OC Political

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

Posts Tagged ‘nick berardino’

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 »

His Master’s Voice

Posted by OC Insider on September 10, 2012

Anaheim city council candidate John Leos was on the OCEA Board of Directors from 2008 until early this year. OCEA is the union representing County of Orange employees. OCEA also represents its affiliate, the Anaheim Municipal Employees Association. He was also a director of the OCEA Political Action Committee. OCEA spent north of $200,000 trying to elect Leos to the Anaheim Council in 2010.

You get the picture: Leos is the public employee union candidate for Anaheim city council.

Leos has tried to distance himself from OCEA. He left the union board of directors this year. He and his supporters started putting out the word that he was unhappy with OCEA and its tactics. Sure. That’s believable.

But only last year, in an interview with OCEA Magazine, Leos had this advice for fellow union members looking to get more involved:

Q: What do you suggest other OCEA members do if they want to get involved?

A: Become a steward and attend rallies. Also, read all the emails (from OCEA General Manager Nick Berardino) and ask your co-workers to do so.

Oh my. “Read all e-mail from [Nick Berardino] and ask your co-workers to do so.” That’s a bit too much of a “We hear and obey, Dear Leader” mindset for our comfort.

You can read all of the interview here.

Oh wait – sorry. The OCEA has scrubbed that incriminating content from their website. Fortunately, you can see read it in the PDF version of the Winter 2011 OCEA Magazine here. Go to page 24.

Posted in Anaheim | Tagged: , , , , | 5 Comments »

Lingering Questions From Cynthia Ward’s Lost Lawsuit

Posted by OC Insider on September 5, 2012

Mostly a Loss for Ward

OK, the court rejected Anaheim gadfly Cynthia Ward’s lawsuit to prevent council candidate Steve Chavez Lodge from using Chavez as part of his name on the ballot. Chavez is part of his legal name, but it’s not like Ward has been primarily concerned about facts or anything in this case as opposed to playing politics.

The outcome of that part of her lawsuit should never have been in doubt. Ward said because, in her opinion, Lodge was not “widely known” as Steve Chavez Lodge, that he should be barred from using it on the ballot. Too bad she wasn’t aware of Jim Lacy’s lawsuit in 2008 against Dana Point council candidate Lou Penrose, asking the court to bar him from using the name he was widely known by – Lou Penrose – and force him to instead use his legal name, Luigi Rossetti. The judge sort of split the baby and required Penrose to list himself as “Lou Penrose (aka Luigi Rossetti Jr.).”

Ward and her legal team were basically attempting the reverse of that.

She did squeeze out a little bit of victory when the judge ruled Lodge can’t use the “retired policeman” part of his “retired policeman/businessman” ballot designation.

Who’s Footing The Bill For The Lawsuit?

In comments around the blogosphere today, Ward served notice that she absolutely will not disclose who is paying her legal costs. Up till now, in her blogging and activism, Ms. Ward’s  has been upfront and candid about her motives, political relationships, etc. This cone of silence shtick is way out of character.  Since she still won’t even state “Yes, I am paying for my legal fees out of my own pocket,” it’s safe by now to assume someone else of taking care of Strumwaaser-Woocher’s bill.

Also, in her lawsuit, Ward puzzlingly did not include any request to recover attorney fees if she won the case. The judge made no mention of recovering legal costs in his decision. If Ward had won, she would have to sue to recover legal fees.

Anyone as confident as Ward was of winning their case would have included a request…unless you weren’t the one paying for the lawsuit and therefore didn’t need to worry about recovering legal fees.
Either way, Ms. Ward can still clear this point up very easily.

The John Leos Connection

Here’s another interesting connection to Ward’s lawsuit against Lodge.

Lodge was served with the lawsuit the evening of Tuesday, August 21. A few hours later that same evening, the campaign of a rival council candidate John Leo (the candidate of the city employees union) sent out this press release:

Lawsuit Challenges Lodge’s Use of Chavez Name for Race in Anaheim

ANAHEIM (August 21, 2012) — Anaheim resident Cynthia Ward has challenged City Council candidate Steve Lodge’s use of the middle name “Chavez” on the ballot and also the inclusion of “retired” in his ballot designation. Her lawsuit suggests the recent use of the middle name “Chavez” serves a political function.

“While I can respect Lodge’s apparent sensitivity to voter concerns about the lack of a Latino voice on the Council, it just seems opportunistic to put on a Latino identity for himself now that votes are at stake,” said City Council Candidate John Leos. “My family over the last 90 years experienced segregated Anaheim schools and other injustices, but I learned from them always to be myself — in season and out of season.”
So how did Leos find out so quickly not just that Lodge had been served, but obviously had knew the details of the lawsuit?

In a blog comment, Ms. Ward says she didn’t release any information, and doesn’t think her lawyers would have done so without her approval:

“These suits are filed routinely in elections all over the country, most without the fanfare and negativity that this one has been subjected to. Which leads one to wonder, how did the press even find out about this? I did not do a press release. Voice of OC was tipped off about 24 hours after the suit was filed, and to confirm factual information I posted a short notice to a new, raw, non-revenue generating blog I am working on, one that is not even tied into Google yet, so the media frenzy did not come from me. My attorney would not run a press release without me. Did Lodge or his campaign team generate the press attention? One has to wonder.”

Yes, one does have to wonder. The Lodge campaign didn’t alert the world (why would they?). But if someone else was paying for the lawsuit, like a certain public employee union that represents Anaheim city employees, and used to have Leos on its Board of Directors, and is backing Leos for Anaheim City Council, is paying for the lawsuit, then that union would have the details of the lawsuit and every motivation to pass them along to the Leos campaign.

That explanation makes a lot more sense than anything Ward or anyone else has come up with. We’re not going to hold our breath waiting for the Leos campaign to disclose how they learned of the lawsuit and its details so amazingly quickly. Only the willfully blind aren’t going to see the busy hands of the OCEA and the Leos campaign in this entire affair.

Posted in Anaheim, Uncategorized | Tagged: , , , , , | 11 Comments »