Big Labor’s Power Grab In Orange County Does Not Equal Worker Protection
Posted by Dave Everett on May 25, 2013
Big Labor’s power grab in California is more aggressive than ever. It is even creeping into Orange County. In just the past year, we have seen unions try and pass several discriminatory Project Labor Agreements (or PLAs) that virtually guarantee that all of the work will be limited to the 16% of the California construction market that is union. This week, the Coast Community College District rejected a PLA, but the unfair special interest deals are still pending at Rancho Santiago Community College (thanks to Jose Solorio) and at the Naval Weapons Station in Seal Beach (thanks to Obama.) We even saw unions fighting against local control in Newport Beach and the Orange County Fairgrounds (Thanks Jerry Brown for appointing union boss Nick Berardino. The Fair policy now even discriminates against non-union veterans certified in the military.) And of course unions dumped nearly a half million dollars of their special interest money from out of town to defeat the Costa Mesa 2012 City Charter.
In every public comment debate on these Orange County issues, the unions always claim that they are pushing for their virtual monopoly on the work so that they can protect workers and make sure they are not exploited by evil capitalists trying to skirt labor laws. But as you can see from the number of violations that were discovered and reported to LAUSD’s labor compliance program and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement, union work does not equal regulatory compliance. In fact, after months of inactivity by both entities, CCCG took dramatic action and requested revocation of LAUSD’s labor compliance program since they would not do anything about the 70 cheated construction workers owed over $91,000 in back wages.
It seems the unions don’t monitor their union “brothers” too well. Shocking, I know. Maybe more shocking is that unions are now pushing a bill in the State Senate to allow ONLY UNION PROGRAMS TO MONITOR LABOR LAWS! Earlier this month, on May 9, 2013, SB 776 passed 24-10 off Senate Floor with bipartisan opposition – including OC Democrat State Senator Lou Correa who voted against it. Hopefully more moderate Democrats will realize that letting the fox guard the henhouse isn’t good for quality building or for worker protection. Here is the full press release on the violations:
70 Cheated Construction Workers Win Over $91,000 in Back Wages, CA Senate Still Votes to End Program
Sacramento – On May 9, 2013, SB 776 passed 24-10 off Senate Floor with bipartisan opposition. It now moves to the California State Assembly. SB 776 would change the current law, so that only union-controlled worker protection programs exist – eliminating the California Construction Compliance Group (CCCG.)
Ironically, as a result of an CCCG labor compliance audit, the Los Angeles Unified School District recently collected over $91,000 in unpaid wages owed to The Masonry Group California, Inc. employee’s who perform work on the Valley Region High School Number 5 project. The beneficiaries of the settlement include over 70 workers of the now defunct The Masonry Group, a company that is currently in Chapter 7 Bankruptcy.
In 2010, ABC-CCC dba CCCG performed an audit of construction contractor compliance the LAUSD’s Valley Region High School Number 5 project. A number of violations were discovered and reported to LAUSD’s labor compliance program and the Division of Labor Standards Enforcement. After months of inactivity by both entities, CCCG took dramatic action and requested revocation of LAUSD’s labor compliance program. The revocation request got LAUSD’s labor compliance program moving and CCCG’s complaints and audits were properly investigated. After investigation of The Masonry Group’s practices and years of litigation, LAUSD was able to recover $91,688.98 in back wages, $2,181.27 in training fees and $28,950.00 in penalties. Because The Masonry Group seemingly disappeared, Turner Construction, the general on the project, was the party that ultimately made things right for the underpaid employees.
As acknowledged in the June 27, 2011, Request for Approval of Forfeiture & Penalties from LAUSD Labor Compliance Officer Nancy Morada to the Susan Nakagama of the DLSE Bureau of Field Enforcement, it was CCCG’s complaint that prompted the investigation of The Masonry Group:
In the words of John Loudon, Executive Director of the California Construction Compliance Group, “Without our efforts, these gross underpayments would have been undetected. This is a great day for these workers who did the work and were severely underpaid in violation of the law. We appreciate that LAUSD and Turner Construction were able to work out a reasonable settlement. Sadly, Turner is stuck holding the bag for the misdeeds of The Masonry Group. I hope that Turner is ultimately able to get justice through the system and make the guilty party pay”.
“In a strange irony, we received word of this victory the same day Senator Ellen Corbett, at the bidding of organized labor unions, passed SB 776 out of the California Senate. This bill is designed to bar us from monitoring and enforcing prevailing wage laws. I wonder whether these workers support the move the union bosses are pushing,” said Loudon.
For Immediate Release
Contact: John Loudon 619-575-2225