Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

Already Belong? Login

Thursday, January 27, 2022   Open House, Ribbon-Cutting, and Golf Social Were a Great Time at WECA Phoenix









January 12 was a momentous day for WECA! That morning, we held our Phoenix Golf Social at the picturesque Arizona Grand Golf Course and then segued into a long-awaited open house and ribbon-cutting celebrating the opening of our Phoenix training facility that afternoon.

At the golf social, WECA employees played golf with Darin Johnson (Vice President of Foreman Development for WECA Arizona founding Member Contractor Corbins Electric; Trustee on WECA's Apprenticeship Training Trust) and Tim Bosley (President of WECA Member Contractor Bosley Electric; Member of WECA's Board of Directors).

The open house, meanwhile, was attended by a mix of member contractors, Phoenix community members, apprentices, and nonmember contractors. Notable attendees included: Curt Moroney (Business Development Executive at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce); Paul Sanders (Workforce Development Manager at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce); Mark Cooper (President of WECA Member Contractor H&D Electric); John and Deanna Pavletich (CEO and Senior Vice President of WECA Member Contractor Pavletich Electric and Communications, respectively); Chad Rowley (President of WECA Member Contractor ExhibitOne Corporation); Dina Kimble (President and CEO of WECA Member Contractor Royal Electric Company); John Knapp (Senior Recruiting Manager at WECA Member Contractor Helix Electric); Leslie Schlaegel (Talent Development Director at WECA Member Contractor Royal Electric Company), and more!

"All attendees seemed very impressed with the Phoenix facility," said Don Black, WECA Director of Apprenticeship, IT, and Facilities. "The opening remarks made by Darin Johnson were impactful and a great way to open the event. There were also several tours of the facility and Keith Smart (Phoenix-based Apprenticeship Program Remote Manager) showed off his skills at the smart board."

Terry Seabury (Executive Director and CEO of WECA), concurred with Black, saying that "All attendees said the facility was extremely organized and impressive, and three nonmember contractors verbally committed to getting their employees into WECA."

Topping off an exciting open house for WECA's Phoenix training facility was a ribbon cutting ceremony presided over by Curt Moroney (Business Development Executive at the Greater Phoenix Chamber of Commerce), who even brought his own giant ribbon-cutting scissors with him!

Thank you to all who attended, and to all who support WECA's mission of serving merit shop electrical contractors, their employees, and the industry suppliers that support them across the Western United States. We are grateful for your support and enthusiasm, and look forward to the continued success of WECA's Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program in Arizona!







Read more >>


Thursday, January 27, 2022   Year after year, WECA Member Contractors continually dominate "best of" lists...

...let's have one more look at the Sacramento Business Journal's 2021 Best of Electrical Contractors list

It goes without saying that WECA's Member Contractors are the best there are. Your dedication to excellence and quality continually shine through, but it's always nice to be recognized for a job well done. And the Sacramento Business Journal once again took notice of WECA's Member Contractors, putting a whopping twelve of you on their annual Best of Electrical Contractors list in 2021! The list and WECA's accompanying ads recently had a final run in the keepsake Book of Lists issue in December. Please join us in recognizing again the WECA Member Contractors who made the list in 2021. Congratulations, everyone--and we can't wait to see who made the 2022 list, soon!



Read more >>


Thursday, January 27, 2022   Santa Barbara area Member Contractors: Santa Barbara County is voting on county-wide PLA on Feb. 1

Join us for rallies to keep Santa Barbara County PLA-free!



The Santa Barbara County Board of Supervisors will be voting on a county-wide PLA on Tuesday, Feb. 1 at 9 a.m.

Help keep Santa Barbara County PLA-free by rallying your employees (if you can) at one of the following two rallies:
  • Jan. 31, 11 a.m., Santa Maria
  • Jan. 31, 3 p.m., Santa Barbara at Cushman Contracting


These rallies will take approximately 60 minutes of your time. If you are interested in attending, please contact Eric Christen at ericdchristen@gmail.com for more details.
Read more >>


Thursday, January 27, 2022   Remember to consider supporting WECA Industry Partners! Why, here's one now:

Read more >>


Thursday, January 27, 2022   Join Richard Markuson of WECA Government Affairs for a new quarterly call-in series

First call-in March 9 at 9 a.m.



Stay up-to-date on all things political at the state, local and federal levels with a new quarterly call-in series hosted by Richard Markuson of WECA Government Affairs.

The first call-in will take place on March 9 at 9 a.m. If you have a particular question you would like to ask during the call-in, please submit it via email at richard@pacificadvocacygroup.com the Friday before the Zoom call.

Access the call here:

Meeting ID: 861 4407 7242
Passcode: 841151

One tap mobile:
+16699006833,,86144077242#,,,,*841151# US (San Jose)
+12532158782,,86144077242#,,,,*841151# US (Tacoma)

Dial by your location:
    +1 669 900 6833 US (San Jose)
    +1 253 215 8782 US (Tacoma)
    +1 346 248 7799 US (Houston)
    +1 301 715 8592 US (Washington DC)
    +1 312 626 6799 US (Chicago)
    +1 929 205 6099 US (New York)

Or find your local number here.

We look forward to talking with you!
Read more >>


Thursday, January 27, 2022   2022 California Contractors License Law and Reference Book available from CSLB. Get your copy today!

Content courtesy of CSLB



January 24, 2022 CSLB #22-01

2022 California Contractors License Law & Reference Book Now Available

SACRAMENTO -- The 2022 edition of the Contractors State License Board's (CSLB) California Contractors License Law & Reference Book (Law Book) is now available. The Law Book can be purchased directly from the publisher, or the online PDF version can be viewed or downloaded at no cost on the CSLB website.

The Law Book features a summary of new contracting laws that became effective on January 1, 2022.

The all-inclusive book details CSLB's history and mission and offers specialized sections about becoming a licensed contractor, maintaining a license, home improvement contracting requirements, business management, and safety regulations. It also contains California's Business and Professions Code and other construction-related state codes, and contractors state license law rules and regulations.

"The 2022 Law Book is an essential guide for members of the California construction industry," said David Fogt, CSLB Registrar. "This tool can help current contractors manage their business and help potential contractors get information on how to obtain a license."

The Law Book can only be purchased directly from published LexisNexis online or by calling (877) 394-8826. The price is $45.00 plus tax, shipping and handling. The Law Book is available as a PDF on the CSLB website and can be downloaded for free.
Read more >>


Thursday, January 27, 2022   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

*COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards: What Employers Need to Know About the December 16 (2021) Standards
Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan (updated 12-21-20)
CA DIR Div. of Occupational Safety & Health: COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
* CA Dept. of Public Health COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Construction
*  COVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening
COVID Situation Flow Diagram Company Template
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
Supplemental Toolbox Talks COVID-19
Coronavirus Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 in Construction Workplace
COVID-19 Safety Meeting Outlines
COVID-19 Toolbox Talks for Subs
Fact Sheet for Pandemics
Marek Brother Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 Action Plan
Pandemic Preparedness - Coronavirus
Coronavirus - Workplace, School and Home Guidance
COVID-19 Tool Cleaning Protocols
COVID-19 Print Resources
COVID-19 Fact Sheet
United States Department of Labor: COVID-19
CDC COVID-19 Risk Assessment Flowchart
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Thursday, January 20, 2022   WECA Political Update January 20, 2022

Solar Conflict Heats Up. Politico reports, “The California Public Utilities Commission proposal to cut solar incentives for homeowners conflicts with a two-year-old state requirement that new homes install green technology — and that panels remain within financial reach. Wall Street has said that the CPUC’s proposal slated for a future vote would make installing rooftop solar a near-worthless investment unless paired with expensive batteries. And that could undercut the California Energy Commission’s solar mandate for new homes. ‘I think there are real questions about the compatibility of this decision,’ Michael Wara, a Stanford University law professor who directs the school’s climate and energy policy program, said in an interview about the CPUC proposal. ‘The big question will be at what point will the Energy Commission say anything publicly, or will they try to operate in private around this issue? They have to be concerned.’ When approving its solar mandate, the Energy Commission assumed installation incentives known as net metering would remain generous, easing the cost burden for developers and property owners. That helped the solar mandate comply with a cost-effectiveness test found in state law.

But the CPUC’s proposed overhaul of California’s net metering program would dramatically change the equation, reducing incentives and adding monthly fees — $48, on average — for most new solar owners unless they also install battery packs for use after the sun sets. After activating their panels, most existing solar owners would face that monthly surcharge and lower benefits for 15 years. The CPUC has argued that the changes would make solar owners pay their share of grid costs, in addition to stabilizing the electric system by incentivizing the storage of solar energy. That power would be discharged in the evenings during hot summer months when air conditioner usage drives up demand and threatens rolling blackouts.”

The proposal released last month stunned many solar supporters and attracted the attention of various public figures, including Elon Musk, who urged regulators to reconsider. In addition, former Republican Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a longtime champion of rooftop solar, published a New York Times op-ed on Monday that said the draft plan “should be stopped in its tracks.”

Gov. Gavin Newsom said recently that there was “work to do,” a signal the proposal might be in for revisions.

“The CPUC, which tells utilities how much and what type of electricity to buy, has long said battery storage should be part of the procurement puzzle. But instead, its proposed rules are an attempt to juice the market by incentivizing solar storage — and sharply phasing out benefits for those with just photovoltaic panels.

But battery storage is costly — $11,000 for an average-sized battery, according to solar and storage installer Sunrun — and pandemic-era supply chain constraints and demand from recent years’ power outages have made it harder to find. Those challenges would make it difficult for solar owners to avoid losing their benefits under the changes, at least in the near term.”

The CPUC would give prospective solar owners a market transition credit that would gradually lower bill reductions to ease the transition. But in a one-sentence mention buried 121 pages into its draft document, the agency said homes complying with the CEC’s solar mandate wouldn’t be eligible. One possible explanation is that installing solar on new homes is cheaper than existing ones.

Morgan Stanley equities analysts were grim in their assessment of the proposal’s impact, writing in a research note that the draft plan “would, in our view, eliminate the economic benefits of rooftop solar in California, absent the inclusion of storage.” A solar industry-commissioned study by EQ Research reached a comparable conclusion, saying bill credits would decrease up to 84 percent compared to current incentives.

This has startled the California Building Industry Association, whose new homes must comply with the CEC’s solar mandate. CBIA earlier this month sent a letter to the CPUC, writing that the “political battleground” issue of net metering necessitates “rules that will ‘calm things down’ and move us to a place where we have reasonable, understandable, and dependable rules from which rational economic decisions can be made.” The agency’s draft plan “does the opposite,” CBIA’s letter continued, adding that the monthly fee on solar owners “may well place the cost-effectiveness of rooftop [photovoltaics] into question” and potentially violate state law. “We’ve had follow-ups with folks at the Energy Commission since,” Chris Ochoa, CBIA’s senior counsel for codes, regulatory and legislative affairs, said in an interview, “and we get the feeling that they were as shocked as anybody at how harsh the proposed decision was toward the rooftop solar industry.”

For its part, the CPUC in December acknowledged concerns over how its proposed decision would interact with the CEC’s solar mandate. “The Commission intends to collaborate with the California Energy Commission on the Title 24 [solar mandate] and its interactions with the [net metering] successor tariff,” a CPUC judge wrote.

CEC spokesperson Lindsay Buckley said in a statement that her agency “can confirm we’re coordinating with the CPUC and evaluating impacts to the cost-effectiveness of the solar mandate,” adding that CEC commissioners “will have something to say later in the process,” after the final solar decision is published.

Newsom’s critical comments and his appointments late last year of two commissioners — including the agency’s new president, Alice Reynolds, who has been assigned the solar proceeding — could shake up the process, said Mike Florio, a former CPUC commissioner who voted on the previous round of net metering reforms in 2016. The proposed decision “was a little more aggressive than I was expecting,” Florio, now a senior fellow at Berkeley-based consultancy Gridworks, said in an interview. “And I have a sneaking suspicion that gives them room to back off a little bit in the final decision and not make it quite as harsh on solar.”

“There’s gold in them thar hills!” (With apologies to Mark Twain and Coldplay) Well, in this case – it is white gold – lithium. For those of you old enough to have watched “Connections,” the excellent BBC documentary series of the late 1970s – that traced the path from a particular event through a series of seemingly unrelated connections to a fundamental and essential aspect of life – you know that is kind of how my mind works.

Today, I was reminded of that when I read George Skelton’s LA Times article about lithium and the Salton Sea – that Coachella Valley body of water created by a breach in some canals that connected the Colorado River to the old Alamo River in 1905. I grew up in Southern California in the 1960s. I remembered that the Salton Sea was a popular resort destination until a lack of new freshwater started an inevitable decline (exacerbated by flooding in the 1970s).

The geothermal activity below the Salton Sea loosens up lithium that can be mined. Due to increased demand for lithium, which is crucial for electric-vehicle battery production, lithium extraction is expected to boost the local economy. In July 2021, General Motors announced partnering with Controlled Thermal Resources to develop a combined lithium extraction and power generation facility in the Hell’s Kitchen geothermal field in the Salton Sea, employing a closed-loop process. The brine will be extracted from the ground, using geothermal steam to drive a turbine generating electricity and reacting with the brine to separate the lithium hydroxide and lithium carbonate used for battery production.

As Skelton pointed out, “People have been fighting Salton Sea shrinkage, salinity, and stench for decades without much success. But now, the local economy could be headed toward a boom. Gov. Gavin Newsom is trying to help energy companies tap into a huge underground reserve of lithium that’s in high demand for the big rechargeable batteries needed to power carbon-free automobiles. ‘We have what some have described as the Saudi Arabia of lithium,’ Newsom told reporters in unveiling his $286-billion state budget proposal, referring to that country’s vast oil reserves. ‘California is leading the world in forging an oil-free future,’ the Governor said. ‘We will not sell [new] traditional gas-powered, internal combustion engines by 2035. This is dramatic. It’s profound. You can’t get serious about climate change unless you’re serious about tailpipe emissions.’ Newsom is proposing $350 million in tax credits that lithium entrepreneurs can apply for — plus regulatory streamlining to cut the lengthy, frequently agonizing process of obtaining government permits for their projects.”

So, what is the connection – beyond California’s goal of fewer gas-powered vehicles?

Assembly Member Eduardo Garcia introduced AB 983 last year that “authorizes a public entity to use, enter into, or require contractors to enter into a community workforce agreement (CWA) for construction projects related to battery manufacturing and lithium-based technology in the Salton Sea geothermal resource area.”

The only listed support was from Alianza Coachella Valley, who wrote, “CWAs are innovative PLAs which in addition to standard PLAs, integrate targeted hiring provision for individuals from underrepresented communities. AB 983 is another important step for fostering community engagement in the lithium supply chain.” Alianza describes themselves as “the only alliance in the Coachella Valley bringing together community members, nonprofits, and government to lead efforts we need for a thriving region.” Alianza’s most recent 990 (that reported over $2.0 million in grants reported their “mission is to transform the socio-economic conditions of the Coachella Valley so that people in all communities have opportunities to prosper.” I wonder if non-union workers, apprentices, and contractors are included in that inclusive community?

WECA was the only opposition, observing there is no prohibition in law to adopting a CWA, and saw it as subterfuge. For reasons not related to our opposition -- Garcia tabled the bill, but I am sure it will be resurrected this year -- particularly with money in the Governor’s budget for tax credits -- which I am sure whetted Warren Buffet’s appetite! I expect if it comes back, it will include a PLA requirement -- similar to the one in AB 680 by Assembly Member Burke from last year -- which mandates a PLA for any construction project of $1 million or more that is funded by grants from the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund (GGRF).

Union in decline: UFW membership hits “statistically zero” as legal, political losses pile up The San Joaquin Valley Sun wrote recently, “Following a crushing U.S. Supreme Court defeat last June that overturned a 47-year-old rule that granted United Farm Workers representatives virtually unfettered access to farming outfits to recruit workers, the union finds itself in a lurch, a new report says. The court defeat was followed by an even more crucial legislative defeat that would have enacted a card-check voting system for farmworker union elections, all at the hands of Gov. Gavin Newsom. Membership is so low that UC Merced researchers say farmworker union membership is now statistically zero.” Is there a model here that could be replicated?

Sen. Mark Kelly supports change to Senate’s filibuster rule for voting-rights legislation Unlike Arizona’s senior Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), the Arizona Republic has reported Sen. Mark Kelly, (D-Ariz.), “will support a change to the filibuster rule, showing for the first time a willingness to bend on an issue that has tied the Senate in knots for a year as the Democratic legislative agenda has stalled. Kelly, who is up for reelection this year, will back a ‘talking filibuster’ rule only for the proposed voting rights legislation that he co-sponsors.” Unfortunately, Kelly is a little late as the change collapsed late Wednesday night with a 52-48 vote. Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Sinema joined all 50 Republicans in opposing the rules change that would have allowed the voting rights bill to advance with a simple majority.

Sinema’s moderate stance is not universally popular – particularly in parts of the donor community. According to Politico, “a group of big-dollar donors who have spent millions electing Sinema and other Democratic senators is threatening to sever all funding to her if she doesn’t drop her opposition to changing Senate rules to pass voting rights legislation. In a letter to the Arizona lawmaker, 70 Democratic donors — some of whom gave Sinema’s 2018 campaign the maximum contribution allowed by law — said they would support a primary challenge to Sinema and demanded that she refund their contributions to her 2018 campaign if she doesn’t budge.” This is just stupid. The last two Senate elections in Arizona (2018 and 2020) were decided by only 2.4 percent. If a more progressive Democrat were to get the nomination – the general election would almost certainly go to the Republican.

Former California Legislator, County Supervisor Jeff Stone to seek state Senate seat in Nevada After spending much of his career in Riverside County and California politics, Jeff Stone wants to return to a state capitol — but not the one in Sacramento. Instead, Stone, whose career includes stints on the Temecula City Council, the Riverside County Board of Supervisors, and in the California State Senate, is seeking a seat in the Nevada State Senate, after the self-employed pharmacist moved with his wife in 2020. Story

Hiring Our Heroes (HOH) recently launched Career Forward -- a new training and work placement program that prepares transitioning service members, veterans, and military spouses for employment within in-demand careers. After completing their certificates, graduates may be hired directly or complete an internship with host companies. Since launching, HOH has enrolled more than 1,300 learners in the Career Forward program. These military community members learn industry-validated skills through a Google Career Certificate in data analytics, IT support, IT automation with Python, project management, or user (UX) design. HOH is inviting companies to use the Career Forward program to see firsthand the exceptional value that veterans and military spouses may provide to your workplace. Connect with HOH

Birds Know If your company is looking to scale, it may be wise to learn from the birds. Flying in a “V” formation, one bird sets the pace, and the others know to cycle to the front when the leader needs to sink back. It’s a mindset that ensures everyone feels valued while the company is the primary focus. That’s the advice of Tony Bates, chairman, and CEO of Genesys, after his time leading Cisco System Inc.’s service-provider business and serving as CEO of Skype, where he was responsible for expanding the company to more than 170 million connected users. He spoke with The Business Journals’ Marq Burnett about how a simple framework is key to growth, along with empathy and no in-fighting. Story
Read more >>


Thursday, January 13, 2022   New Year Brings New Changes to Cal/OSHA COVID Regulations

Content courtesy of WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

On December 16, 2021, Cal/OSHA's Standards Board voted to revise its COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standards (ETS) for the second time. The second revised ETS will go into effect on January 14, 2022.

New Changes to Cal/OSHA COVID Regulations

The key revisions include:
  • Testing: Testing should be made available to all close contact employees, regardless of vaccination or symptom status. The definition of the types of tests allowed is also revised.
  • Exclusion: Asymptomatic employees who are fully vaccinated and booster eligible but have not yet received their booster dose are not required to be excluded from the workplace after a close contact if they wear a face covering for 10 calendar days following the last date of contact and obtain a negative test within three to five days after last exposure.
  • Return to Work Criteria: Cal/OSHA has incorporated CDPH isolation/quarantine guidelines for individuals who test positive and those who are exposed to someone with COVID-19.
  • Face Coverings: The updated definition of the types of acceptable face coverings requires that the mask fabric must not let light pass through when held up to a light source.
The second revised ETS is expected to remain in effect for at least 90 days, but Governor Newsom has issued an executive order permitting Cal/OSHA to issue a third readoption of its COVID-19 standard so long as it does not extend beyond December 31, 2022.

Read the full details here.
Read more >>


Thursday, January 13, 2022   UPDATE - What Employers Need to Know About the December 16 Emergency Temporary Standards

Read more >>


Thursday, January 13, 2022   April to June 2022 classes at WECA now open for enrollment online!

April to June 2022 classes at WECA for Electrician Trainees, Journeyperson Continuing Education students, Project Engineer to Project Management students, and more now open for enrollment online!

Enroll your employees today, or encourage them to enroll.




Our Spring 2022 (Apr. 1 - Jun. 30) course catalog is now available on our website, and GetWired! instructor-led classes are already filling fast. Be sure to enroll your employees--or encourage them to enroll ASAP--to get a spot!

Enrollment can also be done over the phone at (877) 444-9322, in person at our Rancho Cordova training facility, or by email at info@goweca.com.
 
Don't wait to secure their seats!

View the Electrician Trainee course catalog
 
Jump to the Journeyperson Continuing Education course catalog

Explore the Project Engineer to Project Manager Program for non-electrician construction professionals

And remember: WECA member contractors and their employees enjoy significant discounts off public tuition prices. Log into your member dashboard at goweca.com to download discount charts, or call us at 1-877-444-9322 to discuss.
Read more >>


Thursday, January 13, 2022   WECA's Project Engineer to Project Manager Program Certificate

Helping your non-electrician construction professional employees gain electrical job site fundamentals



Our contractors asked, and WECA delivered.

Essential training for non-electrician construction professionals:

The WECA Project Engineer to Project Manager
(PE to PM) Program

Get acquainted with a quick video:


The WECA Project Engineer to Project Manager (PE to PM) Program is here.

And now learn a whole lot more:

The WECA Project Engineer to Project Manager (PE to PM) Program


Providing training in electrical concepts, code, and best practices for non-electrician construction professionals, WECA's PE to PM Program was designed and developed in close consultation with our contractors. It's designed to give construction professionals--including Project Engineers who have a background in construction but little or no electrician-specific training--the electrical fundamentals and crucial concepts they need to talk the talk and walk the walk on your projects. 

The PE to PM Training Path is made up of five online courses which should be taken in the following order:

1. Practical Electrical Theory is an online, self-paced introduction to electrical theory, laws, and circuits. Course topics include:
  • Atomic Theory
  • Ohm’s Law
  • Series Circuits
  • Parallel Circuits
Available now! Learn more and enroll here.

2. Subject Indexing and Code is an online, self-paced course in which students will learn how to effectively navigate and answer code-related questions in the National Electrical Code (NEC 2017) book and complete the calculations needed for electrical installations. Course topics include:
  • NEC Subject Indexing
  • Conductor Sizing and Protection
  • Raceway, Box Fill, and Conduit Fill Calculations
  • Service Sizing, Clearances, and Terminations
  • Wiring Methods, Special Equipment and Occupancies
  • Grounding and Bonding
  • Motors
  • General Equipment, Lighting and Panelboards
Available now! Learn more and enroll here.

3. Electrical Wiring Methods and Installations is an online, self-paced introduction to the most used wiring methods with emphasis on proper installation and correctly applying electrical code. Course topics include:
  • Installation basics
  • National electrical code
  • Workmanship standards
  • Identification of methods
4. Job Costs and Estimating Basics is an online hybrid (a scheduled instructor-led introduction and otherwise self-paced) course which introduces estimating job costs, material and labor for electrical installations. Course topics include:
  • Material estimations
  • Labor estimations
  • Voltage drop as applied to installation
  • Total job cost analysis
5. Commercial Electrical Blueprint Reading is an online, scheduled, instructor-led course in which students learn how to coordinate cut sheets, submittals, the NEC and more with digital blueprints to plan electrical installation for commercial construction from the ground up. Available now! Learn more and enroll here.
 
FAQs
 
Q: Is the PE to PM Program for Project Engineers only?
A: Nope! Any construction industry professional (for instance, General Contractors, Construction Managers, etc.) who requires a grounding in electrical concepts, the National Electric Code, and best practices on the electrical job site can benefit from this program. 

Q: Does the WECA discount structure for Member Contractors and their employees apply to the PE to PM program?
A: Yes, discounts on these classes are available to WECA Member Contractors and their employees as a WECA membership benefit. Members: Please log in to your secured member dashboard to download the PE to PM program discount rate sheet, or call our office for more information. Member employees: Please speak to your contractor about accessing a discount.

Q: How long does it take to complete the program?
A: The program is modularized and was designed to accommodate individual choice in the intensity and speed of completion. Motivated students might complete it in as little as 6 months. A student who would like to integrate the concepts more slowly, or who is combining this program with other on-the-job training, might prefer to enroll in only one course per quarter, taking approximately 18 months to complete the program.

Q: Will the timing of the classes interfere with job duties?
A: The program has been designed for busy working professionals and should not interfere with full-time job duties. All of the courses are fully online. Three of the courses are entirely self-paced. One of the courses has an instructor-led introduction, which is held online in the evening, and then the remainder is self-paced. The final course is scheduled, online, instructor-led, but classes occur on weeknight evenings and one Saturday.

Q: I'm a construction professional who has had some electrical training already. Can I skip a class? 
A: WECA recommends the full program, taken in the order outlined above. However, if you've had previous electrical training (for instance, by taking some WECA GetWired! classes), we recommend you review the course outlines closely, and then enroll in whatever is most appropriate for you. Call WECA and talk to one of our client services specialists if you're not sure what to take.

Q: Does WECA provide a certificate of completion at the end of this program?
A: Yes, a student who successfully completes all five courses in the PE to PM Program Path with be granted a certificate of completion from WECA. (Credit towards the certificate for alternative courses previously taken at WECA will be considered on a case-by-case basis.)

Q: I'm ready to get started (or to get my employees started) in this program! What do I do next?
A: Enroll online through our PE to PM Course Catalog, or call our office at 1-877-444-9322 for enrollment guidance.

Enroll your employees (and be sure to utilize WECA's member training discounts) today!
Read more >>


Thursday, January 13, 2022   Winning Attorney Fees in Litigation as a California Construction Contractor or Subcontractor

Content courtesy of Porter Law Group



By: William L. Porter, Founder and President, Porter Law

The General Rule in California: The Winner Does NOT Receive Attorney Fees and Costs:

There is a common misconception that court decisions require the loser in a lawsuit to reimburse the winner for the fees and costs incurred during the lawsuit. Reliance on this misconception in developing a legal strategy for dealing with disputes is a serious strategic error. Where the legal issue is, for example, “breach of contract,” the general rule in California is that there are only two methods by which the winning litigant will be awarded the attorney fees and costs incurred in bringing or defending the lawsuit. The first of these is if the contract in question contains an effective attorney fee clause specifically providing that the prevailing party will recover their attorney fees and costs. The second is if there is a statute on point which provides that the prevailing party will be awarded those fees and costs. The general rule in California is that each party pays their own attorney fees and costs, unless there is an independent legal basis that provides otherwise. This is known as the “American Rule,” used throughout most of the country.

The Issue is Important Because Spending More Money Than You Can Be Awarded is a Losing Strategy:

The importance of whether the prevailing party in a lawsuit will be awarded their fees and costs cannot be underestimated. The party contemplating whether to bring a lawsuit must seriously consider whether it is even worth the trouble. In many cases, unless the one bringing the lawsuit (the “plaintiff”) is entitled to be reimbursed for the considerable attorney fees and costs incurred in bringing the case, it is just not worth doing so. There is no point spending $50,000 on attorneys on a $40,000 claim unless the plaintiff can be awarded both the $40,000 and the $50,000 if the plaintiff wins. Unless fees and costs are awarded, the plaintiff will still be out $10,000 in the very best of cases. For a party sued (the “defendant”) a similar situation arises in that the defendant faces the reality that it may be less expensive to just pay on a frivolous or false claim than to fight it. Either scenario is unsatisfactory. On the whole, it is beneficial to have an attorney fee clause in a contract when either a plaintiff or a defendant must vindicate its rights. Both deserve to be fully compensated to achieve justice. It is also beneficial to have an attorney fee clause in a contract to encourage the one who is at fault to resolve the case rather than risk paying the fees and costs of the other party who is likely to win the case. In either case, the presence of an attorney fee clause facilitates the party in the right and encourages resolution outside of litigation. These are admirable societal goals.

The Usual Situation Regarding Attorney Fees In California Construction:

In California construction, the American Rule is followed. If there is a statute providing that the prevailing party is awarded attorney fees and costs in a particular situation, then the prevailing party is protected. However, as to the prevalence of attorney fee clauses in contracts and subcontracts, the problem is that the one signing the contract or subcontract must generally sign the contract provided by another party. Generally speaking, a “direct contractor” signs the contract provided by the owner of the property where the work is performed. The subcontractor signs the subcontract provided by the direct contractor. Whether there is an attorney fee clause in either case depends on whether the one providing the contract or subcontract has decided to include an attorney fee clause in the document. There is cause for suspicion when there is no attorney fee clause in the contract or subcontract. In such a case, the party leaving out the clause may intend to leverage the absence of such a clause to their advantage when a later dispute arises. The signing party is often unable to alter the situation without additional effort and resistance. It is important that any effort to include an attorney fee clause in a contract or subcontract occur in the negotiation phase. Once the contract or subcontract is signed, the opportunity is lost.

Contractual Strategies to Include Attorney Fee Clauses:

There are several methods to be assured that you will have an attorney fee clause in your contract and ensure that you will be able to fully recover on your claim when you are in the right. Again, these are tasks to be accomplished before a party signs a contract to provide goods or services. Accomplishing these tasks before signing the contract will help establish the standards to be followed if a dispute arises during or after performance of the contractual obligations:
  1. Condition all bids and proposals on the inclusion of an Attorney Fee Clause which is clearly stated in the terms of the bid or proposal. This way, if the bid is accepted, so is the attorney fee clause.
  2. Condition all bids and proposals on incorporating the bid or proposal into any subsequently executed contract or subcontract for the project. This makes the clause a material term of the later integrated agreement.
  3. Require, within the bid or proposal, that the bid or proposal will “control and take precedence” over any other terms contained elsewhere in the subsequently executed contract or subcontract. This will allow the term to control over conflicting terms in other contractual documents produced at a later time.
  4. Make it clear in the bid or proposal that the one accepting the bid or proposal must not accept it unless it agrees to do so without exception or reservation. This puts the choice on the one who wants the service. It is a practical step that tends to show clear intent.
  5. Make sure that any subsequently executed contract or subcontract clearly incorporates the bid or proposal into the contract or subcontract as an exhibit. Make sure of this before signing the agreement. This ensures that contractual technicalities are met.
There are many ways that the above tasks can be accomplished. Please consult with an attorney experienced in construction law to assist you in including the proper language in your bids, proposals, and other contractual documents.

Helpful California Construction Statutes Providing for Attorney Fees:

As noted above, the second way in which attorney fees are awarded in a construction dispute in California is when there is a statute so providing. In California, there are a number of statues providing that the winner of a construction dispute will be awarded attorney fees and costs. For the direct contractor, the statutes usually provide that an owner must pay the direct contractor within a very short period of time unless there is some disputed issue which the owner is offsetting against the payment. The penalty for non-payment is generally up to an additional 2% interest per month, along with attorney fees and costs. For Subcontractors, there are similar statutes also providing for a penalty of up to 2% per month, along with attorney fees and costs when the contractor or a superior subcontractor is paid for the claimant subcontractor’s work and does not pass that same payment on to the claimant subcontractor. In either case, the successful unpaid claimant would be entitled to possibly up to 2% per month as well as attorney fees and costs. There are some statutes which may allow for interest exceeding 2% per month.

For direct contractors, the following statutes should be reviewed (live links as of writing provided):

Civil Code §§8800-8802

Civil Code §§8810-8822

Public Contract Code §7107

Public Contract Code §10261.5

Public Contract Code §20104.50


For subcontractors, the following statutes should be reviewed (live links as of writing provided):

Civil Code §§8810-8822

Business and Professions Code §7108.5

Public Contract Code §7107


Conclusion:

When construction claimants are in the right, they should be entitled to attorney fees and costs to pursue and defend claims. When owners, contractors and subcontractors fail to pay those making legitimate claims they should be forced to pay fees and costs due to their failure to do so and should not be able to leverage their subordinate professionals to compromise for lesser sums. At the same time, contractors who must bring actions against irresponsible subcontractors who fail to perform their work or against owners who do not pay them should be able to recoup their fees and costs for having to bring an action against them. In each case, the absence of a provision for attorney fees and costs allows a wrongful party to take advantage of the party who is without fault. With a proper attorney fees and costs clause, this issue can be mitigated, and cases can be resolved before litigation becomes necessary. Hopefully, the above information will allow responsible members of the construction industry to act to protect their interests when they are in the right and resolve their differences when they are at fault.
Read more >>


Thursday, January 13, 2022   ? CalSavers to Impose Penalties for Non-compliant Employers Beginning this Month

Content courtesy of CalSavers Retirement Savings Program



Sacramento – Employers that do not offer a private retirement plan and who have more than 100 employees are urged to immediately comply with state law and register for the CalSavers Retirement Savings Program before penalties are imposed this month. More than 24,000 employers have already registered. The non-compliance penalties of $250 per employee will be levied on employers by the CalSavers Retirement Savings Board in partnership with the Franchise Tax Board, following dozens of notifications sent by letter and email from the program since it launched three years ago.

CalSavers was created to address retirement insecurity for all workers, as more than half of private-sector workers lack access to a retirement plan at work. Designed to make it easier to save for retirement, CalSavers has a simple, understandable menu of investment options, portable accounts, and an accessible, multilingual client services team. For employers, CalSavers is easy to facilitate, there are no employer fees, and no employer contributions are allowed. 

“We strongly urge employers to come into compliance now before we mail penalties this month,” said executive director Katie Selenski. “Our service representatives are standing by to assist you and the vast majority of employers find it easy to comply.”
 
“We’re doing everything we can to level the playing field for workers in the state who’ve never had a retirement plan, and employers have a simple, but important, role to play in making the program available to their employees,” Selenski said. Participants have saved over $175 million for retirement through the CalSavers Retirement Savings Program. With more than 220,000 accounts already funded, the early growth is a positive sign for improving retirement security as the program continues to roll out to employers of all sizes.

The authorizing legislation passed in 2016 establishes that non-compliant employers will be penalized $250 per employee upon the first penalty notice and, if non-compliance persists another 90 days, an additional $500 per employee, for a total of $750 per employee for sustained non-compliance.

Mandated employers must register for CalSavers at www.calsavers.com before their applicable deadline. The deadline for businesses with more than 100 employees was September 30, 2020, delayed from June 2020 due to COVID-19. The deadline for businesses with more than 50 employees passed on June 30, 2021 and non-compliance penalties for this group are slated for mid-2022. The deadline for employers with five or more employees is June 30, 2022.

In 2012, California was the first state in the nation to pass legislation establishing an automatic enrollment retirement policy for private sector workers who lack access to work-based retirement plans. Authorized in final form in 2016 by Senate Bill 1234 (de León), the program began a limited pilot phase at the end of 2018 and launched fully statewide on July 1, 2019. CalSavers seeks to facilitate the largest expansion of retirement security since the advent of Social Security in the 1930’s and is already a model for a growing number of states seeking to establish a similar program. Learn more at www.calsavers.com.

Note from Richard Markuson of WECA Government Affairs:

Because elections are much fun. Late last week, Gov. Newsom set the special election dates for the AD 11 vacancy triggered by Jim Frazier's resignation, the AD 80 vacancy triggered by Lorena Gonzalez's resignation, and the CA 22 vacancy triggered by Devin Nunes' resignation. All three elections were scheduled to allow consolidation with the June 7th primary. The three special election primaries (under the old 2011-2021 lines) will take place on April 5th, with the runoffs if no candidate receives 50 percent plus 1 taking place alongside the statewide primary for the new district lines on June 7th. Redistricting adds an additional layer of confusion into the proceedings, given that any special election candidate wishing to serve beyond the end of 2022 will also need to run in the June 7th primary election for the new lines. [Source: California TargetBook]
 
Read more >>


Thursday, January 13, 2022   Go behind the scenes at WECA's first Train the Trainer event of the year!



WECA virtually held its first Train the Trainer event of the year on Saturday, January 8. The event was facilitated by GetWired! program leaders Dan Bierly (Curriculum Development and GetWired! Training Manager), Galen Eckert (Electrician Trainee/Continuing Education Online Manager), and Rebecca Archer (Senior eLearning Specialist), and covered topics such as record-breaking enrollment numbers, progress on this semester's labs, how new solar guidelines will impact WECA and the industry going forward, and ongoing exploration of best practices in distance learning and online classroom management.

However, there were some lighthearted moments--like spiritedly debating sci-fi shows such as Star Trek, Star Wars, and Dune; instructor Donald Williams sharing pictures of doing electrical work while hanging out with animals during his day job as an electrician at Sea World; and instructor Andre Lewis sharing that Curriculum Development Lead/Senior Education Adviser Rick Labon is the reason why he made it through his Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program.

"Train the Trainer was awesome. It is always fun to observe the event and also be part of the camaraderie that comes with being a WECA instructor," says Eckert. "It is also refreshing to see that we all do this for one reason--our love of teaching and passing our knowledge down to future generations and knowing that we have changed some people's lives by encouraging them to continue their pursuit of becoming a certified electrician. We also had long, in-depth conversations on how to continue to provide the best possible education for our students and we worked on areas where we could become even better instructors, thus providing an even better learning environment for all involved."

Thanks for hosting and participating in a fantastic Train the Trainer event, everyone! We look forward to sharing in the continued success of the GetWired! program this year!
Read more >>


Thursday, January 13, 2022   Field Assistance Bulletin 2022-1 on Minimum Wage Executive Order 14026

Content courtesy of U.S. Department of Labor



On January 13, the?U.S. Department of Labor’s Wage and Hour Division published Field Assistance Bulletin (FAB) No. 2022-1 clarifying the requirements of Executive Order (EO) 14026 that increases the hourly minimum wage for certain federal contractors to $15 effective January 30, 2022.

The FAB identifies four categories of contracts covered by the EO:
  1. procurement contracts for construction covered by the Davis-Bacon Act (DBA);
  2. service contracts covered by the Service Contract Act (SCA);
  3. concessions contracts; and,
  4. contracts entered into with the Federal Government in connection with Federal property or lands and related to offering services for Federal employees, their dependents, or the general public.
Learn more here.

It also defines the geographic scope of the EO’s application as including the fifty States or the District of Columbia as well as in Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Outer Continental Shelf lands as defined in the Outer Continental Shelf Lands Act, American Samoa, Guam, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, Wake Island, and Johnston Island.

The FAB further identifies workers covered by the EO as:
  • Workers whose wages under the contract are governed by the FLSA, SCA, or DBA
  • Workers employed on or in connection with a covered contract
It explains the $15 minimum wage requirement for all contract workers and clarifies changes to minimum wage requirements for contract workers in tipped occupations and workers with disabilities employed on covered contracts under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act.

Learn more here.

Additionally, the FAB provides information on worker notice requirements, subcontractor requirements, recordkeeping requirements and anti-retaliation provisions and remedies.

Minimum Wage Executive Order 14026 becomes effective January 30, 2022. 

For more information about the Executive Order 14026 or other WHD enforced laws, visit the Wage and Hour Division, or call toll-free 1-866-4US-WAGE.

 
Read more >>


Thursday, January 13, 2022   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

*COVID-19 Prevention Emergency Temporary Standards: What Employers Need to Know About the December 16 (2021) Standards
Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan (updated 12-21-20)
CA DIR Div. of Occupational Safety & Health: COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
* CA Dept. of Public Health COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Construction
*  COVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening
COVID Situation Flow Diagram Company Template
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
Supplemental Toolbox Talks COVID-19
Coronavirus Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 in Construction Workplace
COVID-19 Safety Meeting Outlines
COVID-19 Toolbox Talks for Subs
Fact Sheet for Pandemics
Marek Brother Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 Action Plan
Pandemic Preparedness - Coronavirus
Coronavirus - Workplace, School and Home Guidance
COVID-19 Tool Cleaning Protocols
COVID-19 Print Resources
COVID-19 Fact Sheet
United States Department of Labor: COVID-19
CDC COVID-19 Risk Assessment Flowchart
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Thursday, December 30, 2021   Getting Paid! 5 Things To Know About Recording Mechanic's Liens Post Pandemic

Content courtesy of Milene C. Apanian of Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman

By: Milene C. Apanian of Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman


Mechanic's Liens, Stop Payment Notices and Collection Activities and Lawsuits

You did the work, but you remain unpaid. For weeks (if not months), you patiently waited and cooperated in the hopes of getting paid without "rocking the boat." But the deadline to record your lien is fast approaching and you just heard "you will be paid shortly" one too many times. Frustrated, you contact your attorney and request that a mechanic's lien be recorded TODAY!

The problem is that the pandemic has even impacted the logistics for recording mechanic's liens. It is nearly impossible for you, your attorney and lien services to currently prepare and record a mechanic's lien the same day (or even the next day). In fact, during the early months of the pandemic, it sometimes took 4 to 6 weeks and sometimes 8 weeks to record a document. Recording a mechanic's lien requires planning and cannot be left to the last minute. This article explains why:

The Original Document is Necessary

Mechanic's liens must be verified by the lien claimant, or the claimant's counsel, prior to the document being recorded. This means that the claimant/counsel must, under penalty of perjury, state that they have read/reviewed the mechanic's lien and know the content is truthful and that the claimant/counsel is authorized to sign the mechanic's lien. In order to record the mechanic's lien, the original document, with the wet signature on the lien and the verification must be presented to the county recorder's office for recordation. Therefore, you must figure out a way to get the original document to your attorney and the county recorder's office.

The Recorder's Offices Operate at Limited Hours and Require Appointments

Since the pandemic started, some county recorder's offices have reduced operating hours and are NOT open to the public. The Los Angeles County Recorder's Office is an example. It was closed for over a year with NO in-person services available to the public, to attorney services or to attorneys. Even after recently reopening, the LA County Recorder's office has limited hours and strict in-person procedures. Norwalk (main branch), LAX/Courthouse, Van Nuys, and Lancaster branches record documents BY APPOINTMENT ONLY. The appointments are available online only two weeks in advance and are typically booked and unavailable. While writing this article (and on multiple days) I attempted to reserve an appointment at the various locations, and all were booked for the next two weeks! Note: Mechanic's liens can be mailed to the recorder's office, but the turnaround time is unknown.

Mechanic's Lien Can Be Rejected and Returned Without Being Recorded

It is not uncommon for the recorder's office to reject and not record a mechanic's lien for even minor technical reasons. Examples include portions of the notary stamp being faded, or some letters not being properly capitalized. It also appears that due to staffing challenges, temporary and new employees are processing the documents for recordation and sometimes unnecessarily rejecting mechanic's liens. Once a document is rejected, it must be corrected and resubmitted!

The Recorder's Offices Do NOT Backdate Documents

Once a mechanic's lien is submitted to the recorder's office (whether in-person, or electronically), the document is put in a queue and then processed. It can take days or weeks for the document to be processed. The mechanic's lien is stamped "recorded" on the date the document is processed NOT when the document was submitted. This means that your mechanic's lien will NOT be recorded the day it is submitted to the recorder's office. The processing time will depend on the county and the county recorder's workload at the time of submittal. It is unpredictable and cannot be guaranteed.

If the recorder rejects your document, it must be resubmitted as a new document, and you are back in the queue once again waiting to be processed. Even if the county delayed the recordation, the mechanic's lien will NOT be backdated.

Online Recordations Are Still Not Available To Attorneys

While some title companies and attorney services may have the capability to electronically record property related documents, electronic recording is not yet available to attorneys. Even if attorneys outsource the recordation to vendors with electronic recording capabilities, the original document with the wet signature must be delivered for the digital recordation. This process takes at least a day. Then, when the document is electronically submitted to the county recorder's office, it is not immediately recorded and is placed in the electronic queue and recorded once the county processes the document.

It has now become nearly impossible to prepare, serve and record a mechanic's lien the same day! Since the deadline to record a mechanic's lien can often be short, plan ahead and do not leave your mechanic's lien to the last minute! Give yourself (and your attorneys) at least three to four weeks and sufficient time to deal with unexpected glitches and delays.

If you are unfamiliar with preparing or recording mechanic's liens or have specific questions about application of the mechanic's lien laws and deadlines, you should seek the advice of legal counsel who is familiar with California lien laws.
Read more >>


Thursday, December 30, 2021   Members: Please vote in WECA's 2022 Board of Directors election!

Ballots will remain open until Jan. 7



Dear WECA Member Contractors,

Don't forget to vote in the 2022 WECA Board of Directors election! The 2022 WECA Board of Directors election ballots were sent to the primary contact(s) for your company via email earlier this month.

Ballots will remain open until Jan. 7, 2022.

To vote, please check your email(s) for ballot information and the link to the ballot.


Thank you,

The WECA Team
Read more >>


Thursday, December 30, 2021   Diversity in Construction: Seven Tips for Successful DEI Programs

Content courtesy of: Construction Executive

By: Lisa Robinson of Construction Executive


Last year, spurred by a global movement to celebrate diversity and strive for social justice reforms, tens of thousands of companies—including scores of construction firms in the United States—took a look at their own business practices and made public commitments to improving diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) among their workforces.

Diversity and inclusion at its most basic concept means truly accepting, supporting and including the full range of human differences, including but not limited to race, ethnicity, gender and gender identity, sexual orientation, age, social class, physical abilities, religious or ethical values systems, national origins and political beliefs. It’s a practice that’s not just the right thing to do, it’s also good for business.

Diversity and inclusion programs—when properly facilitated—have a direct impact on employees, company identity and ultimately the bottom line. Happy employees that feel valued and included tend to be more collaborative and productive.

According to management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, ethically and culturally diverse companies are 33% more likely to outperform their competition. The firm also notes that gender diversity among executive teams correlates to 15% higher profitability and value creation.

A CHIEF FOCUS FOR THE CONSTRUCTION INDUSTRY

The construction industry, like many others, has faced challenges with diversity and inclusion. Recent years, though, have seen industry associations and individual contractors take significant action to stamp out racism, sexism, harassment, pay inequality and other social injustice blights. While great progress has been made on that front, it’s clear there is a lot more work to be done.

In 2020 alone, dozens of highly publicized incidents of flagrant racism on construction jobsites occurred throughout North America. These included harassment and verbal abuse of workers of color, incidents of nooses hung in the workplace and racist graffiti. There were similar stories of sexism, sexual orientation or gender identity discrimination, ageism and more. One mid-2020 survey of construction professionals noted that 65% indicated having witnessed a racist incident on a jobsite.

Construction has long been an industry dominated by white male professionals, and despite younger generations of workers entering the construction workforce, the needle has been slow to move with regard to workforce diversification.

2019 report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, for example, noted that while Black people comprise 12% of the national workforce, they make up just 6% of the workforce in construction. This figure has gone largely unchanged over the past 25 years. Women make up just more than 10% of the construction workforce, with the bulk of those roles in office settings versus in the field. Hispanic and Latino professionals account for around 30% of U.S. construction firms’ approximately 10.8 million professionals, though the majority of those roles are in the field as laborers. White construction professionals, meanwhile, still made up 88.6% of the overall construction employment figures and accounted for 92% of construction managers and 90% of chief executives.

Nearly every construction organization and association has made diversity a key priority for 2021 and beyond, but it’s clear a significant part of that onus is on construction companies to act.

SEVEN TIPS FOR CONSTRUCTION DIVERSITY, EQUITY AND INCLUSION PROGRAMS

With equity, diversity and inclusion as a key theme in construction moving forward, Viewpoint featured two sessions at its Collaborate 2020 conference devoted to diversity and inclusion that examined the challenges the industry has faced, personal stories and strategies to improve equality across the board. Additionally, a number of 2021 virtual events on DEI have also produced some key industry insights. Below are seven key takeaways from these sessions and events on how contractors best implement their own DEI initiatives and how to make them successful.

1. Understand existing identities

Helping all employees understand the wide diversity of racial, gender, sexual and other identities, and how these impact their own experiences is a vital step to success. It’s also good for contractors to understand the current makeup of different identity types among their workforces to see where strengths and shortfalls lie.

2. Be clear on the “why”—personally and from a business perspective

Why is the company putting together a diversity and inclusion program? What are the end goals and benefits? Being able to easily articulate these in ways that contractors’ diverse workforces can understand is critical to success. Consider presenting DEI programs as a positive way to address labor gaps and shortfalls in the industry. Communicate at every level—not only the whys, but the benefits and the payoffs of a diverse workforce.

3. Buy-in from company management and leaders is an absolute

The most successful DEI programs come from the top down. Companies’ management teams and executive leadership should set the bar and drive these efforts. It’s very difficult to be successful without that. Of course, companies’ own workforces can influence leadership as well by advocating for more diversity and inclusion measures.

4. Time, resources and funding are needed to make DEI efforts work

This isn’t something that people will do on the side or in committees that are beyond the scope of their regular work. DEI efforts need to be a pivotal part of employees’ everyday work. That means finding the time and resources—including funding—to make these efforts stick.

5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

Trying to create DEI programs alone or in a pre-existing bubble may not yield the desired results. To make sure all employees’ voices are represented in the process, think about looking to outside experts or consulting firms with experience in diversity and inclusion to help fill in the blanks or address issues that might not have been considered.
Looking to those that have journeyed down this path before can significantly boost the chance these initiatives will be successful.

6. Be accountable

Make it easy and safe for individuals to speak up when incidents of racism, sexism or other social injustices occur. Put a system in place for reporting and tracking incidents. Strive to create teachable moments when possible, but also be prepared to take swift action when needed, including strategic disciplinary plans and documented escalation in place to ensure consistent enforcement of DEI measures.

7. Don’t make this a one-off effort

For diversity and inclusion programs to work, information needs to be consistently communicated, procedures and tasks supported throughout the company, and the DEI plan regularly reevaluated to make sure it’s effective. Benchmark work and progress. Document DEI efforts at all levels and continually analyze what’s working and what’s not.

Real change is possible—especially if we all work together in a truly representative way to ensure every voice is heard and acknowledged in our construction ecosystems.
Read more >>


Thursday, December 30, 2021   Join WECA in Phoenix January 12 for our new Phoenix training facility open house!



It's time to celebrate WECA's arrival in Arizona!

Please join us this January for WECA's open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new Phoenix training facility; our first in the state of Arizona. All are welcome!


When: January 12, 2022 from 4 to 7 PM

Where: 2750 South 18th Place, Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034
  • Enjoy food and libations
  • Tour our new facility
  • Meet WECA instructors, staff, members, students, board members, and members of the Arizona electrical industry and Phoenix community
  • Learn about WECA and how the association serves electrical contractors and the industry
  • See how our apprentices learn--including the new technology and innovative training tools used in WECA's apprenticeship learning labs!
We look forward to seeing you there! Please take a moment to RSVP:

Register for the Phoenix open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony here!
Read more >>


Thursday, December 30, 2021   2022 Private Wage Sheets Available

Login to your member dashboard to view

Dear WECA Member,


The new 2022 private wage sheets (effective January 1, 2022) are available on our website.

Please visit the Wage Section of our Member Forms and Resources page to view applicable private wages.

These sheets are additionally linked from your secured member dashboard, to which you can login at GOWECA.COM, underneath your prevailing wage determination links.

Sincerely,

The WECA Team
Read more >>


Thursday, December 30, 2021   New year, new career? Come work for the fastest-growing association in the West!

Learn more about open positions at WECA.

2022 is right around the corner--and if you're looking for a new career in the new year, opportunities abound at WECA!

WECA is currently hiring for the following positions:
  • Program Coordinator for Electrician Trainee/Continuing Education Programs
  • Electrical and Low Voltage Construction Subject Matter Expert
  • Low Voltage (VDV and FLS) Apprenticeship Instructor
  • Electrical Instructor (Multiple positions available: part-time, online weekday evenings, Saturdays)
Learn more about and apply for these positions here.
Read more >>


Thursday, December 30, 2021   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan (updated 12-21-20)
CA DIR Div. of Occupational Safety & Health: COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
* CA Dept. of Public Health COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Construction
*  COVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening
COVID Situation Flow Diagram Company Template
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
Supplemental Toolbox Talks COVID-19
Coronavirus Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 in Construction Workplace
COVID-19 Safety Meeting Outlines
COVID-19 Toolbox Talks for Subs
Fact Sheet for Pandemics
Marek Brother Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 Action Plan
Pandemic Preparedness - Coronavirus
Coronavirus - Workplace, School and Home Guidance
COVID-19 Tool Cleaning Protocols
COVID-19 Print Resources
COVID-19 Fact Sheet
United States Department of Labor: COVID-19
CDC COVID-19 Risk Assessment Flowchart
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Tuesday, December 21, 2021   WECA Political Update December 21, 2021

Another Week, Another COVID-19 Rule The State just revised the application of the indoor mask mandate - it now applies to employers (previously, employment was covered by the ETS adopted by Cal-OSHA). 

CDPH updated its guidance to clarify the application of the indoor mask mandate. Previously, the ruling by the CDPH referenced “indoor public settings” without further definition. In the updated guidance, the CDPH clarifies that “the guidance applies to all workplaces, regardless of whether they serve the public, or are open to the public. Masks may be removed, “if the workplace consists of a single employee, or may be removed while an employee is alone in a closed office or room.” 

Cal/OSHA also updated its FAQ for the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to state that the ETS requires that employers “provide face coverings and ensure they are worn by employees when required by orders of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). (8 CCR § 3205(c)(6)(B).) The December 13, 2021 CDPH guidance is such an order.” 
https://www.dir.ca.gov/dosh/coronavirus/ETS.html

California officials say the new month-long statewide indoor mask mandate is critical to preventing another surge of COVID-19. 

But it’s unclear who is responsible for enforcing that mandate. When asked about the lack of enforcement mechanism for the mandate, which went into effect Wednesday, Gov. Gavin Newsom said he “has faith” in Californians to follow it but didn’t provide specifics on what would happen if they didn’t. “I have more faith than you do in the capacity of people to do the right thing. That’s the response,” Newsom told a reporter during a press conference in Los Angeles on Wednesday.” 

More on the IBEW effort to Kill Rooftop Solar From Politico “Eight members of California's congressional delegation on Tuesday urged state regulators to reconsider draft rules that would slash rooftop solar installation incentives, warning that the policies would ‘severely damage’ the growth of customer-owned photovoltaic panels. The letter from the U.S. representatives to California Public Utilities Commission President Marybel Batjer brings high-level heft against the agency's proposed decision. Last week, the draft proposal drew backlash from environmentalists, solar installers, and local governments, among other supporters of the popular net metering program. The members of Congress told Batjer that the CPUC's draft rules, which include lower bill credits and a monthly charge on solar owners, would have the effect of ‘potentially putting rooftop solar out of reach for many Californians, undermining grid resilience, and making it harder for our nation to reach its national clean energy targets.’ They specifically lamented the proposed ‘grid participation charge’ of $40 to $48 per month for an average-sized photovoltaic system, citing solar industry-commissioned research that the fees would be the highest of any investor-owned utility in the country. Export compensation would also be lowered from retail electricity rates to the ‘avoided cost’ value of customer-owned solar power. 

The California Democrats who signed the letter were Reps. Mike Levin, Nanette Diaz Barragán, Barbara Lee, Ro Khanna, Alan Lowenthal, Katie Porter, Jared Huffman, and Mark DeSaulnier. Gov. Gavin Newsom, other members of the CPUC, and state legislative leaders were copied on the members' letter, as was Alice Reynolds, the governor's energy adviser who starts as CPUC president later this month to replace Batjer. 

Net metering was one of the most contentious California energy issues this year, drawing arguments from utilities and consumers and environmental groups that the bill credits shift grid maintenance costs to households without photovoltaic panels. The solar industry disputes that premise, contending that customer-owned energy produce grid and environmental benefits for everyone. Mayors of some of California's largest cities also oppose the monthly fee. The solar proceedings have prompted lobbying from various energy players, including Walmart and Big Wind. Public comments on the proposed net metering decision are due on Jan. 2, followed by comments five days later. The CPUC is scheduled to vote on Jan. 27 on the draft rules, although that date could be delayed if the agency needs more time to make revisions or fill a vacant seat. Last week, the commissioner who led the CPUC's net metering review left the agency for a new position as a U.S. EPA regional administrator. 

One of the BBB provisions bothers our allies. The union-made EV tax credit currently included in the BBB bill continues to pick up international opposition from Canadians. Canada’s deputy prime minister, Chrystia Freeland, and International Trade Minister Mary Ng sent a letter to eight senators on Friday, formally threatening retaliatory tariffs targeting the auto sector “and several other sectors of the U.S. economy” if the EV provision remains intact. “If there is no satisfactory resolution to this matter, Canada will defend its national interests, as we did when we were faced with unjustified tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum,” read the letter, referencing a 2018 trade dispute that Freeland was on the front lines of at the time. In addition, the European Union, Mexico, and Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) have said they oppose the $4,500 tax credit for union-made electric vehicles, on top of existing incentives. The credit would primarily benefit Detroit-based U.S. automakers whose employees are unionized. 

Reapportionment/Resignation Update With California’s topsy-turvy redistricting process reaching its peak, Central Valley Democrats are beginning to jockey for positions to run for new seats and jobs in 2022. The first report, via David Taub at GV Wire, finds that two Fresno Democrats are already attempting to stake claims for a to-be-drawn Congressional seat covering southern Fresno County amid Rep. Devin's abrupt retirement Nunes (R–Tulare). Fresno Assemblyman Joaquin Arambula (D-is considering a congressional run, multiple sources tell GV Wire. The Democrat is eyeing the seat — in the latest iteration — that would cover parts of Fresno, eastern Fresno County, and parts of Tulare and Kings counties. GV Wire has also learned that the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, the official campaign arm of the House of Representative Democrats, has met with Andrew Janz. Janz, a Fresno County prosecutor, ran against Devin Nunes in 2018, falling by five points. However, that was the closest showing of a Democrat ever during Nunes’ 10 terms. Recently, Fresno City Council President Luis Chavez told KSEE 24 that he wasn’t yet considering pulling the trigger on a Congressional bid. “Not right now,” he clarified to host Alexan Balekian, adding that he was strongly considering a run following finalized district boundaries from the state’s independent commission. “I’ve had a lot of folks ask me to consider running, but I enjoy serving the community of southeast Fresno,” Chavez said. “Obviously, we’ve got to wait until the maps are final, then once the maps are final, I think you’ll see a lot of folks throw their hat into the ring.” A Congressional run by Arambula or Chavez in 2022 would open up their respective seats in the California State Assembly and Fresno City Council during the 2022 election. In the same GV Wire report, it appears that at least one name is floating to run should Arambula forego running for his fourth of six possible terms in the Legislature: Fresno City Council member Nelson Esparza. Esparza, who represents central Fresno on the Fresno City Council, announced a candidacy to succeed Chavez as Council President in January is also up for reelection in 2022, opening another seat on the City Council. The digital pub reports are one prospective candidate to fill the Council seat if Esparza leaps Legislature, Fresno County Board of Education trustee James Martinez. 

12 Democrats who could replace Joe Biden in 2024 Combine President Joe Biden's age (he'll be 82 shortly after the 2024 election) and his ongoing political struggles (he's mired in the low 40s in job approval), and you get this: a series of stories examining whether Biden runs again and, if not, who might take his place. The New York Times recently published a big takeout on the potential Biden replacements within the Democratic Party over the weekend. The White House, aware of the whispers, made clear Biden is planning to go for a second term. "The President has every intention of running for reelection," White House press secretary Jen Psaki said when asked. But what if Biden's plans change? Below, a look at the most mentioned names for 2024 contenders and a single line on their viability. 

Kamala Harris: She's undoubtedly struggled as vice president, but she's still the most likely Democrat not named Biden to wind up as the Democratic nominee in 2024. 

Pete Buttigieg: The most naturally talented candidate in the 2024 field, "Mayor Pete" has also been front and center selling Biden's infrastructure bill. 

Elizabeth Warren: The Massachusetts senator is still popular among liberals -- and wouldn't be splitting the vote with Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders this time around as she did in 2020. 

Amy Klobuchar: Other than Buttigieg, the Minnesota senator was probably the best regarded of the losing candidates in 2020 -- and her Midwest roots are always a plus given the electoral map. 

Roy Cooper: Term-limited out of office in 2024, the North Carolina governor has ample time to consider his next step -- starting with his service as the vice-chairman of the Democratic Governors Association. 

Mitch Landrieu: Being tasked with implementing the infrastructure bill is a big (and high-profile) job that the former New Orleans mayor has taken to with relish. 

Gina Raimondo: She made the leap from Rhode Island governor to Biden administration commerce secretary, but doubts remain as to whether she is too moderate to win a Democratic primary at this moment. 

Gretchen Whitmer: The Michigan governor needs to win what could be a tough reelection race next year before she can turn to consider a national run in earnest.  

Phil Murphy: The record of New Jersey governors running for president isn't great of late (sorry, Chris Christie!), but Murphy could use the next few years of his governorship as a testing ground for some national policies for the party. 

J.B. Pritzker: Pritzker has two things going for him -- 1) He's the governor of a major Midwestern state (Illinois), and 2) he's very, very rich. 

Stacey Abrams: Abrams talked openly about running in 2020 before passing on the race, but she needs to win the Georgia governor's mansion in 2022 before overthinking about 2024. 

Andy Beshear: The first-term Kentucky Governor replaced an unpopular Republican in a very Red state (and home of Senators Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul). His primary focus will be on the rebuilding effort in Western Kentucky – but if he continues to be able to work with the Republican Legislature – he could be perceived as someone who could work with a possibly Republican Congress in 2025 and beyond. 
The Point: If Biden decides not to run, chances are we would be looking at a very crowded field of Democrats seeking to replace him. 

Democratic Leaders Unveil Budget Outlines, Suggest Changes to Spending Limit Democratic leaders in the state Senate and Assembly released outlines of their priorities for the 2022-23 state budget this week, with no specific references to tax increases but many proposals for increased state spending – described in the documents as “investments.” The Legislature is scheduled to reconvene on January 3, and Governor Gavin Newsom has a January 10 constitutional deadline for presenting his budget proposal to the Legislature. Neither the Senate budget plan, titled “Putting California’s Wealth to Work for a More Equitable Future,” nor the Assembly plan, titled “Delivering Prosperity and Strengthening the Future,” includes detailed proposals. Instead, they highlight values the majority caucuses intend to pursue when negotiating the budget. The Legislative Analyst’s Office (LAO) released its 2022-23 budget outlook in November and found that state revenue is increasing at historical rates, potentially creating a $31 billion surplus. The LAO also estimated that the state would need to allocate roughly $14 billion – “for example by spending more on capital outlay or making taxpayer rebates and school and community college payments” – to stay under the state appropriations limit (the Gann limit) for 2020-21 and 2021-22. The Senate plan outlines priorities including paying down state debt, improving public health access and affordability, expanding broadband infrastructure, and assisting older Californians. The Assembly priorities are increased school funding to aid students facing learning disabilities and mental health issues, Employment Development Department improvements to ensure that unemployed Californians can access benefits, creating a “living wage” through “state investment,” and spending an influx of federal funds on new infrastructure projects. 

The Gann limit, approved by voters as Proposition 4 of 1979 and modified by a subsequent initiative, places a limit on appropriations made by state and most local governments. If the state has revenue that cannot be appropriated because of the limit – meaning the state has “excess revenue” – the excess must be returned to taxpayers or spent on certain expenditures outside the limit (such as transportation projects or other capital outlay expenses). Both budget plans acknowledge that the Gann Limit will likely become a significant factor in the 2022-23 budget. The Senate plan states that the Legislature should “consider future reforms to modernize [the] Gann Limit while respecting [its] original intent.” The Assembly outline says simply that the Assembly Democrats’ budget proposal will “address” the Gann limit. With the spending limit in play and the Department of Finance reporting record revenue collections in 2021 (personal income tax 27.3 percent above budget expectations, corporate taxes 47.8 percent above budget expectations, and sales and use taxes 13.2 percent above budget expectations), it is unclear whether lawmakers will propose new taxes in 2022. This year, similar conditions existed when lawmakers proposed a cumulative $236.4 billion in higher annual taxes and fees

From CSLB – New Laws for 2021 As we make our way into the new year, CSLB would like to highlight some construction-related laws that will go into effect on January 1, 2022. 
?
AB 569 (Grayson) This bill increases from $5,000 to $8,000, the maximum administrative civil penalty CSLB can assess against a licensed contractor for most violations, and from $15,000 to $30,000 for the most serious violations relating to unlicensed practice and workers compensation insurance violations. This bill also authorizes CSLB to issue a Letter of Admonishment for more than one violation at a time. The bill amends Business and Professions Code (BPC) sections 7099.2 and 7099.9. (Chapter 94, Statutes of 2021)  

AB 830 (Flora) As it relates to CSLB, this bill defines the responsibilities of the qualifying personnel members on a contractor’s license regarding their duty to supervise the construction operations of the licensed entity. The bill provides definitions of “bona fide employee” and “actively engaged” for a responsible managing employee’s duty on a contractor’s license. The bill defines the qualifier’s duty of “supervision and control” to mean “direct supervision or control or monitoring and being available to assist others to whom direct supervision and control have been delegated.” The bill authorizes CSLB to require an applicant for a contractor’s license to provide the qualifier’s current employment duty statement describing their responsibilities under the license and allows CSLB to take disciplinary action for failing to do so. As it relates to the Contractors State License Law, this bill amends BPC sections 7068 and 7068.1. (Chapter 376, Statutes of 2021)  

SB 607 (Min) As it relates to CSLB, this bill increases existing and adds new licensing and application maintenance and service fees for support of CSLB effective January 1, 2022. The bill additionally reorganizes CSLB’s fee statute by fee type, including different renewal fee amounts dependent on the license entity type (the current sole owner renewal fee of $450 is not being increased). Here is a link to a CSLB bulletin about the fee increases. In addition, effective July 1, 2022, this bill requires Department boards and bureaus to waive application and license fees for military family members. Also, effective January 1, 2023, this bill increases the CSLB qualifier, license, and disciplinary bonds from $12,500 and $15,000, respectively, to $25,000 for all three bonds. (Chapter 367, Statutes of 2021) 

AB 107 (Salas) Effective July 1, 2023, this bill requires boards within the Department of Consumer Affairs (Department) to, after appropriate investigation, issue a temporary license to an applicant married to or otherwise in union or partnership with an active-duty military member when the applicant has a current similar license in another state. The bill identifies specified requirements to be met as a condition of issuing the temporary license. It requires a board to issue the temporary license within 30 days of confirming the applicant has met those requirements. The bill provides that the temporary license is not renewable and expires 12 months after issuance or when an original license is issued. The bill additionally requires boards within the Department to publish information about the licensing options available to military spouses on their internet website. (Chapter 693, Statutes of 2021) 

AB 137 (Committee on Budget) The provisions of this bill that affect CSLB add Article 6.5 (commencing with Section 7086) of Chapter 9 of Division 3 of the Business and Professions Code. These provisions create the Solar Energy System Restitution Program within the Contractors State License Law. Together with the 2021 Budget Act, the bill makes a $5 million General Fund appropriation for CSLB expenditure until June 30, 2024, for the program. The bill makes restitution under specified criteria available for any consumer who used a contractor after January 1, 2016, to install a solar energy system on a single-family residence. Qualifying criteria include demonstrating a financial loss resulting from fraud, misrepresentation, or another unlawful act committed by a residential solar energy system contractor that has not been and will not be fully reimbursed from any other source. The bill provides procedures and criteria for the implementation of the program. (Chapter 77, Statutes of 2021) 

AB 246 (Quirk) This bill makes a licensed contractor’s unlawful dumping of debris a cause for disciplinary action against the contractor. The bill also reorganizes BPC Section 7110 from paragraph form to an enumerated form to provide clarity and improve readability. (Chapter 46, Statutes of 2021) 

SB 757 (Limón) This bill clarifies that a contract for a residential solar energy system is considered home improvement when installed on a residential building or property for the home improvement contract requirements under the Contractors State License Law. The bill further ensures home improvement salespersons must be registered to the contractor they solicited, negotiated, or executed contracts for. They must inform the homeowner on whose behalf they are soliciting. Where existing law prohibits a contractor from accepting payment for work not performed or materials not delivered, this bill extends that prohibition to any such payments from lenders or financiers. Finally, the bill requires any representations made to a consumer about a solar energy product or performance to be included in the home improvement contract. The bill amends BPC sections 7151, 7152, 7156, 7159.5, 7162, and 7170. (Chapter 249, Statutes of 2021)  

SB 826 (Committee on Business, Professions and Economic Development) This bill makes technical, non-substantive changes to the Contractors State License Law. The bill clarifies that CSLB employs investigators and special investigators, not enforcement representatives. The bill also clarifies that the C-22 Asbestos Abatement Contractor License is an appropriate license classification to engage in asbestos-related work. The bill also replaces an incorrect reference to the law in the Business and Professions Code section regulating letters of admonishment with the correct section of law. Finally, the bill clarifies that the consumer’s right to cancel a home improvement contract referenced in the solar disclosure document (required by Business and Professions Code section 7169) is three days for most contracts and five days for contracts with a senior citizen. (Chapter 188, Statutes of 2021) 
Read more >>


Monday, December 20, 2021   January seats just opened in GetWired! 204 and 302

Now is the time to enroll

WECA's GetWired! program is as in-demand as ever, but we've got some good news regarding course seat availability in upcoming Winter 2022 --we've just opened up seats in our January GetWired! 204 and 302 instances.

If either of these is your next course in the GetWired! series (or you're a journeyperson looking for continuing ed hours), snag a seat today.




GET WIRED! 204 Transformers, Special Locations and Single-Phase Motors

GET WIRED! 204 expands on skills taught in the 203 courses. Topics covered include:
  • Transformers
  • Special locations
  • Hazardous
  • Healthcare facilities
  • Places of assembly
  • Commercial garages and motor fuel dispensing facilities
  • Motors, generators, A/C and refrigeration and fire pumps
  • Series-parallel circuits
  • Base lighting control – hands-on-lab
  • Single-phase motors
GET WIRED! 204 includes an independent study project that you must complete to earn course credit. The project is designed to help you develop on-the-job skills you need to be an expert electrician.
  • Total class hours available: 39
  • Standard Tuition Fee: $379
  • Late Tuition Fee: $429
Learn more about and enroll in GetWired! 204 here!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Blueprint Reading Part 2 (GET WIRED! 302 Commercial): Electrical Work for Commercial Construction from the Ground Up, Part 2

Coordinate cut sheets, submittals, the NEC and more with blueprints to plan electrical installation for commercial construction.

GET WIRED! 301 and 302 take students through construction of a commercial building from underground work through construction and finish work. Students will use genuine construction plans (digital blueprints) and related documents to learn how to coordinate documents, work with other trades, and identify ways to save money through careful planning.

The GetWired! 301 and 302 courses now include a complimentary mobile tablet, yours to keep, as part of course tuition. (If you did not already receive a tablet in GetWired! 301, you will receive one as part of your enrollment in GetWired! 302.) The tablet is pre-loaded with the digital blueprint set and student resource booklet used in this course. Paper blueprint sets are no longer used in this course.

Key course subjects in GET WIRED! 302 include:
  • Public utility requirements
  • Electrical room layout
  • Floor types and planning conduit runs
  • Parking garage lighting
  • Large conduit systems and parallel conductor ampacity
  • Busway systems
  • Commercial load calculations
  • Lighting fixtures and wiring methods
  • Branch circuits and raceways
  • Electrical for elevators and water heater
  • Electrical finish work
 
  • Total class hours available: 42
  • Standard Tuition Fee: $389
  • Late Tuition Fee: $439
Learn more about and enroll in GetWired! 302 here!
Read more >>


Monday, December 20, 2021   Behind-the-scenes pics from our Riverside training facility

Get a glimpse of apprenticeship labs in action, courtesy of instructor (and resident photog!) Fernando Castro

Students hard at work during instructor Fernando Castro's first year, first semester Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship class at WECA's Riverside training facility.









---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Apprentices from the same class pictured above (Fernando Castro's first year, first semester Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship class) work on a residential wiring lab.













----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Apprentices work on an electronics lab in instructor Raymond Newton's fourth year, first semester Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship class.





Read more >>


Monday, December 20, 2021   ?New career for the new year?

WECA has an immediate need for Low Voltage Apprenticeship applicants in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas!





Watch the video below for a quick rundown on WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship program.

WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship Program

WECA's Apprenticeship programs have been called the best in the West. High graduation rates; great reviews from Apprentices and contractors alike; to-the-point, up-to-date curriculum and on-the-job training, and a dedicated, experienced teaching staff and administration all contribute to the success of these programs.

We're actively seeking applicants for our Low Voltage Apprenticeship program in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas of California.

High demand from our contractors = little to not wait time for qualified applicants!

Each Apprentice enrolled in the Low Voltage Apprenticeship program works under the supervision of a journeyperson technician installing and testing, servicing and maintaining systems utilizing the transmission and/or transference of voice, sound, video, and digital signals for commercial, education, security, and entertainment purposes, as well as for fire, life, and safety purposes.

A WECA Apprentice's school tuition costs are paid by the WECA Member Contractors who employ them. WECA Apprentices attend classes in an accelerated and intensive format consisting of full-time classroom training and hands-on labs for consecutive weeks every five to seven months. Each two-week session is equal to one semester of classroom instruction. The rest of the time, Apprentices are learning on the job...and getting paid to do it! No college debt here. This is the alternative path to a rewarding and well-paying career.

The Low Voltage Apprenticeship program in California is a 3-year commitment to classroom and paid on-the-job training. Learn more and apply today!

Not for you? Share this information with someone in Los Angeles or Orange County looking to get started on a great new career in the new year!
Read more >>


Monday, December 20, 2021   Self-paced GetWired! 101: Fundamentals of Electrical Theory and Introduction to the NEC

Get started on the path to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate at your own pace with the Self-paced Online Version of GetWired! 101: Fundamentals of Electrical Theory and Introduction to the National Electrical Code (NEC)

No matter your schedule, location, or whatever life is throwing at you right now, you can start your journey to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate!




WECA's new, self-paced way students can take GetWired! 101, the first class in WECA's Path to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate, has been a popular addition to our catalog.

We've long offered GetWired! 101--an introduction to the theory of electricity covering the fundamentals electrical laws and explaining how the National Electrical Code (NEC) governs the installations of electrical wiring and equipment--as an online-led instructor course which runs two scheduled weeknight evenings a week. And we still do!

But for students who would prefer to take this introductory course at their own pace, on their own time, we're now offering a fully self-paced online option! Students who might prefer this format include:
  • Students with job, childcare, or other obligations preventing them from taking the instructor-led scheduled course in the evenings
  • Students who would benefit from being able to review the material at a slower pace, such as students for whom English is a second language
  • Students who just prefer to work on the coursework at times when it best works for them
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

WECA's new GET WIRED! 101 Self-Paced Option is an entirely online, self-paced alternative version of our Get Wired! 101 course which introduces fundamental electrical laws and theory and explains how the National Electrical Code (NEC) governs the installations of electrical wiring and equipment. Core competencies include:
  • Refresher on basic math skills applied to electrical calculations
  • General information on electrical installations
  • Introduction to hand and power tools used in the field
  • Electrical symbols and receptacle outlets
  • Atomic structure
  • Electrical quantities and Ohm’s Law
  • Static electricity and magnetism
  • Resistors
  • Conductors
  • Voltage drop and neutral sizing for services
  • Wiring methods
  • Switch control of lighting circuits, receptacle installation, bonding, and induction heating
Safety best practices are covered along with tips on study skills. In this course, math equations are applied to the safe and sound wiring and load choices for electrical installations, troubleshooting and maintenance. Theories are discussed and applied to on-the-job situations and tasks. An online, interactive, lab activity reinforces practical applications of key concepts.
  • Total class hours available: 40
  • Standard Tuition Fee: $309
If all of this sounds like it would work for you,
Enroll in GetWired 101 Self-Paced today!

Think you'd prefer being able to ask an instructor questions and learn with other students?

Enroll in an upcoming instance of the original, online evening instructor-led GetWired! 101 here!

 
Read more >>


Monday, December 20, 2021   Important healthcare information for WECA Commercial Apprentices, plus downloadable resources

Dear WECA Commercial Apprentices,

Any Apprentice who has active insurance with United Healthcare (UHC) should have received your medical ID card and dental ID card. Each plan has their own separate ID card. Vision ID cards have not yet been mailed out by UHC. If you would also like a vision card, please register here to create your own paper ID card for vision benefits.

Here are some important UHC customer service phone numbers:

Medical HMO: (800) 624-8822
Medical PPO: (866) 633-2446
Dental PPO: (877) 816-3596
Vision PPO: (800) 638-3120
Employee Resource Advisory: (888) 887-4114

When calling UHC to check on your coverage, be sure that you are calling the correct number. For example, you cannot call the medical customer service number for dental coverage questions. If you do so, they will tell you that you do not have any dental coverage, nor can you call the dental coverage line for medical coverage questions.

When using your dental coverage through UHC, dental ID cards are not required for services. Instead, provide your name and social security number at your dental office at the time of the appointment and they will be able to find your dental information through UHC. The same stipulation also applies when receiving vision services.

To view your health insurance information, please visit us here, log in using your WECA student ID number and password, and click on Commercial Apprentice benefits. This will bring you to the benefit page, where you will find benefit summaries and certificates along with "how-to" resources.

If you have any additional questions or concerns, please reach out to Cindy Cormier, Insurance Administrator, at (916) 453-0112 ext. 117 or at ccormier@goweca.com.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Downloadable and printable health insurance guidance: Check out these resources below.

Employee Assistance Program Overview Member Flyer

UHC App -- Get on-the-go access to your health plan
Read more >>


Thursday, December 16, 2021   Update and guidance on California masking requirements

Dear WECA Member Contractors,

CDPH updated its guidance to clarify the application of the indoor mask mandate. Previously, the mandate by the CDPH referenced “indoor public settings” without further definition. In the updated guidance, the CDPH clarifies that “the guidance applies to all workplaces, regardless of whether they serve the public, or are open to the public. Masks may be removed, “if the workplace consists of a single employee, or may be removed while an employee is alone in a closed office or room.”

Cal/OSHA also updated its FAQ for the COVID-19 Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) to state that the ETS requires that employers “provide face coverings and ensure they are worn by employees when required by orders of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). (8 CCR § 3205(c)(6)(B).) The December 13, 2021 CDPH guidance is such an order.”

Read the CDPH release here.

Thank you,

The WECA Team
Read more >>


Thursday, December 16, 2021   WECA Member Contractors: please vote in WECA's 2022 Board of Directors election!

Ballots will remain open until Jan. 7



Dear WECA Member Contractors,

The 2022 WECA Board of Directors election ballots were recently sent to the primary contact(s) for your company via email.

Please take a moment to cast your vote. Ballots will remain open until Jan. 7, 2022.

To vote, please check your email(s) for ballot information and the link to the ballot.

Thank you,

The WECA Team
 
Read more >>


Thursday, December 16, 2021   Free Safety Meeting Materials for Electrical Contractors

Content courtesy of Jeremy Stiehl of safetytalkideas.com especially for WECA Members

By: Jeremy Stiehl of safetytalkideas.com

Free Safety Meeting Materials for Electrical Contractors


Electrical contractors face many dangers on the job. Due to the nature of this work, OSHA has specific regulations in place to protect the employees who work in this field. Moreover, general contractors often set even more stringent expectations in place for the subcontractors working on their jobs.

An example of such a requirement is holding safety meetings. Oftentimes, it is required by a general contractor that all subcontractors on a jobsite hold a daily or weekly safety meeting with their work crews.



What are Safety Meetings?

Safety meetings can go by various names--toolbox talks, safety talks, safety stand-downs, etc. The basic premise is to share a safety message with the work crew prior to the start of the shift. The desired outcome for these meetings is for employees to be better educated on the hazards of the work that is being done. These meetings should also educate the employees on specific mitigation actions to reduce the risk for injury and illness.

Where to Find Safety Meeting Topics?

Whether your company is completing safety meetings to comply with regulations, make your customers happy, or to follow a high standard for safety set by your own organization, it can be painful to find new ideas on what to discuss.

This post shares three resources to find new ideas for your next safety meeting.



1) Safety Talk Ideas

As the name implies, safetytalkideas.com, has a wide range of free safety meeting materials. There are over 250 free safety meeting topics published on the website. The talks can be filtered through by choosing the most appropriate category such as construction, general industry, and motor vehicle safety. You can even find behavioral safety talks and home safety talks to share topics that you may not have covered with your employees in the past.

2) OSHA's Alphabetical List of Topics

OSHA is a great resource for business owners who are striving to keep their employees safe and to stay compliant with regulations. It can sometimes be difficult to find exactly what you are looking for when doing a simple Google search for OSHA-specific information.

There is a concise and easy-to-follow alphabetical list of topics on their site, which you can browse by clicking here. This list of topics is great for finding up-to-date and trustworthy information on almost all major work activities and hazards that could be encountered on the job.

3) Your Worker Compensation Insurance Provider

Business owners often do not realize the resources that may be at their disposal through the companies that they are insured through. Your worker compensation carrier most likely has free safety meeting materials on their website or through an established partnership with another training company. It is in their interest that you run a safe operation, so check with any of your insurance providers to see what safety resources are available to you.

Summary

Safety meetings can be boring and can even be painful for those responsible for having to lead the meetings. This does not have to be the case. Browse the above resources and find new topics to discuss.

If you have to recover old topics, find new ways to present the information. A few ideas can include telling stories, incorporating humor, having employees share experiences, or having a different manager present the meeting topic. When used correctly, the time spend during safety meetings, can have a significant positive impact on your company's safety efforts.

Written by Jeremy Stiehl, CSP ARM. He also started and runs the website www.safetytalkideas.com to solve his own pain point of not having access to safety material materials.
Read more >>


Thursday, December 16, 2021   Join WECA in Phoenix Jan. 12 for an open house celebrating our new Phoenix training facility



It's time to celebrate WECA's arrival in Arizona!

Please join us this January for WECA's open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony for our new Phoenix training facility; our first in the state of Arizona. All are welcome!

When: January 12, 2022 from 4 to 7 PM

Where: 2750 South 18th Place, Suite 100
Phoenix, AZ 85034
  • Enjoy food and libations
  • Tour our new facility
  • Meet WECA instructors, staff, members, students, board members, and members of the Arizona electrical industry and Phoenix community
  • Learn about WECA and how the association serves electrical contractors and the industry
  • See how our apprentices learn--including the new technology and innovative training tools used in WECA's apprenticeship learning labs!
We look forward to seeing you there! Please take a moment to RSVP:

Register for the Phoenix open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony here!
Read more >>


Thursday, December 16, 2021   New year, new career? Come work for the fastest-growing association in the West!

Learn more about open positions at WECA.

2022 is right around the corner--and if you're looking for a new career in the new year, opportunities abound at WECA!

WECA is currently hiring for the following positions:
  • Program Coordinator for Electrician Trainee/Continuing Ed. Programs - Full Time
  • Electrical and Low Voltage Construction Subject Matter Expert - Full Time
  • Low Voltage (VDV and FLS) Apprenticeship Instructor- Full Time
  • Electrical Instructor (Part-Time, Online Weekday Evenings, and/or Saturdays)
Learn more about and apply for these positions here.
Read more >>


Thursday, December 16, 2021   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan (updated 12-21-20)
CA DIR Div. of Occupational Safety & Health: COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
* CA Dept. of Public Health COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Construction
*  COVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening
COVID Situation Flow Diagram Company Template
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
Supplemental Toolbox Talks COVID-19
Coronavirus Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 in Construction Workplace
COVID-19 Safety Meeting Outlines
COVID-19 Toolbox Talks for Subs
Fact Sheet for Pandemics
Marek Brother Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 Action Plan
Pandemic Preparedness - Coronavirus
Coronavirus - Workplace, School and Home Guidance
COVID-19 Tool Cleaning Protocols
COVID-19 Print Resources
COVID-19 Fact Sheet
United States Department of Labor: COVID-19
CDC COVID-19 Risk Assessment Flowchart
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Thursday, December 09, 2021   WECA Political Update December 9, 2021

Court Blocks Vaccine Rule: A Georgia federal judge enjoined the federal contractor COVID-19 vaccination mandate. The Biden administration is expected to appeal to the 11th Circuit. Previously, a Kentucky district court preliminarily enjoined the federal contractor vaccination mandate but only for Kentucky, Ohio, and Tennessee. Of course, a business should not assume this means the death of a vaccine mandate--either for federal contractors or companies with 100 or more employees--but this action will give you more time to establish your vaccine policy.

In the meantime:

·        Continue to monitor legal developments.
·        Plan for the possibility of a COVID-19 vaccination mandate (federal, state, local).
·        Encourage employees to get vaccinated.
·        Review vaccination resources and guidance for federal contractors to keep workers safe on construction job sites.
·        Follow all safety protocols required by federal, state, and local governments.

OSHA is also accepting comments on the proposed vaccine mandate. All employers are encouraged to comment on vaccine mandate here.

IBEW wants to kill rooftop solar I have become convinced that IBEW is pursuing a multifaceted plan to destroy the rooftop solar industry in California. The two apparent efforts are their plan to prohibit C-46 solar contractors from installing battery energy storage systems (BESS) and a plan to eliminate utilities' fees to consumers who don’t use all of their power and “feedback” the surplus to the utility. Several newspapers have picked up on the latter in just the past week and argued this rate change is unwarranted.

The Sacramento Bee opined this week: “California’s most potent utility companies want you to believe that there is a hidden war taking place between ordinary customers and the 1.3 million households in the state with solar panels on their properties. Under a program called net energy metering, utility companies credit solar customers for the excess energy they export to the grid after they’ve powered their homes. That provides incredible savings for each solar-powered household, but customers who don’t use solar pay an estimated $3.4 billion more each year, essentially forcing them to shoulder the difference through higher monthly bills. Corporations such as PG&E, Southern California Edison, and San Diego Gas and Electric Co. claim that communities of color and lower-income households are harmed the most by this formula for rooftop solar. Utilities say that households with photovoltaics aren’t paying their fair share when they use grid-supplied energy at night, creating an unfair cost shift that must be rectified. Everything about this cynical, corporate-driven argument stinks. If the California Public Utilities Commission—the state’s utility regulator—sides with the companies, they’ll gut net energy metering and fundamentally alter California’s booming solar energy economy. Right now, the CPUC is weighing several proposals from public advocacy groups and the state’s biggest utilities, some of which would slash solar subsidies and charge fees for grid usage, making it harder for households to pay off their solar installations.

Politico wrote: “A coalition of utility employees and consumer, environmental and energy groups emerged this fall to lobby on the decision. Utility employees are typically aligned with their employers’ interests and have found common ground with groups that have their own reasons for wanting to reduce the solar incentives. The alliance has pushed a monthly fee on homes with photovoltaic panels, but it has tried to frame its ideas as a compromise between solar and utility interests. The group—the California Coalition of Utility Employees, The Utility Reform Network, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the California Wind Energy Association, the Independent Energy Producers Association and the PUC's Public Advocates Office—has met with advisers to four of the five agency commissioners.”

The other facet is IBEW's multi-year effort to restrict BESS installation to only C-10 electrical contractors. If successful, this would require C-46s without a C-10 to become C-10s and employ certified electricians. IBEW has tried to do this through CSLB, but this effort has been stalled by a lawsuit filed by the California Solar and Storage Association. Losing patience, IBEW proposed two regulation changes to prohibit C-46s from installing BES and excluding BES from “related and supplemental.” IBEW pressed at the November CSLB meeting to open the rulemaking, but a last-minute effort by a contractor/union/public coalition delayed the rulemaking until early 2022 to give the California Solar and Storage Association and IBEW time to “work out a compromise.”

I guess that IBEW will prevail—and the next step will be to require certified electricians who install BESS or rooftop solar panels to obtain “submental instruction” in safe installation—training that will only be available from IBEW.

Reapportionment/Resignation Update Some observers believe that the new congressional boundaries that put Central Valley Representative Devin Nunes, a 10-term Republican first elected in 2002, in a more challenging election scenario in 2022 contributed to his decision to leave the United States House of Representatives early in 2022 and become CEO of former president Donald Trump’s new media company.

His announcement set off a flurry of speculation and announcements. The San Joaquin Valley Sun reported, “The post-Nunes sweepstakes began in earnest on Tuesday when State Sen. Andreas Borgeas (R–Fresno) opened a fundraising committee to test the waters for a 2022 Congressional bid. Wednesday, another Republican—Fresno County Supervisor Nathan Magsig—formally threw his hat in the ring and launched a campaign for the seat's special election, likely to be scheduled for next spring. Magsig, a 16-year Clovis City Council member before his current gig, rolled out a spate of local endorsements to kick off his campaign. Along with his work in government, Magsig is a licensed general contractor, licensed lead inspector, and energy management and building performance specialist.”

A primary election could be held in April, and if no candidate wins a majority, the special election runoff could be held with the statewide primary election on June 7, 2022. But the redistricting process has created a quandary for would-be contenders: it's possible and likely that the ultimate winner of Nunes' current seat will only hold it for seven months and then be forced into a re-election race in a much more Democratic district.

And Politico reports, “the upcoming resignation of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) has set off jockeying among Republicans for the top spot on the House Ways and Means Committee. The next two most senior members on Ways and Means, Reps. Vern Buchanan of Florida and Adrian Smith of Nebraska, have already started talking to members of the Steering Committee—a little-known but highly influential GOP panel that decides committee assignments and leaders—about their interest, according to multiple lawmakers.”

But hewing to the old axiom of “never letting a crisis (real or imagined) go to waste,” Congressman Josh Harder, according to the Modesto Bee, spent “the three weeks in which it appeared that the Republican Nunes might challenge him, [Rep. Josh] Harder’s political machine has been in overdrive, churning out no less than 14 email blasts breathlessly pleading for money to prepare for the Nunes threat.”

The New York Times, never the most astute analyst of California state politics, noted that looking at the draft district maps that “California alone could end up with eight or nine battleground districts. ‘There’s no question we’re going to end up with more competitive seats,’ said Rob Stutzman, a Republican consultant in Sacramento. The first draft of the map shocked much of the California delegation. No longer able to count on his rural, agricultural base, Mr. Nunes would have had to win over the gracious neighborhoods along Van Ness Avenue in Fresno, with their verandas and Black Lives Matter flags, and the hipsters of the city’s Tower District, who have more affection for Devin Nunes’ Cow, a Twitter account mocking the congressman, than the man himself. The commission appears intent on giving Latinos in the Central Valley a chance to elect their first representative ever.”

They observed that “after losing his San Diego-area seat to a Democrat in 2018, another outspoken conservative, Darrell Issa, moved to a conservative district abandoned by the indicted Republican Duncan Hunter. That seat could end up far more competitive. Representative Mike Garcia, a Republican, won a special election to replace a young Democrat felled by a sex scandal, then shocked Democrats by winning re-election last year by 333 votes in a district that Mr. Biden won by 35,000. The commission, however, appears intent on lopping off Republican-heavy Simi Valley from Mr. Garcia’s district in north Los Angeles County, leaving him holding on by a thread to a considerably less conservative seat. ‘It makes guys like me perk up and go, OK, what was the rationale for dumping this?’ Mr. Garcia said of the commission’s decision. ‘When you go through all the questions that are, in my opinion, objective, the only thing you’re left with is a rationale that is political.’” But that’s a little silly, in my opinion, since drawing legislative districts is a SUPREMELY political activity.

But the New York Times notes that Republicans are not the only ones in the mix. “Democrats are at risk, too. The [redistricting] commission has proposed eliminating the Los Angeles seat of Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, who in 1992 became the first Mexican American woman elected to Congress. Representative Katie Porter, a hero of the national Democratic Party, appears likely to be left with a more Republican district in Orange County—a fate that could prompt her to run for the Senate instead, either by challenging Alex Padilla, the Democrat appointed to fill Vice President Kamala Harris’s seat, or waiting for Senator Dianne Feinstein, 88, to step aside. California’s 10th Congressional District, currently represented by Representative Josh Harder, a young, up-and-coming Democrat, will become heavily Republican, most likely sending Mr. Harder in search of a new district. (It was the expected destination of Mr. Nunes.) That could cost the quiet backbench Democrat Jerry McNerney, who might find himself a sacrificial lamb.”

Friends in High Places President Biden nominated Meg Whitman as ambassador to Kenya. In 2010 Whitman ran for governor of California, losing to Democrat Jerry Brown by double digits despite spending $177 million—including $144 million from her vast personal wealth—on her campaign. More recently, Whitman helmed the star-crossed video streaming platform Quibi, which was financially flush and launched with considerable fanfare in 2020, only to flame out within months. Whitman, the former leader of Hewlett Packard and eBay, endorsed then-candidate Joe Biden at the Democratic National Convention in August 2020. She also endorsed Hillary Clinton in 2016 over Donald Trump despite her longstanding ties to the private sector and the GOP. [Politico]
Read more >>


Thursday, December 02, 2021   Save the Date for WECA's Phoenix Open House on Jan. 12 from 4 to 7 PM

Save the Date!

Join WECA in Phoenix on Jan. 12 from 4 to 7 p.m. for an open house and ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of our new Phoenix training facility--our first in the state of Arizona!

Registration link coming next week!

Read more >>


Thursday, December 02, 2021   WECA installs air and surface decontamination and purification machines at all WECA facilities


Putting safety first at WECA: we're excited to announce the introduction of Aerus and Vollara air and surface decontamination and purification machines at all WECA facilities



The health and safety of WECA’s students, staff, Member Contractors, and visitors is of utmost importance to WECA, especially during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

WECA is excited to announce the addition of Aerus brand and Vollara brand air and surface decontamination and purification machines in all WECA facilities. These machines provide additional protection against COVID-19 as well as other contaminants and pathogens, but do not replace WECA’s standard cleaning procedures and processes for a clean workplace (enhanced in response to the COVID-19 pandemic).

The air and surface decontamination and purification machines from Aerus and Vollara are both portable, meaning that they can move from area to area within WECA’s facilities as needed. WECA utilizes the large Hydroxyl Blaster from Aerus and the smaller Air SurfacePro from Vollara.

Aerus’ large Hydroxyl Blaster machine has been proven to provide a 99.98 percent SARS-CoV-2 surface reduction rate within seven hours and a 93 percent surface kill/reduction rate within three hours in controlled, independent laboratory studies. This machine operates 24/7, continuously disinfecting the air and surfaces in occupied spaces without the use of chemicals or ozone and breaks down viral contaminants into harmless byproducts. The Hydroxyl Blaster sanitizes approximately 1,000 square feet per hour and can sanitize up to a 20,000 square foot building (when moved around).



Meanwhile, the smaller Vollara Air SurfacePro unit was proven to reduce 99.96 percent of airborne SARS-CoV-2 within three minutes in a military lab test done on the unit’s lowest setting. In addition to purifying and ridding the air and surfaces of SARS-CoV-2, the Vollara Air SurfacePro also works to reduce contaminants and pathogens such as various flu viruses, E.coli, salmonella, listeria, and various strains of MRSA (staph). Each Vollara Air SurfacePro unit covers up to 3,000 square feet of space depending upon the occupancy of each WECA facility and other determining factors.

We’re excited to implement vitally important top-of-the-line safety technologies such as these in our facilities and into our enhanced standard cleaning procedures and processes, to ensure the health and safety of all in the WECA community. Next time you visit a WECA facility, be on the lookout for one—or both—of these technologies! 

Read more >>


Thursday, December 02, 2021   WECA Commercial Electrical Apprentice Michael Webb to represent WECA at IDEAL National Championships

Please join us in congratulating WECA Commercial Electrical Apprentice Michael Webb on earning the fastest Apprentice time in California in the IDEAL National Championship Qualifiers!

And stay tuned as he competes in the IDEAL National Championship in Nashville from December 15 through 17



We’re excited to announce that one of WECA’s very own will be representing us on the national stage at the 2021 IDEAL National Championship in Nashville from December 15 through 17! Third-year Commercial Electrical Apprentice Michael Webb—employed by WECA Member Contractor Butterfield Electric—earned the fastest Apprentice time in California at a qualifying event held at WECA’s Rancho Cordova headquarters the week of October 25, clocking in at 2:03:25.

“I have always been competitive and love competition, and on the day of the time trial, I watched a lot of people go first just to see how they did it and think about what I would have done to be faster,” says Michael. “After two fifth-year Apprentices got their times, they came into class and said they owned the time now and that we wouldn’t be able to touch it. I took what they said as a challenge and went back to do it again, telling the IDEAL proctor that I’d get it under three minutes easily this time and actually ended up finishing it a little over two minutes.”

Since finding out that he qualified for the National Championship, Michael has been preparing for the final competition by watching videos of past competitions to try to get a better understanding of what things will be like—from the boards to the size of the wire, and even the crowd size. Michael also constructed a small practice board in his garage to try and be even faster than he was during the qualifiers.

Michael’s path to WECA has been nonlinear, but when he looks back on his journey toward becoming a Commercial Electrical Apprentice, he realizes that his love for all things electrical was there all along.

“I was in college and had switched my major a couple of times. I thought engineering was what I wanted to do, but after awhile I realized that I didn’t really enjoy sitting behind a desk all day. After hearing from a WECA graduate how the program is run and what I’d be able to do in the field, I instantly knew this was something I wanted to do. Looking back, now it seems like such a clear path that I should have taken from the start, because in high school I found joy in setting up friends’ and my own car systems and was given the opportunity to redo the entire electrical system on a very old Jeep that I now own,” says Michael.

Michael credits his Apprenticeship success to various factors—engaged instructors, a dedicated employer, intensive job sites, and his mom.

“I’ve had James Hall for most of my classes and he is very informative and knowledgeable and doesn’t hesitate to elaborate on information to make sure everyone understands what we go over,” says Michael. “After I saw that I was on the leaderboard, James was actually the first person I told. And later that day we had a lab and he pulled me aside and showed me different methods of bending pipe that was faster than how I had been doing it before. He wants everyone in his class to succeed and always makes class fun and interesting.”

As for his employer Butterfield Electric, Michael says he “Still feels very lucky to have had them sponsor me so I could actually get into the program. I’ve been able to work with a lot of high-caliber electricians with them, and my employer put me with a high-caliber foreman that had taken an interest in me. He brought me with him to different jobs and has had me do a lot of challenging work that I’ve enjoyed every minute of.”

One of those jobs was a project at a VA hospital working on catheterization labs and operating rooms.

“The last job site we were on helped a lot,” says Michael. “The job was pretty much done by a four-person crew, so I got to get my hands on a lot of the work that needed to be done wiring the medical booms and all the other medical equipment, which really helped me hone my craft.”

And last—but not least—Michael says that his mom “Has always been there for me and always supported me, even when I dropped out of college with no plan. She is the one who connected me with the WECA graduate, which led me to join the trade, which I plan on having a very long career with.”

Congratulations on qualifying for the 2021 IDEAL National Championships, Michael! We’re thrilled to have you represent WECA on the national stage and will be cheering you on every step of the way. We wish you the best of luck!
Read more >>


Thursday, December 02, 2021   Register today for Prevailing Wage; Skilled and Trained Workforce two-part Webinar series Dec. 7; 14

Don't miss out--just a few days left to register!

Join WECA and Cook Brown, LLP for a Two-Part Webinar Series on Prevailing Wage and Skilled and Trained Workforce

Part 1 (Prevailing Wage) on Dec. 7

Part 2 (Skilled and Trained Workforce) on Dec. 14



Join Cook Brown Partner Carrie Bushman December 7 for Part 1 of a two-part webinar series on Prevailing Wage and Skilled and Trained Workforce. Part 1 will cover Prevailing Wage, including:
  • Identifying and understanding the wage determination applicable to your project
  • Taking credit for employer-provided fringe benefits
  • Record-keeping
  • Apprenticeship compliance
  • Enforcement
Register today to join us online on December 7, from 8:30 to 10:30 AM, for Part 1 of this informative webinar series.

This webinar is complimentary for WECA Member Contractors and their employees as a WECA member benefit! All others are $75/registration.

Register for the Dec. 7 webinar here!



Join Cook Brown Partner Carrie Bushman for Part 2 of a two-part webinar series on December 14. Part 2 will focus on Skilled and Trained Workforce, where Carrie will discuss:
  • Recognizing to which types of projects Skilled and Trained Workforce requirements apply
  • Understanding apprentice graduation requirements
  • Compliance and enforcement
Register today to join us online on December 14, from 8:30 to 9:30 AM, for Part 2 of this informative webinar series.

This webinar is complimentary for WECA Member Contractors and their employees as a WECA member benefit! All others are $75/registration.

Register for the Dec. 14 webinar here!
Read more >>


Thursday, December 02, 2021   WECA's Student Referral Service has qualified Electrician Trainees ready to work in your area

Sacramento, San Diego and Riverside Counties



Are you looking to hire Electrician Trainees? We have qualified individuals in the Sacramento, San Diego, and Riverside county areas looking to get referred to a WECA Member Contractor through our Student Referral Service. Don't see your county listed? Let us know of your interest anyhow; new participants sign up every week.

What is this Service?

A free job referral service that introduces our current Electrician Trainee, Journeyman, and WECA-grad job seekers to Member Contractors in order to help you meet your staffing needs. It's included with your membership!

Who does this benefit?

Everyone! WECA Member Contractors are referred qualified, WECA-trained applicants to help meet their staffing needs. And in turn, WECA student and grad participants get valuable job referrals.

How does this differ from the WECA Job Board?

WECA's current Electrical and Low Voltage Industry Job Board is a self-service portal where members and electrical and low voltage employment job seekers submit and review resumes and job postings online.

This service provides additional customer service by having WECA staff supply you with hands-on referrals. In other words--we take some of the hard work off your plate!

The Student Referral Service refers employees to you, and you hire them directly.

To receive referrals from WECA's Student Referral Service, please contact Trisha Hughes, Client Services Specialist I, at thughes@goweca.com or at (877) 444-9322. 
Read more >>


Thursday, December 02, 2021   Contractual "Pay if Paid" and "Pay when Paid" Clauses? What is a CA Construction Subcontractor to Do

Read: Contractual "Pay if Paid" and "Pay when Paid" Clauses? What is a California Construction Subcontractor to Do?

Content courtesy of: William L. Porter, Esq., The Porter Law Group, Inc.

The Situation California Construction Subcontractors Face in Obtaining Payment:

California construction subcontractors find themselves faced with a significant payment issue every time they are asked to sign a subcontract on a major project. Invariably, the subcontract the prime contractor presents to the subcontractor for signature will contain a clause by which the prime contractor imposes a condition on payment from the prime contractor to the subcontractor. The condition will be either one or the other of two general types. Either the prime contractor will specify that it never has to pay the subcontractor if the prime contractor itself is not paid by the owner (a “pay-if-paid” clause), or the prime contractor will pay the subcontractor only after the prime contractor has first exhausted all its efforts to obtain payment from the owner through litigation, arbitration or otherwise, possibly delaying payment to subcontractors by months or even years (a “pay-when-paid” clause).

Goal of the Article:

The goal of this article is to draw a distinction between the pay-if-paid and pay-when-paid
clauses, discuss the legality of these clauses in California, the problems these clauses create for subcontractors, advise the reader of helpful recent legal developments in this area of law, address the possibility of a further legislative remedy to address the issue, and discuss what the subcontractor might do to protect itself while awaiting a legislative remedy that may or may not ever arrive.

Legality of the Pay-if-Paid Clause in California:

Fortunately, half of this problem has been solved by the courts. Under the California Supreme Court decision in William R. Clarke Corp. v. Safeco Ins. Co. of America (1997) 15 Cal. 4th 882, the “pay-if-paid” clause has been determined to be “null, void and unenforceable.” This, however, has not stopped some prime contractors from continuing to include pay-if-paid clauses in their subcontracts. This is a mistake on the part of these contractors because the clause may be stricken from the subcontract by a court or arbitrator as illegal and unenforceable, leaving the subcontractor with a contractual right to immediate payment and possible legal entitlement to fees, costs and interest as a result of the contractor’s breach of subcontract for nonpayment.

Status of the Pay-When-Paid Clause in California:

Due to the impact of the Clarke v. Safeco case, noted above, many prime contractors have amended their standard subcontracts to convert an illegal pay-if-paid clause into a legally acceptable pay-when-paid clause. Under a pay-when-paid clause, the prime contractor does not impose a condition that it never has to pay the subcontractor if it is never itself paid for the subcontractor’s work. Rather, the clause usually carefully specifies that it will in fact eventually pay the subcontractor, but only after the prime contractor has
fully exhausted its dispute resolution procedures with the owner. The problem though, is that the process to exhaust remedies between the owner and prime contractor could take many years as the claim winds its way through the court system, including appeals. All the while the subcontractor remains unpaid.

As the subcontractor awaits payment from the prime contractor under the pay-when-paid clause, it is unfortunately unable to pay its own employees, subcontractors, suppliers and its internal operational costs. This leads to an avoidable proliferation of litigation as the subcontractor and all who are unpaid by the subcontractor must record mechanics liens and serve stop payment notices and payment bond claims and then sue to protect their rights to payment within extremely short time limits. This also puts the Subcontractor in a dilemma of being required to sue for breach of contract for its own payment, along with other claims, even though, according to the subcontract terms, the prime contractor has not yet even breached the subcontract because it does not have to pay the subcontractor until it has fully exhausted its remedies with the owner. But the subcontractor cannot wait years to sue the contractor for payment because, among other issues, by that time all the deadlines for pursuing collection remedies will have expired. Under the clause, the subcontractor is forced to sue for breach of contract, when arguably, no breach of contract has technically occurred, or wait for years to sue for breach of contract, at which point it will be too late to make claims for such valuable collection remedies as the mechanics lien, stop payment notice and bond claim. It is a dilemma. Suing right away seems to violate the subcontract. Waiting to sue results in missing claims deadlines.

The Crosno Decision to the Rescue?

The recent case of Crosno Construction, Inc. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America, (2020) 47 Cal. App. 5th 940, seems to have initiated the process of resolving this untenable dilemma. In Crosno, the Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s ruling, finding that, in effect, requiring a subcontractor’s bond claim rights to be delayed for months or years while litigation between the prime contractor and a water district proceeds to a conclusion, is the equivalent of an impermissible “pay-if-paid” provision, declared illegal in the Clarke v. Safeco case, mentioned above. The Crosno court reasoned that “the pay-when-paid provision here, which indefinitely postpones Crosno’s right to recover under the payment bond until Clark’s litigation with the District concludes, is unenforceable under California’s broader anti-waiver statute [Civil Code Section 8122].”

The Crosno court engages in a lengthy discussion of the permissible length of time payment from a contractor to a subcontractor may be delayed before a legal pay-when-paid clause becomes the equivalent of an illegal pay-if-paid clause, discussing another case, Yamanishi v.Bleily & Collishaw, Inc. (1972) 29 Cal.App.3d 457, at length. The discussion seems to conclude with an analysis by the court that since lawsuits to enforce a public works payment bond claim must be filed within six months after the last day on which a stop payment notice must be served, that this same date represents the point at which payment should be made by contractor to subcontractor, and the extent at which permissible “reasonable” delay before payment will become unreasonable. The court sets the allowable delay in payment at six months, because that is when a lawsuit to enforce a payment bond claim must be filed in court.

Extending Crosno to Other Situations:

The Crosno case involved a payment bond on a public works project. The Crosno
court indicated that the six-month deadline for filing a lawsuit to enforce a payment bond claim would be the extent of “reasonable” delay, before which the imposition of further delay by contractual terms would become unreasonable and unenforceable as an illegal
pay-if-paid provision. The payment bond claim, however, is only one of several traditional remedies for collection of construction claims. For example, in private works construction, lawsuits to enforce a “mechanics lien” claim must be fi led no later than 90 days after the mechanics lien is recorded (Civil Code 8460). For both public and private works projects, lawsuits to enforce a “stop payment notice” must be fi led no later than 90 days following the expiration of the period within which stop payment notices must be served (Civil Code §§8550, 9502). Arguably, under the Crosno court’s reasoning, these deadlines should also set the extent of reasonable delay before nonpayment becomes an actionable breach of contract on the part of the contractor. At that point, the subcontractor should have legitimate rights to sue for breach of contract as well as to enforce the mechanics lien, stop payment notice or payment bond claim. This reasoning though has yet to be confirmed by a California Court of Appeal and for that reason is not established as a rule to be followed.

The Need for a Legislative Remedy:

Extending the Crosno decision through a legislative enactment would be a relatively easy task, and one which should be accomplished to establish certainty to this developing area of law. To be brief, here is at least one option to address this situation through a new California Civil Code section which might be proposed. The proposed new Civil Code section might read as follows:

Civil Code [e.g., §8068] Contract Clauses Purporting to Delay Payment Right of Claimant
"Any contract clause which purports to delay payment to a Claimant for any period of time beyond those prescribed in this Part for an action to enforce a lien, stop payment notice or payment bond claim shall be null, void and unenforceable."

Pretty simple. No doubt construction industry trade groups, including the Associated General Contractors, American Subcontractors Association, and others, may wish to weigh in on the issue. Whatever the remedy, it needs to be addressed to impart certainty where uncertainty exists. It would be nice to keep it simple. Something like the above may achieve the task.

What Should the Subcontractor Do While Awaiting Legislative Action?

Until such time as the Legislature acts, subcontractors encountering a clause that looks like a pay-if-paid clause have some options. Here are a few options for consideration. Options such as these are best considered at the subcontract negotiation stage, before a subcontract is signed:
  1. If a clause is clearly an illegal pay-if-paid clause (contractor only pays subcontractor if contractor is paid) the subcontractor might consider leaving it alone since a court will not enforce it, whereas attempting to edit it will only call attention to the clause and cause the contractor to revise the clause to make it enforceable. Leaving the clause alone might be the better option for the subcontractor in such a case.
  2. If a clause is more likely a pay-when-paid clause, or something close to it, subcontractors might cross it out, initial the cross-out and write next to it something like: "Illegal per Clarke v. Safeco." If this edit is not successful, then a subcontractor might alternatively add limiting language on the delay. Something like: “. . . provided that such delay in payment does not extend beyond the deadline for Subcontractor to file an action on a mechanics lien, stop payment notice or payment bond claim.” This is similar to what the Crosno court did.
  3. Another option is to select a further definite deadline. To do this, one might edit the language to add something like: “. . . provided the delay does not extend beyond six (6) months from subcontractor’s billing date.” If this is used, the subcontractor might consider still suing by the statutory deadline, which might arrive earlier than six months from the billing date.
  4. If none of the above options is accepted, then it might be productive to write in the margin, if possible, or in a separate addendum document, if applicable, or in a transmittal document, if all else fails, that you consider the clause to be unenforceable under California law, citing Clarke v. Safeco and Crosno. Then sue by the statutory deadlines for claims if needed at a later time.
Conclusion:

Clauses which purport to delay payment rights to subcontractors indefinitely result in an avoidable proliferation of litigation as all those who are unpaid down the line must make claims and initiate litigation between each other within very short time frames to protect their rights to payment. As a matter of public policy and practicality, litigation should be avoided when possible. By limiting allowed delays in payment to the deadline for initiation of litigation of construction claims, litigation can be avoided in some cases and more quickly resolved in others. The court has opened the door to a change. The legislature should step in to address this need. Until they do so, subcontractors need to revise the subcontracts that contractors send to them in order to protect their rights to payment while they await a future legislative change.
Read more >>


Thursday, December 02, 2021   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan (updated 12-21-20)
CA DIR Div. of Occupational Safety & Health: COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
* CA Dept. of Public Health COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Construction
*  COVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening
COVID Situation Flow Diagram Company Template
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
Supplemental Toolbox Talks COVID-19
Coronavirus Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 in Construction Workplace
COVID-19 Safety Meeting Outlines
COVID-19 Toolbox Talks for Subs
Fact Sheet for Pandemics
Marek Brother Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 Action Plan
Pandemic Preparedness - Coronavirus
Coronavirus - Workplace, School and Home Guidance
COVID-19 Tool Cleaning Protocols
COVID-19 Print Resources
COVID-19 Fact Sheet
United States Department of Labor: COVID-19
CDC COVID-19 Risk Assessment Flowchart
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Tuesday, November 30, 2021   Commercial Electrical Apprentice Michael Webb to represent WECA at 2021 IDEAL National Championships

Please join us in congratulating WECA Commercial Electrical Apprentice Michael Webb on earning the fastest Apprentice time in California in the IDEAL National Championship Qualifiers!

And stay tuned as he competes in the IDEAL National Championship in Nashville from December 15 through 17



We’re excited to announce that one of WECA’s very own will be representing us on the national stage at the 2021 IDEAL National Championship in Nashville from December 15 through 17! Third-year Commercial Electrical Apprentice Michael Webb—employed by WECA Member Contractor Butterfield Electric—earned the fastest Apprentice time in California at a qualifying event held at WECA’s Rancho Cordova headquarters the week of October 25, clocking in at 2:03:25.

“I have always been competitive and love competition, and on the day of the time trial, I watched a lot of people go first just to see how they did it and think about what I would have done to be faster,” says Michael. “After two fifth-year Apprentices got their times, they came into class and said they owned the time now and that we wouldn’t be able to touch it. I took what they said as a challenge and went back to do it again, telling the IDEAL proctor that I’d get it under three minutes easily this time and actually ended up finishing it a little over two minutes.”

Since finding out that he qualified for the National Championship, Michael has been preparing for the final competition by watching videos of past competitions to try to get a better understanding of what things will be like—from the boards to the size of the wire, and even the crowd size. Michael also constructed a small practice board in his garage to try and be even faster than he was during the qualifiers.

Michael’s path to WECA has been nonlinear, but when he looks back on his journey toward becoming a Commercial Electrical Apprentice, he realizes that his love for all things electrical was there all along.

“I was in college and had switched my major a couple of times. I thought engineering was what I wanted to do, but after awhile I realized that I didn’t really enjoy sitting behind a desk all day. After hearing from a WECA graduate how the program is run and what I’d be able to do in the field, I instantly knew this was something I wanted to do. Looking back, now it seems like such a clear path that I should have taken from the start, because in high school I found joy in setting up friends’ and my own car systems and was given the opportunity to redo the entire electrical system on a very old Jeep that I now own,” says Michael.

Michael credits his Apprenticeship success to various factors—engaged instructors, a dedicated employer, intensive job sites, and his mom.

“I’ve had James Hall for most of my classes and he is very informative and knowledgeable and doesn’t hesitate to elaborate on information to make sure everyone understands what we go over,” says Michael. “After I saw that I was on the leaderboard, James was actually the first person I told. And later that day we had a lab and he pulled me aside and showed me different methods of bending pipe that was faster than how I had been doing it before. He wants everyone in his class to succeed and always makes class fun and interesting.”

As for his employer Butterfield Electric, Michael says he “Still feels very lucky to have had them sponsor me so I could actually get into the program. I’ve been able to work with a lot of high-caliber electricians with them, and my employer put me with a high-caliber foreman that had taken an interest in me. He brought me with him to different jobs and has had me do a lot of challenging work that I’ve enjoyed every minute of.”

One of those jobs was a project at a VA hospital working on catheterization labs and operating rooms.

“The last job site we were on helped a lot,” says Michael. “The job was pretty much done by a four-person crew, so I got to get my hands on a lot of the work that needed to be done wiring the medical booms and all the other medical equipment, which really helped me hone my craft.”

And last—but not least—Michael says that his mom “Has always been there for me and always supported me, even when I dropped out of college with no plan. She is the one who connected me with the WECA graduate, which led me to join the trade, which I plan on having a very long career with.”

Congratulations on qualifying for the 2021 IDEAL National Championships, Michael! We’re thrilled to have you represent WECA on the national stage and will be cheering you on every step of the way. We wish you the best of luck!
Read more >>


Tuesday, November 30, 2021   In a leadership role, or trying to promote to one? Check out GetWired! 403 Jobsite Management Skills

Are you in a leadership role and wanting to enhance your skills--or looking to expand your skillset to be promoted to foreman?

New Class Session Just Posted:

GetWired! 403 Jobsite Management Skills
32 hours; Feb. 23 - Apr. 25, 2022



GET WIRED! 403 Jobsite Management Skills

Recommended Prerequisite for Electrician Trainees: GET WIRED! 100 & 200 Series, 301 & 302 Strongly Advised

Jobsite Management Skills (GET WIRED! 403) is a hybrid, partially instructor-led and partially self-paced online course which focuses on:
  • Providing an introduction to concepts, technology, and best practices for project management, electrical estimating in a software environment, jobsite leadership, and communications
  • Exposure to digital construction management platforms: Learn to use Procore’s Construction Management Software for project management and communications and Esticom Software for basic estimating using in-class instruction and self-paced video training.
  • Interpersonal skills and communications with internal and external stakeholders on the job, as well as those under your supervision
  • Using typical construction documentation and resources on construction management software to plan, manage, and record the electrical work processes of a typical residential/commercial construction project
  • The general leadership and foremanship skills required for profitable and successful project completion
This course is suitable for those already in a leadership role on a commercial or residential electrical jobsite who wish to enhance their skills, as well as suitable for those who want to develop the skills they need to be promoted to foreman.
  • Total class hours available: 32
  • Standard Tuition Fee: $339
  • Late Tuition Fee: $389
Click here to enroll in GetWired! 403 Jobsite Management Skills today!
Read more >>


Tuesday, November 30, 2021   Recap: Our Veterans Day 2021 spotlights on two current WECA Apprentices who have served

Plus, thank you to our Apprentices, Students, Staff, and Member Contractors who have served.

Joseph Aragon, III
United States Army



This past Veteran’s Day, we were proud to spotlight Joseph Aragon II, a United States Army veteran and third-year Commercial Electrical Apprentice with WECA Member Contractor Reyff Electric Company.

Joseph—who served as a 63B-Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic in Afghanistan and Fort Lewis, Washington during his Army career—says that the Army taught him the principles of strong leadership, excellent worth ethic and the want and need for hard work, and that he’s applied it both in the classroom and on the jobsite during his Apprenticeship.

“I absolutely recommend an electrical career for veterans, and also for those who are going into the military,” says Joseph.

When in the classroom at WECA, Joseph notes that he particularly appreciates the teaching style of Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship instructor James Hall, saying “I really appreciate how much detail he puts into his instruction and willingness to pause to further explain [concepts] to his students who have questions.”

Joseph also suggests to current and future Apprentices that when in doubt or grappling with a rough patch, they “remember the ultimate goal and why you decided to pursue being an electrician," and reminds them that electricians "light the way.”
?
Thank you for your service, Joseph, and thank you for being part of the WECA family!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Charles Burnette
United States Army



Another Veteran’s Day spotlight we were proud to share comes to us courtesy of Charles Burnette, a Commercial Electrical Apprentice working for WECA Arizona founding Member Contractor Corbins Electric!

Charles—who served in the Army for two years as an 11 Bravo infantryman stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia—was inspired to enter the trades by his father-in-law.

“I chose electrical because it’s forever changing and growing,” says Charles. “And I like WECA because it’s hands-on learning in the class and in the field, and I get to accumulate hours in the field while getting paid to go to school. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Charles’ favorite thing that he’s learned during his Apprenticeship was “potential” and learning how and why birds are not affected by the current when landing on a power line.

Charles says that current and future Apprentices should “keep an open mind because there is more than one way to do things; who knows—you may learn something new” and says that joining the trades after serving in the Army has “changed my life and given me a new drive to grow and learn.”
?
Thank you for your service, Charles! We’re thrilled to have you as part of the inaugural WECA Arizona Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program! 
Read more >>


Tuesday, November 30, 2021   National Apprenticeship Week 2021 recap

National Apprenticeship Week 2021 recap: learn more about WECA's new Arizona Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program, and meet current and former WECA Apprentices, including some "Where Are They Now" Spotlights of Apprenticeship Grads

Get to know the new WECA Arizona Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program by watching the video below!

Get to Know the WECA Arizona Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship Program
----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jeremy Alessandro, 2015 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate, current WECA Health and Welfare and Pension Board of Trustees Trustee, and Operations Manager of Alessandro Electric, Inc.



Jeremy Alessandro—2015 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate, current WECA Health and Welfare and Pension Board of Trustees Trustee, and Operations Manager of Alessandro Electric, Inc.—started running his first large project immediately after graduating from WECA.

“It was a $680,000 HVAC project and lighting retrofit for Rocklin High School,” recalls Jeremy. “It involved a 13-person crew and a 90-day completion time; it was crazy going immediately from taking direction to directing a larger crew. Upon completion of that project there ended up being an immediate need to fill a purchasing role within the organization. Although I was just supposed to fill in, I made the position more than just purchasing. I started to find opportunities to go above and beyond in the role and over time, made it into an operation manager role. I created and continue to create process improvement for the company. I started with prefabrication design/support and continued to create standardization of work, safety training, strategic vendor relationships, and logistic improvements. I am currently reengineering the way projects are built from initially getting the job all the way through completion. I am always looking at the company and looking for the lowest hanging fruit (what will help the organization most) to improve upon. Constant improvement is necessary in this industry, and everything is changing around you. You can either be the catalyst for change or be run over by it.”

Jeremy’s career trajectory and advice are certainly inspiring—but that’s not all!
Here are some more nuggets of wisdom from Jeremy:
  • Jeremy’s favorite thing about his career is the ability to constantly improve. He always strives to make tomorrow better than today.
  • Jeremy advises current and future Apprentices alike to “Treat the Apprenticeship as your dream and don’t procrastinate.”
  • To ensure success after graduation, Jeremy says to remember some key sayings to get through tough times, such as:
  • Embrace the credo “It all pays the same.” This means that nothing is below you, and to lead by example.
  • “Do whatever it takes.” Be willing to go above and beyond in any situation, and you will more than likely be kept busy during the slow times.
  • “Living the dream.” Even if your day is hard, find what’s good in it and fake it if you have to, because we work together way too long and hard to deal with each other’s negativity.
  • Find a company and become indispensable. Many companies—including merit companies—will take into consideration how long you have been with the organization. Find a place you love and feel like you want to be with for the long haul and do whatever it takes to stay there. I would often during slow times wait for the next project rather than company hop, and that loyalty kept me busy.
  • Find your motivation in life, and then use that motivation to propel you to be the best every day. Don’t let anything stop you from your happiness. Almost all hardships are temporary and adapt to those which are not.
And last, but not least, Jeremy recalls his WECA Apprenticeship days fondly, saying that his favorite memory of his WECA Apprenticeship was the feeling he’d get every time he went back to class.

“It was amazing to be with a group of guys that were all there to make each other better,” says Jeremy. And he also recalls one instructor in particular—Jimmie Slemp—and credited him with “making electrical fun and always pushing me to be better.”

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jay Taylor, 1998 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate, current Vice Chair of the WECA Health and Welfare and Pension Board of Trustees, and current Field Operations Manager for Vasko Electric, Inc.



“Graduation is only your first accomplishment,” says Jay Taylor—1998 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate, current Vice Chair of the WECA Health and Welfare and Pension Board of Trustees, and current Field Operations Manager for WECA Member Contractor Vasko Electric, Inc. “Continue to educate yourself with the great courses offered to you [at WECA]. If you are required to complete 32 hours of continuing education, complete 64 hours. Don’t just meet the expectations of your employer—exceed the expectations. Don’t just set goals and forget about it; set goals and let your supervisor know what they are and ask them to help you reach those goals.”

Speaking of accomplishments, Jay has had some notable ones during his career—like becoming Vasko’s first WECA Apprentice upon his hiring in 1993!

While at WECA, Jay fondly remembers his experiences in the classroom and with classmates, saying that “A great way to develop a friendship is to sit in a classroom for five years discussing the NEC. I didn’t just learn from the lessons provided; we also learned from each other by sharing our challenges on the job.”

After graduation, Jay “Became a foreman. For the next seven years I worked my way up to running some of the largest and most complicated projects Vasko Electric had to offer. I then moved into the office as a small projects manager for two years, and in 2009 I took on the role of superintendent. Over nine years, I managed the company’s workforce and safety [programs] and promoted education. The position is also responsible for projecting the workflow and sharing the peaks and valleys of our workforce with our team of project managers and estimators,” says Jay.

Jay continues, saying that “There are many things to like about our trade. There’s always room to grow and improve, and you don’t get bored with the work. There are constant changes to the code, the product we install, and technology. With these constant changes, it gives me the drive to strive for continuing education.”

Although Jay’s enjoyed success in his various roles at Vasko Electric since graduating from WECA, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from.

“Over the years I’ve stayed involved with WECA,” says Jay. “In 2012 I sat on the Apprentice Quality Task Force, which was developed to help with the intake process for both WECA staff and the Apprentices. In 2017 I became a trustee for WECA and currently have the privilege to sit with the board members.”

Thank you, Jay, for being such an integral part of the WECA family! We appreciate you and your contributions. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------



Jock Millspaugh (pictured far right), 2017 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate, current Director of Maintenance and Operations for the Kerman Unified School District

2017 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprentice Graduate Jock Millspaugh’s motto is “Take every opportunity to invest in yourself. Further your education. Get any certification that’s available. You never know what’s coming around the corner, so you might as well be ready for everything.”

And ready for everything he was. After graduating from WECA in 2017, Jock worked for Valley Unique Electric as a Journeyman electrician for two years. In 2019, he applied for and was hired as the Director of Maintenance and Operations for the Kerman Unified School District, where he directly oversees a crew of seven maintenance workers who work on seven school sites serving a total of 5,500 students.

Jock says that his favorite thing about his career is the relative freedom and varying nature of his work, stating that “I get to fix things! We replace flooring, upgrade electrical, renovate classrooms and multipurpose rooms, and so much more. I really love the freedom of improving our facilities. Being able to make a difference in the community is truly the most rewarding part of my new career.”

While at WECA, Jock’s favorite parts of the Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program were his classmates and instructors.

“We had a lot of fun,” Jock says. “The labs were always a good time too. In class we learned who could talk the talk. In labs we learned who could walk the walk. Although, the [health] insurance wasn’t too bad either.”

As a WECA alumnus, Jock had the following advice to impart upon current and prospective Apprentices: “Take the time to network and get to know your fellow classmates. The relationships you build will last long after graduation. Your peers will be a great resource for job openings, troubleshooting, and friendship. Learn from their experiences. Get to know them on a professional and personal level. These relationships will prove to be extremely valuable in the future.”

Further, Jock says that “There’s nothing wrong with being a lifelong electrician. It can be very financially rewarding. But you should never stop learning. Stay current, as the electrical code changes and new regulations demand that we continually evolve with the ever-changing landscape of the industry. There is always room for growth. The more you invest in your career, the more you’ll get out of it. Try and absorb as much information as possible from other tradesmen with more experience. Also, get to know the sequencing of a construction project. Understanding the order of operations can help you avoid problems before they become problems. Lastly, if you’re in your 20s, save as much of your money as possible. Put away 15 percent of your check for retirement. You’ll thank me when you’re 55.”

Jock also acknowledges that he wouldn’t be where he is today without support from family and colleagues.

“Hogi Selling owns Valley Unique Electric. He took a shot on me and it changed my life. He didn’t give me a job—he gave me a career. I will always be grateful for the opportunity he gave me,” says Jock. “Also, a shout-out to my dad for encouraging me to become an electrician, and to my wife, who is an amazing mother! Lastly, thank you to the instructors at WECA—Keith, Jimmie, Mike and Ned—who really made class a lot of fun, and to WECA Insurance Administrator Cindy Cormier, for always being helpful.”

Thank you, Jock, for being part of the WECA family! We are gratified to see you excelling in your career. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

George Cook-Cantu, fourth-year Commercial Electrical Apprentice with Rex Moore Group, Inc.



Fourth-year Commercial Electrical Apprentice George Cook-Cantu was one of the lucky few to get their start in the trades in high school. He had the opportunity to work for WECA Member Contractor Rex Moore Group, Inc., where he discovered how much he enjoyed building things and observed that when working around the electricians, he enjoyed the same bond and camaraderie that he experienced as a high school athlete. Though he didn’t pursue an electrical Apprenticeship immediately after high school, the experience stayed with him and eventually inspired him to become an electrician.

However, when he decided to pursue a career in the electrical industry, choosing Rex Moore and WECA was a no-brainer.

“One of the major goals of the WECA Apprenticeship is to create the next generation of leaders,” says George. “Because of this and the high level of education [WECA provides], I knew the WECA Apprenticeship route was the correct one for me.”

Now that he’s in the midst of his Apprenticeship, George says that his favorite thing is learning about the willingness to adapt.

“On the jobsite there is constant change. There is constant change of personnel, which means many personalities need to be navigated for the job to be done efficiently. There is also the need to be flexible with planned work due to other trades [on the jobsite]. And more recently, the willingness to adapt has been amplified by COVID protocols and mandates. The ability to adapt is a skill I will continue to sharpen both at work and in my personal life,” says George.

While in the classroom at WECA’s Sacramento/Rancho Cordova headquarters, though, George loves that all the instructors at WECA have something unique to offer. However, his favorite instructor is James Hall, due to James’ success at delivering foundational first-year electrical concepts with a balance of urgency and humor.

And although George is still building his electrical career, he says the keys to success he’s found so far are to “Divide the years of Apprenticeship through goals. Five years can seem overwhelming and long. There is no perfect way of dividing up the Apprenticeship. It will depend on your personal ambitions and execution. I personally set a career goal that I wanted to achieve by the end of year two. Then I set a goal that I want to be achieved by the end of year four. My final year will be about making a smooth transition out of the Apprenticeship and into a leadership role,” says George.

All told, though, George says that “The WECA Apprenticeship has had a significant impact on my life. I have found a great career in electrical and with the education, structure and guidance provided through the Apprenticeship, I will have the tools needed to thrive in construction.”

Thank you for choosing WECA for your Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship, George! We’re glad to have you here, and wish you every success as you continue to craft your career in the commercial electrical industry! 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Adam Moreno, 2014 Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate and owner of Cal Valley Electric



Becoming a Commercial Electrician through WECA’s Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program can take you to myriad places. For 2014 Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate Adam Moreno, it eventually led to him opening his own electrical contracting business—Cal Valley Electric—in 2019.

Prior to opening his own electrical contracting business, Adam worked with WECA Member Contractor Valley Unique Electric, working his way up to the Journeyman and Foreman roles.

“My favorite thing about my career is that I have learned a skill that will forever be needed,” Adam says. “I am always going to be part of something that benefits the community whether it be a school, hospital, community center or church.”

Looking back on his Apprenticeship, Adam says that his favorite memories are that of the people he met along the way, like the classmates that he learned the trade with. But he also implores current and future Apprentices to “Find a mentor, coworker, classmate, employer or anyone in the trade to try and learn from, and respect the trade. Ask questions—it’s okay not to know something but WECA’s instructors are there to guide you in the right direction.”

Adam continues, stating that Apprentices should “Continue learning because a few updates in the NEC and local codes could change when you didn’t realize it. And after you graduate, remember the instructors that helped you through those five years—they didn’t leave; they are still there for questions and gladly give advice when asked.”

Though Adam is now successful in his own electrical contracting career, he knows he owes some of his success to mentors, friends, and loved ones.

“Jason Jensen is the true definition of a mentor whether it be personal, religious, or work-related. Our conversations are always genuine with lots of laughter and are always appreciated. Mike Golden, my best friend, previous roommate, and previous Apprentice—who would’ve thought [we’d be here] on that day thirteen years ago when he asked me if I wanted to be an Apprentice. My wife, who has been there since my second semester in my first year—to understanding that long hours, late nights out of town at work, and more are just part of the business. And Valley Unique Electric, thank you for everything that lead me to where I am today; I appreciate it,” says Adam.

Congratulations on founding your own electrical contracting business, Adam! It is great to see you thriving in your chosen career, and we look forward to seeing what else you achieve. 
 
Read more >>


Tuesday, November 30, 2021   Introducing WECA's newest Apprenticeship instructor, Jaron Stroud!

Get to know Jaron--who's based at our new Fresno training facility--below!

Jaron Stroud, 2015 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate and WECA Fresno's newest Apprenticeship instructor



Meet Jaron Stroud, WECA Fresno’s newest Apprenticeship instructor (and 2015 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate)!

Looking back on his Apprenticeship, Stroud fondly remembers “growing up with my fellow students as we all became better and better electricians. Remembering what we were learning and struggling with in the beginning and then realizing how much we progressed semester after semester gave me pride in myself as well as my fellow classmates that went on that journey with me.”

Since graduating from WECA in 2015, Stroud’s immersed himself in myriad aspects of the electrical industry.

“I did what I could to see everything that the field has to offer,” says Stroud. “I tried my hand in my different areas of the electrical field, like solar, industrial, motor controls, traffic signals and street lights, and eventually got into teaching.”

Stroud says his favorite thing about being a teacher is that “I get the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment knowing that I am helping new electricians starting their career get the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in their workplace. I had many people help me along my career path and am more than happy to pay it forward to those wanting to get into this career.”

And now Stroud is giving back and ensuring that current and future WECA Apprentices succeed similarly. His advice is to “Keep in mind that education is what separates good electricians from great electricians. Being in a field that changes so rapidly, becoming complacent in what you know now will only limit your chances of advancement in the long run. Become a lifetime student…as an Apprentice, you’ll be expected to learn many things very quickly but even after you’ve accumulated enough skills and knowhow to be successful at your current job, keep taking advantage of every opportunity to grow, because it will only help you become that much more valuable as your career progresses.”

Stroud also particularly attributes his success to a few past WECA instructors as well as his fiancée.

“I’d like to give a shout-out to all my past WECA instructors—Zach, Jimmie, Ned, and Mike. I would also like to thank my fiancée Jordyn for her love and constant support, for all the late nights and early mornings, and for keeping me sane over the past few years. Thank you for being my muse, chronicler, proofreader, and brain-stormer. But most of all, thank you for being my best friend. I owe you everything.”

Well said, Jaron! We’re thrilled to have another WECA alum on our team, and know you’ll do great things at our new Fresno training facility!
Read more >>


Tuesday, November 30, 2021   WECA's Student Referral Service: connect with a great employer in Sonoma County today!


WECA's Student Referral Service: connect with a great employer today!

WECA Contractors urgently hiring Electrician Trainees in Sonoma County NOW!



WECA's Student Referral Service is a conduit to introduce our current Electrician Trainees, Journeyperson Continuing Education students, and WECA Grads to our Member Contractors. It's meant for students or grads who are currently out of work; to help them find a great new position.

There is no charge to Student or Member to use our Student Referral Service. WECA's Student Referral Service provides additional customer service by having WECA staff provide hands-on referrals, taking some of that work off your plate.  

This is a free, no-obligation service. WECA's purpose in providing this service is to help our Member Contractors find the qualified workers they need. 

Three ways to sign up for the Student Referral Service today! Electrician Trainees residing in Sonoma County are in extra-high demand now--don't miss out on your next great opportunity! Act today!
  1. Contact Trisha Hughes, Client Services Specialist I, at thughes@goweca.com
  2. Or call our office and ask to speak with her at 1-877-444-9322
  3. Or fill out the SRS sign-up form on our website.
Read more >>


Thursday, November 18, 2021   Motion granted to stay OSHA's COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard

Content Courtesy of OSHA.GOV: On November 12, 2021, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit granted a motion to stay OSHA's COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing Emergency Temporary Standard, published on November 5, 2021 (86 Fed. Reg. 61402) ("ETS"). The court ordered that OSHA "take no steps to implement or enforce" the ETS "until further court order." While OSHA remains confident in its authority to protect workers in emergencies, OSHA has suspended activities related to the implementation and enforcement of the ETS pending future developments in the litigation.

OSHA page for COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS
Read more >>


Thursday, November 18, 2021   Join WECA and Cook Brown, LLP for a Webinar Series on Prevailing Wage; Skilled and Trained Workforce

Part 1 (Prevailing Wage) on Dec. 7

Part 2 (Skilled and Trained Workforce) on Dec. 14



Join Cook Brown Partner Carrie Bushman December 7 for Part 1 of a two-part webinar series on Prevailing Wage and Skilled and Trained Workforce. Part 1 will cover Prevailing Wage, including:
  • Identifying and understanding the wage determination applicable to your project
  • Taking credit for employer-provided fringe benefits
  • Record-keeping
  • Apprenticeship compliance
  • Enforcement
Register today to join us online on December 7, from 8:30 to 10:30 AM, for Part 1 of this informative webinar series.

This webinar is complimentary for WECA Member Contractors and their employees as a WECA member benefit! All others are $75/registration.

Register for the Dec. 7 webinar here!



Join Cook Brown Partner Carrie Bushman for Part 2 of a two-part webinar series on December 14. Part 2 will focus on Skilled and Trained Workforce, where Carrie will discuss:
  • Recognizing to which types of projects Skilled and Trained Workforce requirements apply
  • Understanding apprentice graduation requirements
  • Compliance and enforcement
Register today to join us online on December 14, from 8:30 to 9:30 AM, for Part 2 of this informative webinar series.

This webinar is complimentary for WECA Member Contractors and their employees as a WECA member benefit! All others are $75/registration.

Register for the Dec. 14 webinar here!
Read more >>


Thursday, November 18, 2021   Looking to conduct Apprenticeship outreach and workforce development in your community?

Looking to conduct Apprenticeship outreach and workforce development in your community? WECA would be thrilled to have Member Contractors join us at these CIE Foundation Trades Day events:

January 27, 2022 in Chico

February 1, 2022 in Orange County



Register as a Sponsor for Trades Day on January 27, 2022 in Chico

Register as a Sponsor for Trades Day on February 1, 2022 in Orange County
Read more >>


Thursday, November 18, 2021   Missed our Veterans Day coverage? Here's two spotlights on WECA Apprentices who've served

Joseph Aragon, III
United States Army



This Veteran’s Day, we’re proud to spotlight Joseph Aragon II, a United States Army veteran and third-year Commercial Electrical Apprentice with WECA Member Contractor Reyff Electric Company.

Joseph—who served as a 63B-Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic in Afghanistan and Fort Lewis, Washington during his Army career—says that the Army taught him the principles of strong leadership, excellent worth ethic and the want and need for hard work, and that he’s applied it both in the classroom and on the jobsite during his Apprenticeship.

“I absolutely recommend an electrical career for veterans, and also for those who are going into the military,” says Joseph.

When in the classroom at WECA, Joseph notes that he particularly appreciates the teaching style of Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship instructor James Hall, saying “I really appreciate how much detail he puts into his instruction and willingness to pause to further explain [concepts] to his students who have questions.”

Joseph also suggests to current and future Apprentices that when in doubt or grappling with a rough patch, they “remember the ultimate goal and why you decided to pursue being an electrician," and reminds them that electricians "light the way.”
?
Thank you for your service, Joseph, and thank you for being part of the WECA family!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Charles Burnette
United States Army



Another Veteran’s Day spotlight we're proud to share comes to us courtesy of Charles Burnette, a Commercial Electrical Apprentice working for WECA Arizona founding Member Contractor Corbins Electric!

Charles—who served in the Army for two years as an 11 Bravo infantryman stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia—was inspired to enter the trades by his father-in-law.

“I chose electrical because it’s forever changing and growing,” says Charles. “And I like WECA because it’s hands-on learning in the class and in the field, and I get to accumulate hours in the field while getting paid to go to school. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Charles’ favorite thing that he’s learned during his Apprenticeship was “potential” and learning how and why birds are not affected by the current when landing on a power line.

Charles says that current and future Apprentices should “keep an open mind because there is more than one way to do things; who knows—you may learn something new” and says that joining the trades after serving in the Army has “changed my life and given me a new drive to grow and learn.”
?
Thank you for your service, Charles! We’re thrilled to have you as part of the inaugural WECA Arizona Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program! 
Read more >>


Thursday, November 18, 2021   It's National Apprenticeship Week!

Join in on the fun with a video introducing our new Arizona Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program, spotlights on current and former Apprentices and behind-the-scenes looks at our Commercial Electrical and Low Voltage open houses in Sacramento/Rancho Cordova and San Diego!

This National Apprenticeship Week, get to know the new WECA Arizona Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program by watching the video below!

Get to Know the WECA Arizona Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship Program

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

Jaron Stroud, 2015 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate and WECA Fresno's newest Apprenticeship instructor



Let’s kick off National Apprenticeship Week 2021 with a spotlight on Jaron Stroud, WECA Fresno’s newest Apprenticeship instructor (and 2015 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate)!

Looking back on his Apprenticeship, Stroud fondly remembers “growing up with my fellow students as we all became better and better electricians. Remembering what we were learning and struggling with in the beginning and then realizing how much we progressed semester after semester gave me pride in myself as well as my fellow classmates that went on that journey with me.”

Since graduating from WECA in 2015, Stroud’s immersed himself in myriad aspects of the electrical industry.

“I did what I could to see everything that the field has to offer,” says Stroud. “I tried my hand in my different areas of the electrical field, like solar, industrial, motor controls, traffic signals and street lights, and eventually got into teaching.”

Stroud says his favorite thing about being a teacher is that “I get the feeling of satisfaction and fulfillment knowing that I am helping new electricians starting their career get the knowledge and skills necessary to succeed in their workplace. I had many people help me along my career path and am more than happy to pay it forward to those wanting to get into this career.”

And now Stroud is giving back and ensuring that current and future WECA Apprentices succeed similarly. His advice is to “Keep in mind that education is what separates good electricians from great electricians. Being in a field that changes so rapidly, becoming complacent in what you know now will only limit your chances of advancement in the long run. Become a lifetime student…as an Apprentice, you’ll be expected to learn many things very quickly but even after you’ve accumulated enough skills and knowhow to be successful at your current job, keep taking advantage of every opportunity to grow, because it will only help you become that much more valuable as your career progresses.”

Stroud also particularly attributes his success to a few past WECA instructors as well as his fiancée.

“I’d like to give a shout-out to all my past WECA instructors—Zach, Jimmie, Ned, and Mike. I would also like to thank my fiancée Jordyn for her love and constant support, for all the late nights and early mornings, and for keeping me sane over the past few years. Thank you for being my muse, chronicler, proofreader, and brain-stormer. But most of all, thank you for being my best friend. I owe you everything.”

Well said, Jaron! We’re thrilled to have another WECA alumnus on our team, and know you’ll do great things at our new Fresno training facility!

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jeremy Alessandro, 2015 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate, current WECA Health and Welfare and Pension Board of Trustees Trustee, and Operations Manager of Alessandro Electric, Inc.



Jeremy Alessandro—2015 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate, current WECA Health and Welfare and Pension Board of Trustees Trustee, and Operations Manager of Alessandro Electric, Inc.—started running his first large project immediately after graduating from WECA.

“It was a $680,000 HVAC project and lighting retrofit for Rocklin High School,” recalls Jeremy. “It involved a 13-person crew and a 90-day completion time; it was crazy going immediately from taking direction to directing a larger crew. Upon completion of that project there ended up being an immediate need to fill a purchasing role within the organization. Although I was just supposed to fill in, I made the position more than just purchasing. I started to find opportunities to go above and beyond in the role and over time, made it into an operation manager role. I created and continue to create process improvement for the company. I started with prefabrication design/support and continued to create standardization of work, safety training, strategic vendor relationships, and logistic improvements. I am currently reengineering the way projects are built from initially getting the job all the way through completion. I am always looking at the company and looking for the lowest hanging fruit (what will help the organization most) to improve upon. Constant improvement is necessary in this industry, and everything is changing around you. You can either be the catalyst for change or be run over by it.”

Jeremy’s career trajectory and advice are certainly inspiring—but that’s not all!
Here are some more nuggets of wisdom from Jeremy:
  • Jeremy’s favorite thing about his career is the ability to constantly improve. He always strives to make tomorrow better than today.
  • Jeremy advises current and future Apprentices alike to “Treat the Apprenticeship as your dream and don’t procrastinate.”
  • To ensure success after graduation, Jeremy says to remember some key sayings to get through tough times, such as:
  • Embrace the credo “It all pays the same.” This means that nothing is below you, and to lead by example.
  • “Do whatever it takes.” Be willing to go above and beyond in any situation, and you will more than likely be kept busy during the slow times.
  • “Living the dream.” Even if your day is hard, find what’s good in it and fake it if you have to, because we work together way too long and hard to deal with each other’s negativity.
  • Find a company and become indispensable. Many companies—including merit companies—will take into consideration how long you have been with the organization. Find a place you love and feel like you want to be with for the long haul and do whatever it takes to stay there. I would often during slow times wait for the next project rather than company hop, and that loyalty kept me busy.
  • Find your motivation in life, and then use that motivation to propel you to be the best every day. Don’t let anything stop you from your happiness. Almost all hardships are temporary and adapt to those which are not.


And last, but not least, Jeremy recalls his WECA Apprenticeship days fondly, saying that his favorite memory of his WECA Apprenticeship was the feeling he’d get every time he went back to class.

“It was amazing to be with a group of guys that were all there to make each other better,” says Jeremy. And he also recalls one instructor in particular—Jimmie Slemp—and credited him with “making electrical fun and always pushing me to be better.”

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------

Jay Taylor, 1998 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate, current Vice Chair of the WECA Health and Welfare and Pension Board of Trustees, and current Field Operations Manager for Vasko Electric, Inc.



“Graduation is only your first accomplishment,” says Jay Taylor—1998 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate, current Vice Chair of the WECA Health and Welfare and Pension Board of Trustees, and current Field Operations Manager for WECA Member Contractor Vasko Electric, Inc. “Continue to educate yourself with the great courses offered to you [at WECA]. If you are required to complete 32 hours of continuing education, complete 64 hours. Don’t just meet the expectations of your employer—exceed the expectations. Don’t just set goals and forget about it; set goals and let your supervisor know what they are and ask them to help you reach those goals.”

Speaking of accomplishments, Jay has had some notable ones during his career—like becoming Vasko’s first WECA Apprentice upon his hiring in 1993!

While at WECA, Jay fondly remembers his experiences in the classroom and with classmates, saying that “A great way to develop a friendship is to sit in a classroom for five years discussing the NEC. I didn’t just learn from the lessons provided; we also learned from each other by sharing our challenges on the job.”

After graduation, Jay “Became a foreman. For the next seven years I worked my way up to running some of the largest and most complicated projects Vasko Electric had to offer. I then moved into the office as a small projects manager for two years, and in 2009 I took on the role of superintendent. Over nine years, I managed the company’s workforce and safety [programs] and promoted education. The position is also responsible for projecting the workflow and sharing the peaks and valleys of our workforce with our team of project managers and estimators,” says Jay.

Jay continues, saying that “There are many things to like about our trade. There’s always room to grow and improve, and you don’t get bored with the work. There are constant changes to the code, the product we install, and technology. With these constant changes, it gives me the drive to strive for continuing education.”
Although Jay’s enjoyed success in his various roles at Vasko Electric since graduating from WECA, he hasn’t forgotten where he came from.

“Over the years I’ve stayed involved with WECA,” says Jay. “In 2012 I sat on the Apprentice Quality Task Force, which was developed to help with the intake process for both WECA staff and the Apprentices. In 2017 I became a trustee for WECA and currently have the privilege to sit with the board members.”

Thank you, Jay, for being such an integral part of the WECA family! We appreciate you and your contributions. 

----------------------------------------------------------------------------
Jock Millspaugh (pictured far right), 2017 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate, current Director of Maintenance and Operations for the Kerman Unified School District



2017 WECA Commercial Electrical Apprentice Graduate Jock Millspaugh’s motto is “Take every opportunity to invest in yourself. Further your education. Get any certification that’s available. You never know what’s coming around the corner, so you might as well be ready for everything.”

And ready for everything he was. After graduating from WECA in 2017, Jock worked for Valley Unique Electric as a Journeyman electrician for two years. In 2019, he applied for and was hired as the Director of Maintenance and Operations for the Kerman Unified School District, where he directly oversees a crew of seven maintenance workers who work on seven school sites serving a total of 5,500 students.

Jock says that his favorite thing about his career is the relative freedom and varying nature of his work, stating that “I get to fix things! We replace flooring, upgrade electrical, renovate classrooms and multipurpose rooms, and so much more. I really love the freedom of improving our facilities. Being able to make a difference in the community is truly the most rewarding part of my new career.”

While at WECA, Jock’s favorite parts of the Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program were his classmates and instructors.

“We had a lot of fun,” Jock says. “The labs were always a good time too. In class we learned who could talk the talk. In labs we learned who could walk the walk. Although, the [health] insurance wasn’t too bad either.”

As a WECA alumnus, Jock had the following advice to impart upon current and prospective Apprentices: “Take the time to network and get to know your fellow classmates. The relationships you build will last long after graduation. Your peers will be a great resource for job openings, troubleshooting, and friendship. Learn from their experiences. Get to know them on a professional and personal level. These relationships will prove to be extremely valuable in the future.”

Further, Jock says that “There’s nothing wrong with being a lifelong electrician. It can be very financially rewarding. But you should never stop learning. Stay current, as the electrical code changes and new regulations demand that we continually evolve with the ever-changing landscape of the industry. There is always room for growth. The more you invest in your career, the more you’ll get out of it. Try and absorb as much information as possible from other tradesmen with more experience. Also, get to know the sequencing of a construction project. Understanding the order of operations can help you avoid problems before they become problems. Lastly, if you’re in your 20s, save as much of your money as possible. Put away 15 percent of your check for retirement. You’ll thank me when you’re 55.”

Jock also acknowledges that he wouldn’t be where he is today without support from family and colleagues.

“Hogi Selling owns Valley Unique Electric. He took a shot on me and it changed my life. He didn’t give me a job—he gave me a career. I will always be grateful for the opportunity he gave me,” says Jock. “Also, a shout-out to my dad for encouraging me to become an electrician, and to my wife, who is an amazing mother! Lastly, thank you to the instructors at WECA—Keith, Jimmie, Mike and Ned—who really made class a lot of fun, and to WECA Insurance Administrator Cindy Cormier, for always being helpful.”

Thank you, Jock, for being part of the WECA family! We are gratified to see you excelling in your career. 

-------------------------------------------------------------------------

George Cook-Cantu, fourth-year Commercial Electrical Apprentice with Rex Moore Group, Inc.



Fourth-year Commercial Electrical Apprentice George Cook-Cantu was one of the lucky few to get their start in the trades in high school. He had the opportunity to work for WECA Member Contractor Rex Moore Group, Inc., where he discovered how much he enjoyed building things and observed that when working around the electricians, he enjoyed the same bond and camaraderie that he experienced as a high school athlete. Though he didn’t pursue an electrical Apprenticeship immediately after high school, the experience stayed with him and eventually inspired him to become an electrician.

However, when he decided to pursue a career in the electrical industry, choosing Rex Moore and WECA was a no-brainer.

“One of the major goals of the WECA Apprenticeship is to create the next generation of leaders,” says George. “Because of this and the high level of education [WECA provides], I knew the WECA Apprenticeship route was the correct one for me.”

Now that he’s in the midst of his Apprenticeship, George says that his favorite thing is learning about the willingness to adapt.

“On the jobsite there is constant change. There is constant change of personnel, which means many personalities need to be navigated for the job to be done efficiently. There is also the need to be flexible with planned work due to other trades [on the jobsite]. And more recently, the willingness to adapt has been amplified by COVID protocols and mandates. The ability to adapt is a skill I will continue to sharpen both at work and in my personal life,” says George.

While in the classroom at WECA’s Sacramento/Rancho Cordova headquarters, though, George loves that all the instructors at WECA have something unique to offer. However, his favorite instructor is James Hall, due to James’ success at delivering foundational first-year electrical concepts with a balance of urgency and humor.

And although George is still building his electrical career, he says the keys to success he’s found so far are to “Divide the years of Apprenticeship through goals. Five years can seem overwhelming and long. There is no perfect way of dividing up the Apprenticeship. It will depend on your personal ambitions and execution. I personally set a career goal that I wanted to achieve by the end of year two. Then I set a goal that I want to be achieved by the end of year four. My final year will be about making a smooth transition out of the Apprenticeship and into a leadership role,” says George.

All told, though, George says that “The WECA Apprenticeship has had a significant impact on my life. I have found a great career in electrical and with the education, structure and guidance provided through the Apprenticeship, I will have the tools needed to thrive in construction.”

Thank you for choosing WECA for your Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship, George! We’re glad to have you here, and wish you every success as you continue to craft your career in the commercial electrical industry! 

-------------------------------------------------------------

Adam Moreno, 2014 Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate and owner of Cal Valley Electric



Becoming a Commercial Electrician through WECA’s Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program can take you to myriad places. For 2014 Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship graduate Adam Moreno, it eventually led to him opening his own electrical contracting business—Cal Valley Electric—in 2019.

Prior to opening his own electrical contracting business, Adam worked with WECA Member Contractor Valley Unique Electric, working his way up to the Journeyman and Foreman roles.

“My favorite thing about my career is that I have learned a skill that will forever be needed,” Adam says. “I am always going to be part of something that benefits the community whether it be a school, hospital, community center or church.”

Looking back on his Apprenticeship, Adam says that his favorite memories are that of the people he met along the way, like the classmates that he learned the trade with. But he also implores current and future Apprentices to “Find a mentor, coworker, classmate, employer or anyone in the trade to try and learn from, and respect the trade. Ask questions—it’s okay not to know something but WECA’s instructors are there to guide you in the right direction.”

Adam continues, stating that Apprentices should “Continue learning because a few updates in the NEC and local codes could change when you didn’t realize it. And after you graduate, remember the instructors that helped you through those five years—they didn’t leave; they are still there for questions and gladly give advice when asked.”

Though Adam is now successful in his own electrical contracting career, he knows he owes some of his success to mentors, friends, and loved ones.

“Jason Jensen is the true definition of a mentor whether it be personal, religious, or work-related. Our conversations are always genuine with lots of laughter and are always appreciated. Mike Golden, my best friend, previous roommate, and previous Apprentice—who would’ve thought [we’d be here] on that day thirteen years ago when he asked me if I wanted to be an Apprentice. My wife, who has been there since my second semester in my first year—to understanding that long hours, late nights out of town at work, and more are just part of the business. And Valley Unique Electric, thank you for everything that lead me to where I am today; I appreciate it,” says Adam.

Congratulations on founding your own electrical contracting business, Adam! It is great to see you thriving in your chosen career, and we look forward to seeing what else you achieve. 

-----------------------------------------------------------------------

But that's not all! Check out some snaps from our Commercial Electrical and Low Voltage open houses in Sacramento/Rancho Cordova and San Diego!

Sacramento/Rancho Cordova open house



We treated attendees to Starbucks, snacks, and WECA swag!



Lead Instructor and Lab Facilities Manager Jimmie Slemp (pictured far left) speaks while Assistant Director of Apprenticeship Wendy Flanagan and Apprenticeship Instructor John Arias (pictured far right) look on.



Apprenticeship Instructor John Arias gives attendees a brief overview of the Low Voltage Apprenticeship program.



Lead Instructor and Lab Facilities Manager Jimmie Slemp explains the Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program to attendees.



Attendees were able to do a hands-on demo with wiring!



Meanwhile, in the Commercial Electrical lab, Slemp guides an attendee through a hands-on demo.

San Diego open house



Workforce Development Supervisor Diane Trotter explains the merits of WECA's three Apprenticeship programs to attendees as Apprenticeship Curriculum Developer Talon Pobuda looks on.



Attendees listened with interest to a presentation on WECA's three Apprenticeship programs.



Pobuda shows attendees the Low Voltage Apprenticeship lab setup.



Then, Pobuda pivoted over to the Commercial Electrical lab, where he explained the basics of motor controls to attendees.


 
Read more >>


Thursday, November 18, 2021   Article: California's power grab over batteries

Content courtesy of: Sammy Roth/Los Angeles Times

You may not have heard of the Contractors State License Board, or CSLB.

But the California agency sent shock waves through the solar industry this summer when it ruled that providers of rooftop solar equipment would no longer be allowed to install batteries — increasingly popular for keeping the lights on during blackouts — without getting a new license that might require them to overhaul their workforce.

Industry leaders were apoplectic, saying the requirement would be impossible to meet and would crash the rooftop solar market. They filed a lawsuit to block it.

The groups pushing the rule change frame it as a safety issue. By requiring solar companies to use certified electricians to handle battery installations, they have argued, state officials can limit the risk of lithium-ion battery fires, explosions and other hazards.

So, on the surface, this is a technical dispute over battery safety and workforce training requirements. But below the surface lurks a long-simmering conflict between the rooftop solar industry and organized labor.

If that sounds familiar, you may have read The Times’ coverage of net energy metering, the rooftop solar incentive program that utility companies are trying to persuade state officials to slash. Unions representing utility workers and electricians also want to see incentives reduced, in part because rooftop solar threatens the utility business model and in part because most rooftop solar jobs are nonunion. Construction jobs building large solar farms, by contrast, typically go to union members.

This has created tension in California, with politically powerful labor groups pushing lawmakers to support big solar farms and utility infrastructure at the expense of rooftop installations. The dispute over contracting standards is a revealing example of that tension.

The idea of barring most solar companies from installing batteries —unless they obtain an electrical contractor’s license, which requires employees performing such work to be certified electricians — was first proposed by the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers and the National Electrical Contractors Assn., whose member companies hire IBEW workers.

The proposal was adopted by CSLB, which regulates the construction industry and seeks to protect public health and safety. Most of its members are appointed by the governor. The board’s 11-3 vote reversed the agency’s earlier judgment that firms with C-46 solar contractor’s licenses could install batteries paired with solar panels.

Bernadette Del Chiaro, executive director of the California Solar and Storage Assn., said the about-face is damaging because homes and businesses that want solar increasingly want energy storage, too, as protection against wildfire-driven power outages and the threat of rolling blackouts.

“We can’t comply with this. People will go out of business,” Del Chiaro said. “Prices will go up, and we’ll lose the ability to meet customer demand for clean energy.”

Groups on the other side of the debate offer a different interpretation.

Eddie Bernacchi, a lobbyist for the National Electrical Contractors Assn., said this is “a dispute between electrical contractors and solar contractors over jurisdiction,” not a union-versus-nonunion issue. Requiring solar-plus-storage projects to be installed by contractors with certified electricians, he said, would not only improve safety but also lead to higher wages in the solar industry.

“The electrical contractors offer a path to higher wages and a real career,” Bernacchi said.

Tom Enslow, an attorney representing the contractors association and IBEW, made a similar case. He said that while the new rule would allow union shops to better compete in the solar market, CSLB’s decision was “more about safety and precedent.”

“What’s happened is that the solar industry started pushing a theory that, hey, as long as we install an energy storage system at the same time, we should be allowed to do that work,” Enslow said. “It’s pretty clear they are separate systems.”

Those arguments seemingly convinced the state board.

Nancy Springer, the chief building official for Sacramento County, said she and her fellow board members “have to be aware of protecting the consumers and making sure that [the solar systems are] installed properly, and that people have the proper training.”

Johnny Simpson, who formerly led an IBEW local and was appointed to the state board by the Senate Rules Committee, responded to calls for more debate by saying, “It’s time to put this issue to bed.”

Carol Zabin, who leads the UC Berkeley Labor Center’s Green Economy Program, co-authored a report that helped prompt CSLB’s decision. She said she and her team — which included a chemical safety expert — found little difference between the cost of a solar system installed by a firm using certified electricians and the cost of one not using certified electricians.

“It’s about whether you want a certified workforce or not,” Zabin said. “They have no certifications in that industry.”

The solar industry pushed back against those claims. Barry Cinnamon, chief executive of Bay Area solar and battery installer Cinnamon Energy Systems, said the idea that companies like his don’t train workers to handle energy storage systems is absurd. The companies that manufacture lithium-ion batteries — such as Enphase, LG and Tesla —
also require workers who install their products to sit for several hours oft raining, Cinnamon said.

“You have to be trained, or they won’t sell you the battery,” he said.

You’re probably wondering if batteries really can be safety hazards. The answer: “Yes, but ...”

Yes, they can, but 60,000 residential batteries have been installed in California, and nobody can cite a single example of a serious safety incident.

There was an explosion that injured first responders in Arizona and, more recently, an overheating issue that resulted in the world’s largest battery facility, in Moss Landing, Calif., being shut down, at least temporarily. But those problems involved large battery banks operated by utilities or major energy companies, not home batteries installed by solar contractors.

The UC Berkeley Labor Center’s report acknowledged that “there have been no significant incidents with injury or death that we could identify.” Still, the authors wrote, there are “significant data gaps that preclude definitive statements that risks are low.”

To Del Chiaro, fires ignited by power lines are a much bigger safety threat — and rooftop solar can limit the need for those lines. She pointed out that the utilities that own those lines — Pacific Gas & Electric, Southern California Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric — all submitted letters supporting the idea of barring solar contractors from installing batteries.

“Who is burning down the state and killing people? It’s PG&E and the other utilities,” Del Chiaro said. “We are the solution to that. We are keeping people’s homes lit. We’re keeping them safe when they need it and solving climate change.”

CSLB agreed to delay enforcement of the rule after the California Solar and Storage Assn. filed suit, claiming that the board had failed to conduct a formal rule-making process. CSLB is now gearing up for that, with an agenda item scheduled for Nov. 29.

To say this debate has gotten bitter is an understatement. Groups on both sides are furious with their opponents and can’t agree even on basic facts.

There are many points of disagreement. How easy would it be for rooftop solar installers to get new licenses and hire certified electricians, and would doing so really cause prices to rise? How many companies would be affected by the rule? What are the true wage differences between union and nonunion solar jobs?

The labor movement can be a positive force for change in the clean energy transition, at least when climate advocates meet unions halfway. But there are many examples of unions protecting the fossil-fuel status quo when they feel their members’ livelihoods depend on it.

The feud between electrical workers and solar installers is more nuanced.

But it offers a blunt reminder that the labor movement can make or break California’s climate policies. How exactly the state reduces emissions, and who benefits — that’s up for grabs. Whether it happens fast enough to stave off the worst wildfires and heat waves is uncertain.

View article at source
Read more >>


Thursday, November 18, 2021   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan (updated 12-21-20)
CA DIR Div. of Occupational Safety & Health: COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
* CA Dept. of Public Health COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Construction
*  COVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening
COVID Situation Flow Diagram Company Template
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
Supplemental Toolbox Talks COVID-19
Coronavirus Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 in Construction Workplace
COVID-19 Safety Meeting Outlines
COVID-19 Toolbox Talks for Subs
Fact Sheet for Pandemics
Marek Brother Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 Action Plan
Pandemic Preparedness - Coronavirus
Coronavirus - Workplace, School and Home Guidance
COVID-19 Tool Cleaning Protocols
COVID-19 Print Resources
COVID-19 Fact Sheet
United States Department of Labor: COVID-19
CDC COVID-19 Risk Assessment Flowchart
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Thursday, November 11, 2021   WECA Political Update November 11, 2021

Reapportionment Blues Preliminary visualizations for California’s new congressional districts would put Central Valley Reps. Devin Nunes and Josh Harder in more challenging elections in 2022 for their seats in the United States House of Representatives, experts say. The visualizations, released last Wednesday, are the first time viewers could see the puzzle pieces of various legislative districts put together. Drafts will change multiple times over the next couple of months before the nonpartisan commission charged with making them sends a final one to California’s secretary of state for certification. Redistricting, the process by which legislative boundaries are redrawn following population shifts revealed by the Census, can alter the makeup of voter preferences in an area. California lost one seat in the U.S. House because of sluggish population growth, dropping its legislative delegation to 52. Story

Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act The House passed the President’s Infrastructure proposal. Here is what it may mean for California.

·        Highways and Bridges Based on formula funding alone, California would expect to receive $25.3 billion for federal-aid highway apportioned programs and $4.2 billion for bridge replacement and repairs over five years.
·        Transit Based on formula funding alone, California would expect to receive $9.45 billion over five years under the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act to improve public transportation options across the state. 
·        Electric Charging Stations California would expect to receive $384 million over five years to support the expansion of an EV charging network in the state. California also could apply for the $2.5 billion in grant funding dedicated to electric vehicle charging.
·        Broadband California should receive a minimum allocation of $100 million to help provide broadband coverage across the state, including providing access to the at least 545,000 Californians who currently lack it.
·        Wildfires and Cyberattacks Based on historical formula funding levels, California will expect to receive $84 million over five years to protect against wildfires and $40 million to protect against cyberattacks.
·        Drinking Water Based on the traditional state revolving fund formula, California will expect to receive $3.5 billion over five years to improve water infrastructure across the state and ensure that clean, safe drinking water is available in all communities. 
·        Airports in California could receive approximately $1.5 billion for infrastructure development for airports over five years. 
 
Court Blocks Vaccine Rule: A federal court in Louisiana has blocked the Biden administration’s newly issued emergency mandate that private-sector workers at businesses with more than 100 employees get vaccinated against Covid-19 or be tested weekly according to POLITICO. More than two dozen states have filed multiple legal challenges in federal court against the Biden administration’s vaccinate-or-test mandate for private businesses, arguing that the Occupational Safety and Health Administration doesn’t have the authority to issue the requirements. The four lawsuits were filed by groups of 26 states in the 8th Circuit, 11th Circuit, 6th Circuit and 5th Circuit over the past few days. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy on Sunday defended the regulation post-ruling. Citing historical precedents dating back to George Washington during the American Revolution, Murthy said Biden had faith in both the legality of the mandate and the effectiveness of such requirements. The small business group Job Creators Network, as well as the Republican National Committee, have also said they plan to file lawsuits.

The Biden administration yesterday urged the court not to block the coronavirus vaccine mandate for large employers. The administration argued that blocking the mandate now was “premature,” given that its major deadlines are still at least a month away. But it also said that a delay in imposing the new rule “would likely cost dozens or even hundreds of lives per day.” The plaintiffs’ case: OSHA overstepped its bounds as a regulatory agency, the challengers argued. The vaccine mandate is “a quintessential legislative act — and one wholly unrelated to the purpose of OSHA itself, which is protecting workplace safety,” according to the suit. “Nowhere in OSHA’s enabling legislation does Congress confer upon it the power to end pandemics.”

The administration’s response: The federal government has the authority to pass an “emergency temporary standard” under the Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970, provided it can show that workers are exposed to a “grave danger” and that the rule is necessary. In its submission to the court, the administration argued that the coronavirus is a “workplace hazard,” since “employees gather in one place and interact, thus risking workplace transmission of a highly contagious virus.”

The historical precedent: The last time OSHA issued an emergency standard was in 1983, to lower the permissible legal level of asbestos exposure. The Fifth Circuit knocked it down as unnecessary, but, importantly, held that judges should not question OSHA’s authority to label asbestos a “grave danger.” In doing so, “the court intimated that hazards much less dangerous than Covid-19 could be deemed a grave danger,” said Carl Tobias, a law professor at the University of Richmond.

What happens next? If the Fifth Circuit grants a permanent stay, the Justice Department could appeal to the Supreme Court, which has so far acted in favor of vaccine mandates. Trade groups like the National Retail Federation have argued that the administration is moving too quickly — they are asking to push the mandate deadlines further beyond the holiday shopping season. Drawn-out legal challenges, even if unsuccessful, could achieve this. The White House, for its part, is urging companies to adopt mandates now, as they have proven effective at convincing the hesitant to get vaccinated. Both sides agree, then, that timing is crucial.

But Construction Dive urges caution here Should employers wait out OSHA's vaccine mandate? 'If you're a gambler.'
 
EEOC Updates Rules Regarding The Religious Exemption From Mandatory COVID Vaccination On October 25 and 28, 2021, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission updated its technical assistance manual to address how the federal anti-discrimination law applies when an applicant or employee requests an exception from an employer’s COVID-19 vaccination requirement because of their sincerely held religious beliefs, practices, or observances. Key updates to the EEOC’s technical assistance include that employees and applicants must inform their employers if they seek an exception to an employer’s mandatory vaccine requirement, employers must consider requests for religious accommodations, but need not consider the requestor’s social, political, economic views, or personal preferences, and employers that demonstrate “undue hardship” are not required to accommodate a request for a religious accommodation. Story 

We’re taking a break – please watch for our Political Update Bulletin to resume on December 9. Happy Thanksgiving!
Read more >>


Thursday, November 11, 2021   Happy Veterans Day, WECA! Spotlight on two current WECA Apprentices who have served:

Happy Veterans Day, WECA!

Thank you to our Apprentices, Students, Staff, and Member Contractors who have served.

Spotlight on two current WECA Apprentices who have served:

Joseph Aragon, III
United States Army




This Veteran’s Day, we’re proud to spotlight Joseph Aragon II, a United States Army veteran and third-year Commercial Electrical Apprentice with WECA Member Contractor Reyff Electric Company.

Joseph—who served as a 63B-Wheeled Vehicle Mechanic in Afghanistan and Fort Lewis, Washington during his Army career—says that the Army taught him the principles of strong leadership, excellent worth ethic and the want and need for hard work, and that he’s applied it both in the classroom and on the jobsite during his Apprenticeship.

“I absolutely recommend an electrical career for veterans, and also for those who are going into the military,” says Joseph.

When in the classroom at WECA, Joseph notes that he particularly appreciates the teaching style of Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship instructor James Hall, saying “I really appreciate how much detail he puts into his instruction and willingness to pause to further explain [concepts] to his students who have questions.”

Joseph also suggests to current and future Apprentices that when in doubt or grappling with a rough patch, they “remember the ultimate goal and why you decided to pursue being an electrician," and reminds them that electricians "light the way.”

Thank you for your service, Joseph, and thank you for being part of the WECA family!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Charles Burnette
United States Army




Another Veteran’s Day spotlight we're proud to share comes to us courtesy of Charles Burnette, a Commercial Electrical Apprentice working for WECA Arizona founding Member Contractor Corbins Electric!

Charles—who served in the Army for two years as an 11 Bravo infantryman stationed at Fort Benning, Georgia—was inspired to enter the trades by his father-in-law.

“I chose electrical because it’s forever changing and growing,” says Charles. “And I like WECA because it’s hands-on learning in the class and in the field, and I get to accumulate hours in the field while getting paid to go to school. It’s the best of both worlds.”

Charles’ favorite thing that he’s learned during his Apprenticeship was “potential” and learning how and why birds are not affected by the current when landing on a power line.

Charles says that current and future Apprentices should “keep an open mind because there is more than one way to do things; who knows—you may learn something new” and says that joining the trades after serving in the Army has “changed my life and given me a new drive to grow and learn.”

Thank you for your service, Charles! We’re thrilled to have you as part of the inaugural WECA Arizona Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship program! 
Read more >>


Thursday, November 04, 2021   WECA's in the news! The Business Journal (Fresno) highlights WECA in recent article.

WECA's in the news!

The Business Journal (Fresno) highlights WECA in recent article "Local electrical apprentice program gets boost with new facility."



Photo credit: Frank Lopez/The Business Journal (Fresno)

Written by: Frank Lopez

The Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA) held a ribbon cutting Oct. 13 to celebrate the grand opening of its new training facility in north Fresno.

WECA instructors, staff, students, members, board members and leaders of the Fresno community were present to celebrate the grand opening and give guests tours of the facility, network with electrical contractors and see how apprentices in the industry learn the trade.

WECA is a statewide, non-profit organization serving independent and merit shop electrical contractors, their employees and the industry suppliers that support them.

The Commercial Electrician Apprenticeship program lasts for five years and involves both classroom and lab instruction the will be administered in the new facility, as well as on-the-job training.

Students are in the classroom for two weeks twice a year and work on the jobsite under a contractor or journeyperson for a 20-week segment. Site work is alternated with classroom instruction time.

The program consists of nearly 8,000 hours of training, a requirement set by the state of California.

“The expectation isn’t only that the contractor is building upon the curriculum that they are receiving in the classroom, but they’re giving students a broad range of work experience to compliment what we do here in the classroom so that when they complete the five year program, they have a well-rounded experience that could combine what they learn in class and on the job site,” said Richard Markuson, government affairs expert at WECA.

About 46% of the apprentices live in Fresno, with demographics measuring about 29% Hispanic, 16% Asian Pacific Islander, 9% African-American and 6% women.

Markuson said that local high schools have either cut or curtailed their career technical education programs, so there isn’t a pipeline from the high schools to construction apprenticeship programs. They are trying to mitigate that, he said.

Fresno County Supervisor for District 2 Steven Brandau and Fresno City Manager Thomas Esqueda were present to congratulate WECA on the new training facility.

“There is so much stuff going on in our Valley—private, government, everything,” said Brandau. “There is a lot of construction going on and it’s fantastic to have this facility so people could get their training here, go to work and stay here. We have to get a work force developed so that we don’t have to call in people from across the country to help us get things done.”

Mark Cooper, president and CEO of H & D Electric in Sacramento and who is also on the Board of Directors of WECA, drove down from the state capitol for the grand opening of the new facility.

Cooper joined WECA in the early 1990s, and even then he noticed the organization was missing an apprenticeship program.

Since then, Cooper has seen the apprenticeship program grow and is proud of how far it has come.

“The pride I feel in coming down here and seeing this facility and the building that we opened in Fresno, and seeing what this has all turned into with WECA staff members and leaders, and contractors that pushed this forward,” Cooper said. “The success is contagious and you want to be a part of WECA.”

One apprentice that realized the success that Cooper was talking about is Windell Pascascio Jr, founder and president of Imperial Electric Service in Fresno.

Pascascio has owned his own business now for five years, and went through the program from 2008 to 2013. During and after his apprenticeship he worked for the same company for about eight years and started Imperial Electric Service in 2016.

Today, Imperial Electric has 35 employees, and four of them are currently in the WECA apprenticeship program.

Pascascio said the apprenticeship program is a good opportunity for people in the Fresno area. Before, the program took place in either Sacramento or Riverside.

“Not a lot of people are fortunate enough to go to college, and now a lot of people in the Fresno area, and throughout the Valley will now know that there is a program that is here,” Pascascio said. “Not a lot of people can afford to go to Sacramento or Redding or Riverside every few weeks. Having it here is beneficial for the community and the economy.”
 
Read more >>


Thursday, November 04, 2021   Federal Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) releases COVID-19 vaccine requirements

?Cal/OSHA now has approximately 30 days to adopt Federal standards or adopt more stringent ones

AGC Update on Mandatory Vaccines
Content courtesy of: Associated General Contractors

 
Today the Federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released its COVID-19 vaccine requirements for employers that have a total of at least 100 employees firm or corporate-wide at any time. The release of the Emergency Temporary Standard (ETS) comes approximately two months after President Joe Biden announced a sweeping set of COVID-19 vaccine mandates and requirements for both Federal employees and private employers.

It's important to note that while the Federal ETS technically goes into immediate effect, California is governed by its own regulatory board: the California Occupational Safety and Health Administration (Cal/OSHA) that must now formally adopt the Federal ETS. As a result, with the release of the Federal ETS, Cal/OSHA now has approximately 30 days to formally adopt the Federal ETS in its current released form or adopt more stringent vaccine standards in addition to the Federal ETS. Only upon formal adoption by the Cal/OSHA Board does the Federal ETS go into effect in California. 

Who is covered?
  • Employers that have a total of at least 100 employees firm or corporate-wide at any time.
Exclusions
  • Federal OSHA ETS does not apply to workplaces covered under the Safer Federal Workforce Task Force COVID-19 Workplace Safety: Guidance for Federal Contractors and Subcontractors.
  • The ETS does not apply to employees who do not report to a workplace where other individuals such as coworkers or customers are present, employees while they are working from home, or employees who work exclusively outdoors.
Effective Dates
  • The ETS is effective immediately upon publication in Federal Register. To comply, employers must ensure provisions are addressed in the workplace by the following dates:
  • 30 days after publication: All requirements other than testing for employees who have not completed their entire primary vaccination dose(s)
  • 60 days after publication: Testing for employees who have not received all doses required for a primary vaccination
Testing provisions for employees who are not vaccinated
  • The ETS requires employers to ensure that each employee, who is not fully vaccinated, is tested for COVID-19 at least weekly (if in the workplace at least once a week) or within 7 days before returning to work (if away from the workplace for a week or longer). The ETS does not require employers to pay for any costs associated with testing. However, employer payment for testing may be required by other laws, regulations, or collective bargaining agreements or other collectively negotiated agreements. In addition, nothing prohibits employers from voluntarily assuming the costs associated with testing.
Employer support for employee vaccination
  • ETS requires employers to support vaccination by providing employees reasonable time, including up to four hours of paid time, to receive each vaccination dose, and reasonable time and paid sick leave to recover from side effects experienced following each dose.
Streamlining Implementation and Setting One Compliance Deadline Across Different Vaccination Requirements: January 4, 2022 
  • The rules released today ensure employers know which requirements apply to which workplaces. Federal contractors may have some workplaces subject to requirements for federal contractors and other workplaces subject to the newly-released COVID-19 Vaccination and Testing ETS. To make it easy for all employers to comply with the requirements, the deadline for the federal contractor vaccination requirement will be aligned with those for the CMS rule and the ETS. Employees falling under the ETS, CMS, or federal contractor rules will need to have their final vaccination dose – either their second dose of Pfizer or Moderna, or single dose of Johnson & Johnson – by January 4, 2022. This will make it easier for employers to ensure their workforce is vaccinated, safe, and healthy, and ensure that federal contractors implement their requirements on the same timeline as other employers in their industries. And, the newly-released ETS will not be applied to workplaces subject to the federal contractor requirement or CMS rule, so employers will not have to track multiple vaccination requirements for the same employees.

 
Read more >>


Thursday, November 04, 2021   Behind the scenes at WECA's Apprenticeship outreach initiatives



WECA loves performing outreach in the community, and we were pleased to be able to be in attendance at the Greater Sacramento Urban League's 2021 Get Back to Work Sacramento Diversity Job Fair on Oct. 27! 

While there, WECA's Assistant Director of Apprenticeship Wendy Flanagan, Workforce Development Supervisor Diane Trotter, and Low Voltage Apprenticeship instructor John Arias talked to job hunters about WECA's Apprenticeship programs, did cool demos,
and were thrilled to join forces for workforce development with some of our WECA Member Contractors, like Rex Moore Group Inc., Royal Electric Company, Johnson Controls, Teichert, and Mark III Construction. 

It's gratifying to be able to ramp up our outreach opportunities again, and we look forward to a busy 2022 ahead. See you at the next event!
Read more >>


Thursday, November 04, 2021   Concerned with Cybersecurity at Your Company? US DOL Resource Within

Dealing with an Uptick in Phishing Emails? Otherwise Concerned with Cybersecurity at Your Company? Here's a Resource: The United States Department of Labor's Cybersecurity Program Best Practices (downloadable PDF for your convenience)


Download the United States Department of Labor's Cybersecurity Program Best Practices here.
Read more >>


Thursday, November 04, 2021   Don't let your employees miss out--encourage them to visit WECA for an open house during NAW 2021!

Don't let your employees miss out--encourage your prospective apprentices to visit WECA for an open house during National Apprenticeship Week!

They'll get to learn about our Apprenticeship programs, tour our facilities, see cool lab demos, meet instructors and staff, and more!

This National Apprenticeship Week, WECA's pulling out all the stops and showing off our cutting-edge Apprenticeship programs and state-of-the-art facilities to prospective Apprentices! There are three opportunities for them to learn more about WECA apprenticeship at one of these special events:
 
  • November 16 at 10 a.m. at our Sacramento/Rancho Cordova HQ
  • November 17 at 12 p.m. at our San Diego training facility
  • November 17 at 10 a.m. at our Phoenix training facility
Regardless of which open house your employees attend, they'll get the chance to learn about our Apprenticeship programs (all of which pay THEM to learn a skilled trade without having to take on any college debt!), tour our facilities, view lab demos, meet instructors and staff (with the opportunity to ask individual questions), and more!

There's only one week left until these events, so make sure they don't miss out! Encourage them to register today--by sharing the link to their nearest open house. (Note: pre-registration is not necessary, but encouraged.)



Register for the WECA Arizona Open House here!



Register for the WECA Northern California Open House here!



Register for the WECA Southern California Open House here!
 
Read more >>


Thursday, November 04, 2021   The CA Energy Commission wants your feedback to support compliance with the CA Energy Code!

The California Energy Commission wants your feedback to support compliance with the California Energy Code!

Link to survey within.




October 28, 2021

The California Energy Commission (CEC) seeks your valuable feedback on documents, tools, and resources intended to support compliance with the California Energy Code. Your feedback is important to our ongoing efforts to provide better service and support. Please respond by December 3, 2021. This survey is being administered by the CEC in partnership with the California Statewide Utility Codes & Standards Program. You can respond to the survey here.
Read more >>


Thursday, November 04, 2021   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan (updated 12-21-20)
CA DIR Div. of Occupational Safety & Health: COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
* CA Dept. of Public Health COVID-19 Industry Guidance: Construction
*  COVID-19 Employer Playbook for a Safe Reopening
COVID Situation Flow Diagram Company Template
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
Supplemental Toolbox Talks COVID-19
Coronavirus Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 in Construction Workplace
COVID-19 Safety Meeting Outlines
COVID-19 Toolbox Talks for Subs
Fact Sheet for Pandemics
Marek Brother Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 Action Plan
Pandemic Preparedness - Coronavirus
Coronavirus - Workplace, School and Home Guidance
COVID-19 Tool Cleaning Protocols
COVID-19 Print Resources
COVID-19 Fact Sheet
United States Department of Labor: COVID-19
CDC COVID-19 Risk Assessment Flowchart
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>