Bulletins Prior to 2012

Important Fix to OSHA Signed Into Law

October 4, 2010 - Legislation providing an important fix to California's occupational safety and health program was signed into law shortly before last week's deadline. AB 2774 (Swanson) provides a step toward compliance with federal law, and is the result of business and labor working together to find an agreement that will create a safer working environment for all Californians. (Read More)

Study Shows Union Sector Far Safer

May 7, 2003 - A study just released in Cockshaw's Construction Labor News & Opinion (April,2003), showed that non-union contractors were 360 percent more unsafe than union contractors. (Read More)

Unions Lower Construction Fatality Rates

March 24, 2011 - A new study from the University of Michigan's Institute for Research on Labor, Employment, and the Economy concludes that unionization in the construction industry lowers fatality rates, while so-called right-to-work (RTW) anti-union laws have the opposite effect, resulting in higher fatality rates. (Read More)

Bob Balgenorth Appointed to California High Speed Rail Authority

March 24, 2011 - Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg announced today that the Senate Rules Committee has appointed SBCTC President Bob Balgenorth to serve as a member of the California High Speed Rail Authority. The Authority is charged with overseeing the planning for the construction of California's high-speed train network, including evaluating technologies, criteria for awarding and selecting franchisees, routes and terminal sites; and a financing plan. (Read More)

Christine Baker Appointed Chief Deputy Director of DIR

March 28, 2011 - Governor Jerry Brown has appointed Christine Baker as Chief Deputy Director of the Department of Industrial Relations. Baker was endorsed by organized labor for the post and, based on her record, promises to be a strong advocate for the rights of working people. (Read More)

Bob Balgenorth's Column Supporting Project Labor Agreements

June 20, 2011 - A column by SBCTC president Bob Balgenorth, endorsing the use of PLAs by local governments, appeared in the Friday, June 17 edition of the Sacramento Business Journal, a publication geared toward and read widely by business owners and pro-business interests in the region. (Read More)

Bob Balgenorth Refutes Assembly Member, Defends Prevailing Wage in Bakersfield Paper

June 21, 2011 - The Bakersfield Californian today published an opinion column by SBCTC President Bob Balgenorth, refuting an earlier column by Assembly member Shannon Grove, R-Bakersfield, in which Grove opined that the state should quit paying prevailing wages to construction workers on public works projects, rather than extend existing tax revenues. (Read More)

Workers Will Suffer Under Harsh New Budget; Republicans to Blame for Loss of Revenue

June 29, 2011 - Last night the Legislature passed a balanced, majority vote budget that closes a
$9.6 billion deficit. The drastic cuts in this budget will cause real harm to all California families, and to workers in construction and other fields. (Read More)

Northern California Carpenters Agree to Building Trades PLA Terms

July 6, 2011 - In a significant step forward for the trades in Northern California working together for the benefit of everyone, the Northern California Carpenters Regional Council has agreed to become party to the Building and Construction Trades Councils' PLAs. (Read More)

Study: Sempra Outsource Proposal Will Cost California Thousands of Jobs

July 14, 2011 - A new study shows that Sempra Energy's plan to outsource green energy production to Mexico will cost California thousands of jobs, and will cost up to $300 million in lost local, state and federal tax revenues. Hardest hit by the plan would be Imperial County, which already suffers from the highest unemployment rate in the nation. (Read More)

Anti-PLA Study Bought by ABC Debunked by Reputable Economist

July 22, 2011 - ABC is hoping to generate anti-worker press coverage this week by releasing a study it bought and paid for from a right-wing think tank, that not surprisingly, purports to conclude that PLAs increase the cost of school construction. They have distributed the report to the news media and have asked that it be released on Friday, (Read More)

Court of Appeal Rules Prevailing Wage is Required on San Diego Hilton Project

July 21, 2011 - The California Court of Appeal has issued a unanimous decision holding that the construction of a San Diego Hilton hotel on land leased by the Port District was covered by California's prevailing wage law because the Port District gave the developer a $46.5 million rent credit. (Read More)

News Report: FAA Shutdown Cost Could Exceed $1-Billion

August 2, 2011 - A news report today from the Associated Press concludes that the shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration could cost the government more than $1 billion in revenue from uncollected airline ticket taxes, all because Congressional Republicans are demanding a cut in rural air service subsidies that total only $16.5 million, as well as a provision to prevent airline and railroad employees from unionizing. The entire AP article is below. (Read More)

CA Democratic Party Endorses Initiative Process Reforms

August 2, 2011 - The California Democratic Party's Executive Board has passed a resolution outlining problems with the state's existing ballot initiative process, and urging necessary reforms. Below is the party's press release on its resolution. (Read More)

Oregon Indicts Two Signature Gatherers on ID Theft

August 4, 2011 - There has been much coverage in the news media lately on the question of identity theft by signature gatherers, and discussion over whether it is a legitimate concern for potential signers. Following is the press release from the Oregon Attorney General's and Secretary of State's offices, announcing the indictments of two people on six counts of identity theft in connection with signature-gathering drives in that state. (Read More)

Chronicle Column: High Speed Rail Opponents "Make Stuff Up"

August 4, 2011 - In a column published in the San Francisco Chronicle this week, transportation expert Roger Christensen explained how high speed rail between Los Angeles and San Francisco would greatly improve transportation, improve the environment, and vastly reduce Californians' oil dependence. Opponents, he claims, ignore that reality and "make stuff up." Christensen's entire column, and a link to the on-line version, follow. (Read More)

Labor-Management Inform Local Governments Why PLAs Work

August 8, 2011 - The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust has contacted every city mayor, councilmember and city manager; county supervisors and officials; along with school board members and school district officials, with a detailed letter explaining why it is in their best interest to use Project Labor Agreements on local construction projects. (Read More)

Robert Reich Analyzes Economy, Debt and US Credit Rating

August 8, 2011 - This bulletin is to share with you two insightful analytical columns published recently by former U.S. Labor Secretary Robert Reich, regarding the debate over the federal economy and debt, and the reasons for and effects of the downgrading of the U.S. Credit rating by Standard & Poor's. The columns have interesting implications for the Building Trades. (Read More)

Billionaire Warren Buffett Calls for Tax Increases on the Rich

August 15, 2011 - In a commentary published Sunday in the New York Times, billionaire investor and industrialist Warren Buffett makes a compelling case that Congress should raise taxes on super-rich people like him, rather than imposing further harmful cuts on the middle class. (Read More)

New Districts, Primary System Create Opportunities for Building Trades

August 17, 2011 - Newly drawn legislative and Congressional districts, along with the new "top-two" primary election system, will combine to create new opportunities for the Building Trades to elect more worker-friendly legislators and representatives in 2012. (Read More)

Gov. Jerry Brown Reiterates Strong Support for High Speed Rail

August 18, 2011 - Governor Jerry Brown, in a meeting this week with the Fresno Bee editorial board and in a speech to community leaders, strongly reiterated his support for building a high speed rail system from the Bay Area to Southern California through the Central Valley. (Read More)

Gov. Jerry Brown Announces Pro-Worker Appointments to CAC, DIR, and CSLB

August 18, 2011 - Governor Jerry Brown today announced a series of appointments important to the Building Trades, including appointments to the California Apprenticeship Council, the Division of Apprenticeship Standards at the Department of Industrial Relations, and the Contractors State Licensing Board. (Read More)

Labor Commissioner Seeks Partnership With Building Trades for Labor Law Enforcement

August 25, 2011 - California Labor Commissioner Julie Su is increasing enforcement of labor laws and seeking a stronger partnership with the SBCTC, local BTCs and affiliates, to enforce labor laws on construction projects. She has designated staff at the Division of Labor Standards and Enforcement to work on building trades related issues. She shares a strong commitment to protecting workers, leveling the playing field for law-abiding employers, and working collaboratively to pursue those goals. (Read More)

Resolution Opposing Outsourcing California Construction Jobs Clears Committee

August 25, 2011 - A resolution supported by the Building Trades and the IBEW, to urge the federal government to deny a permit to Sempra Energy to use a cross-border transmission line to import renewable energy, thereby outsourcing California construction jobs to Mexico, has been passed by a Senate Committee. (Read More)

Legislature Sends Building Trades' Bills To Governor's Desk

September 12, 2011 - The final week of the legislative session was extremely productive for the Building Trades, as our backed bills won approval from the Senate and Assembly, and were sent to Governor Jerry Brown for his signature. Here is a rundown of the Building Trades backed legislation that won approval in the session's final days. (Read More)

State School Chief Urges Districts to be Partners with Labor, Consider PLAs

September 13, 2011 - In a letter to county and district school superintendents and charter school administrators, State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson has urged cooperation with workers to facilitate school construction, and warned those administrators not to be fooled by bogus research making false claims about Project Labor Agreements. Torlakson further attached an analysis by UCLA researchers debunking claims of an ABC-funded study that falsely concluded that PLAs increase construction costs. (Read More)

Five Years, 15,000 Jobs! $40 billion PLA for Building Trades

September 22, 2011 - The Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Thursday voted to negotiate a Project Labor Agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange County Building Trades Council for $40 billion worth of transportation construction work over the next five years. The agreement is expected to produce as many as 15,000 construction jobs, starting with the construction of the Crenshaw light rail line. (Read More)

Strong Local Leadership, Unity and Cooperation = Workers Victory

September 28, 2011 - Governor Jerry Brown's signing of two bills this week to kick start California's construction economy was a landmark accomplishment that will bring good jobs to thousands of our brothers and sisters in the Building Trades. It is the result of incredible leadership by local labor leaders, and unity and cooperation with all their affiliates, the environmental community and our political leaders. (Read More)

Governor Brown Signs Building Trades Legislation AB 436

September 30, 2011 - Today, Governor Jerry Brown signed AB 436 by Assemblymember Solorio (Santa Ana) and Senator Padilla (Pacoima), legislation sponsored by the State Building Trades to provide resources to the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) for prevailing wage enforcement on state funded public works projects and design-build projects. (Read More)

Governor Signs SB 922 Local Bans on PLAs are Prohibited!

October 3, 2011 - Governor Jerry Brown on Sunday signed SB 922, the Building Trades backed bill to prohibit bans on Project Labor Agreements, authored by Senate President pro tem Darrell Steinberg and Assembly Speaker John Perez. This result nullifies existing PLA bans in counties, general law cities, and special districts; will prohibit state funding for charter cities with PLA bans (Chula Vista and Oceanside), while rendering potential 2012 ballot measures to ban them in the city of San Diego and city and county of Sacramento moot. (Read More)

SBCTC Awarded Federal OSHA Grant

October 5, 2011 - We are happy to announce that the SBCTC has been awarded a new Susan Harwood Grant from federal OSHA. With first year funding of $185,000, this grant makes it possible for us to continue our existing training on the leading hazards causing fatalities in construction known as the "Focus Four," and to begin work on developing new health and safety training programs for 2012. (Read More)

ABC Falsehoods Refuted in Letter to Stockton Record

October 6, 2011 - In a letter to the editor of the Stockton Record, SBCTC President Bob Balgenorth and Northern California Mechanical Contractors Association Executive Director Scott Strawbridge, in their capacities as trustees of the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust, have refuted false statements made in a Record article by an ABC spokesman. We are not certain at this time if or when the letter will be published. The entire letter and the article to which it responds follow. (Read More)

WSJ Editorial Mischaracterizing SB 922 and PLAs Rebuked

October 6, 2011 - In a letter to the editor of the Wall Street Journal, SBCTC President Bob Balgenorth and Northern California Mechanical Contractors Association Executive Director Scott Strawbridge, in their capacities as trustees of the California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust, have refuted a Journal editorial critical of SB 922 and supporting blanket bans on Project Labor Agreements. We are not certain at this time if or when the letter will appear. The entire letter and the editorial to which it responds follow. (Read More)

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. (Read More)

Victories for the Building Trades: PLA Votes in Berkeley, Contra Costa

October 17, 2011 - Building Trades workers scored a pair of major victories last week with votes favoring PLAs in the Berkeley Unified School District and the Contra Costa Community College District. In Berkeley, the school district board okayed PLAs for $190 million of construction work over the next five years. The funds are from Measure I, a property tax increase approved by Berkeley voters to fund school construction projects. (Read More)

Supreme Court Denies to Hear Appeal - Court Decision Finalized: Prevailing Wage Required if Any Publ

October 19, 2011 - The California Supreme Court has declined to consider an appeal to an important Appellate Court ruling from 2010 upholding the requirement that prevailing wage be paid on public improvements performed by private contractors if any part of the project is financed with public funds. The California Court of Appeals made that ruling in December 2010 in Azusa Land Partners v. Department of Industrial Relations, and this week the California Supreme Court declined to hear the developer's appeal. (Read More)

$350 Million, Thousands of Construction Jobs

October 26, 2011 - The Pasadena Unified School District Board this week voted 7-0 to approve a project labor agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange County Building Trades Council for $350 million in construction and modernization works. The construction is funded by the district's Measure TT school bond, which was overwhelmingly approved by district voters in 2008. (Read More)

1,500 Construction Jobs for Three Years!

October 26, 2011 - BNSF Railway and the Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council have finalized a Project Labor Agreement worth more than $255 million for the construction of the Southern California International Gateway Project (SCIG). (Read More)

League of Cities Latino Caucus Voices Support for PLAs

November 2, 2011 - The League of California Cities Latino Caucus has approved a resolution endorsing the use of Project Labor Agreements, noting an array of benefits that accrue from the use of PLAs, including expanded opportunities for minority and women workers and apprentices. It concludes that the use of PLAs is necessary for creating opportunities for the working men and women of the Building Trades, and pledges to oppose any attempts to eliminate PLAs as an option for the cities and counties they represent. The League of California Cities Latino Caucus, the fastest growing caucus of the League, charged with bringing the Latino voice to state and local government decisions, voted for the resolution at its October 2011 executive board meeting. (Read More)

BART Board Unanimously Approves PLA for E-BART Extension

November 2, 2011 - In a resounding victory for Building Trades workers, the Bay Area Rapid Transit District Board voted 9-0 last week to enter into a PLA with the Contra Costa Building and Construction Trades Council for building the new East Contra Costa BART (or E-BART) extension that will extend the rail system from its current terminus at Pittsburg 10 miles eastward to Antioch. (Read More)

PLAs on Three New Power Plants to Bring Thousands of Building Trades Jobs

November 3, 2011 - The State Building and Construction Trades Council has entered into PLAs for the construction of three new power plants, projects that mean thousands of good jobs for Building Trades workers. (Read More)

Historic PLA Announced for Transbay Transit Center

November 15, 2011 - The Board of Directors of the Transbay Joint Powers Authority has approved an historic agreement with the San Francisco Building and Construction Trades Council and 28 separate unions for $4 billion of construction work on the Transbay Transit Center. (Read More)

Baldwin Park Approves $6 Million PLA for Transit Parking Structure

November 15, 2011 - The Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building Trades Council's remarkable string of PLA victories has continued with the Baldwin Park City Council's unanimous approval of an agreement for the construction of a $6 million transit parking structure. (Read More)

PUC Action Clears Way For Abengoa Power Plant Construction

November 15, 2011 - The California Public Utilities Commission recently removed the final obstacle to construction of the Abengoa 250-megawatt solar trough project in San Bernardino County, when it approved a power purchase agreement between Mojave Solar, an affiliate of Abengoa, and Pacific Gas and Electric Company. (Read More)

Merced Paper Publishes Bob Balgenorth Column on High Speed Rail

November 15, 2011 - The Merced Sun-Star has published a column by SBCTC President Bob Balgenorth, who also serves on the High Speed Rail Authority, favoring immediately beginning construction work on the first segment of high speed rail track. It is headlined "California can't afford not to build high-speed rail system." (Read More)

Hearings on High Speed Rail Underway; Our Support is Crucial Next 60 Days

November 17, 2011 - An Assembly Budget subcommittee meeting in Palo Alto kicked off several months of hearings on the business plan for California's High Speed Rail this week. Opponents of the project showed up to criticize the cost, locations and other aspects of the plan, but there was also a strong showing from high speed rail supporters, including environmental groups, business leaders, and working people. Unions represented at the hearing included Plumbers, IBEW, Bricklayers, Sheet Metal Workers, Ironworkers, Laborers, Painters, Roofers, Cement Masons, Operating Engineers and Carpenters. Congratulations to all for a strong showing of support. (Read More)

Big PLA Victory in San Jose; ABC Falsehoods Rejected

December 1, 2011 - In yet another defeat of the ABC's campaign of desperation and lies against PLAs, the Santa Clara & San Benito Counties Building Trades Council, led by Chief Executive Officer Neil Struthers, has negotiated and signed a PLA extension for $287,000,000 in modernization work at the San Jose Evergreen Community College District. The agreement is for the duration of the bond, and will result in thousands of good construction jobs for years to come. (Read More)

Events Slated to Support Unemployment Insurance Extension on December 8 in San Diego, Sacramento

November 30, 2011 - Organized labor is planning events urging Congress to extend the federal Unemployment Insurance Programs that are now set to expire in January. The issue is especially important to workers in the construction industry, facing unemployment rates of 30 percent or higher in some areas. (Read More)

Members of SBCTC Affiliates Demand Escondido Change to District-Based Elections

December 8, 2011 - Members of SBCTC affiliates in the City of Escondido demanded on Wednesday that the City Council end its discriminatory at-large election process, and change instead to district based-elections that would enable Latino neighborhoods, now excluded from City Council decisions that affect them, to have a voice. (Read More)

Latinos In Escondido Threaten Suit For Lack Of Representation On Council

December 14, 2011 - SBCTC Legislative Director Cesar Diaz participated in a radio program on San Diego Radio Station KPBS regarding the effort to change Escondido's city council elections from the current "at large" format, in which all council members are elected from the entire city, to a district-based system, which would provide representation for the city's Latino neighborhoods. (Read More)

New DIR Unit to Monitor Labor Standards On Public Works Projects

December 14, 2011 - The Department of Industrial Relations is preparing to begin operations of its new Compliance Monitoring Unit (CMU) to ensure that pay, overtime, record-keeping and hours limitations are properly enforced on public works projects. (Read More)

State Board Allocates $924 Million For 377 School Projects in 154 Districts

December 14, 2011 - The State Allocation Board took action Wednesday to allocate $924 million in bond funds for 377 school construction projects in 154 school districts around the state. (Read More)

Pelosi: California High-Speed Rail is On Track

December 15, 2011 - House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi says she stands firmly behind California High Speed Rail, despite Republican roadblocks. Rep. Pelosi released the following statement after the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee's hearing on high-speed rail. (Read More)

Five-Year Project Stabilization Agreement OKd by Contra Costa Community College District

December 15, 2011 - Despite a concerted and prolonged attack of falsehoods from ABC and other extreme right groups, the Contra Costa Community College District approved a five-year agreement with the Contra Costa Building Trades Council this week for all construction projects valued above $2 million for the next five years. The vote came after months of delays brought on by ABC challenges to board members' voting eligibility. (Read More)

Growing Group of Supporters Backs Escondido Voting Rights Lawsuit

December 15, 2011 - A diverse and growing group of supporters made their voices heard December 14 at the Escondido City Council meeting, where they strongly endorsed efforts to elect city council members by districts, rather than by the current at-large method. The growing support for the effort was voiced by a diverse array of people from the region at the city council meeting, one week after construction laborer Demetrio Gomez served the city council with the demand. (Read More)

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