close
  • Aug. 20, 2017

Unions "Greenmail" Developers to Get Project Labor Agreements on San Jose Private Projects


This email was sent from the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction to the San Jose City Council on August 20, 2017.

August 20, 2017

San José City Council
200 E. Santa Clara St.
San José, CA  95113


Re: Request for Community Workforce Agreements/Project Labor Agreement (CWA/PLA) Task Force to Research Opportunities and Impacts on Private Development

Dear San José City Council:

You created the Community Workforce Agreements/Project Labor Agreement (CWA/PLA) Task Force on December 13, 2016. Its purpose is to study opportunities and impacts of mandating Community Workforce Agreements and Project Labor Agreements on city projects.

The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction has addressed the task force during public comment at most of the meetings. It’s obvious the task force is neglecting a major area for examination: Project Labor Agreements on private projects in the City of San José.

It is strange that the task force is not investigating the circumstances of Project Labor Agreements signed by private developers. Some questions remain unanswered by the task force:

1. Why do developers chose to sign Project Labor Agreements for private projects in San José?

2. From where do unions supply workers for these private projects in San José?

3. Do developers believe that Project Labor Agreements fulfill the many claims of benefits that the Santa Clara & San Benito Counties Building & Construction Trades Council has made to the task force?

It appears that Project Labor Agreements on private projects in San José are somehow related to the activities of a mysterious but very zealous local environmental group called “San José Residents for Responsible Development,” represented by the South San Francisco law firm of Adams, Broadwell, Joseph & Cardozo. This organization repeatedly claims that the city’s environmental reviews are inadequate. Here are some examples of these objections, linked to primary source documents:

June 25, 2013 Adams Broadwell Joseph Cardozo on behalf of Santa Clara Building and Construction Trades Council – One South Market – City of San Jose

June 27, 2014 Adams Broadwell Joseph Cardozo on behalf of San Jose Residents for Responsible Development – Great Oaks Mixed Use Project – City of San Jose

October 7, 2015 Adams Broadwell Joseph Cardozo on behalf of San Jose Residents for Responsible Development – Japantown Corporation Yard – City of San Jose

October 19, 2015 Adams Broadwell Joseph Cardozo on behalf of San Jose Residents for Responsible Development – Cannery Park/Hanover Project – City of San Jose

November 4, 2015 Adams Broadwell Joseph Cardozo on behalf of San Jose Residents for Responsible Development – Cannery Park/Hanover Project – City of San Jose

October 4, 2016 Adams Broadwell Joseph Cardozo on behalf of San Jose Residents for Responsible Development – Gateway Tower Mixed-Use Development – City of San Jose

February 21, 2017 Adams Broadwell Joseph Cardozo on behalf of San Jose Residents for Responsible Development – 350 Winchester Mixed-Use Project (Volar) – City of San Jose

February 22, 2017 Adams Broadwell Joseph Cardozo on behalf of San Jose Residents for Responsible Development – Greyhound Residential Project – City of San Jose


You’ll see in these documents that “San José Residents for Responsible Development” includes the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 332, Plumbers & Steamfitters Local 393, Sheet Metal Workers Local 104, and Sprinkler Fitters Local 483. These are affiliates of the Santa Clara & San Benito Counties Building & Construction Trades Council, which is pushing the task force to issue a recommendation to the City Council to mandate a Project Labor Agreement on city construction contracts.

Why are construction unions so vehement about the inadequacy of the city’s environmental review of proposed private developments? Are the unions opposed to new housing?

We notice a correlation between these environmental objections and union demands for developers to sign Project Labor Agreements. Have you noticed this? Is it purely coincidental?

We also heard union officials declare at meetings of the San Joaquin County Board of Supervisors in the fall of 2016 that their local members were traveling to San José to work on projects. Presumably these union workers from the Central Valley were taking advantage of out-of-area jobs reserved for unions in San José through Project Labor Agreements on private projects. It should make you wonder if the claims of widespread unemployment among union construction trade workers in San José - despite a booming construction market - are inaccurate.

Are unions trying to monopolize city contracts in San José so that they can provide jobs for “travelers” - workers from out of the area, perhaps even from out of state? That’s an arrangement in which a union in San José can financially benefit from dispatching a worker from Stockton.

These are all questions worthy of investigation. But it is obvious that the representative of the Santa Clara & San Benito Counties Building & Construction Trades Council on the task force wants to terminate the data collection process. He wants a quick recommendation to the San José City Council, drafted the way he wants.

He does not want the task force to discuss the accomplishments of “San José Residents for Responsible Development” or the experience of private developers with Project Labor Agreements in San José. Why not?

We urge you to direct the Community Workforce Agreements/Project Labor Agreement (CWA/PLA) Task Force to investigate the experience of developers with Project Labor Agreements on private projects in San José. It may provide another view of the issue that will inform the public and assist you in making a decision.

Sincerely,

Eric Christen
Executive Director
Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction


P.S. Please take a look at the environmental comments of “San José Residents for Responsible Development.” They are compiled at http://phonyuniontreehuggers.com/unions-abusing-ceqa/construction-union-environmental-objections-to-proposed-projects-in-city-of-san-jose-2013-2017/.

Headquarters

PO Box 1627
Poway, CA 92074

Need to Talk

(858) 382-2197

Office Hours

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