By: Eric Christen, Executive Director, Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction
(858) 431-6337, email@example.com
The Garden Grove City Council was warned not to pass a union-only Project Labor Agreement – which effectively banned non-union contractors from bidding on public works projects by implementing a bogus Community Workforce Agreement.
Unfortunately the Garden Grove City Council ignored the warnings – including examples of so many other PLAs that have backfired on the agencies that have passed them.
Now the pigeons are coming home to roost! The Garden Grove City Council set to vote 8/24/2021 to reject the sole bid for storm drain improvements. The bid was $3,740,000; the city engineer’s estimate was $2,400,000. That means the sole bid was 56% over estimate!
The city’s own staff report said the city’s Project Labor Agreement mandate repelled companies from bidding.
This is the 2nd time City of Garden Grove bid this project. On the 1st try, ZERO companies bid on it.
The project was advertised on May 28, 2021, with the bid opening date scheduled for June 30, 2021; however, no bids were submitted.
Staff again solicited bids for this project pursuant to Municipal Code Section 2.50.100 on July 1, 2021. Bids were opened by the City Clerk’s Office on July 28, 2021 at 11:00 a.m. One bid was received in the amount of $3,740,000. This amount exceeded the engineer’s estimate of $2,400,000 by $1,340,000 and consequently exceeded the entire budget for the project.
At the first bid opening on June 30, 2021, eight contractors showed interest in the project by purchasing plans and specifications, but no bids were received. At the most recent bid opening for the project, two additional contractors purchased plans and specs yet only one bid was received. It is generally understood that a lack of competitive bids increases a project’s price.
In response to the lack of bidders, staff initiated contact with the rest of the plan holders who decided not to bid on the job. Some of them responded that it is due to their current workload, others said because they do not want to implement the Community Workforce Agreement (CWA), and some said it was a combination of both. With regard to the CWA, some contractors said they have difficulty integrating CWA workers into their underground construction operation due to the workers’ unfamiliarity with the contractor’s work team and operation. Staff will plan to follow-up with contractors to see how we may be able to help mitigate their concerns before the project is re-advertised.
Staff recommends the rejection of the bid received and the re-advertisement of this project at a later date for the chance to receive competitive bids.
The Garden Grove PLA caused this. Period.
Doing the bidding of big labor special interest donors has consequences. A City Council who took their fiduciary responsibility to taxpayers seriously would repeal this monopoly agreement at their next meeting on Tuesday.