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Thursday, May 16, 2019   Labor Law and Recent Court Decisions

Ninth Circuit: "Access Regulation" Allowing Union Organizing Activities on Employers' Private Property is Not a Fifth Amendment Taking. On May 8, 2019, in Cedar Point Nursery v. Shiroma, __ F.3d __ (Case No. 16-16321) (2019), a 2-1 Ninth Circuit panel majority held that a California regulation allowing union organizers access to agricultural employees on employers' private property, to communicate about union organization under certain limited circumstances, is not a Fifth Amendment taking. The plaintiffs alleged that the United Farm Workers union disrupted work by moving through their trim sheds with bullhorns, distracting and intimidating workers, and violated the access regulation by failing to provide the required written notice before taking access. Should the aggrieved plaintiffs in the case file a petition for writ of certiorari, the Supreme Court would have a unique opportunity to finally make clear that private property rights are not the second-class rights the case law often reveals them to be. More
In Expansive Decision, Ninth Circuit Rules Dynamex Applies Retroactively In Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising, the Ninth Circuit made several impactful findings related to the infamous Dynamex decision:
 
  1. Aligning with several state court decisions supporting retroactivity, the Ninth Circuit ruled that Dynamex's ABC test applies retroactively.
  2. It also applied Dynamex to a multi-level franchise structure, expanding the test beyond the independent contractor context.
  3. Last, the Court issued guidance to the district court on remand reaffirming the difficulty of "passing" the ABC test
Given the current legal landscape, companies engaging independent contractors and other non-employee workers in California should consider risk mitigation measures. More

SCOTUS Strikes Another Blow to Class-Action Claims, Favoring Individual Arbitration A divided United States Supreme Court recently handed down the latest in a series of wins for employers, manufacturers, retailers, and other businesses looking to use arbitration as a means to mitigate the risks of possible class-action litigation. This time, in Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela, the Supreme Court overturned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, finding that an employer could not be compelled to arbitrate similar claims by its employees on a class-wide basis, even though its employment agreement was ambiguous as to whether the arbitration of similar claims be conducted on a class-wide basis, instead of individually. More
Read more >>


Thursday, May 16, 2019   What We're Reading and Watching (Aside from Game of Thrones)

The Oakland A's plan to build a new stadium along the waterfront and leave the Coliseum got a big boost Monday from Commissioners who oversee the Port of Oakland. Commissioners signed off on a deal that would let the ball club perform environmental studies and seek permits to build the privately financed ballpark at Howard Terminal. Story Assemblyman Rob Bonta is author of  AB 1191 that would facilitate a land swap to allow the project. His bill authorizes the State Lands Commission (SLC) to enter into a land exchange for the Howard Terminal Property in the City of Oakland. This bill declares provisions do not limit the authority of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) to review any project at the Howard Terminal Property.

Sacramento County supervisors approved a fee plan that would allow development on thousands of acres to get underway. The proposed fee structure, which would require two Board of Supervisors approvals, would charge $26,625 for each housing unit built in a zoned density of five per acre, $17,889 for units built in a zoned density of 20 units per acres, and $29.55 per square foot for commercial developments. Story

Newsom Budget Includes Bold Spending, Fiscal Guardrails Five months into his first term as California governor, and a week ahead of schedule, Governor Gavin Newsom rolled out his "May Revise" budget. The May Revise reflects state revenue projections based on tax receipts and spending adjustments from the governor's January budget proposal, taking into account projected revenues. While the May Revise proposes an expansion of funding in many areas, including education, healthcare and public safety, Governor Newsom strikes a cautionary tone and a mindful approach to the likelihood of a potential recession. More

Repair of Fractured Girders Complete at Shuttered Salesforce Transit Center The repair of two fractured girders spanning Fremont Street and the reinforcement of twin girders spanning First Street are complete at the beleaguered Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco. More

Weakling or bully? The battle over CEQA, the state's iconic environmental law Inside the Capitol's corridors and pro-development quarters around the state, CEQA is increasingly disparaged as a villain in the state's housing crisis. It's characterized as a litigation lever that allows citizens-and even labor unions and business rivals-to sue or threaten to sue, obstructing direly needed housing projects on thin environmental pretenses. The Legislature is considering a handful of bills to loosen CEQA's rules, something former Gov. Jerry Brown-often stymied in his modest efforts to do so-labeled "the Lord's work." New Gov. Gavin Newsom, to fulfill his hyper-ambitious quota of new housing construction, has called for fast-tracking judicial CEQA review of housing, similar to that granted sports teams building stadiums. The politically potent State Building and Construction Trades Council signed a January letter defending CEQA, although it's been negotiating on a housing plan that could include CEQA relaxations. More

Former manager of $3.3B school construction bond in California files whistleblower complaint The fired manager of the Los Angeles Community College District's $3.3 billion construction bond program has filed a whistleblower complaint, claiming that he was let go in retaliation for publicly raising questions about management and other problems with the program, the Los Angeles Times reported. More

Equal Protection Eight home health care workers sued the Trump administration in the Northern District of California to block a new rule that bars their union, SEIU, from deducting dues from their Medicaid paychecks automatically. The lawsuit follows another challenge Monday by five Democratic attorneys general. The rule is set to take effect in July. The workers in the case argue that the new federal rule violates their First Amendment right to free association and the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. "It's outrageous that home care workers like me are being singled out," said Camille Christian, a home care worker from Alameda, California. "This rule tries to prevent us from using payroll deduction for any purpose, even to contribute to our healthcare or for transportation costs or to support our union. How would you feel if the government told you how to spend your wages?" I wonder if SEIU would side with us on our suit alleging an equal protection claim against SB 954?
Read more >>


Thursday, May 16, 2019   Thought

 

Richard Markuson

PAGA Reform Dead Again

I was just reading a recent appeals court case (Savea v. YRC, Inc., 2019 WL 1552686, Cal. Ct. App. 2019). In this case, Vaiula Savea sued his employer (henceforth referred to as YRC) for an alleged violation of Labor Code § 226. The violation is based upon YRC's alleged failure to include the correct employer name and address on wage statements. These alleged violations arose from YRC's listing its fictitious business name (YRC Freight) on its wage statements.
 
Furthermore, the complaint alleged that the employer address did not contain a reference to the applicable mail stop code or the ZIP+4 code. YRC successfully demurred to the complaint on the grounds that Savea's complaint failed to state a claim because the employer name and address on its wage statements were, in fact, accurate. The Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of the complaint, holding that YRC's use of its "actual, recorded fictitious business name" on the wage statements was proper and that the address listed on the wage statements did not need to include the mail stop code or the ZIP+4 code.
 
After contemplating some special future eternal resting place for the attorney who decided that the lack of a ZIP+4 code was grounds for a lawsuit, I thought I would update readers on how the Legislature is addressing this scourge. Below is the list of accomplishments this year:
  • Pretty impressive, right?

However, here is what they haven't acted upon:
 
  • AB 443 (Flora R) would limit attorney's fees in connection with an action for a violation of the wage information requirements under PAGA. AB 443 - which did not receive a hearing - would have capped attorney's fees at 25 percent (the pain, the pain!).
  • AB 789 (Flora R) would have required, for an action under PAGA to recover for any violation of the itemized wage statement requirement, that an employee or representative give prescribed notice of the alleged violation to the employer. The bill would have authorized an employer to cure the alleged violation within 65 calendar days of the postmark date of the notice. The bill would have allowed an action to commence only if the alleged violation is not cured within that period. Further, the bill would have exempted certain violations from these notice and cure provisions (if the employer had not paid the aggrieved employee or provided a wage statement).
These modest improvements could not obtain "labor" sign off, so the Democrats refused to hold a hearing.
 
However, a WECA-supported group is making headway. A judge handed the California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA) its first win in March when he denied Attorney General Xavier Becerra's attempt to dismiss CABIA's lawsuit challenging California's PAGA statute. Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson found that CABIA has standing to bring claims on behalf of its business-owner members challenging the constitutionality of PAGA, a state law that deputizes workers to bring claims against employers believed to be violating state labor laws. Like the one above - citing the lack of a ZIP+4 code. More
Read more >>


Thursday, May 09, 2019   New WECA Industry Partner Spotlight: Construction Happens

It takes one to know one.

That's what Nick Attardi, founder of constructionhappens.com, was banking on when he started the eponymous job board for contractors and electricians in 2012. An electrician and owner of Fair Oaks-based H&H Electric with 14 years of experience under his belt, Attardi understood the stress associated with finding and eventually hiring experienced and qualified electricians.

"We know that there is a huge need for training and hiring skilled tradesmen," said Cari Loskamp, Construction Happens' sales director.

Unlike other job boards, however, Construction Happens really goes to bat for stakeholders on both ends of the employment spectrum.

"We build this connection and network to focus on local construction and local jobs for the right candidate that construction companies need today," said Loskamp. "And we are knocking on every trade school door, working with building associations and workforce centers to develop and build a network of qualified candidates that are eager to find a job or career in the construction industry."

And the passion for securing employment and employees for their stakeholders doesn't stop there.

As a WECA Industry Partner, "We are working on a paid semester program for student sponsorship, working with returning military veterans that need a job or experience, and networking daily with local associations and construction industry affiliates to help WECA members find qualified and skilled candidates," said Loskamp.

Furthermore, Loskamp asserts that "Construction Happens is not just a job board - we are your partner in the industry."

For WECA member contractors, Construction Happens offers a $240 annual membership that includes unlimited job postings, automatic email blasts to connections and partners, and a free banner.

What's more is that membership with Construction Happens also does good in the electrical industry community - for every 75 new memberships, Construction Happens sponsors a student at a trade school for a quarter semester.

"Call us - we can meet with you, partner up in a job fair, assist with job board ads, and connect you with the right people," said Loskamp.

WECA member contractors who are interested in utilizing Construction Happens' services may visit the website and job board at www.constructionhappens.com, or directly contact Construction Happens using the following contact information:

Cari Loskamp
Sales Director
Construction Happens
916-437-5684
cari@constructionhappens.com
Read more >>


Thursday, May 09, 2019   Sponsor the WECA Graduating Class of 2019 Today!



Don't forget - graduation is just around the corner! 

Help us honor our graduates' achievements with your attendance and/or sponsorship at their graduation events on:
  • Northern California: Saturday, June 8, 2019 at WECA headquarters in Rancho Cordova from 4 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. 
  • Southern California: Saturday, July 13, 2019 at Falkner Winery Pinnacle Room in Temecula from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Help us make their graduation memorable - your sponsorship can allow you and members of your team to attend either graduation location and meet the graduates, which is especially meaningful for them if you're their contractor. Plus, you can meet WECA instructors and staff, other member contractors, and electrical industry supporters as well. 

Sponsorship packages at different levels may include tickets to attend one or both graduations, ads in the graduation program, recognition of your sponsorship during the ceremony, mention of your support on our website, in our newsletters, and over social media.
Individual tickets are also available, independent of the sponsorship packages. 

Please consider the sponsorship opportunities at the link below, and thank you for your support of electrical and low voltage education!

Reserve your sponsorship packages and/or individual tickets here
 
Read more >>


Thursday, May 09, 2019   Public Works Contractors: Renew Registration Starting May 1 New Account Creation Requirements

Update: The DIR has provided instructions on how to set-up an account, how to link an existing registration, and then how to renew. 
 
This is the first time DIR has required an account set-up. Download the instructions here

Content courtesy of: California Department of Industrial Relations


Public Works Contractors: Renew Registration Starting May 1
Contractors can now register for up to three fiscal years


The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) is informing public works contractors that registrations can be renewed starting on May 1. Public works contractor registrations expire each year on June 30. Contractors now have the option to renew current registrations for one, two or three fiscal years. 


California law requires all contractors to register with DIR prior to bidding, being listed on a bid proposal, being awarded or engaging in the performance of any public works contract on or after April 1, 2015. Fees and penalties may be assessed for a lapse in renewal or failure to register when engaged in public works.


The public works contractor registration application was recently updated to process applications within one business day when paid by credit card, and provide the applicant with a credit card receipt. 


Registration and requirements are available on DIR's public works website, including information on responsibilities related to prevailing wages, apprenticeship and certified payroll records.


DIR protects and improves the health, safety and economic well-being of over 18 million wage earners, and helps their employers comply with state labor laws. 


DIR's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), also known as the Labor Commissioner's Office, enforces prevailing wage rates and apprenticeship standards in public works projects, inspects workplaces for wage and hour violations, adjudicates wage claims, investigates retaliation complaints, issues licenses and registrations for businesses and educates the public on labor laws.
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Thursday, May 09, 2019   WECA Grads on the Job: Edward 'EJ' Penick


Look who we ran into on the job while we were at our outreach event at McKinleyville High School in McKinleyville, CA on May 2nd! That's right - Edward 'EJ' Penick, a WECA graduate from the Class of 2017! Great to see you, Edward, and we hope to see more of you - and all our graduates - around on the job, powering California!
Read more >>


Thursday, May 09, 2019   WECA Participating in National Electrical Safety Month



May is National Electrical Safety Month, and we here at WECA are observing it by featuring relevant trivia, safety tips from our instructors, posts from trusted voices in the industry, spotlights on our safety courses - and more - all month long! 


Curious? Check out our social feeds by clicking on the links below to see what it's all about. 

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

LinkedIn
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Thursday, May 09, 2019   WECA's Hiring! Seeking a Full-Time Lead Instructor for our GetWired! Program


Your Chance to Teach for WECA! 


Are you a certified electrician or other similarly-qualified individual in the electrical field (former/retired acceptable if you're willing to get re-certified upon hire), or a C10 contractor, who enjoys learning more about your field all the time, sharing your knowledge with others, and educating the next generation, and who'd like to work for an organization that combines the best of all worlds? 

If so, we'd be excited to have you join our team! 
WECA is seeking qualified applicants for the following position: 
  • Full-Time Lead Instructor for Electrician Trainee/Continuing Education programs including GetWired! This position not only teaches, but leads other instructors through quality educational delivery, as well! 







To learn more about this position and apply, please visit our 'Careers' page.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 09, 2019   Seats Filling Fast! Reserve Your Spots in BICSI Courses!


WECA is pleased that our BICSI courses at our Rancho Cordova headquarters have been well-attended, and strongly encourages our member contractors to enroll themselves or their employees in these courses to further develop a wide breadth of knowledge. 

But seats are filling fast, so be sure to register now - especially for popular courses such as Applied Outside Plant Design 102 and Applied Data Center Design and Best Practices 102. 


Wondering if registering yourself or your employees in these courses is worth it? Learn more below to find out what you can expect from these courses: 

OSP102 (Applied Outside Plant Design), June 17 - 21

Why Should I Attend, and What Will I Learn?

Through attendance in this course you will learn the following:
  • Identify the components of an outside plant infrastructure
     
  • Identify outside plant pathways and spaces
     
  • Describe effective route designs for outside plants
     
  • Describe media solutions
     
  • Describe planning requirements for initial outside plant design
     
  • Identify the primary codes and standards associated with outside plant cable installation
     
  • Identify grounding and bonding requirements associated with OSP installation
     
  • Locate requirements in project documentation, including an RFQ, scope of work, and other information typically established during a site and/or field survey
     
  • Identify underground, direct-buried, and aerial sections of a route
     
  • Describe the three primary cabling topologies and hybrid topologies
     
  • Identify special design considerations
     
  • Identify the minimum components of a maintenance plan
     
  • Identify the information that is needed to provide a cost estimate

Learn more about and register for OSP102 here.

DC102 (Applied Data Center Design and Best Practices), June 24 - 28

Why Should I Attend, and What Will I Learn?

After completing this course, you should be able to design a data center based on a set of given requirements; this will include both new and retrofit designs.

In addition to data center design, the course will also include life safety practices such as grounding and bonding to ensure that you can account for these issues when designing a data center.


You will be able to evaluate your learning through a final project and a comprehensive course assessment.

A variety of hands-on exercises, including the final group project, will help reinforce material and prepare students for real-world scenarios.

The DC102 course will address the following areas:
  • Data center design process
  • Site location
  • Building and support spaces
  • Computer room layout
  • Electrical systems
  • Bonding and grounding (earthing)
  • Mechanical systems
  • Telecommunications and IT
  • Ancillary systems
  • Security systems
  • Fire protection systems
  • Building automation systems (BAS)
  • Lighting
  • Security plan
  • Commissioning
Learn more about and register for DC102 here

These classes are rarely offered in Northern California, and we encourage our members to take advantage of this convenient opportunity. Registrations must be processed directly with BICSI. To enroll yourself or an employee,  visit BICSI here.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 02, 2019   Bill Update

APM/DB/CMaR

AB 356 (Santiago - D) Authorizes the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) to utilize a best-value procurement process as a pilot project until January 1, 2025, for construction projects over $1 million dollars. The bill contains provisions that allow a contractor under a project labor agreement to be presumed to meet the requirements of using a skilled and trained workforce. Watch
 
AB 695 (Medina - D) Extends the sunset on community college districts' (CCDs') authority to enter into design-build public works contracts and adopts the same "skilled and trained workforce" requirements applicable to the design-build authority of state agencies and local governments.
 
SB 743 (Hertzberg - D) This bill would specify that LAUSD, entering into a design-build contract for projects that are subject to project labor agreements retains the discretion to take specified actions related to the contract.
 
Apprenticeship

AB 186 (Cervantes - D) Provides a tax credit of up to $1,000 for each registered apprentice trained by the taxpayer in the taxable year that meets one of the following: has not obtained a high school diploma and is enrolled in high school or a General Education Development (GED) test preparation program; or, has obtained a high school diploma or GED credential while participating in the apprenticeship Support
 
AB 595 (Medina - D) Sponsored by Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC), this measure seeks to allow the use of ITINs in lieu of SSNs (for students who are ineligible for a SSN), for the purpose of any mandatory background checks that are required for participation in a class or apprenticeship and/or internship program.

AB 1019 (Frazier - D) This bill would add to the ex officio members of the Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship, the Director of Rehabilitation and the chair of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities. The bill would require the committee to create a subcommittee to address apprenticeship for the developmentally disabled community. The bill would add that it is the intent of the Legislature that the department will encourage greater participation for the developmentally disabled in apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. Support
 
AB 1558 (Ramos - D) Would require school districts and schools to notify apprenticeship programs of career and college fairs at least two weeks before the fair. It would require career and college fairs to provide apprenticeship programs an adequate amount of space to apprenticeship programs and the same amount of resources provided to other invited groups. The bill would require apprenticeship programs to annually provide school districts within their geographic region a point of contact, phone number, email address, operating location, and purpose of the apprenticeship program. Support

Business Issues
 
SB 210 (Leyva - D)This bill directs the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to work in coordination with multiple state agencies in order to develop and implement a Heavy-Duty Inspection and Maintenance Program for non-gasoline, heavy-duty, on-road trucks.

CEQA
 
AB 1191 (Bonta - D) Allows the State Lands Commission to enter into an exchange with the City of Oakland of certain public trust lands, for the future site of the Oakland Athletics Ballpark project. Watch
 
AB 1673 (Salas - D) Requires plaintiffs in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuits to identify every person or entity who contributed, or committed to contributing, $1,000 or more to support the lawsuit. Support
 
SB 25 (Caballero - D) Grants accelerated CEQA appeals for certain housing projects. Requires SATWF unless covered by a PLA, exempts contractors under a PLA from completing CPRs. OUA 

Construction Practices

AB 1166 (Levine - D) This bill would require every operator to supply an electronic positive response through the regional notification center before the legal excavation start date and time.

CTE
 
AB 1303 (O'Donnell - D) Makes several changes to the California Career Technical Education Incentive Grant Program, administered by the State Department of Education and provides $450 million for grants. Watch

ESS

AB 1144 (Friedman - D) Requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to allocate $16.6 million of funding from the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) to pilot projects to install and evaluate community energy storage systems.
 
SB 288 (Wiener - D) This bill would require a number of provisions to support the deployment of customer-sited distributed energy resources, specifically energy storage systems, including requiring electric utilities to establish standardized processes to interconnect to the electric grid, requiring new tariffs and compensation to sell stored energy to the grid and into the wholesale electricity market.

Housing
 
AB 168 (Aguiar-Curry - D) Amends SB 35 of last year that authorizes a development proponent to submit an application for a multifamily housing development that is subject to a streamlined, ministerial approval process, to include a requirement that the development not be located on a site that is a tribal cultural resource. Existing law requires payment of prevailing wages and apprentice wages even if the project is not a public works and prohibits the DLSE from enforcing the Labor Code if the Project is covered by a PLA. Waives CPRs on projects covered by a PLA.

Labor Law
 
AB 5 (Gonzalez - D) AB 5 (Gonzalez)...exempts certain industries/professions (doctors, insurance agents, securities brokers, and direct sellers) from the application of the Dynamex decision. The business community seeks a more progressive and holistic approach to the application of Dynamex that reflects today's modern workforce.
 
AB 9 (Reyes - D) A coalition of employer organizations, including the California Chamber of Commerce, is opposed unless amended. The coalition requests an amendment regarding the nature of the claims covered and seeks clarity that the bill only applies to prospective claims. They state, "while AB 9 is being promoted as an anti-sexual harassment bill, it actually has a broad, sweeping effect on all employment harassment, discrimination and retaliation complaints. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) makes specified employment and housing practices unlawful, including discrimination against or harassment of employees and tenants. Additionally, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes specific employment practices unlawful under federal law."
 
AB 403 (Kalra - D) AB 403 incentivizes litigation and provides for a one-sided provision of attorney's fees. California is already widely perceived as having a hostile litigation environment. One factor that contributes to this negative perception is the high award and threat of attorney's fees in civil litigation that often dwarfs the financial recovery the plaintiff actually receives. Oppose

AB 520 (Kalra - D) This bill defines a public subsidy as "de minimis" for the purpose of paying the prevailing wage in public works projects if the subsidy is both less than $275,000 and less than 2% of the total project cost. This standard will apply for bids advertised or contracts awarded after July 1, 2020. Watch
 
AB 555 (Gonzalez - D) Expands the state's paid sick leave program to provide an employee with no less than 40 hours or five days of sick leave by the 200th calendar day of employment. SIA
 
SB 530 (Galgiani - D) Would require DLSE to develop recommendations for an industry-specific harassment and discrimination prevention policy and training standard for use by employers in the construction industry. The bill would also require DIR to convene an advisory committee by March 1, 2020, consisting of specified representatives from the construction industry and state agencies to assist the division in developing the policy Watch

Licensure
 
SB 610 (Glazer - D) extends the operation of the CSLB to January 1, 2024 requires the board to study and report to the Legislature if the current amount of the contractors' bond requirement is sufficient would require the board to charge C-10 contractors a $20 fee for enforcement Existing law requires, as a condition precedent to the board accepting an application for licensure, renewal, reinstatement, or to change officers or other personnel of record, that an applicant, previously found to have failed or refused to pay a contractor, subcontractor, consumer, materials supplier, or employee based on an unsatisfied final judgment, file or have on file with the board a bond sufficient to guarantee payment of an amount equal to the unsatisfied final judgment or judgments. Under existing law, if a judgment is entered against a licensee, then a qualifying person or personnel of record is prohibited from serving as a qualifying individual or other personnel of record on any license until the judgment is satisfied. This bill would extend that prohibition to when a judgment is entered against any personnel of record. Support

Mechanics liens
 
AB 1339 (Gabriel - D) This bill would provide that a mechanics lien has priority over a lien, mortgage, deed of trust, or other encumbrance on the work of improvement or the real property on which the work of improvement is situated, that attaches after the date of commencement of the work of improvement.

PAGA
 
AB 443 (Flora - R) This bill would limit attorney's fees in connection with an action for a violation of the wage information requirements under PAGA. Support

Public Works
 
AB 1736 (Daly - D) This bill would require departments and state agencies with an internet website, to post within 24 hours of awarding a construction contract, the name of the successful bidder, the amount of the successful bidder's bid, and the name of listed subcontractors and their subcontract amounts. Support

STWF
 
AB 1177 (Frazier - D) This bill would delete the requirement in SB 35 from last year that a skilled and trained workforce be employed on any project subject to its provisions. Watch
 
SB 524 (Stern - D) Sponsored by California State Association of Electrical Workers, California State Pipe Trades Council, Western States Council Sheet Metal Workers, this bill requires the CPUC to direct energy efficiency program administrators to ensure that work is performed by a skilled and trained workforce for projects receiving at least $50,000 in ratepayer-funded initiatives within a single facility. Watch

Taxes/Fees
 
AB 613 (Low - D) Authorizes regulatory boards under the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to adjust their licensing fees once every four years by an amount not to exceed the increase in the California Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the preceding four years, with limitations.
 
AB 1413 (Gloria - D) Would authorize a local transportation authority to impose a tax applicable to only a portion of its county if 2/3 of the voters voting on the measure within the portion of the county to which the tax would apply vote to approve the tax and other requirements are met, including that the revenues derived from the tax be spent within, or for the benefit of, the portion of the county to which the tax would apply. Would require projects funded by any such tax to use a SATWF unless the project is covered by a PLA.

UI
 
AB 1066 (Gonzalez - D) Current law makes an employee ineligible for UI benefits if the employee left work because of a trade dispute and specifies that the employee remains ineligible for the duration of the trade dispute. This bill would restore eligibility after the first 2 weeks for an employee who left work because of a trade dispute. Watch
Read more >>


Thursday, May 02, 2019   Thought

 

Richard Markuson

What's Up, Sacramento?

Last Friday was another in a series of deadlines designed to keep the sausage factory otherwise known as the California State Legislature moving toward its session deadline of September 13th. By last Friday, fiscal bills that have an impact on state revenue or stat costs had to be out of their policy committees in their house of origin. I thought this would be a good time to illustrate some of the bills making their way through the California Legislature.
 
This year will be substantially different from the recent session for two reasons: the first being that progressive Democrats have a stranglehold on both houses of the Legislature and the second being that Governor Gavin Newsom is expected by many to be a more liberal governor than Jerry Brown was. Therefore, Newsom probably will sign some - if not all - of the bills that Brown would have vetoed in the past.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 02, 2019   What We're Reading

Deal or no deal: PLAs in the construction industry The project labor agreement fight has reached the federal level as unions and private associations plead the case for and against. Story
 
California contractors plead guilty to $6M fraud, theft The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced April 24 that it has entered into a plea deal with siblings Enrique Vera and Gloria Vera to resolve the construction fraud charges levied against the contracting team in November. Story
 
Former CAGOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox criticizes Gov. Gavin Newsom in a new op-ed: "Newsom's theatrics make for great national television morning show content and social media click-bait. I think part of his motivation and political strategy is to divert valuable air away from Democratic presidential primary candidates, so that after the president wins reelection in 2020, Newsom is well-positioned for a 2024 run. Regardless of whether you agree with that theory or not, his first 100 days of showmanship has had virtually no positive impact in the lives of actual Californians." Story
 
How powerful lawmakers are killing bills in California without a peep. Gun control, school spending, curbs on greenhouse gases: With Democrats holding more power at the Capitol than they've had since the 19th century, California's legislative pipeline is full this year with big, blue-state ideas. In theory, no Democrat's bill should be left behind. But that's not what's happening, and the reason is roiling both sides of the aisle in Sacramento. The complaint? Democrats who lead legislative committees are using a powerful tool to kill bills before they even get a vote. The tool? Simply doing nothing. Story
 
San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey becomes the latest California Republican to leave the party: "Make no mistake: both parties have plenty of good and decent members. But today's political climate rewards ideologues, not problem-solvers. I ran for office to rebuild San Diego, not localize the debate over federal and state partisan malice." Some of you may recall then Republican Kersey and still Republican San Diego County Supervisor Greg Coxvoted in favor of requiring a PLA on the new terminal at San Diego's Lindberg Field.
 
"How California's high-speed rail project was 'captured' by costly consultants," by Ralph Vartabedian in the LATimes: "Development of the nation's first high-speed rail line was overseen by a minuscule government staff. Now, more than a decade later, that decision has proved to be a foundational error in the project's execution - a miscalculation that has resulted in the California High-Speed Rail Authority being overly reliant on a network of high-cost consultants who have consistently underestimated the difficulty of the task." Story
Read more >>


Thursday, May 02, 2019   2020 Election


Rep. Eric Swalwell has crossed the three-poll threshold needed to appear in Democratic National Committee's presidential primary debate. The Bay Area congressman has gotten plenty of practice as he proliferated on TV during the Trump era.
 
Republican Young Kimlaunched her campaign for CA-39 after losing in 2018 to Democrat Rep. Gil Cisneros in the contest for the former Ed Royce seat. She rolled out with the backing of Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and Royce. The DCCC sought to undermine Kim out of the gate by framing her as the choice of Washington officials, not Orange County voters.
 
Orange County supervisor Michelle Steel plans to challenge Rep. Harley Roudafor CA 48 House seat in 2020. She told Radio Korea Thursday "that she's been considering a run for CA-48 since the November election. That's when Rouda, D-Laguna Beach, defeated three-decade incumbent Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher by 7.2 percentage points." Story
 
The GOP challenger to U.S. Rep. Katie Porter doesn't live in the district: Should that matter? "And with three more Republican challengers already in the race to challenge Porter, D-Irvine, experts say Peggy Huang's residency could become a real issue for her campaign." Story
Read more >>


Thursday, April 25, 2019   WECA's Contractor Authorization Forms: Stay On Top of Employee Training

One of the benefits of WECA membership is having everything you need to seamlessly track your employees' training in one comprehensive place. Our Authorization for Release of Records forms help you do just that.

WECA's Authorization for Release of Records forms allow journeymen and electrician trainees enrolled at WECA to grant their employers permission to communicate with and receive records from WECA for a period of time, as stipulated either by the student or the form type.

Alternatively, member contractors may also file authorization forms on behalf of their employees if the employees are enrolled in an electrician trainee or continuing education program. 

Authorization forms allow for the release of records such as grades, attendance reports, progression letters, completion certificates, and program enrollment and renewal information. Member contractors will also be able to ensure that their employees are working to meet their 150-hour continuing education requirement for state renewal. Further, member contractors may request to be copied on all correspondence their employees receive. However, the member contractor must notify WECA of this request. 

WECA currently offers four different versions of the authorization form:
  • For electrician trainees: the form expires upon the student's request or upon completion or cancellation of the program; whichever occurs first
  • For journeymen: the form expires upon the student's request or three years after the signed effective date; whichever occurs first
  • One-time release of records for general students, which can be utilized to receive transcripts and certificates of completion; these forms will expire after 30 days
  • One-time release of records for non-member contractors, which can be utilized to receive enrollment letters and student transcripts; these forms will expire after one week
Member contractors or their employees who wish to obtain and/or file authorization forms may do so by either obtaining the student's signature, or signing the form, and submitting the form to etregistrar@goweca.com. Upon submission and processing of the form, contractors will have access to their students' information on their member dashboard (accessible here) within two business days.
Member contractors - if the concerned employee(s) are electrician trainees (ETs) - will also be able to assist those employees in maintaining active ET cards with the State of California and help monitor their employees' progress in the program.
Employees enrolled in the ET program will also receive ET overview reports. Member contractors employing ETs will also gain access to these reports, whose release are also included in the filing of the authorization forms.
ET reports provide the following benefits to both member contractors and their employees:
  • Transcript browse: this function allows members to pull up-to-date copies of their employees' transcripts for renewal purposes
  • ET or journeyman certificate browse: allows members to pull course completion certificates for their employees who have successfully met course requirements to pass
  • ET enrollment letter browse: allows members to find proof of the student's active renewal with WECA, either for initial registration with the State of California or for renewal purposes
  • Active ET student status: allows members to see the current status of their employees and see if they are enrolled, or currently between classes and their deadline to get signed up to maintain enrollment with WECA
  • Daily grades and attendance: allows members to check on their employee's current grades and attendance for the classes they are attending
To obtain ET reports, contractors may login to the WECA website with their member login.
WECA is also pleased to announce that additional benefits will be added in the future, such as improved enrollment functionality online for member contractors with students already in the program, to improve the user experience for our member contractors. 
 
Read more >>


Thursday, April 25, 2019   Meet the Grissoms: Six Brothers, All WECA Apprentices




It's all in the family for the Grissom brothers.

Since 2007, there has always been a Grissom brother in WECA's Riverside Apprenticeship program. And brothers Chad Sobloewski (29), Lance Robbins (28), Tommy Grissom (25), Michael Grissom (24), Tyson Grissom (22), and Skylar Grissom (19), wouldn't have it any other way.

The one who started it all - Chad, the oldest - expressed that "going through the apprenticeship program with my siblings has been a cool experience, not only as their mentor, but seeing them establish themselves and learn the trade makes me feel like a very successful individual and a proud big brother."

And judging by his brothers' responses, it's clear that they feel the same way.
   
Lance: "It was great being in the apprenticeship program with my brothers. I was able to work with three of them throughout my apprenticeship and it was definitely a good experience. Chad and I are currently on the same job right now and it's nice having someone there to push you and constantly try to make you better."
           
 Tommy: "It's nice to be able to motivate them to do their best and to be motivated by my older brothers. We all want to do good in life and support our families, and that's what it's all about. WECA has done all of us good and my last brother just got in so he will be starting his first class at the same time as my last class, so that's pretty cool."
          
Michael: "Being in the program with my brothers, I feel, gives us a better reason to do better. Everyone wants to do well, but when you have family go through it before you and you have a brother in the same class, it really makes you want to do better."
            
Tyson: "I get to help my brothers with schoolwork and skills we learn in the field, and they do the same so we can all be smarter and safer at work."
            
Skylar: "It's nice having someone I know who can help me out when I need it, and show me tips and tricks."

Growing up, both Chad and Tommy report that they were always inclined toward the electrical trade, with Chad stating that he "always had an interest in building things with my hands and watching it all come together" and Tommy acknowledging that "as a kid, electricity always interested me."

The other brothers, however, came to love the electrical trade by experiencing their brothers' passions for it.
            
Lance: "Honestly, becoming an electrician never crossed my mind before Chad got in. But once he got in and was telling me about it, I knew that's what I wanted to do."
            
Michael: "My brothers were in [the field] and always talked about how great it was, and as I learned and worked more, I couldn't see myself doing anything else."
            
Tyson: "My oldest brother was happy and successful as an electrician, and I wanted what he had, so I joined up."
            
Skylar: "Seeing how well all my brothers had done made me want to have this as my career."

If you're thinking that the Grissom brothers' situations are unique, they simultaneously are and are not.

According to a 2016 Facebook research study which analyzed the profiles of 2.37 million same-gender siblings - all of whom were no more than two years apart in age - in the United States, 15 percent of siblings share an occupation, in contrast to an 8.6 percent likelihood of sharing the same occupation for any two same-gender, same-age individuals in the rest of the population.

Fifteen percent isn't a high rate of occurrence, when you factor into consideration the population of the United States in 2016, the year the study was conducted - 323.4 million - and assume that this phenomenon would repeat itself similarly in a non-Facebook-sanctioned study. But it's not extremely uncommon, either.

That doesn't make the Grissom brothers' story any less extraordinary, though.

Read on for more about each Grissom brothers' unique experience with WECA's Riverside Commercial Electrical apprenticeship.
Read more >>


Thursday, April 25, 2019   1929 - 2019: WECA Celebrates 90 Years

 
Celebrating WECA's 90th Anniversary
Celebrating WECA's 90th Anniversary: A
Video Recap
The Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA) is pleased to announce the observance of its 90th birthday in 2019.
 
Founded in Sacramento on April 9, 1929, WECA advocates for and protects fair and open competition in California's electrical, low voltage, and greater construction industries, and fosters its members' growth and success with unsurpassed business services as well as customer service. WECA also proudly trains, educates, and develops California's finest electricians and low volt technicians through its comprehensive apprenticeship and training programs and state-of-the-art, hands-on labs.
 
An industry leader within the merit shop and electrical training industries, WECA has provided Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship, Residential Electrical Apprenticeship, and Low Voltage Apprenticeship programs since 1992, 1997, and 2005, respectively.
 
In 2005, WECA won a three-year battle with the State of California to indenture apprentices statewide. This historic decision was a huge victory for California's merit shop contractors. Also in 2005, in response to electrical industry training needs, WECA expanded upon its course offerings by developing courses to serve the newly-created state designation of Electrician Trainee. This program - aptly named GetWired! - serves students across California with innovative online instructor-led courses paired with hands-on labs at each of WECA's three training facilities.
 
For 90 years, WECA has been honored to serve member contractors, industry partners, and affiliate members dedicated to the merit shop philosophy, prepare thousands of California's best electricians and low voltage technicians for a competitive workforce, and help lead political and governmental advocacy for California's merit shop industry. Our association currently boasts over 250 member contractors, over 750 apprentices, and over 4,000 electrician trainee and journeyman continuing education students. We are proud to be the premier association for electrical and low voltage contractors and their employees in California and look forward to our next 90 years with great enthusiasm and anticipation.
Read more >>


Thursday, April 25, 2019   Public Works Contractors: Renew Registration Starting May 1



Content courtesy of: California Department of Industrial Relations

Public Works Contractors: Renew Registration Starting May 1
Contractors can now register for up to three fiscal years

The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) is informing public works contractors that registrations can be renewed starting on May 1. Public works contractor registrations expire each year on June 30. Contractors now have the option to renew current registrations for one, two or three fiscal years. 

California law requires all contractors to register with DIR prior to bidding, being listed on a bid proposal, being awarded or engaging in the performance of any public works contract on or after April 1, 2015. Fees and penalties may be assessed for a lapse in renewal or failure to register when engaged in public works.

The public works contractor registration application was recently updated to process applications within one business day when paid by credit card, and provide the applicant with a credit card receipt. 

Registration and requirements are available on DIR's public works website, including information on responsibilities related to prevailing wages, apprenticeship and certified payroll records. 

DIR protects and improves the health, safety and economic well-being of over 18 million wage earners, and helps their employers comply with state labor laws. 

DIR's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), also known as the Labor Commissioner's Office, enforces prevailing wage rates and apprenticeship standards in public works projects, inspects workplaces for wage and hour violations, adjudicates wage claims, investigates retaliation complaints, issues licenses and registrations for businesses and educates the public on labor laws.
Read more >>


Thursday, April 25, 2019   WECA Members: An Opportunity to Explore Your ThinkHR Benefits


This training webinar, in partnership with ThinkHR, will focus on the expanded features and benefits recently added to your ThinkHR account provided through WECA as part of your Membership Benefits.

One of the biggest challenges that HR professionals face is finding the right information and resources quickly. Do you have someone to turn to with questions about managing an employee's behavior or performance? Do you know exactly where to go to learn more when state or federal updates come forward? What about educating staff about subjects like customer service or harassment? These are just a few examples of what ThinkHR can help you with every day.

Through your membership in WECA, you can receive unlimited access to ThinkHR's site and services. Please join us at this webinar on Tuesday, May 21, 2019 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. PDT to learn more.

To register for this webinar, please use the following link.

https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/8970887181055429387
Read more >>


Thursday, April 25, 2019   BICSI Classes Underway at WECA! Read Instructor John Arias' Review of the Program


BICSI classes are underway at WECA's Rancho Cordova headquarters until June 28th, and we strongly encourage our apprentices, journeymen, electrician trainees, and low voltage technicians to enroll in these courses to further develop a wide breadth of knowledge.

If you're wondering if you should register for these classes, look no further. WECA instructor John Arias enrolled and participated in the first class and shared his insight on the class with us:

Be humble, be teachable, and always keep learning.

Ever the student, Arias was intrigued when WECA announced that BICSI would be holding classes at its Rancho Cordova headquarters. So, he signed up for and took the class to satisfy his curiosity. Overall, Arias reported that he enjoyed the class very much, though the class was a recap of the basic principles of electrical theory as well as signal and data transmissions and industry standards for installations. 

"The course is comparable to first-year apprenticeship classes at WECA", said Arias, "because the course focused more on understanding electrical theory, rather than the fine details on terminating." 

Regardless of the beginner's nature of the class, however, Arias recommended the BICSI program to WECA members and students. 

"The BICSI installation credential is internationally recognized," said Arias. "It's my understanding that some large projects would require a BICSI certified installer to be on site. And for students that have graduated our apprenticeship, an installer should be well-prepared to obtain the BICSI credential because this brings value not only to the individual, but the company as well." 

For member contractors and students interested in taking BICSI classes, Arias noted that preparation was important regardless of the desired class level.

"Purchase the BICSI Information Technology Systems Installation Methods manual well in advance," said Arias. "Having it two weeks prior to class will help tremendously. Brush up on the basics." 

Interested in enrolling yourself or an employee in a BICSI course? See below for remaining class dates at our Rancho Cordova HQ. 

But seats are filling fast, so register now! 

OSP102: 
Applied Outside Plant Design June 17-21
This course is designed to provide application-based knowledge of all aspects of the Outside Plant (OSP) installation process. During this course, students will apply what they have learned through a series of design exercises such as route design, selecting cables to be housed in the pathways...Learn More

PM102: 
Applied Telecommunications Project Management Jun 10-14
 Proper project management is the foundation of any successful project. This course is designed to provide ICT professionals an opportunity to build on their existing project management skills while also exploring the steps and thought processes behind the basic principles and information necessary for managing a successful telecommunications project...Learn More

DC102: 
Applied Data Center Design and Best Practices Jun 24-28
BICSI's DC102: Applied Data Center Design and Best Practices course is a five-day course that provides an in-depth review of best practices for designing data centers. In this course you will be introduced to various data center infrastructure systems. In addition, you will have an opportunity to apply what you have learned by engaging in case studies...Learn More

These classes are open to the public and we encourage interested WECA members to enroll early in order to secure seats. These classes are rarely offered in Northern California, and we encourage our members to take advantage of this convenient opportunity.

Registrations must be processed directly with BICSI. To learn more about these courses and to enroll yourself or an employee, click on the individual course links above, or visit www.bicsi.org and search courses by location for "Rancho Cordova". 
 
Read more >>


Thursday, April 25, 2019   Cook Brown Spring Legal Update Event: May 15, 2019

An event notice from WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown:

Join us at the Spring Legal Update when our Cook Brown team will recap some of the recent California Supreme Court and high profile decisions that are impacting employers in the Golden State and beyond. Recent rulings against employers are leading to continued lawsuits brought by current and former employees. 


From Personnel Policies to PAGA: 
Protecting Your Business from
Employment Litigation

In this interactive presentation, we'll discuss and draw lessons for best practices based on what to do and what not to do:
  • What can we learn about managing compensable time from Starbucks, Tillys and Papa John's?
  • How did Chipotle avoid liability in a pregnancy disability lawsuit?
  • What did Costco learn about protecting its employees from third party harassment?
  • When should employers consider using arbitration agreements following the Epic Systems decision?
  • How do the lessons from all of these decisions better protect your business from PAGA litigation in 2019?
Date:

May 15, 2019
8:30 a.m. - 10:00 a.m.

Location:

Sacramento Regional Builders Exchange
5370 Elvas Avenue
Sacramento, California 95819

Cost:

$30 ($25 for each additional associate on the same registration)
Read more >>


Thursday, April 25, 2019   Arbitration is Not Always Final

Content courtesy of: Bruce Rudman of Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman

Most of the time the articles that we publish are about cases that come across our desk in what are called the "advance sheets" from a newspaper or publication that is dedicated to lawyers.  In this case, we recently appeared before the Court of Appeal in a matter that resulted in an unpublished case, which means that our case cannot be used as authority in another case, but which was based upon legal precedents set by prior cases before the Court.  At issue in the case was whether an arbitrator could properly determine that an entity did not require a contractor's license and award that entity money under a contract, where the contention that was being made was that a license was required.

Without giving away any names, at issue was a company that would assemble and install, including anchoring to a floor, large trampolines for a sports facility.  These trampolines were the size of a warehouse.  They were assembled and bolted to the floor.  The company also assembled some ramps and other miscellaneous work.  When the owner of the facility decided that they were unhappy with the work, they filed suit not only for breach of contract, but for disgorgement, seeking all money paid to the unlicensed entity. 

The entity filed a Petition in the Court to Compel Binding Arbitration.  This was objected to on the licensure issue.  The Superior Court had held that the matter could go to Arbitration but then the Court would have the ability to review any ultimate award.  The matter went to Arbitration and a retired Judge found that the supplier and installer was selling finished work, and therefore exempt from the license law. 

It was vigorously argued that the item did not qualify as a finished work.  Indeed, just the labor to install the equipment was valued at more than $30,000, and the labor was not incidental and supplemental to the installation of  other types of finished goods such as a refrigerator, washer and dryer, or even a prefabricated all-in-one kitchen unit when it's simply hooked up to water and a drain. 

To read more, click here. 
 
Read more >>


Thursday, April 25, 2019   This Year's Ideal Wiring Championship: How You and Your Employees Can Compete

 
Competition already heating up at WECA San Diego



Do you have what it takes to be the best electrician in the nation? Well, now it's your turn to shine! 

WECA is pleased to share this announcement, courtesy of WECA Industry Partner IDEAL Industries, Inc:

The 2019 IDEAL National Championship is a highly-charged, no-holds barred competition to determine the best electrician in North America. Get amped to show your skills, test your limits, and compete against some of the best tradesmen and women in the industry. This race-against-the-clock competition is where electricians become legends.


This competition is open to contractor teams, individual professionals, individual students, and student/school teams.

To make it to the Championship Weekend, you have to qualify first. Over a thousand qualifying rounds will take place across North America. 
The top Professional and Student/Apprentice from each state/territory, the top five Contractor Challenge (Professional) and School Challenge (Student/Apprentice) teams of 2 from the U.S., and the top Contractor and School Challenge team from Canada will advance to the Championship Weekend. In addition, the top 3 individual competitors from 2018 will be returning for their chance to defend their title.
There will be 14 Wild Card slots available for Professionals and Students/Apprentices respectively. These will be filled the 12 fastest individuals from each U.S. region who do not win their state's bid, and the 2 fastest remaining individuals from Canada.

84 professionals and 84 students/apprentices from the US and Canada will advance to Orlando to compete. They will be joined by 1 professional and 1 student/apprentice each from Australia and China, who will be competing against the best the US and Canada have to offer in the inaugural International Championship at the end of the weekend. While travel, lodging and meals are all provided by IDEAL Electrical, competitors have to bring their own "A" game to get through four rounds of competition. The weekend is fun. The competition is fierce. These tasks are tough. 
4th Year Commercial Electrical Apprentices at WECA San Diego Pictured at an Onsite Qualifying Round

Prizes

The Contractor Challenge: 1st Place: $40,000 + NEW: $20,000 in IDEALcash to the Contractor + NEW: $50,000 in Marketing Support to the Contractor

Individual Professionals: 1st Place: $75,000 | 2nd Place: $25,000 | 3rd Place: $10,000

Individual Students: 1st Place: $30,000 | 2nd Place: $20,000 | 3rd Place: $10,000

School Challenge: 1st Place: $20,000 + NEW: + $10,000 IDEALcash for trade school + 5 First-Year Scholarships along with five complete tool kits for scholarship winners.

Are you up for the challenge, like our fourth-year apprentices at WECA's San Diego labs? Or do you have rock star employees that you'd like to show off? 

We here at WECA believe that the IDEAL Nationals are a great opportunity for our member contractors and students to learn from their peers, forge strong relationships, and continually improve upon their skills - which are already some of the best in the industry. Our member contractors can encourage their employees to compete by emphasizing this unique opportunity to gain experience and confidence outside of the classroom and jobsite. 

To compete, visit IDEAL National's website to find events near you, learn how to create a team, and register for your chance to become an electrical legend

And stay tuned for announcement of further qualifying rounds held at WECA training facilities across the state. It's always nice to compete on your home turf! 

Best of luck to everyone! 
Read more >>


Wednesday, April 24, 2019   Meet the Grissoms: Six Brothers, All WECA Apprentices

Commercial Electrical, Trained at our Riverside Facility
 

It's all in the family for the Grissom brothers.

Since 2007, there has always been a Grissom brother in WECA's Riverside Apprenticeship program. And brothers Chad Sobloewski (29), Lance Robbins (28), Tommy Grissom (25), Michael Grissom (24), Tyson Grissom (22), and Skylar Grissom (19), wouldn't have it any other way.

The one who started it all - Chad, the oldest - expressed that "going through the apprenticeship program with my siblings has been a cool experience, not only as their mentor, but seeing them establish themselves and learn the trade makes me feel like a very successful individual and a proud big brother."

And judging by his brothers' responses, it's clear that they feel the same way.
   
Lance: "It was great being in the apprenticeship program with my brothers. I was able to work with three of them throughout my apprenticeship and it was definitely a good experience. Chad and I are currently on the same job right now and it's nice having someone there to push you and constantly try to make you better."
           
Tommy: "It's nice to be able to motivate them to do their best and to be motivated by my older brothers. We all want to do good in life and support our families, and that's what it's all about. WECA has done all of us good and my last brother just got in so he will be starting his first class at the same time as my last class, so that's pretty cool."
          
Michael: "Being in the program with my brothers, I feel, gives us a better reason to do better. Everyone wants to do well, but when you have family go through it before you and you have a brother in the same class, it really makes you want to do better."
            
Tyson: "I get to help my brothers with schoolwork and skills we learn in the field, and they do the same so we can all be smarter and safer at work."
            
Skylar: "It's nice having someone I know who can help me out when I need it, and show me tips and tricks."

Growing up, both Chad and Tommy report that they were always inclined toward the electrical trade, with Chad stating that he "always had an interest in building things with my hands and watching it all come together" and Tommy acknowledging that "as a kid, electricity always interested me."

The other brothers, however, came to love the electrical trade by experiencing their brothers' passions for it.
            
Lance: "Honestly, becoming an electrician never crossed my mind before Chad got in. But once he got in and was telling me about it, I knew that's what I wanted to do."
            
Michael: "My brothers were in [the field] and always talked about how great it was, and as I learned and worked more, I couldn't see myself doing anything else."
            
Tyson: "My oldest brother was happy and successful as an electrician, and I wanted what he had, so I joined up."
            
Skylar: "Seeing how well all my brothers had done made me want to have this as my career."

If you're thinking that the Grissom brothers' situations are unique, they simultaneously are and are not.

According to a 2016 Facebook research study which analyzed the profiles of 2.37 million same-gender siblings - all of whom were no more than two years apart in age - in the United States, 15 percent of siblings share an occupation, in contrast to an 8.6 percent likelihood of sharing the same occupation for any two same-gender, same-age individuals in the rest of the population.

Fifteen percent isn't a high rate of occurrence, when you factor into consideration the population of the United States in 2016, the year the study was conducted - 323.4 million - and assume that this phenomenon would repeat itself similarly in a non-Facebook-sanctioned study. But it's not extremely uncommon, either.

That doesn't make the Grissom brothers' story any less extraordinary, though.

Read on for more about each Grissom brothers' unique experience with WECA's Riverside Commercial Electrical apprenticeship.
Read more >>


Wednesday, April 24, 2019   Healthcare Coverage Update

Sutter Health/Anthem update for apprentices: if you opted to - or were moved from - your Sutter Health physician, and would like to return to the physician, please call the 1-800 number listed on the back of your Anthem insurance card to do so. 
Read more >>


Wednesday, April 24, 2019   Lab Donations Scoreboard Update: Donors Helping to Make Your Labs State-of-the-Art!

  
We could not do what we do here at WECA without the help of our dedicated members and industry partners. Please join us in saying 'thank you' to the individuals and companies that help make WECA's state-of-the-art labs and comprehensive, hands-on education the best in the State of California.
"We would like to thank everyone who has donated supplies and equipment to us this year. These donations really contribute to the educational excellence here at WECA. It is truly a team effort when it comes to shaping the next generation of electricians," said Jimmie Slemp, WECA's lead instructor and lab facilities manager. 
WECA extends a huge thank you to:
  • Lee Bowman and Med Cram (Platt Electric Supply)
  • Ron Arnall (Western Tube and Conduit)
  • Kristen Pontolino and Ned Johns (Ideal Industries)
  • Gary Howell (Howell Multimedia)
  • Max Charlton (Klein Tools)
Of course, the year is far from over, and we hope to see additional donors make the scoreboard, and perhaps take the lead, before the year is out!
 
Read more >>


Wednesday, April 24, 2019   BICSI Classes Underway at WECA! Read Instructor John Arias' Review of the Program

 

BICSI classes are underway at WECA's Rancho Cordova headquarters until June 28th, and we strongly encourage our apprentices, journeymen, electrician trianees, and low voltage technicians to enroll in these courses to further develop a wide breadth of knowledge.

If you're wondering if you should register for these classes, look no further. WECA instructor John Arias enrolled and participated in the first class and shared his insight on the class with us:

Be humble, be teachable, and always keep learning.

Ever the student, Arias was intrigued when WECA announced that BICSI would be holding classes at its Rancho Cordova headquarters. So, he signed up for and took the class to satisfy his curiosity.

Overall, Arias reported that he enjoyed the class very much, though the class was a recap of the basic principles of electrical theory as well as signal and data transmissions and industry standards for installations. 
 
"The course is comparable to first-year apprenticeship classes at WECA," said Arias, "because the course focused more on understanding electrical theory, rather than the fine details on terminating." 

Regardless of the beginner's nature of the class, however, Arias recommended the BICSI program to WECA members and students. 

"The BICSI installation credential is internationally recognized," said Arias. "It's my understanding that some large projects would require a BICSI certified installer to be on site. And for students that have graduated our apprenticeship, an installer should be well-prepared to obtain the BICSI credential because this brings value not only to the individual, but the company as well." 

For member contractors and students interested in taking BICSI classes, Arias noted that preparation was important regardless of the desired class level. 

"Purchase the BICSI Information Technology Systems Installation Methods manual well in advance," said Arias. "Having it two weeks prior to class will help tremendously. Brush up on the basics." 

Interested in enrolling in a BICSI course? See below for our remaining class dates at our Rancho Cordova HQ.

But seats are filling fast, so register now! 

OSP102:
Applied Outside Plant Design June 17-21 
This course is designed to provide application-based knowledge of all aspects of the Outside Plant (OSP) installation process. During this course, students will apply what they have learned through a series of design exercises such as route design, selecting cables to be housed in the pathways...Learn More
 
PM102: 
Applied Telecommunications Project Management Jun 10-14
 Proper project management is the foundation of any successful project. This course is designed to provide ICT professionals an opportunity to build on their existing project management skills while also exploring the steps and thought processes behind the basic principles and information necessary for managing a successful telecommunications project...Learn More
 
DC102: 
Applied Data Center Design and Best Practices Jun 24-28
BICSI's DC102: Applied Data Center Design and Best Practices course is a five-day course that provides an in-depth review of best practices for designing data centers. In this course you will be introduced to various data center infrastructure systems. In addition, you will have an opportunity to apply what you have learned by engaging in case studies... Learn More

These classes are open to the public and we encourage interested WECA members to enroll early in order to secure seats. These classes are rarely offered in Northern California, and we encourage our members to take advantage of this convenient opportunity.

Registrations must be processed directly with BICSI. To learn more about these courses and to enroll yourself or an employee, click on the individual course links above, or visit www.bicsi.org and search courses by location for "Rancho Cordova."
Read more >>


Wednesday, April 24, 2019   Apprentice and ET Class of 2019: Official Graduation Invitations are in Your Email!

NorCal and SoCal Event Dates
 

Hey, Class of 2019 apprentices and electrician trainees! 

Graduation is just around the corner, so check your e-mail for the official invitation! Please RSVP to the invite as soon as possible and don't forget to fill out the hoodie survey!
Read more >>


Wednesday, April 24, 2019   Watch Your Mailboxes for Upcoming Session 3 Mini Catalog


It's that time again, WECAns! Time to watch your mailboxes for the latest WECA course catalog. In it you'll find new course listings for Electrician Trainees and Journeymen Continuing Education for October-December, as well as all our classroom, GetWired!, and self-paced favorites. Keep your eyes peeled--there may even be a valuable coupon code in there as well.
 
Can't wait? Okay, fine...you can download it here.
 
Or access our full online course catalog for completely up-to-date course information, any time here
 
Read more >>


Wednesday, April 24, 2019   This Year's Ideal Wiring Championship and Your Chance to Compete


Fourth-year WECA apprentices in San Diego recently participated in a qualifying round in Ideal Industries' National Wiring Championships.

The Ideal championship is a "highly-charged, no-holds barred competition to determine the best electrician in North America".

In this championship, students can show off their skills, test their limits, and compete against some of the best tradesmen and women in the country. 
Ideal's qualifying rounds - of which WECA apprentices in San Diego are already taking part - are held from
March 4th to October 4th, 2019. After this round, the top professional and student from each state or territory will then advance to the
championship weekend, held from November 7th through 9th, 2019, at Walt Disney World.
Winners are eligible to receive the following prizes:

1st place: $30,000

2nd place: $20,000

3rd place: $10,000

If you're interested in competing, click on this link to find an event near you, and stay tuned for announcement of further qualifying rounds held at WECA training facilities across the state. It's always nice to compete on your home turf!


Best of luck to everyone! 
Read more >>


Thursday, April 18, 2019   What We're Reading

In Orange County, a small business dream becomes a nightmare Blaine Eastcott's story is the definition of the American Dream. But as a consequence of California's Private Attorneys General Act, his dream may has become a nightmare. Story

100 days in, here's how Gavin Newsom is doing on 10 campaign promises From The Sacramento Bee, "One hundred days into his tenure, California Gov. Gavin Newsom has taken initial steps toward many of promises he made on the campaign trail, from proposing increased funding for homeless services to speeding up firefighting efforts. He's far from accomplishing many of his concrete long-term goals, however, like building 3.5 million new homes and creating half a million apprenticeships. He says he's nevertheless done a lot in his first months in office." On apprenticeship "In his budget proposal, Newsom specified that the state spend $27 million yearly for apprenticeship programs called for under California's cap-and-trade law, which Newsom's predecessor Jerry Brown signed into law in 2017. The apprenticeships would be concentrated in "disadvantaged communities" and draw from funds generated by cap and trade, which makes companies pay to pollute. Newsom's proposal would fund slots for 6,500 people in apprenticeship programs over five years - far short of his stated goal, although he told The Bee that he and his senior advisers are discussing augmenting that proposal." Story

Outrage exhibitionists. From Liz Marlantes, Politics Editor at The Christian Science, "Some people did something." Those four words, spoken by freshman Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., lie at the heart of Washington's latest outrage du jour. Ms. Omar, a Somali-American, was referring to the attacks of 9/11. She actually made the comments last month, in a speech to a Muslim group, in which she noted that the murderous actions of a few fanatics had had significant consequences for the broader Muslim community in the U.S., as seen in a subsequent rise in harassment and hate crimes. Last week, fellow freshman Rep. Dan Crenshaw, R-Tex., who lost an eye serving in Afghanistan, reacted via tweet: "First Member of Congress to ever describe terrorists who killed thousands of Americans on 9/11 as 'some people who did something,'" he wrote. "Unbelievable." In the ensuring firestorm, The New York Post splashed Ms. Omar's words across its front page, leading some of the city's bodegas (many of which are owned by Yemeni-Americans) to stop selling the paper. After President Donald Trump sent out a video on Twitter juxtaposing her speech with footage of the Twin Towers falling, Ms. Omar called Mr. Trump's tweet "hate speech" and said she had seen an increase in death threats. Ms. Omar's defenders say her remarks were taken out of context and deliberately mis-characterized. They see a cynical effort by Republicans to stoke, for political gain, precisely the kind of Islamophobic sentiment that Ms. Omar was lamenting in her speech. Her critics say that her words, even if unintentional, reveal an inclination to trivialize the attack and whitewash the extremist ideology that inspired the terrorists. They say Democrats who are labeling the criticism of Ms. Omar as "incitement" are attempting to suppress free speech. Neither side, it seems, is willing to give the other the benefit of the doubt.
"Civic conversation in America is dysfunctional in part because we have so many ... outrage exhibitionists," notes Conor Friedersdorf in The Atlantic. "These folks strip inartfully phrased remarks of context, ignoring the speaker's intentions and imputing the least charitable possible meaning. This sets them up to display umbrage with the ostentation of a peacock. Though widely reviled, such displays are nevertheless widespread, on the left and right, as even many strident critics are only bothered when their own tribe is targeted."

Can Private Funding Save High-Speed Rail? Privately backed ventures, like Virgin Trains USA's Florida project, could help expand high-speed rail in the United States, according to a new report from analysts at Fitch. Virgin's so-far successful expansion to Orlando gives more credibility to private passenger rail projects, the report says. That's especially relevant given the high-profile failure of the government-funded high-speed rail project in California. But "significant challenges," including the lack of precedent for similar projects, political opposition and land rights issues, will continue for the private companies looking to fill the void. Virgin is also planning a route between Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and Texas Central is looking to develop passenger rail between Houston and Dallas (although the latter has been struck legal blows over eminent domain questions in recent months).

Unions Put Port Driverless Vehicles on Hold In LA: "The Port of Los Angeles' Harbor Commission delayed a decision Tuesday over whether to approve a permit that would open the way to automation in North America's largest terminal," following a protest of 1,200 dockworkers, Margot Roosevelt reports for the Los Angeles Times. It was the second delay requested by Mayor Eric Garcetti on a "controversial" construction permit for shipping firm Maersk "to replace about 100 diesel tractors, which are operated by members of the International Longshore and Warehouse Union, with driverless electric vehicles, potentially eliminating hundreds of jobs.... If Maersk is allowed to automate, the rest of the port complex's 13 terminals will probably follow suit, the union contends." In related news, the ILWU is encouraging the prohibition of shipping containers.

Murray, Kaine Press For Epstein Report: Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Tim Kaine(D-Va.) on Friday "asked the Justice Department to release findings from an investigation into Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta's role in brokering a 2008 plea deal for billionaire pedophile Jeffrey Epstein," POLITICO's Ian Kullgren reports. "In a letter to the DOJ's Office of Professional Responsibility, the senators asked investigators to 'publish all of its findings without delay' when the review is complete."

Amazon's Fight For $15: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos urged competitors to match the online superstore's $15 hourly minimum wage plus benefits in a letter to shareholders Thursday, even as those same companies struggle to catch up with Amazon's sales. "I challenge our top retail competitors (you know who you are!) to match our employee benefits and our $15 minimum wage," Bezos said in the letter, according to the Washington Post (which Bezos owns). "Do it! Better yet, go to $16 and throw the gauntlet back at us. It's a kind of competition that will benefit everyone." Amazon boosted its wage minimum in November (although it also slashed warehouse workers' bonuses and stock option benefits). The letter drew some shade from Walmart Executive Vice President of Corporate Affairs Dan Bartlett, who tweeted Thursday morning: "Hey retail competitors out there (you know who you are) how about paying your taxes?" The tweet linked to a Feb. 16 news report by Yahoo! Finance that Amazon paid no federal income tax in 2017 or 2018. Bartlett added : "FWIW, the vast majority of our warehouse associates have been making more than $15 for a long time. And they still get quarterly performance bonuses."

Commentary: Why San Diego Airport PLA discriminates against non-union workers On April 4, less than 36 hours after a three-page staff report was released giving the rationale for the decision, the San Diego County Regional Airport Authority board voted 5-3 to place the new $3 billion Terminal 1 project under a union-only Project Labor Agreement (PLA). Despite a roomful of construction workers, apprentices, contractors and contractor association members opposing this blatantly discriminatory "agreement," the PLA was approved after less than 180 minutes of discussion.
This stood in contrast to the thoughtful weeks-long approach that the board took in 2009, which saw a workshop on the issue followed by a 20-page staff report that helped lead to a unanimous vote against a PLA on the $1 billion Terminal 2 "Green Build" project, a project built on time, on budget and with 85% of the workers being local.
So what changed in 10 years? Story 
Read more >>


Thursday, April 18, 2019   Thought

Thought

 

Richard Markuson

Misguided Effort to Manipulate Economy

Assemblyman Marc Levine - who represents Marin County and parts of Sonoma County - is one of the nicer members of the State Assembly due to his willingness to discuss policy, even those where he might be diametrically opposed. He has authored 32 bills in 2019 that deal with a broad range of topics - from the death penalty to coastal resources to residential care facilities. But one bill in particular stands out and has garnered membership in the elite "Job Killer" list of the California Chamber of Commerce.
 


The current list includes 24 bills that would "harm California's economic growth and job creation should they become law", according to the above-linked article. CalChamber president Allan Zaremberg says, "these bills represent some of the worst policy proposals affecting California employers and our economy currently being being considered by Legislature. Some of these bills have been rejected time and again by the Legislature or vetoed by the previous governor. Legislators should, instead, focus on removing impediments to economic growth and creating upward mobility for all Californians."
 
Senator Hanna Beth Jackson (D-Santa Barbara) leads with three bills on the list. As you may recall, Jackson decreed that gender-specific pronouns would not be permitted in her committee room. There are even a few Republican bills on her list; I suspect that Jackson is obviously emulating her Democratic brethren.
 
But back to Mr. Levine's lone bill on the list - AB 790. This bill requires a company with a market capitalization of at least one billion dollars - according to the company's most recent annual report - to pay a variety of folks who are employed pursuant to a personal service contract at least 85 percent of the area median income. This amounts to a kind of prevailing wage for private workers.
 
The service workers covered by AB 790 include: "janitorial and housekeeping services, custodial services, food service workers, laundry services, window cleaning services, bus driving services, or security guard services." Why landscapers are not included is perplexing - but there is time to add more types of work.
 
It is also important to note that if these companies employ their own service workers performing these tasks, such as only contracting with janitorial firms, transportation firms, or a food service, that AB 790 no longer applies.
 
The CalChamber observes that "According to the Department of Housing and Community Development's 2018 report, the area median income in Santa Clara County is $125,200. Thus, an eligible employer in Santa Clara County, as defined by AB 790, would have to pay $106,420 based on an 8-hour day/40-hour workweek for each individual performing work for a personal services contract". Yikes!
 
The bill up next week in the Assembly Labor and Employment Committee - whose motto is "no idea by a Democrat author is too ridiculous to pass" - will almost assuredly receive a "do-pass". The CalChamber has had a pretty good run of success with the so-called "job killers". By the chamber's tally, Governor Jerry Brown signed only 10 of the 135 bills dubbed "job killers" over the last five years.
 
Noted political curmudgeon Dan Walters notes that "the Capitol's ideological ambiance has undergone a shift to the left - not only because Democratic legislative supermajorities became even larger in last year's election - but because California voters also elected a new governor, Gavin Newsom, who is outwardly more liberal than Brown. Moreover, there's a big psychological impetus among the Capitol's Democrats to reinforce California's status as the leader of the 'resistance' against President Donald Trump".
 
Will the Chamber be able to claim a similar success in 2024? We'll see.
Read more >>


Thursday, April 18, 2019   2020 Election

Labor Leaders Say 2020 Dems Lack Union Message: Union leaders say the 2020 Democratic presidential contenders' focus on issues like the Green New Deal and "Medicare for all" risks disenchanting working class voters, the Associated Press reports. "They've got to pay attention to kitchen table economics," said Ted Pappageorge, president of the Las Vegas Culinary Union, which represents 60,000 hotel and casino workers. "We don't quite see that." Ken Broadbent, business manager of the Pittsburgh-based Steamfitters Local 449, also said: "Jobs is where we've got to keep things focused."
Read more >>


Friday, April 12, 2019   Making a Difference with WECA Lab Donations: Scoreboard Update and Thank You to Our Donors!



We could not do what we do here at WECA without the help of our dedicated members and industry partners. Please join us in saying 'thank you' to the individuals and companies that help make WECA's state-of-the-art labs and comprehensive, hands-on education the best in the State of California.

"We would like to thank everyone who has donated supplies and equipment to us this year. These donations really contribute to the educational excellence here at WECA. It is truly a team effort when it comes to shaping the next generation of electricians," said Jimmie Slemp, WECA's lead instructor and lab facilities manager. 

WECA extends a huge thank you to:
  • Lee Bowman and Med Cram (Platt Electric Supply)
  • Ron Arnall (Western Tube and Conduit)
  • Kristen Pontolino and Ned Johns (Ideal Industries)
  • Gary Howell (Howell Multimedia)
  • Max Charlton (Klein Tools)
There's still time to make a difference at WECA and claim your place on this year's scoreboard! To make a donation, please click on the above image to be redirected to our lab donations scoreboard and wish list. Donors will be featured on the lab donations scoreboard and the WECA and WECEF websites.
Read more >>


Friday, April 12, 2019   WECA Employee Spotlight: Diane Trotter



"Why is this the first time I'm hearing about this? It sounds like a great career."

These are the words that make talking to prospective WECA apprentices immensely rewarding for Diane Trotter, WECA's new apprenticeship recruiter.

"I love sharing all the great benefits of our apprenticeship program," said Trotter. "You see a light in their eyes as they realize there is an alternative to the traditional college path, and it is very rewarding to see."

Trotter, a native of Santa Cruz, majored in business administration at Fresno State. Prior to joining WECA, she served as the general manger at many JCPenney locations, including her last outpost in Stockton.

"A friend of mine shared the [apprenticeship recruiter] position description with me, and it sounded like so much fun - who wouldn't want to share information about the opportunities that are available in the electrical and low voltage trades with everyone? These are great trades and career paths," said Trotter.

Her enthusiasm for the position as well as WECA's mission is evident in her outreach efforts.

"My job is to make sure that the general public as well as high school and college students know that there are opportunities that they may have not considered before, and that being an apprentice for one of our member contractors is a great path that will give them the on-the-job training and classroom education they need to fulfill state requirements on their way to becoming journeymen," said Trotter. "I also get to meet them when they are invited in for testing and orientation and help to answer their questions about our apprenticeship standards."

Trotter's optimistic energy is also palpable when she discusses her professional and personal philosophies.

"[I hope] to learn as much as I can so that I can add value to students, staff, and our member contractors," said Trotter. "And at this moment in my life I'm all about doing more things for the first time and stretching myself to do things that make me uncomfortable - which helps me be a better person."

And Trotter is well on her way to achieving her goals and more, according to her contemporaries.

"Diane has been a fast learner and is already building relationships with new contacts and in new geographic areas," said Wendy Flanagan, WECA's Assistant Director of Apprenticeship. "She has the ability to connect with applicants and students as well as business partners. She is a great addition to our team."

When not inspiring students and staff alike in her day-to-day with WECA, Trotter loves to go hiking with her husband, run, go to the movies, read, and travel. She is also the proud mother of two young men.
Read more >>


Friday, April 12, 2019   Prominent WECA Member Sued; CABIA at Forefront of Efforts to Reduce Frivolous Lawsuits.


A prominent WECA member was recently sued under the Labor Code Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) by a former employee. 

The California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA) is at the forefront of reform efforts to reduce frivolous and costly lawsuits over minor wage and hour violations. 

If you want to learn more about CABIA or the risk of PAGA lawsuits, attend this April 17 event in Orange, CA. RSVP directly with CABIA per the flyer below:
 
Read more >>


Friday, April 12, 2019   BICSI Classes Underway at WECA! Read Instructor John Arias' Review of the Program



BICSI classes are underway at WECA's Rancho Cordova headquarters until June 28th, and we strongly encourage our member contractors and students to enroll in these courses to further develop a wide breadth of knowledge.

If you're wondering if you should register for these classes, look no further. WECA instructor John Arias enrolled and participated in the first class and shared his insight on the class with us:

Be humble, be teachable, and always keep learning.

Ever the student, Arias was intrigued when WECA announced that BICSI would be holding classes at its Rancho Cordova headquarters. So, he signed up for and took the class to satisfy his curiosity.
Overall, Arias reported that he enjoyed the class very much, though the class was a recap of the basic principles of electrical theory as well as signal and data transmissions and industry standards for installations.

"The course is comparable to first-year apprenticeship classes at WECA," said Arias, "because the course focused more on understanding electrical theory, rather than the fine details on terminating."

Regardless of the beginner's nature of the class, however, Arias recommended the BICSI program to WECA members and students.

"The BICSI installation credential is internationally recognized," said Arias. "It's my understanding that some large projects would require a BICSI certified installer to be on site. And for students that have graduated our apprenticeship, an installer should be well-prepared to obtain the BICSI credential because this brings value not only to the individual, but the company as well."

For member contractors and students interested in taking BICSI classes, Arias noted that preparation was important regardless of the desired class level.

"Purchase the BICSI Information Technology Systems Installation Methods manual well in advance," said Arias. "Having it two weeks prior to class will help tremendously. Brush up on the basics."

Interested in enrolling yourself or an employee in a BICSI course? See below for remaining class dates at our Rancho Cordova HQ. 

But seats are filling fast, so register now!


IN250: 
 BICSI Installer 2, Optical Fiber Training Apr 15-19 
The course will open with an overview of professionalism, fiber transmission principles and the general safety practices related to optical fiber cabling. A significant amount of course time will then be spent on installation, splicing, termination and testing of optical fiber cable...Learn More

OSP102: 
 Applied Outside Plant Design May 20-24 & June 17-21 
This course is designed to provide application-based knowledge of all aspects of the Outside Plant (OSP) installation process. During this course, students will apply what they have learned through a series of design exercises such as route design, selecting cables to be housed in the pathways...Learn More
PM102: 
Applied Telecommunications Project Management Jun 10-14
 Proper project management is the foundation of any successful project. This course is designed to provide ICT professionals an opportunity to build on their existing project management skills while also exploring the steps and thought processes behind the basic principles and information necessary for managing a successful telecommunications project...Learn More
DC102: 
Applied Data Center Design and Best Practices Jun 24-28
BICSI's DC102: Applied Data Center Design and Best Practices course is a five-day course that provides an in-depth review of best practices for designing data centers. In this course you will be introduced to various data center infrastructure systems. In addition, you will have an opportunity to apply what you have learned by engaging in case studies...Learn More

These classes are open to the public and we encourage interested WECA members to enroll early in order to secure seats. These classes are rarely offered in Northern California, and we encourage our members to take advantage of this convenient opportunity.


Registrations must be processed directly with BICSI. To learn more about these courses and to enroll yourself or an employee, click on the individual course links above, or visit www.bicsi.org and search courses by location for "Rancho Cordova."
Read more >>


Friday, April 12, 2019   Why Merit Shop? Download This Poster for Your Workplace Today!

ou know all the reasons you choose to be merit shop--but sometimes it's helpful to review them!

WECA is pleased to provide this downloadable poster (11x17 print size) for your workplace. It covers the Merit Shop philosophy, explains the benefits of merit shops and drawbacks of union shops, and contains helpful information for your employees about their rights.

If you're a member of WECA, we're also happy to provide you with our print edition of this information. (It's in folded brochure format for easy hand-out). Please email us at communications@goweca.com to request print brochures.
 
Read more >>


Friday, April 12, 2019   Employee Training is Worth the Investment

Article content is courtesy of: Go2HR

EMPLOYEE TRAINING IS WORTH THE INVESTMENT 
Staff training is essential for specific purposes related to your business. You may require new workers to undertake instruction in first aid, food handling or a new booking system. Incorporating training that develops employees toward long-term career goals can also promote greater job satisfaction. A more satisfied employee is likely to stay longer and be more productive while on your team.

THE COST OF TURNOVER
A recent survey indicates that 40 per cent of employees who receive poor job training leave their positions within the first year. They cite the lack of skills training and development as the principal reason for moving on.
Consider the cost of turnover. With one fewer worker, your company's productivity slips. Sales decline. Your current staff members are required to work more hours. Morale may suffer. To find a replacement, you spend time screening and interviewing applicants. Once you hire someone, you need to train that person. The cost of staff turnover adds up. Figures vary, but it can cost as much as $2,500, depending on the position, to replace a frontline employee. That is a hefty price to pay for not training staff.

To read the rest of this article, click here.
Read more >>


Friday, April 12, 2019   Have You Gotten Your Copy of "Blueprint to California's Prevailing Wage: a Contractor's Guide" Yet?

If you're still grappling with California's prevailing wage laws, make sure to get your copy of the newly-released 2nd edition of our eBook, Blueprint to California's Prevailing Wage: A Contractor's Guide, today! 

Compliance requires understanding and applying a complex set of legal statutes that are ever-changing, and California is often singled out as having the most complicated set of prevailing wage requirements in the nation. 
Our 2nd edition is newly updated with the latest changes to California law.
Blueprint to California's Prevailing Wage: A Contractor's Guide guides readers through California prevailing wage compliance beginning with basic introductions, up through advanced wage calculations. This updated eBook is intended for audiences at all levels, regardless of prior knowledge. Anyone from the novice to the experienced professional, contractors to office staff, can benefit from this eBook.
Blueprint to California's Prevailing Wage: A Contractor's Guide is unlike any other prevailing wage text. Learning is made as painless as possible, and is facilitated throughout by a rich visual presentation, engaging infographics, and an interactive design. Instead of quoting the inaccessible language of case law, we bring the law to life through a graphic-rich presentation-helping readers to more easily learn and retain information about their prevailing wage obligations. Topics include: new registration laws, debiting already paid benefits, calculating predetermined increases, footnotes, holiday pay, and much more.

Current WECA member contractors receive a complimentary copy of this publication as a member benefit. It's easy to get your eBook today - just log in to your member dashboard to download an interactive PDF.  

WECA is also pleased to make our eBook available for sale to the general public, encouraging increased awareness and enhanced prevailing wage compliance throughout California trades. Visit our Amazon (kindle version) or Shopify (interactive PDF version) stores today to get your copy!
Read more >>


Friday, April 12, 2019   WECA Member Contractors: Please Check Your Inboxes and Respond to Our 3-Minute Survey

 Dear WECA Member Contractors,
     
If you haven't yet submitted your responses, please check your inbox for your survey link and help us better understand your needs for jobsite technology training for you, your apprentices, and your other employees, as we continuously update and improve our curriculum and course offerings.

Survey respondents will be entered into a raffle for a $50 Amazon gift card. Three winners will be drawn from among respondents. 

Thanks,
   The WECA Team
 
Read more >>


Tuesday, March 26, 2019   Extra, Extra! Read All About WECA HQ's Updated Low Voltage Lab!

Low Volt Lab

WECA is committed to staying at the forefront of training for the low voltage industry, and recent upgrades to its apprenticeship labs in Rancho Cordova reflect that. These upgraded labs are optimized to produce apprentices that are well-versed in the latest integrated systems and applications. Furthermore, apprentices trained in the new labs should possess the requisite confidence and experience contractors are looking for in today's labor pool.

The updated lab space- triple the size of its previous iteration - features increased square footage and more student lab positions. What's more, the new layout will allow students to get more hands-on experience with established technologies such as fire alarms systems, security systems, and nurse call systems, as well as emerging technologies such as voice evacuation systems, very early smoke detection apparatuses, and open-area smoke imaging detection systems.
Fire Alarm Systems; Generic
  • 12 positions
  • Both conventional and addressable
  • Limited number of identical backboxes utilizing pluggable 120V primary power
  • Maintenance power switches at each station
  • Some "zone assignment" programming available to familiarize apprentices with "control-by-event" programming
  • Separate 24VDC power supplies also available to drive relays that are used for HVAC shutdown or elevator recall
 
Intrusion Systems (Burglar Alarms): Honeywell VISTA 20P
  • 8 positions
  • Common; typically found in schools or small businesses
  • These systems help to reinforce basic Ohm's Law principles, and to help apprentices differentiate between the wiring schemes for fire alarm systems and burglar alarm systems
 
Card Access Systems: ZKAccess
  • 8 positions
  • Can utilize either "stand-alone" or networked installations
  • Currently set up for a stand-alone installation, but still wired to allow for networking later
  • These systems require an understanding of how relays work to lock or unlock doors based on the credentials presented. This reinforces the concepts of electronic switches (relays).
 
Video surveillance system (CCTV): WBox CCTV Systems
  • 8 positions
  • ADI's store branded CCTV systems allow for an introduction to CCTV without overwhelming apprentices
  • WECA may install one pan-tilt-zoom (PTZ) camera at each WECA location at a later date. Each camera would possess the ability to route the power and signal to each apprentice position.
  • WECA plans to install four sets of eight cameras on equipment racks at a later date. Longer wire runs will utilize permanent wiring that the apprentices can extend to each CCTV position. Shorter wire runs will be installed by apprentices.
  • Apprentices will be introduced to the unique terminology of video systems. While they will rarely be required to select specific camera formats and/or lenses, instructors will have the opportunity to describe how and why certain cameras and formats are selected for specific tasks.
 
Nurse Call/Area of Rescue Assistance Systems: Tek-Tone
  • 8 positions
  • Apprentices will work on lab exercises for the equipment,including the multiple small gauge wires used throughout the system
 
Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus (VESDA); Brand TBD
  • Number of positions TBD
  • These systems are becoming common in computer rooms and "clean" rooms, thus we would like to purchase and install one or two of these systems to familiarize fire alarm technicians with them.
 
Open-area smoke imaging detection (OSIS); Brand TBD
  • Number of positions TBD
  • This is a fairly recent development in smoke detection technology. These are predominantly replacing projected beam detectors. These systems are also typically used in large, open areas, such as theaters, gymnasiums, and warehouses.
 
"There's really no comparison [to the old lab]", said WECA low volt instructor Steve Kappes. "[The old lab] comprised approximately 570 square feet, about the size of a one-car garage. The walls were lined with 16 fire alarm panels, with only half being used at any given time, and the ceiling was a maze of conduit and junction boxes connecting the panels to one another."

The redesign will also allow students to work simultaneously, utilize workbenches for tabletop applications, and store tools, parts and equipment in a locked storage area.
Kappes said that such a redesign was essential to students' continued success both in the classroom and on the job site.

"Most of our low voltage contractors deal primarily with either data systems (computer and telecommunications cabling and equipment) or fire alarms and other systems that would fall into the 'life safety' category", said Kappes. "As a consequence of that focus, our labs have been arranged and equipped to introduce our low voltage apprentices to these two primary areas of interest."

Thanks to Kappes' efforts, low volt apprentices will benefit from intensive - but supportive - learning in a lab with a variety of complex yet interoperable systems like the ones encountered in the field.

"The more exposure we give to our students in the relative safety of the classroom and lab, the more comfortable they will be out in the field approaching a new installation," said Kappes. "Most of our systems are very basic, simple systems. This way we can teach the fundamentals of systems before the students are out in the field confronting a complex piece of equipment they've never seen before."

But confidence isn't the only thing apprentices will gain, according to Kappes.

"The more diverse the equipment and installation techniques an apprentice is exposed to in the classroom, the more confident they are in their abilities to install a system they may be unfamiliar with. And the more confident they are, the more valuable they will be to a current or prospective employer," said Kappes.

Moving forward, Kappes hopes students will build upon the experience they've gained in the classroom and successfully apply it in the field.

"One of the keys to being successful is the ability, and willingness, to follow detailed instructions," said Kappes. "Most of the systems we deal with in the low voltage field employ some level of computer processing. The ability to work through a situation in a step-by-step, detailed manner is a huge advantage to a low voltage technician."

Kappes also reaffirmed WECA's commitment to staying one step ahead of the game by disclosing future expansion plans.

"We've created a world-class fire and life safety lab, and we'd now like to turn our attention to upgrading the existing voice-data-video (VDV) lab," said Kappes.

The expansion is necessary to accommodate anticipated larger class sizes, according to Kappes. Such an expansion would entail reconfiguring the lab from four positions to twelve, removing most of the rack and tool storage, and utilizing all four walls for increased lab positions. The expansion would also allow instructors to serve more students in smaller groups so that they receive the necessary hands-on practice most students need.

"[We also hope] to create a 'mock' server room or computer room, possibly incorporating a raised floor and multiple rows of equipment racks to familiarize students with the types of cable pulls they may encounter in the field," said Kappes.

To that end, Kappes stated that he and fellow instructor John Arias will contact WECA member contractors specializing in low voltage and data to gather input and ideas regarding how to best prepare apprentices for maximum productivity once they reach the field.

In the meantime, though, Kappes mused that "our industry continues to adopt technology as it becomes available and reliable. Our goal is to continually upgrade the labs - and the program in general - to stay relevant in the industry and [be] beneficial to our member contractors."
Read more >>


Tuesday, March 26, 2019   Employee Spotlight: New Apprenticeship Training Director Don Black



Don Black is a blue-collar guy at heart.

Black, WECA's new apprentice training director, is a self-professed outdoorsman, handyman, and lover of all things career education. "I love the trades, and I love anything that requires your brain and hands to get in sync," said Black.

Black - a native of tiny Jasper, Oregon - majored in sociology at Humboldt State and earned a master's degree in business from Regis University. With these degrees under his toolbelt, Black forged a successful career in the financial aid sector and the operations sector, respectively, at institutions such as Humboldt State, George Fox University, and the Universal Technical Institute.

"I have loved being a part of helping others achieve their career goals, am passionate about education that is directly connected to a career and love that WECA connects its apprentices and trainees directly with a career," said Black.

For Black, his new job isn't just a job. It's a deeply held conviction and passion, one that extends all the way back to his pre-college days when he set his sights on becoming a carpenter.

"I believe I am on this earth to help others achieve things they may not have thought possible, and [to help them] be the best version of themselves," said Black. "I am a coach and a mentor - my job is to help the instructors be the best they can be in connecting content to students to ensure understanding of the training, and to connect the content to the learner so that the learner can engage with and absorb the material."

And it seems that Black's contemporaries - such as WECA executive director and CEO Terry Seabury - agree with his sentiments.

"Don has contributed to the association from day one," said Seabury. "He recently held a comprehensive and much-needed three-day apprenticeship instructor meeting and led his team in many collaborative discussions on issues and opportunities for improvement. The future progress and continuous improvement Don and his team are already planning are sure to impress us all."

According to Black, his approach ensures "an environment that allows for students' differences" and states that "students will learn all that they need, and our members will have great apprentices and employees".

Black's approach to success, however, doesn't stop with WECA. He also considers the long game - life after WECA.

"Take your training seriously, and don't dismiss the soft skills," said Black. "90 percent of success is showing up on time, being able to learn, working as part of a team, and problem solving. These are critical skills that will grow your career and your paycheck."
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Tuesday, March 26, 2019   Save the Dates for WECA's Graduations!


Hey, upcoming grads! 


Graduation is just around the corner, so don't forget to save the date for your graduation - and spread the word to your guests, too!


Invitations coming soon. 
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Tuesday, March 26, 2019   Learn More About Our Upcoming Outreach Events!

Watch for WECA's outreach team at the following events, and stop by to say hi!

Please note: all events listed are located in Northern California, unless otherwise noted.

3/21: Trinity High School Career Presentation (Weaverville)
3/22: Antelope High School Career Fair (Antelope)
3/27: Campus Visit to B.E. Academy (Manteca)
4/3: Sheldon High School Career Fair (Elk Grove)
4/8: College and Career Day at Mendota High School (Mendota; near Fresno)
4/13: 5th Annual Skilled Trades Job Fair at Citrus Heights Community Center (Citrus Heights)
4/17: 26th Annual Community Job Fair at Monterey Conference Center (Monterey)
4/19: SDJC Annual CTE Career Fair at Delta College (Stockton)
4/26: Hire a Hero, Hire a Vet at BT Collins Army Reserve (Sacramento)
4/30: Calvine High School College and Career Fair (Elk Grove)
5/2: McKinleyville High School Career and Education Fair (McKinleyville)
5/7: Apprenticeship Fair at Grossmont College (El Cajon; near San Diego)
5/15: Presentation at San Juan Academy (Citrus Heights)

We'll see you there!
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Tuesday, March 26, 2019   Journeymen and Electrician Trainees: Are You Out of Work? View Jobs, Post Your Resume, and Try SRS!



Are you currently out of work and seeking employment?


Post your resume to the WECA Job Board or view open positions posted by our members.
Our contractors are hiring!
If you are a current WECA student or a WECA grad, go a step further and contact us about our Student Referral Service! This service provides additional customer service by having WECA staff provide hands-on referrals and taking some of that work off your plate.


WECA's Electrical and Low Voltage Industry Job Board is designed to help connect individuals seeking employment in the electrical and low voltage industries with the contractors who want to hire them.


Our job board exists for...
  • Electricians;
  • Low voltage technicians;
  • Electrician trainees and journeymen;
  • Industry employees (including office personnel!);
  • and the Member Contractors who want to hire them.
This is a free, no-obligation service open to all workers seeking employment in the electrical and low voltage industry. WECA's purpose in providing this service is to help our Member Contractors find the qualified workers they need. 

Search Open Positions Today

If you are a current WECA student or a WECA grad, consider trying our Student Referral Service! This service provides additional customer service by having WECA staff provide hands-on referrals and taking some of that work off your plate. Learn more and sign up here.
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Tuesday, March 26, 2019   Reminder: Commercial and Residential Apprenticeship Grads Can Seek College Credits for Program

 The Details

     Our Commercial and Residential Electrical apprenticeship programs have received college credit recommendations from NCCRS (the National College Credit Recommendation Service). If you're an apprenticeship graduate looking to further your education with traditional college in a related field--or a current apprentice planning ahead for that--read on to learn more about this benefit and to determine if you are eligible for it. 
 
     This benefit provides graduates of the WECA commercial and residential electrical apprenticeship programs the ability to gain access to college credit for completion of either program by using credit recommendations set forth by NCCRS. While admissions and acceptance of transfer credit isn't guaranteed, more than 1,400 colleges and universities nationwide currently consider awarding credit based on NCCRS recommendations.
 
     NCCRS, founded in 1973 by the Board of Regents of The University of the State of New York, strives to increase access to higher education through recognition of non-collegiate learning. Using an academic peer review model, NCCRS conducts independent, third-party evaluations of courses and examinations to determine their comparability to college-level learning. Courses and examinations that meet appropriate standards receive college credit recommendations which are listed within CCRS Online, a web directory maintained by NCCRS.
 
Learn more about NCCRS and view their college credit recommendations for WECA at: http://www.nationalccrs.org/organizations/western-electrical-contractors.

Using This Benefit: A Guide for our Apprentices and Graduates 

Q: Who is eligible?
A:
Any graduates of WECA's Commercial or Residential Electrical Apprenticeships since September of 2013. (NCCRS has granted eligibility going back five years, and evaluated WECA's programs in Autumn of 2018.)

Q: So WECA apprentice grads automatically have college credits?
A:  
No. NCCRS makes college credit recommendations. (From NCCRS:
A college credit recommendation is an academic advisement about the comparability of a learning experience to college-level instruction, such as undergraduate or graduate course work, the amount of credit that may be awarded, and areas where credit could apply. The credit recommendations are intended to guide college officials as they consider awarding credit to persons who have successfully completed NCCRS evaluated learning experiences. College credit recommendations are not actual college credit because the New York State Board of Regents does not award college credit. Through the results of the NCCRS evaluations, however, the Board of Regents encourages colleges and universities to consider accepting the credit recommendations.)

Q: How Does Acceptance of College Credit Recommendations work?

A:
It is up to the college or university to choose whether to grant college credits, how many, and in what subjects, for completion of a WECA program. NCCRS recommends specific credit amounts and subjects. College and university admissions departments should reference NCCRS' WECA listing at http://www.nationalccrs.org/organizations/western-electrical-contractors for specific recommendations. NCCRS recommends up to 66 semester credit hours for completion of WECA's Commerical program, and up to 40 semester credit hours for completion of WECA's Residential program. 

Q: How Do WECA Commercial and Residential Electrical Apprenticeship Graduates Use This Benefit?
A: Apprentices grads should:
1. Identify the college or university they wish to ask to accept a credit recommendation from NCCRS for work completed at WECA. (A list of colleges and universities who have previously participated with NCCRS is here: http://www.nationalccrs.org/colleges-universities. Seeing a college or university on this list is a promising sign that they will consider NCCRS' recommendation, but is not a guarantee. Further, just because a college or university is not yet shown on the list does not mean the apprentice grad shouldn't request that they consider the credit recommendation.)
2. Work with their admissions advisor at their college or university of choice to learn the process for seeking college credits for their WECA Commercial or Residential program completion. The college or university may refer to this as their PLA (prior learning assessment) process or policy. The applicant should share NCCRS' WECA credit recommendation 
http://www.nationalccrs.org/organizations/western-electrical-contractors with the decision-makers at their college or university.
3. Request a transcript from WECA as requested by their college or university. Email apregistrar@goweca.com with transcript requests.
4. If the applicant encounters problems with their transfer credit request, they can submit a  Request for Assistance Form to NCCRS so that NCCRS can advocate on the applicant's behalf.


Q: What about Low Voltage Apprenticeship? Or the Electrician Trainee Program?
A: 
WECA plans to pursue college credit recommendations for its Low Voltage Apprenticeship program next year, so please stay tuned for more information on that. 

WECA is currently evaluating demand for college credit recommendations for its Electrician Trainee program.

Q: What if I still have questions?
A: Please call us at 1-877-444-9322 and we'll do our best to help you out.
 
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Tuesday, March 26, 2019   BICSI Classes at WECA HQ Starting This Month!

WECA is a BICSI ATF



WECA is pleased to announce that BICSI will be holding the following classes at our Rancho Cordova headquarters for the first time in Spring 2019. 

Seats filling fast, register now!

IN225
BICSI Installer 2, Copper Training Apr 1-5
The course begins with an overview of professionalism, copper transmission principles and general safety practices associated with working with copper cabling. A significant amount of course time will then be spent on BICSI best practices for the installation, termination and testing of copper cable... Learn More

IN250
BICSI Installer 2, Optical Fiber Training Apr 15-19
The course will open with an overview of professionalism, fiber transmission principles and the general safety practices related to optical fiber cabling. A significant amount of course time will then be spent on installation, splicing, termination and testing of optical fiber cable... Learn More

OSP102
Applied Outside Plant Design May 20-24 & June 17-21
This course is designed to provide application-based knowledge of all aspects of the Outside Plant (OSP) installation process. During this course, students will apply what they have learned through a series of design exercises such as route design, selecting cables to be housed in the pathways... Learn More

PM102
Applied Telecommunications Project Management Jun 10-14
 Proper project management is the foundation of any successful project. This course is designed to provide ICT professionals an opportunity to build on their existing project management skills while also exploring the steps and thought processes behind the basic principles and information necessary for managing a successful telecommunications project... Learn More

DC102
Applied Data Center Design and Best Practices Jun 24-28
BICSI's DC102: Applied Data Center Design and Best Practices course is a five-day course that provides an in-depth review of best practices for designing data centers. In this course you will be introduced to various data center infrastructure systems. In addition, you will have an opportunity to apply what you have learned by engaging in case studies... Learn More

These classes are open to the public and we encourage interested WECA members to enroll early in order to secure seats. These classes are rarely offered in Northern California, and we encourage our members to take advantage of this convenient opportunity.

Registrations must be processed directly with BICSI. To learn more about these courses and to enroll yourself or an employee, click on the individual course links above, or visit www.bicsi.org and search courses by location for "Rancho Cordova."
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Tuesday, March 26, 2019   Explore "Service Technician - General Residential"



This 16-hour course is geared toward residential electricians, or those training to become one, looking to become better service technicians by gaining the skillset required for diagnosing and troubleshooting common residential electrical issues as well as working with customers. This class includes the use of scenarios that simulate residential service calls to help train electricians in working with customers. Scenarios also cover best practices in utilizing the information provided by customers to help systematically diagnose problems, conduct tests, access a well-stocked service vehicle, replace defective equipment, and submit invoices to customers.

WECA's Senior Education Advisor and Curriculum Development Lead, Rick Labon, has designed the course to effectively teach students the proper methods and practices to succeed as service technicians. Labon explains, "There have been very few training resources out there for someone seeking the skills a residential electrician needs to become a successful service technician. That means, historically, residential electricians have had to rely upon trial-and-error learning, which is neither a safe nor economical way of acquiring the necessary skills. This "Service Technician - General Residential" course has been designed by WECA's subject matter experts and I to take the guess work out of what a residential electrician needs to know. We've replaced that guess work with knowledge gained from years of service expertise. All of the modules are based on tried-and-true methods which we teach through practice activities using real-world scenarios that residential electricians will actually find in the field."
 
Find more information, or sign up for this online, self-paced course here.
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Tuesday, March 26, 2019   Prepare for your LowVolt Certification Exam Online, at Your Own Pace: VDV and FLS Exam Prep


Check out WECA's self-paced, 32-hour online exam preparation courses for the California voice-data-video and fire/life safety tech certification exams!

Learn methods for effectively finding the answers to the exam questions in your Code books, and gain deeper understanding of VDV and FLS concepts. 

Learn more and enroll in either of these online courses here.
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Thursday, March 21, 2019   Labor Law Update

Medical Leave: How and Why Chipotle Prevailed in a High-Stakes Pregnancy Discrimination Trial After an eight-day trial, a Southern California jury has decided that Chipotle Mexican Grill did not unlawfully discriminate when it fired a manager after she suffered a miscarriage and failed to return from a 12-week medical leave. The plaintiff claimed that she needed additional time off because of mental strain. The jury agreed that the plaintiff was suffering from a mental impairment but decided that the impairment itself did not entitle her to additional protected medical leave. More
 
Appeals Court Decision Challenges Independent Contractor Definition A recent California Court of Appeal decision indicates that the state is trending away from unifying its independent contractor law and leaving employers with even more questions than they had before. Now more than ever, employers need to be careful about how they classify their workers as different standards may apply to different industries, different statutory schemes, and beyond. More
Read more >>


Thursday, March 21, 2019   What We're Reading


Contractors team with AI company to improve workplace safety Nine major construction companies have partnered with software firm Smartvid.io to develop predictive analytics that can prevent accidents and improve safety throughout the industry. Suffolk, which will serve as chair of the council, contributed 10 years of project data and photos to the predictive model, and other partners will contribute data anonymously as the system develops. More
 
Thanks for the Help Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon responded to Vice President Mike Pence, who had wished Rendon a productive session: "I would have to say you and the President have already done quite a bit to help us with that. Thanks to your policies, voters in California added five Democrats to the Assembly in the last election. In addition, one Republican has decided to jump to the Democratic party, citing the President's extreme positions." Read the letter here.
 
Lawyers Brace for Porter's Questions During Hearings: Freshman Rep. Katie Porter (D-Calif.), a former law school professor, has asked questions that have tripped up Wells Fargo and Equifax executives since she arrived in Congress and nabbed a seat on the House Financial Services Committee. Porter beat incumbent Mimi Walters in November. Her approach, according to The National Law Journal's C. Ryan Barber "has forced white-collar defense lawyers who specialize in congressional hearings to grapple with how to prepare clients for questioning that uses a company's own legal arguments against its top executive. Her repeated, effective use of that approach promises to make her a starring figure in preparations that have been known to include mock hearings, with lawyers playing the part of lawmaker during rehearsals. This tactic is a new and particularly effective example of what has long been the risk for a corporate executive, the face of a company, testifying in Congress," said David Leviss, a former senior investigative counsel for the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee who's now a partner at O'Melveny & Myers, in a Journal story.
 
And Then There Were None Sarah D. Wire from the LA Times profiles the now-unified force of Democrats representing the previous GOP bastion of Orange County. "Four of the newest members defeated Republicans in November to secure their seats. They joined Rep. Lou Correa (D-Santa Ana) who holds a seat that flipped to Democratic control in the mid-'90s, and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-Long Beach), one-third of whose constituents are O.C. residents." Story (registration may be required)
 
Thank You for being my Friend California's new online community college director, hoping to quickly establish her executive team, pushed Monday to grant a no-bid contract of up to $500,000 to an executive recruiter who is a friend and has long has been a part of San Francisco's political scene. Heather Hiles, president of the nascent online college, has a goal of starting classes this fall. The community college board approved Hiles' choice of executive recruiter Carolyn Carpeneti, even though some community college board members abstained, contending the contract should have been put out to competitive bid. Before becoming an executive recruiter, Carpeneti was a political fundraiser whose clients included then-San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown. Brown and Carpeneti became romantically involved and had a daughter in 2001. In 2003, the San Francisco Chronicle reported that "nonprofit groups and political committees controlled by the mayor and his allies" paid Carpeneti $2.33 million over a five-year period. Story
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Thursday, March 21, 2019   Thought

US Chamber files Amicus in ABC CCC SCOTUS Petition After a disappointing but not surprising decision in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, the Associated Builders and Contractors of California Cooperation Committee asked the US Supreme Court to hear its case. At the request of WECA - an active US Chamber member - the US Chamber of Commerce Litigation Center provided an amicus in support of ABCCC's request for a writ of certiorari.
 
The Chamber's decision is important because they were the plaintiff in an earlier case. They pointed out that "the Chamber regularly files amicus curiae briefs in cases that raise issues of concern to the nation's business community." This is such a case because California is abusing its massive public works spending to regulate in an arena Congress reserved for unrestricted private speech. Further, California seeks to tilt public debate about unionization against the free speech rights of employers. The California statute at issue seeks to effect a massive transfer of resources into the coffers of union-selected "industry advancement funds" opposing right-to-work laws. Even worse, the statute conscripts employers as unwilling participants in pro-unionization advocacy by compelling them to fund pro-unionization speech with which they may disagree. You can read the Chamber's Amicus here and ABCCC's petition here.
 
However, we have a long way to go, and there is no guaranty that the Court will grant ABCCC's petition. Nevertheless, the support of the Chamber is appreciated and demonstrates that the merit-shop supporters of fair and open competition are not alone.

Survey Shows Construction Contractors Struggle as Labor Shortage Persists The USG + U.S. Chamber of Commerce Commercial Construction Index (CCI) is a quarterly economic index designed to gauge the outlook for, and resulting confidence in, the commercial construction industry.

Recognizing a need to highlight the important contributions of this sector to the nation's economy, USG Corporation and the U.S. Chamber partnered to produce this first-of-its-kind index.

Each quarter, contractors across the country are surveyed in order to better understand their levels of confidence in the industry and top-of-mind concerns.

Download the full report and explore the top-line findings, here.
  

Santa Barbara Proceeds to "Negotiate" PLA Despite an outpouring of opposition from local contractors and the local chamber of commerce, the Santa Barbara City Council voted 6-1 to spend $100,000 to negotiate a PLA with the local building trades council for all city work over $5 million. Michael Vlaming, a Northern California attorney who has created a cottage industry of replacing one public agency's name with another and charging $50,000 for the search and replace, was hired. The Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction and WECA are continuing to work with the local contractors as negotiations unfold. The city also passed a sales tax increase last year to whet the appetite of the unions for the PLA - and found willing benefactors at the city council.
 
What's Going on in DC?
Hearing in the Democratic HELP Committee The House Education and Labor Committee's Subcommittee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions announced it will be holding a hearing, "Protecting Workers' Right to Organize: The Need for Labor Law Reform," on Tuesday, March 26, at 10:15 am. The hearing is likely to cover numerous issues employer groups have been actively fighting over the last 15 years. Most expect that the Democrats will introduce labor-related legislation similar to the Workplace Democracy Act and Workers' Freedom to Negotiate Act, which they introduced during the 115th Congress.
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Thursday, March 21, 2019   2020 Election

Lobbyists Backing Biden For President: Washington lobbyists on both sides of the aisle would like to see former Vice President Joe Biden win the Democratic nomination for president. Biden received 37 percent of the vote in a poll of 183 registered lobbyists conducted by PoliticoInfluence between March 4 and March 10. PI confirmed each respondent was a registered lobbyist or foreign agent. The sample included 88 Democrats, 77 Republicans and 18 lobbyists who identified as members of neither party, who were asked to choose the Democrat they would "most like to see become president." The poll isn't scientific and doesn't reveal much about who's likely to win the nomination. (There are few, if any, registered lobbyists in the early primary states.) But it sheds light on how Washington lobbyists in both parties view the presidential race. The lobbyists who voted include those who work at law and lobbying firms, trade groups and companies with Washington offices. Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) came in a distant second, with 9 percent of the vote. Former Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper and former Rep. Beto O'Rourke (D-Texas) tied for third, with 8 percent of the vote. I don't think they asked about the Republican primary.
Read more >>