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Hiding of Solorio Backed Union Deal Likely To End in Lawsuit

Posted by Dave Everett on November 1, 2014

Recent campaign mail sent by the Associated Builders and Contractors highlighting Jose Solorio's forced union agreement (PLA) at Santa Ana College in the RSCCD.

Recent campaign mail sent by the Associated Builders and Contractors highlighting Jose Solorio’s forced union agreement (PLA) at Santa Ana College in the RSCCD.

A behind-the-scenes deal, pushed by 34th State Senate candidate Jose Solorio, to limit construction at Santa Ana College to union members is likely to end with a lawsuit against the college district. So says a recent letter (attached below) sent to the district by a law firm representing the Associated Builders and Contractors of Southern California.  ABC SoCal will seek a judicial determination that the practice of meeting in closed session, hidden from the public, violates the Brown Act.

The letter threatening legal action was sent to the RSCCD clerk on October 10, 2014 and gave the legally prescribed deadline of 30 days to admit the action was illegal and to basically promise to never do it again.

According to the letter, “this letter concerns the Board of Trustees of the Rancho Santiago Community College District practice of holding closed session meetings to discuss and negotiate the terms of project labor agreements.  Pursuant to Government Code section 54960.2 this letter constitutes ABC So. Cal’s demand that the Rancho Board cease and desist from holding closed door sessions to discuss the terms of project labor agreements.”

It wraps up with the summary, “Rancho Board’s closed sessions to discuss CSWPA terms violated the letter and spirit of the law…”

The term CSWPA is the made-up name that the Trustees gave the forced union deal to disguise from the public what is traditionally referred to as a Project Labor Agreement. CSWPA stands for the “Community and Student Workforce Project Agreement.”

The letter from ABC SoCal ends with the statement that, “…If the Rancho Board does not make an unconditional commitment to cease the practice of holding closed session meetings to discuss the terms of project labor agreements, ABC So. Cal. will seek a judicial determination that the practice violates the Brown Act.”  CLICK HERE for the full article.

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

O.C. Senate Candidate Jose Solorio Voted Illegally To Give Construction Contract To His Political Donors

Posted by Dave Everett on August 18, 2014

Jose Solorio Plans On Giving Away $29 Million Dollars of Santa Ana College Funds To Special Interests This Monday (3/24/2014)! This money should go to new buildings and improving conditions for our students, not to pay off Jose Solorio’s political donors. Worse yet, this special interest deal discriminates against over 80% of local construction workers in favor of Big Labor bosses and union companies from Los Angeles.

Jose Solorio Voted To Give Away $29 Million Dollars of Santa Ana College Funds To Special Interests! This money should have gone to new buildings and improving conditions for our students, not to pay off Jose Solorio’s political donors. Worse yet, this special interest deal discriminates against over 80% of local construction workers in favor of Big Labor bosses and union companies from Los Angeles.

…In the recent vote to limit the construction at Santa Ana College with one of these forced union agreements, Orange County State Senate candidate Jose Solorio voted illegally to give construction contract to his political donors.

Because of the two illegal votes that began and finalized this forced union agreement (or Project Labor Agreement; PLA) have now come to light, the Associated Builders and Contractors of Southern California will be submitting a letter to the Rancho Santiago Community College Board of Trustees today (August 18, 2014) asking them to invalidate the forced union agreement on the nearly $200 million dollar Measure Q bond passed by voters in November 2012. ABC So-Cal will request that the RSCCD Trustees open the bidding up to everyone in the free market, including the 84% of California construction workers who choose not to be in a union. This will ensure that the bidding is legal, first of all, but also will allow more local Santa Ana residents to work on the project.

As you may know, political contributions are exempt from the 1974 Political Reform Act, but gifts are not. If there was a gift of $250.00 or more in the last 12 months that was reported, usually on form 700, then that would exempt Jose Solorio from voting on the PLA due to a conflict of interest.

Solorio not only took a gift over the legal limit within 12 month prior to voting to begin the PLA negotiations, he took another gift over the legal limit just two months after the final PLA vote. Both entities that he took gifts from were Big Labor unions that would directly benefit from the PLA. If you have any doubt about their direct benefit, just scroll to the last page and look at the list of union bosses that are to sign the forced union agreement…

For the full article, CLICK HERE.

Posted in 34th Senate District, Rancho Santiago Community College District, Uncategorized | 1 Comment »

Jose Solorio Plans On Giving Away $29 Million Dollars of Santa Ana College Funds To Special Interests This Monday (3/24/2014)!

Posted by Dave Everett on March 21, 2014

Jose Solorio Plans On Giving Away $29 Million Dollars of Santa Ana College Funds To Special Interests This Monday (3/24/2014)! This money should go to new buildings and improving conditions for our students, not to pay off Jose Solorio’s political donors.  Worse yet, this special interest deal discriminates against over 80% of local construction workers in favor of Big Labor bosses and union companies from Los Angeles.

Jose Solorio Plans On Giving Away $29 Million Dollars of Santa Ana College Funds To Special Interests This Monday (3/24/2014)! This money should go to new buildings and improving conditions for our students, not to pay off Jose Solorio’s political donors. Worse yet, this special interest deal discriminates against over 80% of local construction workers in favor of Big Labor bosses and union companies from Los Angeles.

On Monday, March 21, 2014 at 4pm in Santa Ana, RSCCD Trustee Jose Solorio wants to give away $29 million dollars of Santa Ana College construction funds to special interests! The PLA is Item 4.2 on the RSCCD agenda and this is the final vote to approve this wasteful and discriminatory deal.

This money should go to new buildings and improving conditions for our students, not to pay off Jose Solorio’s political donors.

Worse yet, this special interest deal discriminates against over 80% of local construction workers in favor of Big Labor bosses and union companies from Los Angeles.

Unfortunately, we see this all too often when a politician wants to run for higher political office. The unspoken agreement is that Jose Solorio will vote to limit construction on the $198 million dollar Measure Q Bond passed in 2012 and in return Big Labor unions will shower his campaign for the 34th Senate District with political donations.

The loser in this wink-and-nod arrangement, are our Santa Ana students. According to http://www.BuildMoreSchools.com, a USC/National University study shows that these special interest deals, known as Project Labor Agreements or PLAs, increase the cost of school construction by 15%. That waste totals over $29 million dollars for Jose Solorio’s PLA on Santa Ana College and Santiago Canyon College.

Concerned students, teachers and taxpayers can do the following:
Attend the meeting Monday, March 21, 2014 at 4:00pm at the RSCCD District Offices located at 2323 North Broadway, Board Room #107 Santa Ana, CA 92706. We need you to tell the RSCCD Trustees to vote “No” on this PLA special interest deal.

Join us Monday, when we demand an end to this waste and discrimination! If you are able to attend or have any questions, please contact deverett@abcsocal.net.

[Dave Everett is the Government Affairs Director for the Associated Builders and Contractors in Southern California. Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national association with 70 chapters representing more than 22,000 merit shop construction and construction-related firms with nearly two million employees. For more information, visit http://www.abcsocal.org.]

Posted in 34th Senate District, Rancho Santiago Community College District, Santa Ana | Tagged: | Leave a Comment »

“Bullet” Train Contractor Steals From O.C. Construction Workers, Gets Fined By State

Posted by Dave Everett on June 13, 2013

feinstein_devore_lowenthal_oclibrary.jpg

feinstein_devore_lowenthal_oclibrary.jpg

We are always told how union special interest deals known as Project Labor Agreements (or PLAs) ensure compliance with labor laws, but as I wrote a few weeks ago, that isn’t true.  Now we find out that the company selected to build the CA High Speed Rail “bullet” train has been hiring subcontractors that steal wages from their workers.  This week, the Tutor Perini Corporation was one of four general contractors issued citations by California Labor Commissioner Julie A. Su totaling $748,366. The Labor Commissioner issued citations for public works and labor law violations affecting a total of 89 workers to the general contractors and their subcontractors.

Orange County Public Libraries hired the Tutor Perini Corporation as a prime contractor to construct a new Laguna Niguel branch.  The Labor Commissioner’s investigation found that the proper prevailing wage and overtime rates were not paid to as many as 25 workers. $117,837 in unpaid wages, $30,800 in penalties and $539 in contributions to a DIR-approved training program for the California Apprenticeship Council (CAC) were assessed as a result.

The Tutor Perini Corporation came under fire earlier this year, for submitting a bid for the California High Speed Rail construction that would have been rejected under the original criteria of the project, but HSR Authority officials changed the bid specifications. Critics also point to the appearance of cronyism for the Tutor Perini Corporation for having past connections to the husband of California Senator Diane Feinstein, Richard Blum.  “Blum first became involved with what is now Tutor Perini in 1998 when he joined with Ronald Tutor to help recapitalize the troubled company. He reportedly sold his stock at a substantial profit in 2005.”  Critics of the Blum/Perini connection echo parallel criticisms you hear from the far-left political organizations about Dick Cheney’s affiliation with Halliburton.  They fear past connections will fuel future decisions.

As reported by Ken Broder of  AllGov California (AllGov .com provides up-to-date news about more than 140 departments and agencies in state government, most of which operate under the media radar,) “The staff of the California High-Speed Rail Authority recently recommended that Tutor Perini get the contract because it was the low-bidder, at $995 million, but came under fire because the company had the lowest technical score among the five contractors who bid. It didn’t help that the staff changed the criteria for selecting a winner without board approval. Originally, only companies with the highest technical scores were going to be eligible for the lowest-bid portion of the two-part process.”

So not only is the High Speed Rail limited to only union workers, thereby discriminating against the 8 out 10 construction workers who are not union, but they changed the bid criteria at the 11th hour to make sure a company was awarded the contract who has been caught red handed stealing from the wages of local Orange County construction workers.  

As Governor Jerry Brown’s Labor Commissioner Julie Su put it, “Failure to pay the proper prevailing wage is a form of wage theft. We will crack down on not only the subcontractors who steal workers’ wages and fail to pay apprenticeship training contributions, but also on the general contractors so we put proper incentives on them to deal only with honest, law-abiding businesses in California.”

It is just another in the long list of reasons why this High Speed Rail should not be built.  It is really just a give away to a variety of special interests: Big Labor, Feinstein cronies and even the Mayor of Fresno.  (Check out: Newly Public Documents Reveal Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin Had Key Role in Backroom Scheme for Union-Only Project Labor Agreement on California High-Speed Rail Project.) The Coalition For Fair Employment in Construction (CFEC) theorizes that, “…unions were promising to get the High-Speed Rail Heavy Maintenance Facility in Fresno in exchange for Mayor Swearengin’s help in getting the Project Labor Agreement, in a way that would avoid direct involvement of the California High-Speed Rail Authority.”

Officials like the ex-wife of OC Congressman Alan Lowenthal – Long Beach Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal,  even went so far as to turn off the microphones on ABC and CFEC representatives trying to ask on the record about the discriminatory special interest PLA deal.  Reason TV highlighted the lengths that the “bullet” train supporters will go to avoid public debate on this project.  Despite their efforts, Republican Congressman Jeff Denham was able to give the public a forum to address the concerns with so-called High Speed Rail at a House Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee on Railroads, Pipelines and Hazardous Materials field hearing in Madera last week. The Associated Builders and Contractors submitted a statement for the record in opposition to the union-favoring project labor agreement (PLA) required by the California High Speed Rail Authority. 

  For more on Big Labor’s special interest deal on the HSR, skip to the 1 minute and 45 seconds mark in this NBC News TV report with Associated Builders and Contractors Northern California Chapter Government Affairs Director Nicole Goehring or hear it from former California State Assemblyman from Orange County, Chuck DeVore on FoxNews.

But it is now clear that with or without a PLA, High Speed Rail will have a tough time protecting its workers with a track record like that of Tutor Perini.

Posted in 47th Congressional District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

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:

cccg

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:

cccg2

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

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Posted in 34th Senate District, Rancho Santiago Community College District, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments »

Associated Builders and Contractors Defeat Union Discrimination On Largest CA Community College Bond Passed in 2012

Posted by Dave Everett on May 16, 2013

Two Democrats And One Republican Trustee Team Up In A Bipartisan Effort To Save College Students Over $100 Million Dollars In Waste On Measure M Bond Funds.  

(COSTA MESA, CA) – The Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) are proud to announce the defeat of plans for union discrimination on the largest California community college bond passed by voters in 2012.  Two Democrat Trustees and one Republican Trustee joined together in a bipartisan effort to save college students over $100 million dollars in waste on the $698 million dollar Measure M bond passed in November 2012 at Coast Community College District (CCCD.)   OC Register Editorial: Playing Fair Means No PLAAfter months of controversy regarding the virtual union monopoly, called a Project Labor Agreement, the CCCD made its final vote on the issue at the May 15, 2013 meeting.  They wisely decided that a PLA will not be used for construction projects on Measure M projects.   “I want to commend Trustees Prinsky, Grant and Hornbuckle for this brave show of bipartisanship that will save students and teachers over $100 million dollars,” said Susan McNiel, President of the Associated Builders and Contractors of Southern California.  “A wasteful PLA on the Coast Community College District’s Measure M bond funds would have discriminated against 8 out of 10 construction workers.  It would be tough to get local workers on the project if we eliminated over 80% of the market from consideration.”   Jim Moreno Wanted To Give $100 million in education funds to his special interest donors. The PLA was discovered by Labor Issues Solutions’ Kevin Dayton buried in an online agenda for a special meeting and disguised as a “Continuity of Work Agreement.” The Associated Builders and Contractors of Southern California (ABC So-Cal) and its coalition partners immediately jumped into action to inform the public about the wasteful and discriminatory nature of these project labor agreements.   As reported in the Daily Pilot and the Huntington Beach Independent, at the Trustees’ March 6 Board meeting, CCCD Trustees were given a quick lesson in PLA politics during testimony from the Coalition For Fair Employment (CFEC), the Associated General Contractors (AGC) of California, Associated Builders and Contractors of Southern California and Huntington Beach Mayor Pro-Tem Matt Harper. A letter was read into the record from Alfred Dennison from Dennison Electric, Inc. who has done quality skilled work on past school projects and saved the district thousands of dollars. Mike Holton with Gould Electric was also in attendance opposing the PLA at CCCD. The coalition against the PLA also included the OC Taxpayers Association, who were told in writing that there would not be a PLA on the bond; the Costa Mesa Taxpayers Association; and the Orange County Business Council.  Jim Moreno Lied To OC Taxpayers About Discriminating Against Non-Union Workers Since public awareness of the special interest deal known as a PLA was so low, ABC So-Cal worked with local college students to drop literature about the PLA on campus and sent out over 30,000 robo-calls to taxpayers in the district from our local taxpayers association, State Assemblyman Allan Mansoor and Huntington Beach Mayor Pro Tem Matt Harper. Working with local reporters, ABC So-Cal was also able to get an editorial against the PLA, the day of the April 3, 2013 vote on the CCCD PLA, in Orange County’s major newspaper The Orange County Register on the front page of the local section.  ABC member, Alfred Dennison from Dennison Electric was highlighted.   “Jim Moreno and Jerry Patterson tried to deceive the voters and give a special interest deal to their political donors by pushing this virtual union monopoly. OC Tax and OC Business Council gave their endorsements with the understanding that no PLA would be used.  The bond was passed using those endorsements in the campaign mail to voters – and it won by 57% when the bond required 55% for passage.  You could easily say that without those endorsements, the bond would not have passed,” said ABC Government Affairs Director, Dave Everett. “Prinsky, Grant and Hornbuckle deserve all the credit for ensuring that promises made were promises kept.”   The two Democrats that were pushing this virtual union monopoly are Jerry Patterson and Jim Moreno.  A quick look at past campaign finance documents reveals Jerry Patterson’s long career funded by the very same unions he looks to give preference to – both as a Trustee and Congressman.  The other, Jim Moreno, apparently wants the unions to fund his campaign to take John Moorlach’s Orange County Supervisor seat in 2014.

 
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Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC) is a national trade association representing 22,000 members from more than 19,000 construction and industry-related firms. Founded on the merit shop philosophy, ABC and its 72 chapters help members win work and deliver that work safely, ethically and profitably for the betterment of the communities in which they work. For more information, visit www.abcsocal.org.  

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

 
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