• Feb. 10, 2020

Stockton Unified School District to Impose Project Labor Agreement on Contractors

Where no one is paying attention, unions move in.

Tomorrow night (Tuesday, February 11, 2020), the elected Stockton Unified School District board of trustees will vote to require construction companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement with trade unions in order to work on district contracts.

Unions are fed up with big construction companies in San Joaquin County getting public works contracts while employing workers who choose not to be represented by a union. By convincing elected officials to mandate a union workforce, the problem of fair and open competition is resolved in favor of unions.

As expected, the Project Labor Agreement includes standard terms and conditions designed to give them a monopoly on the construction contract workforce. The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction expects an influx of union workers from the San Francisco Bay Area will soon enjoy work in Stockton, especially if the tech boom slows down.

Email to Stockton Unified School District Board:

Stockton USD Board Members:

Now that you have released your “negotiated” Project Labor Agreement (PLA) for all school construction projects I wanted to point out specifically what it is you will be voting for tomorrow (Tuesday) at your board meeting.

First, this is a boilerplate PLA, as they all are. Unions are not interested in “negotiating” a PLA that doesn’t do what PLAs are designed to do: Discriminate against non-union workers, contractors and apprentices. If you have read one PLA you have read them all. All PLAs boil down to 4 key provisions and your “negotiated” PLA contains them all:

  1. Force all workers to pay union dues even if they aren’t union: Article 7.
  2. For union-free contractors to use no more than 2-4 of their employees AT ALL: Article 8.2
  3. Force all workers to pay into union health, welfare and pension plans they won’t vest in thereby having those monies stolen from them: Article 10
  4. Explicitly exclude union-free apprentices from working on your projects: Article 11

Question: What exactly did Messrs. Breakfield, Deasy, Orbuch and Ms. Dawson “negotiate”? Specifically what did they argue for that unions opposed and unions surrendered on?

I would ask you what any of these discriminatory provisions have to do with building something but considering PLAs are simply political documents intended to benefit a group of big labor donors, what’s the point?

We have an axiom at CFEC that has held true for 21 years: We can fight PLAs but what we can’t fight is urban corruption. This is the enemy we are facing in Stockton these days and your board is about to join the small band of district’s across the state who have approved PLAs, districts that all fit this truism.

We will be watching for and highlighting the predictable consequences of this PLA (reduced bidders, increased costs and out of area workers coming to do the work that you are now making impossible for the majority of the local workforce to do) and making sure to highlight these failures to your taxpayers and others.

Eric Christen
Executive Director
Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction


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