Unions Advance Political Strategy to Control Santa Barbara Construction Contracts with County Board of Supervisors Vote
On Tuesday, April 9, the Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors votes on requiring companies to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions as a condition of working on county construction contracts. See the agenda item: Development of Countywide Community Workforce Agreement Ordinance and Project Template.
This vote occurs as the Santa Barbara City Council has proceeded with its plan to require its construction contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement. See A Message to the Santa Barbara City Council on Its Payoff to Labor Union Leaders and Santa Barbara City Council Considers Contracts to Engage in Fake Negotiations with Unions for Project Labor Agreement and Santa Barbara City Council Vote on December 4 to Negotiate a Project Labor Agreement.
Public works construction in Santa Barbara County has been long dominated by local companies whose trade workers do not belong to a union. Union officials have long desired to strengthen their market share in this region, and political trends now give them the opportunity to circumvent competition and obtain a monopoly on taxpayer-funded work.
In fact, the staff report for the Board of Supervisors vote points out that "many things have changed" since 2014, when the Board of Supervisors last considered a Project Labor Agreement (for one project - a $96 million county jail). That Project Labor Agreement proposal was never implemented. It looks like the vote five years later will be in favor of the unions getting control of many projects.