Watsonville City Council Rejects Accountability Measures in Union Deal

In Watsonville, thanks to the City Council, a subsidiary of the unions, 100% of the people must pay taxes—but only those that pay a bribe to the unions are allowed to work on city projects. The Council signed a Project Labor Agreement, meaning those that do not belong to a union are not allowed to work for the city projects. Pay the bribe or move, or flip a burger. That is government, union bully style.

You would think that all of those disqualified for work in this city would start a Recall of the Council that believes that are unworthy of working because they do not pay bribes. Open corruption is alive and well in Watsonville.

“Tonight (August 26, 2014) the Watsonville (California) City Council voted 6-1 to require construction contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions in the Monterey/Santa Cruz Counties Building and Construction Trades Council for city projects with a cost exceeding $600,000. The (unsigned) Project Labor Agreement was provided to the city council at the meeting.”

union hostess

Watsonville City Council Rejects Accountability Measures in Union Deal

ByKevin Dayton, Union Watch, 8/26/14

Tonight (August 26, 2014) the Watsonville (California) City Council voted 6-1 to require construction contractors to sign a Project Labor Agreement with unions in the Monterey/Santa Cruz Counties Building and Construction Trades Council for city projects with a cost exceeding $600,000. The (unsigned) Project Labor Agreement was provided to the city council at the meeting.

The city council also voted 7-0 for a vague adjunct “Memorandum of Understanding” with the Monterey/Santa Cruz Counties Building and Construction Trades Council about promoting “pre-apprenticeship” training.

This vote was a follow-up to a city council vote on October 8, 2013 to proceed with a Project Labor Agreement policy. (For details, see Watsonville City Council Imposes Requirement for Construction Contractors to Sign Project Labor Agreement with Unions.)

Tied in with the Project Labor Agreement is a Memorandum of Understanding, which was poorly drafted and peppered with flaws:

1. It does not define a pre-apprenticeship program.

2. It establishes an “ultimate goal” to develop a pre-apprenticeship program “for use toward meeting the City’s local hire goal,” but the local hiring ordinance requires “qualified individuals” to be enrolled in a certified state or federally approved apprenticeship program or be classified as journey persons with at least five years experience in their craft.

3. It requires the City of Watsonville to provide the unions with contact information for community groups that “advocate for training in careers to better one’s life.” Why aren’t the unions aware of these groups already? And why doesn’t the MOU simply list local recruitment sources and community organizations acceptable under the city’s local hire ordinance, which requires contractors on certain public works construction contracts “to make good-faith efforts, with the assistance of the Employment Development Department, and/or local recruitment sources, and/or local union hiring halls, and/or community organizations designated by the City to hire qualified Tri-County Residents…” Ironically, unions are regarded as one of the groups that advocate for training.

4. It cites alleged data from the California Division of Apprenticeship Standards (DAS) that “community members” in and around the City of Watsonville showed “significant interest” in entering an apprenticeship program for the construction trades, but insinuates that unions can’t find these people without assistance from the city. Why can’t the unions use the data from the DAS?

5. The City of Watsonville only makes the unions accountable to the MOU to the extent that the unions have to keep a list of individuals who have “gone through the program” and give a report once a year to the city about “how the program has performed.” There is no independent evaluation of the program. Compare this to the local hiring ordinance, which requires contractors to do the following:

…keep, and provide to the City, on forms acceptable to the City, an accurate record documenting the good-faith effort of complying with the provisions of this Chapter. Said records shall include: a listing, by name and address of all local recruitment sources contacted by the contractor, the date of the local recruitment contact and the identity of the person contacted, the trade and classification and number of hire referrals requested, the number of local hires made as a result of the contact, and the identity and address of the person(s) hired pursuant to the contract.

When a city council member and a public speaker suggested that the Memorandum of Understanding include more provisions for accountability, the head of the Monterey/Santa Cruz Counties Building and Construction Trades Council complained he was being “torpedoed.” Union-backed city council members pulled out the rhetoric and praised the “innovative,” “groundbreaking,” and “historical” policy.

August 26, 2014 Staff Report for City of Watsonville Project Labor Agreement

August 26, 2014 Resolution to Mandate Project Labor Agreement on City of Watsonville Projects with Cost Exceeding $600,000

August 26, 2014 Memorandum of Understanding Between City of Watsonville and Monterey/Santa Cruz Counties Building and Construction Trades Council

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.

About Stephen Frank

Stephen Frank is the publisher and editor of California Political News and Views. He speaks all over California and appears as a guest on several radio shows each week. He has also served as a guest host on radio talk shows. He is a fulltime political consultant.