OC Political

A right-of-center blog covering local, statewide, and national politics

Posts Tagged ‘Associated Builders and Contractors’

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

Posted by Dave Everett on June 13, 2013

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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.

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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.  

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