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  • Nov. 1, 2018

Construction Unions and the Environmentalist Left Push Today for Discrimination and Union Favoritism at San Diego City Council and Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners


November 1, 2018

Contact: Eric Christen
858-431-6337

Construction Unions and the Environmentalist Left Push Today for Discrimination and Union Favoritism at San Diego City Council and Port of San Diego Board of Commissioners

Hiding under the guise of “worker training” and “environmental justice” construction union bosses and their allies are pushing for language that would discriminate against non-union workers.

San Diego, CA - Over the past year, the Port of San Diego has launched an initiative to guide the future of approximately 6,000 acres of land and water within Port of San Diego jurisdiction along the San Diego Bay waterfront. This "Port Master Plan Update" (PMPU) has included numerous public outreach events, and a Port Commission Board meeting today will be a big one regarding the development and construction process. The Board of Port Commissioners will hear a presentation and provide direction to staff on how “environmental justice policy” concepts might be incorporated into the PMPU.

What is an “environmental justice policy”? “The concept clearly has a lot in common with a 'community benefit agreement' which of course is just a glorified Project Labor Agreement (PLA)” said Eric Christen, executive director of the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC). “It’s no secret that Tom Lemmon wants all work done at the Port to be done union-only and this is one way to sneak a PLA in, a PLA that would cover billions of dollars in work.”

In the documents CFEC has obtained regarding this issue there are references to “job training” and “community projects benefiting residents." Locations cited as examples - Long Beach, Oakland, and Contra Costa County - are hotbeds of PLA activity backed by numerous community and “social justice” groups. Each of those entities has a Project Labor Agreement in place.

The City of San Diego is also on track to begin a $1+ billion project that will treat 83 million gallons per day to produce high-quality drinking water through the design and construction of new advanced water purification, pumping, and conveyance facilities, and upgrades to existing facilities. Today, the City Council's Environmental Committee will be given an update on Phase 1, and will "authorize the Mayor to execute construction contracts to the lowest responsible and reliable bidders." They also will likely discuss a proposal by construction unions to require the construction contracts to include a requirement to use union-only apprentices, which again, is just another name for a Project Labor Agreement.

“What local union bosses seem to forget is that with the passage of Measure A in 2012, the City can have nothing to do with unfair PLA-type language being inserted into City contracts.” continued Christen. “The voters in San Diego voted overwhelming with the passage of Measure A-approved 58-42%-to reject the discrimination unions are still peddling. If they place this discriminatory language in they need to prepare to lose in court.”

The City Council meeting begins at 1:00pm at City Hall while the Port of San Diego meeting begins at 2:00pm.

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