Monday, November 09, 2009

Big Labor will kill the Water Bond

It is clear to me that the Water Bond recently approved for the voters’ approval is a piece of proposed legislation whose ultimate cost and even its ability to be completed is not really known. I’d like to think that more than just the $1 billion set aside for water recycling and other dithering on the issue will actually get built. But in California, no high profile Public Works construction project can be expected to sail through construction without the special interest groups getting their piece of the action. I speak specifically about LABOR UNIONS. For more than a decade, a suedo-environmental group of Big Labor activists, represented by a powerful San Francisco law firm have filed repetitive and erroneous environmental objections against power and infrastructure projects to the end of securing union-only Project Labor Agreement (PLA).

PLA’s are under indictment for being wasteful and discriminatory but that has not stopped Big Labor from utilizing their endless supply of money (derived from union membership dues) to force contracting bodies in California to sign these agreements. The Merit Shop community in California is opposed to PLAs because they require all labor on a construction project to pay dues and be registered with the union, even if the workers are with a non-union firm. We are not talking about the State Prevailing Wage and the benefits that come along with it. A PLA is an additional bureaucratic tool that unions use to keep non-union contractors from bidding and to fill the coffers of their bankrupt Pension Plans.

California desperately needs a solution to the crisis it now faces, but water recycling programs are not the answer. They are simply a small part of what must be a comprehensive plan for getting water where it is needed. California Labor Unions are more concerned with hegemony over public works than they are with solving California’s water crisis.

UPDATE: Several hours after I wrote this blog post, a friend sent me a link to this Los Angeles Building Trades publication where BIG LABOR'S efforts to pass the Bond through the California Legislature is revealed. From the article, one can only come to the conclusion that BIG LABOR wants this water bond to pass. What is implied but not overtly sited is the fact that Labor will require that the projects be built under union-only Project Labor Agreements. PLA's raise the cost of construction projects and discriminate against those that choose to work non-union. If the union insist on PLA's, there going to get some pretty significant push-back from the non-union construction industry.