Sat. Sep 24th, 2022

The Rancho Santiago Community College District’s Trustees are meeting tonight to consider a busy agenda that includes “Approval to Negotiate a Project Labor Agreement Action.”  The administration of the RSCCD is recommending authorization be given to their Chancellor to negotiate a Project Labor Agreement with the Los Angeles/Orange County Building Trades Council.

Some people never learn!  We warned Santa Ana voters last year not to vote for Measure Q – the latest bond measure of the RSCCD, which will increase our property taxes in order to supposedly pay for construction at the Santa Ana College campus.  We already had approved a previous bond measure, Measure E, which the RSCCD wasted on the Santiago Canyon campus in Orange and on the construction of the O.C. Deputy Sheriff Training center (which was not needed with about five such centers within half an hour of Orange County).

In 2003, the RSCCD Trustees placed a union-crafted Project Labor Agreement (PLA) on all Measure E bond work.  Measure E had been passed by voters in 2002 with no hint of a controversial PLA would be used.  Voters were not warned about a PLA regarding Measure Q either!

The PLA vote occurred despite vigorous opposition from local workers, taxpayers, apprentices, contractors and contractor associations. The board was told that a PLA was simply a payoff to union bosses and that it openly discriminated against the 85% of the local construction workforce that was union-free.

How do PLAs do this? PLAs force workers to pay union dues, pay into union pension plans, be hired through a union hiring hall, and explicitly forbid non-union apprentices from working at all.

PLAs are so controversial that they have been banned in 11 entities in California including the County of Orange and the City of San Diego, where just this past June residents voted 58%-42% to forbid them.

At the time of their vote in 2003 the College’s own construction manager told the board a PLA would add 5-15% to the cost of any project. They were warned them of the same thing. In fact I personally testified against the PLA.  How would the PLA raise construction costs? Simple – fewer non-union shops would bid on their work with a PLA in place. Fewer bidders equals increased costs.

The RSCCD wasted so much money on Measure E, because of the PLA, that Trustee John Hanna told me he would never again vote for another PLA.  He told me that the PLA created costly delays and increased costs.  I was of course not surprised.  That is exactly what I had predicted!

Last summer the most comprehensive study on PLAs ever conducted was released by the National University System Institute for Policy Research. It looked into more than 500 school construction projects throughout California and found that those districts who used PLAs added 13-15% to the cost of those projects. What that means for RSCCD’s $335 million Measure E was that its value was reduced by up to $50 million.  What that means to you is that your money was wasted by the RSCCD Trustees who voted for the union-only PLA.

The RSCCD Trustees are about to rip off the voters yet again! Members of the RSCCD Board of Trustees can be reached by calling (714) 480-7452 or sending an email.  RSCCD Trustee Jose Solorio is running for the 34th State Senate District in 2014.  If he votes to approve this PLA I am withdrawing my endorsement of his campaign and will support anyone else but him.

By Editor

Art Pedroza started Orange County's first political blog, the Orange Juice, back in 2003. He now publishes the top civic blog in Orange County - New Santa Ana, plus other blogs including New Anaheim, New Fullerton and the Irvine News Blog, as well as the OC Politics Blog.

5 thoughts on “The RSCCD Trustees are for a Measure Q union-only PLA tonight”
  1. Paying union dues means someone is making sure you are earning the same as every other journeyman on that job. your union card proves your experience. Without a hiring hall sending out qualified tradespeople the contractor has nothing to go by to judge the qualifications of the person building the roof over students heads. I don’t think it is wrong for a person working a trade to want a pension, they work hard to earn it and deserve it, so paying into a pension is a good thing especially with the state of social security. non-union apprentices who are forbidden to work can join the union apprenticeship and learn their craft from qualified and licensed professionals,and become journeymen, the term for craftspeople who worked and studied to learn a craft. Union dues help pay for training at these apprenticeship training centers like the one in Santa Ana.

  2. The vote last night was 5-2. Arianna Barrios and Phil Yarbrough dissented. (Student Trustee, Ryan Ahari, also voted against it.) The special interest deal for Big Labor that Jose Solorio & RSCCD Trustees moved forward last night will cost the district over $29 million dollars in waste. And that is before the interest kicks in on paying the $698 million dollar bond back. Learn more at PLAs discriminate against 8 out of 10 construction workers and the working class families that depend on those workers.

  3. Jin, your blathering is deliberately deceptive and insulting. Your union cronies bully the board into doing a PLA locking out all of the non-union people. So every point you make would be honest if it included “union members” in it. “making sure every UNION WORKER is making the same as every other”, “I don’t think it is wrong for a UNION person working a trade to want a pension, they work hard to earn it and UNION WORKERS deserve it,” How does that read? Still proud to be union? Jerk

    1. Joe, you don’t know me and you call me a jerk. When a group of people band together they can negotiate what they think they deserve to get paid. MacDonalds franchise owners do it when they set the price of a Big Mac, Chevron dealers collectively set the price for gas at their stations. There may be a bit of a difference, but not much.
      When a non-union worker goes out looking for a job he is alone in negotiating his wage up against a contractor who wants to maximize his profit, which is fine don’t get me wrong. Let the contractor negotiate wages up against a professional negotiator and not some Joe Tradesman off the street. I can replace all those words in there with “UNION WORKER” but in the end it’s just a guy trying to get a job and a fair wage for his work. I did all that without disrespecting anything you said or calling you names, I hope you would do the same next time you you answer anybody else’s blog posts.

  4. “I don’t think it is wrong for a UNION person working a trade to want a pension, they work hard to earn it and UNION WORKERS deserve it”……. Hmmmmmmm

    Enjoy it Jin while the California is not “THE RIGHT TO WORK STATE” yet.

    Based on the yesterdays ruling in the Stockton Calif. case it is coming fast — you union parasite.

    “The fear is that there is going to be a run on the bank,” said bankruptcy attorney Michael Sweet, who has been monitoring the Stockton trial. “Everyone is going to be cutting CalPERS” payments if Stockton is allowed to do it.

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