• Sept. 16, 2021

Fresno Mayor Vetoes Project Labor Agreement Mandate; City Council to Vote to Override

The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction reported on September 2, 2021 that the Fresno City Council voted 6-1 to require its construction contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement to work on certain city contracts. (See Fresno City Council Vote to Require Its Construction Contractors to Sign Union Agreements.)

On September 13, 2021, the Mayor of Fresno vetoed the union mandate. See Veto Message for Resolution 2021-242 - Project Labor Agreement for Citywide Public Work of Improvement Projects.

A city council special meeting specifically to override the veto was scheduled immediately.

Today (September 16, 2021), the Fresno City Council will vote to override the veto. See Approve override of the Mayor’s veto of “RESOLUTION – Approving a Project Labor Agreement for Citywide Public Work of Improvement Projects,” Resolution 2021-242 adopted by the City Council on September 2, 2021. (Requires 5 affirmative votes).




I hereby veto the Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for Citywide Public Work of Improvement Projects - otherwise known as Community Workforce Agreement - for the following reasons: 

First, I believe this document, as currently written, will make it more difficult for City of Fresno residents to gain employment and critical job training on City construction projects without first joining a union or union apprenticeship program.

Currently, union members make up less than 13% of the U.S. construction workforce, which means adopting this policy would have a potential negative impact on 87% of construction workers. This does not support the primary One Fresno Vision of inclusivity.

Second, this document will make it much more difficult for local contractors who are awarded a city contract to use their full complement of employees due to the "Core Worker" provision within the PLA which requires contractors to utilize a certain number of union employees. The contractor would be responsible for the performance of the union employees even though they were not hired by the contractor. In essence, the contractor has no say so over who works for them, yet the contractor is responsible for their performance.

Third, this document only allows for union apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs, making it harder for those residents enrolled in equivalent qualified non-union apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs to gain the skills they need for a successful career in the construction industry. 

Fourth, proponents of the PLA talk at length of its benefits and how it will help skilled workers make a good living and get health care and retirement benefits, however, they failed to include any measurement tools to make sure it achieves any of its purported goals.

Fifth, under the PLA, non-union employees who work for the non-union local contractor are required to pay into a union pension and health benefit system which few, if any, will ever collect. The non-union local contractors and core employees will certainly continue under their current employer health and retirement plans. resulting in non-union contractors having to pay double for health and retirement benefits, creating a significant disadvantage for potential non-union bidders and higher costs for the City of Fresno. The value of these double payment are estimated at 5 to 10% of the contract cost.

As a dues-paying member of public sector unions for over 41 years, I do recognize that a Project Labor Agreement, if done correctly, can be beneficial. I would support the PLA if it could be modified to prioritize local hiring and local businesses. Specifically, I would like to see an exception in the current agreement that would exempt local contractors who meet the following criteria:

1.  The business {contractor) awarded the contract is headquartered in the City of Fresno.
2.  All of the employees who work on the city project live within the City of Fresno.
3.  Employees assigned to the project be provided health care coverage and a 401k or other retirement benefits.
4.  At minimum, 20% of those assigned to the project by trade be apprentices living within the city of Fresno.

Mayor Jerry Dyer
September 13, 2021


PO Box 1627
Poway, CA 92074

Need to Talk

(858) 633-6523

Office Hours

Monday thru Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm