Building Trades Workers Win As Governor Brown Signs Bills

October 10, 2011 - As the October 9 deadline for the Governor to sign bills passed, it was clear that Building Trades workers did well in the Legislature in 2011, with Governor Jerry Brown having signed important Building Trades legislation.

Gov. Brown signed strong pro-worker bills to prohibit local bans on project labor agreements, to streamline environmental review for a football stadium construction project without compromising CEQA, to protect and expand the right to earn prevailing wage, to increase the use of career technical vocation courses, to add accountability to the charter city conversion process, and to strengthen accountability for apprenticeship standards, among other things.

Here is an overview of the good Building Trades legislation signed by the Governor.

AB 514 (Hernandez)Clarifies that prevailing wage is applicable to the hauling of refuse from a public works site to an outside disposal location in order to provide truck drivers with a fair wage for their work. 

AB 551 (Campos) Increases the penalties levied against contractors who willfully and routinely cheat workers from their fair wage.

AB 1330 (Furutani)Empowers students, parents and school districts with the option of substituting one current graduation requirement with a career technical vocational course that provides an academically rigorous and hands-on technical skills class.

AB 1344 (Feuer)Adds public accountability to the charter conversion process by requiring two public hearings, each separated by thirty days, and a 21-day period after the second hearing before a vote by the governing body to place the charter proposal on the ballot. 

SB 56 (Corbett) Requires a building and construction trades apprenticeship program to be audited when they fall below acceptable standards, and new and expanding programs to provide employer commitments, demonstrate suitable facilities for training and provide updates to apprentices on their progress towards graduation. 

SB 136 (Yee)Requires prevailing wage on all state funded energy efficiency and renewable energy projects on public property/facilities. 

SB 454 (Pavley)Requires utility energy efficiency rebates to be provided only if work complies with applicable permitting and contractor licensing requirements.

AB 436 (Solorio/Padilla) Provides a dedicated source of funds for all state prevailing wage enforcement paid for by fees on bond-funded projects, and provides an exemption from the fees for projects covered by a project labor agreement.

AB 554 (Atkins)Requires WIA funded training in apprenticeable occupations to be formally connected with state approved apprenticeship programs.

SB 734 (DeSaulnier) Requires local WIBs to spend at least 30% of their WIA funds on workforce training to ensure effective, longer-term training and supportive services.

SB 922(Steinberg/Perez) Prohibits local government bans on project labor agreements, establishes taxpayer protections for municipal PLAs, and restricts state construction funds for charter cities with PLA bans.

SB 292 (Padilla)Designates L.A. stadium project a Leadership Project subject to strict environmental standards with an expedited review process, creating thousands of new construction jobs.

The success of this package is due to the united efforts of the State Building Trades and its legislative advocates, local building trades councils and their affiliates, Building Trades workers, sympathetic local government officials, state legislators, and leaders who actually care about working people: Speaker John Perez, President pro tem Darrell Steinberg, and Governor Jerry Brown.

Even with this success, however, work remains to be done to restore the quality of life California workers deserve and expect. Some good bills didn’t reach the Governor’s desk this year, and we must and will return in 2012 to continue the fight.

If you have questions about any of these bills, please contact SBCTC Legislative Director Cesar Diaz at 916-443-3302.

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