The Trustees of the Rancho Santiago Community College District have completed voting to rip us off. How so you ask? They have voted to enter into a union-only Project Labor Agreement (although they chose to call it something else, that is what it is) with regard to the Bond Measure passed last November, ostensibly for construction projects at Santa Ana College. (It should be noted that Trustees Phil Yarbrough and Arianna Barrios as well as the Student Trustee Ryan Ahari voted against the PLA!).
What this means is that the RSCCD is going to hire only contractors who hire from union halls. While it is true that Santa Ana College has a number of union-only apprenticeship programs their dirty little secret is that it is very difficult to get into those programs and most of the union workers that will end up working at Santa Ana College will not in fact be apprentices. And the RSCCD will not allow non-union apprentices to work on these projects. What all this adds up to is that they are going to waste our tax money to the tune of at least 15%.
The last time they did this the results were so awful that RSCCD Trustee John Hanna told me he would never again vote for a PLA, except that he did just that, as did his fellow Trustee Jose Solorio. Contrast these awful votes with the recent failure to launch a PLA at the Coast Community College District – where Democratic Trustees joined Republican Trustees in rejecting the union bosses’ overtures.
Here is a blow-by-blow account by an insider as to how the RSCCD Trustees voted:
It was moved by Mr. Labrado and seconded by Mr. Solorio to authorize the chancellor to negotiate a Project Labor Agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange County Building Trades Council.
It was moved by Mr. Hanna and seconded by Ms. Alvarez to amend the agreement on page 6.5 (5), 1st paragraph, after Los Angeles-Orange County Building and Construction Trades Council (hereinafter “Council”) to include Southwest Regional Council of Carpenters (hereinafter “Carpenters”) and include Carpenters to the language throughout the agreement. Discussion ensued. The motion carried with a nay vote from Mr. Yarbrough.
It was moved by Mr. Hanna and seconded by Mr. Solorio to amend the agreement on Page 6.5 (5) to remove “Project Labor Agreement” and include COMMUNITY AND STUDENT WORKFORCE PROJECT AGREEMENT after RSCCD in the title of the agreement. Discussion ensued. The motion carried unanimously.
It was moved by Mr. Hanna and seconded by Mr. Solorio to amend the agreement on Page 6.5 (8), Section 3.3 and Page 6.5 (14), Section 5.5 to instruct staff to include efforts to: 1) utilize apprentices that went through RSCCD apprenticeship programs, and 2) track and enforce goals for student, community, and veteran participation. Discussion ensued. The motion carried unanimously.
Ms. Barrios called for the vote. The motion carried to authorize the chancellor to negotiate a Project Labor Agreement as amended with the Los Angeles/Orange County Building Trades Council with a nay vote from Ms. Barrios and Mr. Yarbrough. Student trustee Ahari’s advisory vote was nay.
You can read more about this here.
But wait – there is more bad news. In addition, they’ve voted to increase the amount they are paying to Seville Construction Services after admitting at a Board meeting that construction costs at RSCCD ran 50% or more over due to poor management, with regard to the last bond measure and PLA. Because Seville allegedly gives a lot of money to the Trustees’ political campaigns it passed unanimously.
A mole at the RSCCD tells me that they are wasting millions already. They are spending $7 Million plus renting bungalows to be used as swing space for a renovation project whose total cost is estimated to be 8 Million. And they still have 15 million unspent from Measure E!
The project list , as I understand it, doesn’t add up to $198 million. I’ve been told they are looking for ways to blow the money- the PLA being one way to do so.
The RSCCD Chancellor is currently negotiating with the Building $ Trades Council and several unions regarding the PLA. Funny how Hannah mentioned Veterans and students, but they are not part of the discussions.
I will close with a letter from anti-PLA activist Eric Christen, to the lame RSCCD Trustees – note that he really sums this mess up neatly:
RSCCD Board of Trustees.
I had not had a chance to communicate with you since your vote to begin “negotiations” with big labor special interests regarding a Project Labor Agreement last month. I have been primarily trying to keep the $1.5 billion Coast Community College bond PLA-free which we were finally able to do just a few days ago when the PLA there was defeated 3-2. The CCCD Board of Trustees obviously do not share your canine affection for union bosses and acts like an Orange County entity verses a Los Angeles one.
After I spoke at your meeting where the PLA issue was heard I had to leave and so was unable to hear the rationale for why workers and contractors should be discriminated against and taxpayers money be reduced by 15% in value. I was also unable to hear what I’m sure was the expectation that a PLA would be something RSCCD would actually have any say in creating verses a standard template union bosses hand over for you to sign off on. To prove my point I’ll list for you the 4 provisions that are the guts of the PLA (without them the PLA would not exist) which will be part of your PLA:
1. All workers regardless of their union status will be forced to pay union dues and fees.
2. All workers regardless of their union status will be forced to pay into union health, welfare, and pension plans regardless of whether or not they already have such plans or will ever be able to recover this money.
3. All workers regardless of their union status will be forced to be hired through a union hiring hall to a maximum of 5 total workers at which point the non-union company must hire only union workers.
4. Apprentices in non-union apprentice programs will be explicitly excluded from being able to work on any RSCCD project.
Such is the price one pays for fidelity to a tired and failing ideology that is reliant on coercion and financed by big labor, verses doing what’s best for all workers and taxpayers.
Best of luck.
Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction
“The greatest minority in the world is the individual. If you don’t respect the rights of the individual you don’t respect minority rights.” – Ayn Rand