues and assessments from an unknown source and then contracts out to an unknown party for management and consulting. Industrial Contractors, UMIC, Inc. claims it is not compensating its executive director Michael Vlaming despite his work representing Industrial Contractors, UMIC, Inc. in negotiating its Master Labor Agreement.

We suspect the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) may be making payments to Industrial Contractors, UMIC, Inc. (which then pays Vlaming & Associations as a contractor) or to Vlaming and Associates. If so, this means that a Project Labor Agreement contractually obligates a company to make payments to an organization that directly or indirectly compensates him.

See the attached exhibits.

Exhibit A - First two pages of the IRS Form 990 for Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT).

Exhibit B - IRS Form 990 for Industrial Contractors, UMIC, Inc. It indicates $146,170 in “membership dues and assessments” and $81,220 in expenses for Management & Consulting. Michael Vlaming is indicated as Executive Director and Secretary, with no direct income from the organization. The address of 447 Georgia Street in Vallejo is the same address as Vlaming & Associates.

Exhibit C - Mike Vlaming is identified on the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT) website as the executive director of Industrial Contractors, UMIC, Inc., which is identified on the website as part of Regional Advisory Board 9.

Exhibit D - The current Master Labor Agreement for Ironworkers Union locals in California. It indicates that Industrial Contractors, UMIC, Inc. is signatory, with Michael Vlaming as the representative. It also indicates that employers signatory to the agreement must make payments to the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT). That amount was set at a certain amount per hour worked by an employee represented by the Ironworkers Union locals in California.

Exhibit E - Industrial Contractors, UMIC, Inc. has been involved with the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust since its establishment. This IMPACT Market Share Strategy report provides some insight into how IMPACT funds are used to provide a competitive advantage to union contractors and their union employees.

Exhibit F - the current California Department of Industrial Relations prevailing wage determination for Ironworkers in California. It is likely that the “Other Payments” amount incorporates the employer payments designated in the current Master Labor Agreement for Ironworkers Union locals in California for the Ironworker Management Progressive Action Cooperative Trust (IMPACT).

Eric Christen
Executive Director
Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction
www.opencompca.com


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