The Rancho Santiago Community College District Trustees have already voted to start negotiating a Union-Only Project Labor Agreement that will affect all construction projects related to last year’s Measure Q bond measure.
The editorial below was written before they voted, by PLA expert Kevin Dayton. It sheds light on just how bad a move this was by the RSCCD Trustees.
Construction Unions Seek Monopolies on Taxpayer-Funded Construction at Two Orange County Community College Districts
Tonight (Wednesday, April 3, 2013), the elected board of trustees for the Coast Community College District will vote on proceeding with negotiations for a Project Labor Agreement with unions. It is item #D-25.02 on the meeting agenda.
This means that all construction contractors will have to obtain their journeymen workers from union hiring halls and obtain their apprentices from union training programs. All contractors will have to pay employee benefits to union trust funds (including underfunded union pension programs). Workers will have to pay initiation fees and dues.
Unions essentially get a government-mandated monopoly on the work.
It also means increased costs to taxpayers. A study published in July 2011 by the National University System Institute for Policy Research in San Diego showed that California school construction costs were 13-15% higher per square foot with a Project Labor Agreement as compared to California school construction under fair and open competition. See Measuring the Cost of Project Labor Agreements on School Construction in California.
Last November, 57% of voters authorized Coast Community College District to borrow $698 million for construction by selling bonds to investors. Include state matching grants and other sources of funding, and the total cost of the planned college construction program is almost $1 billion ($957 million). Add interest on the bonds, and the Coast Community College District construction program will probably cost taxpayers $1.5 billion.
Unions have momentum: on Monday (April 1, 2013), the elected board of trustees for the Rancho Santiago Community College District voted 5-2 to negotiate a Project Labor Agreement with unions that will be a requirement to work on construction funded by a $198 million bond measure approved by voters last November. The district plans to seek an additional $109 million in state matching grants for this construction program, so this will be a $400 million monopoly for unions (not including interest on the bonds).
Want more information? My article about the history of government-mandated Project Labor Agreements in Orange County (with extensive hyperlinks to primary source documents) was posted on www.FlashReport.org on March 10, 2013: Pugnacious Defense of Economic Freedom in Orange County Can Inspire California’s Free Market Activists.
Kevin Dayton is the President & CEO of Labor Issues Solutions, LLC, and is the author of frequent postings about generally unreported California state and local policy issues at www.laborissuessolutions.com.