Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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Thursday, March 26, 2020   WECA at Forefront of Online Electrical Education Since 2007


Dear WECA Learning Community,

     At this time when so many educational institutions in California, including WECA, are transitioning to online-only education for the foreseeable future, we wanted to take this moment to reassure you that you can continue your education with WECA without interruption. WECA's been at the forefront of providing electrical education online since 2007. We have many years of experience with this, and whether you're an apprentice attending a newly-online class for the first time, or an electrician trainee or journeyman education student who's been taking our GetWired! or online self-paced classes from home all along, please know that we are committed to providing you with an excellent platform for online learning, and have the experience to back up that promise.

Sincerely,
 The WECA Team
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Important Online Apprenticeship Class Information for Apprentices

Essential information for apprentices with upcoming scheduled courses:

For those apprentices already attending a class in session which began March 16th: 
  • WECA is currently delivering week two of your class online. 
  • These classes are instructor-led, in real-time. Your class days and times remain exactly the same as if you were attending in person.
  • Continue to keep a close watch on your email and listen to your instructor for further instructions.
For those apprentices who have a class beginning the week of March 23rd, March 30th, or April 6th:
  • Your class will be rescheduled for a future date. You'll be notified of your rescheduled dates as soon as possible.
For those apprentices who have a class beginning the week of April 13th or later:
  • WECA intends to deliver your apprenticeship classes online, until such time as the COVID-19 threat recedes and the classroom learning experience can be resumed.
  • You will attend your classes remotely, online, instructor-led, in real-time. Your class days and times will remain exactly the same as if you were attending in person.
  • You will be notified of your online class login and other remote access instructions as soon as possible, prior to the start date of your class. 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Important Online Class Information for Electrician Trainees, Journeymen, and General Students

Please review the information below for changes to upcoming onsite lab scheduling and in-person classroom courses, in response to the growing spread of COVID-19 in California.
    
The good news for Trainees and Journeyman enrolled in our programs is that most of our class delivery is already online. 

Online classes will continue to be delivered as scheduled with no interruption, including all evening GetWired classes. Alternate arrangements are offered for onsite lab days; please read below for details specific to courses running in April.
For those students currently enrolled in GetWired 301, with a lab day scheduled for Saturday, April 3rd. 
  • Your lab, an introduction to commercial blueprint reading, will be conducted entirely online.
  • Your lab date and times remain identical.
  • WECA will send you confirmation of your login instructions for your remote lab.
For those students currently enrolled in GetWired 102, with a lab day scheduled for Saturday April 25th. 
  • We will be delivering your lab experience online.
  • Your lab date and times will remain identical.
  • WECA will send you confirmation of your login instructions for your remote lab and other details shortly.
For those students enrolled in the classroom-based Two Day Exam Prep on April 18th in Rancho Cordova or Riverside. 
  • WECA is cancelling these class instances.
  • You may transfer into an upcoming Two Day Exam Prep instance with no transfer fees.
  • You may also transfer into an upcoming GetWIred 404 Exam prep instance with no transfer fees and at no additional cost. (GetWired 404 is entirely online and delves even more deeply into preparation for the State certification exam).
  • You may request a full refund.
For those students enrolled in Basic Motor Controls Part 1 in Rancho Cordova, beginning April 25th, or Basic Motor Controls Part 2 in San Diego, beginning April 25th:
  • WECA is cancelling these class instances.
  • You may transfer into an upcoming Basic Motor Controls instance with no transfer fees.
  • You may request a full refund.
WECA has suspended sales of its DVD/Textbook-based home study courses. All online home study courses will remain available.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Check Out Our Advisory Page for the Latest on WECA's Response to COVID-19

We've created a COVID-19 Advisory page outlining WECA's response to the California Stay-at-Home mandate, and how we're working to ensure that the mandate disrupts your educational experience as little as possible. Please check it often for up-to-date information on how and when we're taking our apprenticeship classes online, how WECA GetWired labs will be conducted online, and more. 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Behind-the-Scenes On Our Rapid Conversion to Online Apprenticeship During COVID-19 Threat

For our apprenticeship classes which began the week of March 16th, we had a rapid and timely conversion to online delivery for Week 2, starting this past Monday the 23rd! Luckily, WECA has been working for some time, at the direction of our Apprenticeship Training Trust Board of Trustees, to increase our use of technology in the classroom and increase the flexibility of our curriculum. This foresight paid off this month as we were ready to go to take already-running classes online. We're going to work out a few of the finer details over the next few weeks, and then resume running apprenticeship classes as scheduled--but entirely online--the week of April 13th. You can get up-to-date details on scheduling for affected classes on our 
COVID-19 Advisory Page

Meanwhile, here are a couple of fun selfies from our Apprenticeship Instructors Keith Smart and Neil Pesarillo and their respective classes, as well as a screenshot of online quizzing, from this week. We appreciate their efforts as the first instructors to teach those online apprenticeship classes this week!
 

 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Seeking COVID-19 Resources? See What the California Employment Development Department Has to Say!

Do you have questions about layoffs, disability, reduced work hours, etc., during the COVID-19 situation? While WECA can't offer specific guidance on your unique situation, this resource -- courtesy of the California Employment Development Department -- may be helpful to you. 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Laid Off and Looking for Work Due to COVID-19? WECA's Job Board Is Here to Help You


Have you been laid off -- and are now seeking employment -- due to COVID-19? WECA is here for you with our Electrical and Low Voltage Industry Job Board. 

Wondering how it works? Simply post your resume to the WECA Job Board, or view open positions posted by our Member Contractors. This Job Board is designed to help connect individuals seeking employment in the electrical and low voltage industry 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. 

 
Search Open Positions Today
 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Information Regarding WECA Insurance for Commercial Apprentices

Commercial Apprentices - Please review the following information and reminders regarding your insurance benefits:
  • Please review your Hour Bank balance online by logging into your account at www.goweca.com. You can review your current balance by accessing your Apprentice Hour Bank Report.
  • Keep in mind that 130 hours banked are equal to one month of insurance coverage
  • Once the hours in your hour bank become less than 130, you will be notified by WECA and will be offered COBRA from our third party administrator, Infinisource. You may elect COBRA for medical, dental, and vision insurance for yourself and your dependents.  Please contact Cindy Cormier, WECA's Insurance Administrator, at ccormier@goweca.com or via phone at (916) 453-0112 ext. 117, for information regarding COBRA rates.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Calling All Certified Electricians -- Seeking Part-Time Instructors to Teach Evenings Online

Make a Difference in Your Industry.

Teaching Others Online is a Rewarding Opportunity.
 

Experienced, certified electricians (including the recently retired!) who:
  • Are natural leaders and teachers
  • Enjoy learning more about the field all the time
  • Enjoy sharing knowledge about all things electrical with a new generation of prospective electricians
  • Want to earn more money in the evening, without having to leave home
We'd be excited to have you join our team and help us in developing the workforce for our industry! 

Part-Time instructors for our GetWired! programs teach weeknights online (and will also have the option of teaching occasional Saturday labs at our training facilities, once we resume in-person labs.)
View the job posting and application details here to learn more and apply today.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   PSI Test Sites Closed: Information on Rescheduling Your Certification Exam

From PSI:

The health and safety of our employees, clients, and candidates is of utmost importance to PSI. We have an internal task force that now meets each business day to monitor the situation with Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19), and we are in close communication with our testing partners around the world.

Test Site Closures

As the COVID-19 outbreak continues to spread throughout the communities where we live and work, in order to continue to help protect the health and safety of our candidates, clients, and employees, we have made the difficult decision to temporarily close our owned and operated physical test centers in the United States starting end of day March 19, and in the United Kingdom starting end of day March 20, until April 13.

We also continue to monitor all our partner sites around the world 
and adhere to closures based on country and local requirements.

Read the full message from PSI CEO, Steve Tapp.

View a full listing of test site closures.

Rescheduling

Effective immediately, candidates can reschedule up to and including the day of testing at no penalty and no documentation required. NOTE: In most cases, candidates can reschedule their examinations on-line and they are encouraged to do so. If a candidate chooses to reschedule through our candidate support call center, they may experience longer than usual wait times under the current circumstances.

Candidates that are a part of an eligibility program will be provided guidance if a new eligibility is required in order to reschedule and how to obtain it.

We are obtaining guidance from our client to support candidates who must test within a specified period and how we are able to accommodate them.
  • All reschedule rules and no show policies are relaxed through April 30th.
  • If you are unable to make your exam and you are reported as a no-show you will be allowed to reschedule at no cost.
  • In the event that there are restrictions based on eligibility periods or test windows we will work on options with your examination sponsor.
  • Candidates are encouraged to reschedule on-line. If a candidate chooses to reschedule through PSI's Candidate Call Center, they can expect to have longer than usual wait times. Call Centers are open: 4:30 a.m.-7:00 p.m. PDT M-F, 6:00 a.m.-2:30 p.m. PDT Sat-Sun
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Join us Mar. 31 for "Navigating COVID-19 Issues in the Workplace: a Cook Brown, LLP Webinar"


Join Cook Brown Partner Carrie Bushman as she discusses:
  • Safe practices and social distancing at work;
  • Compliance with new federal paid sick leave and family medical leave requirements (HR 6201);
  • Best practices for employee layoffs;
  • CA WARN Act requirements for mass layoffs.
Register today to join us online on March 31, from 9 to 10 a.m., for this informative webinar.

This webinar is free for WECA member contractors, industry partners, and their employees. All others are $75/registration.

Register now
 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors

On March 4, Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a State of Emergency to exist in California as a result of the threat of COVID-19. On March 19, he issued Executive Order N-33-20 that directed - with specific exceptions - "all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence."

The order excepted activities "needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors." These 16 critical infrastructure sectors are:
  • Chemical Sector
  • Commercial Facilities Sector
  • Communications Sector
  • Critical Manufacturing Sector
  • Dams Sector
  • Defense Industrial Base Sector
  • Emergency Services Sector
  • Energy Sector
  • Financial Services Sector
  • Food and Agriculture Sector
  • Government Facilities Sector
  • Healthcare and Public Health Sector
  • Information Technology Sector
  • Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector
  • Transportation Systems Sector
  • Water and Wastewater Systems Sector
Read more here. 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Check Out Our Advisory Page for the Latest on WECA's Response to COVID-19

During this time, it's important that we're all on the same page and staying up-to-date on all things COVID-19 -- particularly in regards to how the situation affects your WECA membership experience and your employees' educational experiences. 

We've created a COVID-19 Advisory page outlining WECA's response to the California Stay-at-Home mandate, and how we're working to ensure that the mandate disrupts your membership experience and your employees' educational experiences as little as possible. 

We encourage you to check out our COVID-19 Advisory page and regularly tune in for the latest news and updates regarding WECA's response to COVID-19 and the California Stay-at-Home mandate, and we also recommend that you encourage your employees to regularly check the Advisory page, as well. 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Help Inform Coronavirus Policy in the Workplace with the U.S. Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor will be hosting a national online dialogue to provide employers and employees with an innovative opportunity to offer their perspective as the Department develops compliance assistance materials and outreach strategies related to the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). 

The ideas and comments gathered from this dialogue will inform compliance assistance guidance, resources, and tools, as well as outreach approaches, that assist employers and employees in understanding their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA. 

The U.S. Department of Labor will need your input by March 29, 2020. Anybody who is interested can click here to participate from March 23 through March 29, 2020 or can join a Twitter chat hosted by @ePolicyWorks on March 25, 2020 at 2 p.m. using the hashtag #EPWChat.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained

Content Courtesy of: CalChamber calchamber
 

Are you wondering how federal paid leaves work during the COVID-19 crisis? Learn more from CalChamber's website or their podcast.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency

SACRAMENTO -- The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) encourages licensed contractors to help hospitals and other healthcare providers experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 emergency. Contractors may have supplies of certain items for construction jobs that are in greater demand as doctors, nurses, and medical staff face this unprecedented health crisis.

All donations should be of new equipment in its original packaging.

See below for specific information about how best to donate. Please do not drop-off donations directly at hospital emergency departments.

Consider donations of the following new items in original packaging:
  • N95 masks
  • Powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) hoods
  • Surgical masks
  • Procedure masks
  • Isolation gowns
  • Paper masks (with ties or elastic)
  • Paper protective gowns
  • Protective glasses/goggles
  • Industrial face shields (e.g., industrial paint shields)
  • Painters smocks (impermeable)
To donate to hospitals and health systems:
  • Call non-emergency hospital phone numbers to find out how to donate to your local hospital
  • Contact your local health department
  • Call your fire department's non-emergency phone number
  • Contact your local American Red Cross chapter 
CSLB thanks licensed contractors for doing their part during the COVID-19 health emergency by donating.

Although CSLB offices and test centers are currently closed to the public, we're working hard to remain accessible while continuing to provide our essential services. Learn more about the effects of the health emergency on CSLB services and how best to get in touch with us at: https://cslb.ca.gov/About_us/COVID-19.aspx 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Behind-the Scenes: Our Rapid Conversion to Online Apprenticeship During the COVID-19 Crisis

For our apprenticeship classes which began the week of March 16th, we had a rapid and timely conversion to online delivery for Week 2, starting this past Monday the 23rd! Luckily, WECA has been working for some time, at the direction of our Apprenticeship Training Trust Board of Trustees, to increase our use of technology in the classroom and increase the flexibility of our curriculum. This foresight paid off this month as we were ready to go to take already-running classes online. We're going to work out a few of the finer details over the next few weeks, and then resume running apprenticeship classes as scheduled--but entirely online--the week of April 13th. You and your apprentices can get up-to-date details on scheduling for affected classes on our COVID-19 Advisory Page

Meanwhile, here are a couple of fun selfies from our Apprenticeship Instructors Keith Smart and Neil Pesarillo and their respective classes this week. We appreciate their efforts as the first instructors to teach those online apprenticeship classes this week!
 
 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here


Courtesy of Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

Our Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP has provided this editable employee permission slip for essential work under California Executive Order N-33-20. You can download and customize it here:

Employee Permission Slip (Editable)
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   WECA at the Forefront of Online Electrical Education Since 2007


At this time when so many educational institutions in California, including WECA, are transitioning to online-only education for the foreseeable future, we wanted to take this moment to reassure you that your employees can continue their education with WECA without interruption. WECA's been at the forefront of providing electrical education online since 2007. We have many years of experience with this, and whether you have apprentices attending a newly-online class for the first time, or you have electrician trainee or journeyman education students who have been taking our GetWired! or online self-paced classes from home all along, please know that we are committed to providing them with an excellent platform for online learning, and have the experience to back up that promise.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Information Regarding WECA Insurance for Member Contractors

Member Contractors - Please review the following information and reminders regarding insurance benefits for your WECA Commercial Apprentices:
  • Commercial apprentices are able to bank up to 520 hours in their hour bank, which allows them coverage for up to 4 months
  • Commercial apprentices have access to review their hour bank balance when they log into their secured apprentice dashboard on www.goweca.com
  • Keep in mind that 130 hours banked are equal to one month of insurance coverage
  • Once the hours in your commercial  apprentice's hour bank become less than 130, they will be notified by WECA and will be offered COBRA from our third party administrator, Infinisource. They may elect COBRA for medical, dental,  and vision insurance for themselves and their dependents
  • Please contact Cindy Cormier, WECA's Insurance Administrator, at ccormier@goweca.com or via phone at (916) 453-0112 ext. 117, for specific information or questions regarding WECA insurance
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Learn More About COVID-19 State and Federal Updates at ThinkHR Webinar, March 31st at 11 AM

An invitation from:
 

WECA Member Contractors: ThinkHR access is included with your membership. Opt-in through our website by logging in to your secured member dashboard.

From ThinkHR:

When: March 31, 2020 from 11 a.m. PT to 2 p.m. ET

Last week, over 30,000 people registered for ThinkHR's COVID-19 webinar. During the live event, we collected over 2,000 questions and have distilled those down into a 26 question COVID-19 FAQ for employers.

Join us on March 31st for our next webinar as we explore some of these common questions and discuss the latest state and federal updates on COVID-19.

Can't make the live event? Please register and we'll send you a recording and the slides.

Register now
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Calling all Certified Electricians -- Seeking Part-Time Instructors for Online Evening Classes

Make a Difference in Your Industry.

Teaching Others Online is a Rewarding Opportunity.


Experienced, certified electricians (including the recently retired!) who:
  • Are natural leaders and teachers
  • Enjoy learning more about the field all the time
  • Enjoy sharing knowledge about all things electrical with a new generation of prospective electricians
  • Want to earn more money in the evening, without having to leave home
We'd be excited to have you join our team and help us in developing the workforce for our industry! 
Contractors: If you have an employee you think would be perfect for this, please share this post with them! They'll keep their skills and Code knowledge sharp, and you'll reap the benefits.
Part-time instructors for our GetWired! programs teach weeknights online. (And once WECA can resume delivering Saturday labs in-person, there are options to teach Saturday labs at our training facilities as well.)

View the job posting to learn more and apply today.
Considering Membership in WECA? Download a brochure to learn more, and contact us anytime: (877) 444-9322

WECA Membership Brochure for Contractors

WECA Membership Brochure for Industry Partners
Read more >>


Monday, March 23, 2020   WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors

On March 4, Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a State of Emergency to exist in California as a result of the threat of COVID-19. On March 19, he issued Executive Order N-33-20 that directed – with specific exceptions – “all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence.”

The order excepted activities “needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.” These 16 critical infrastructure sectors are:
  • Chemical Sector
  • Commercial Facilities Sector
  • Communications Sector
  • Critical Manufacturing Sector
  • Dams Sector
  • Defense Industrial Base Sector
  • Emergency Services Sector
  • Energy Sector
  • Financial Services Sector
  • Food and Agriculture Sector
  • Government Facilities Sector
  • Healthcare and Public Health Sector
  • Information Technology Sector
  • Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector
  • Transportation Systems Sector
  • Water and Wastewater Systems Sector


The Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During Covid-19 Response issued by CISA on March 19, makes clear that construction is an important component of these sectors. I would point out that the memorandum does include the following disclaimer: this list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered to be, a federal directive or standard in and of itself.

Additionally, while not part of N-33-20, the State’s COVID-19 website includes “construction, including housing construction.” as specifically exempt industries from the “stay-at-home” order. I would point out that inasmuch as this language is not in N-33-20, it could be changed as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and the State reacts (it has already changed once since the release of N-33-20).

For instance, the State COVID website earlier said “Depending on the conditions in their area, local officials may enforce stricter public health orders. But they may not loosen the state’s order.” It now just says “This is a state-wide order.” This suggests the ongoing, internal debate whether more restrictive local requirements supersede the State’s order. This is important as some localities have set more stringent local standards than the State’s.

In addition to guidance from the State of California and the federal government, the Associated General Contractors Association of America and JD Supra also provided clarification on the construction industry's essential role during theCOVID-19 crisis.

Finally, employers have a general obligation, even if exempt from “stay-at-home” orders, to follow best practices to protect their employees and their families. The OSHA/DHS has developed a guidance for preparation of workplace, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has compiled resources for large and small business alike on effective ways to combat the coronavirus.

WECA also suggests members consider the following guidance. Contractors and jobsite safety personnel should take specific steps to increase hygiene on the jobsite, such as:
  1. Adding sanitary facilities (toilet and hand washing stations with soap and hand sanitizer provided). Workers should both wash their hands with soap for twenty seconds and use hand sanitizer often. The CDC has guidelines on handwashing.
  2. Clean jobsites including disinfecting handrails, doorknobs, equipment and tools on a regular basis.
  3. Instead of having group safety meetings, and to keep the suggested social distance, hold smaller individual safety meetings at the jobsite maintaining social distancing guidelines.
  4. Keep separation of at least 6 feet on the job and always during rest and break periods and lunches; there should be no group gatherings and limit the number of persons in a single occupied space (such as elevators).
  5. Workers should bring a lunch from home and stay away from congested lunch trucks and coffee shops. Go directly from work to home and vice versa and minimize contact with the general public.
  6. Workers should wear and utilize all safety equipment available on the jobsite.


Social distancing is essential by having smaller construction crews and, if possible, staggering shifts.

If these guidelines cannot be met or a project is in tight quarters, or in contact with the general public, consideration should be given to shutting the construction project down until safer conditions exist. Likewise, if you or your workers note other contractors are not following safe procedures, you will need to consider removing your crew.

Some reminders to share with your team:
  1. If you are sick, stay home and don’t show up to work.
  2. Don’t shake hands when greeting others.
  3. Stay six feet away from others.
  4. Avoid sick people.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  6. Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, this is the most effective way to kill germs; using a hand sanitizer that contains not less than 70% alcohol in the interim.


You may also want to consider some policies or discussions about the theft or hoarding of construction job site bathroom, hygiene, and sanitation materials. These items are hard to find in retail shops, they are in short supply for the contractors, and must be used to keep the construction sites safe and clean.

Something else for your consideration:
  • If an employee is confirmed to have coronavirus or similar disease, the employer shall notify all employees who were believed to be in contact with this individual and take actions consistent with appropriate protocols to prevent the further spread of the disease.
  • We have heard that Cal-OSHA has cautioned that any incidence of illness associated with COVID-19 and workplace exposure could be incorporated in the employers’ experience modification.
  • Employers may want to ask their employment law attorney for language to incorporate in messaging with employees that showing up to work under the emergency order construction exemption is “voluntary” to reduce potential future claims that you forced employment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more >>


Tuesday, March 17, 2020   WECEF's "Claws for a Cause" Crab Feed Has Been Postponed Until June 26, 2020

WECEF Claws for a Cause Crab Feed!
WHEN
Friday, June 26, 2020
Time: 5 PM to 8 PM

WHERE
WECA Headquarters - 
3695 Bleckely St. Rancho Cordova, CA 95655

Dear WECA Members,

The health and well-being of our members, employees, and friends is important to us. Due to the most recent advice of limiting gatherings to more than 50 people, we are postponing our annual WECEF "Claws for a Cause" Crab Feed until June 26, 2020.

Please be so kind as to notify your guests of this change.

And, we hope that you will be able to commit to your June attendance at the same level, but if not, please let us know as soon as possible. To confirm your attendance, or to share questions and concerns, please contact Leanne Sipes at (916) 453-0112 ext. 129. 

Thank you,

The WECA Team
wecef
Read more >>


Monday, March 16, 2020   Changes to GetWired Onsite Labs, Trainee and Journeyman Class Scheduling in Response to COVID-19

The health and safety of our Electrician Trainee, Journeyman Continuing Education, and General students is a top concern at WECA, and we have been closely watching news and recommendations from the CDC and state and local authorities. We are taking measures to ensure that WECA continues to serve its students with a minimum of disruption, while also prioritizing health and safety.
    Please review the information below for changes to upcoming onsite lab scheduling and in-person classroom courses, in response to the growing spread of COVID-19 in California.
    The good news for Trainees and Journeymen enrolled in our programs is that most of our class delivery is already online. Online classes will continue to be delivered as scheduled with no interruption, including all evening GetWired classes. Alternate arrangements are offered for onsite lab days; please read below for details specific to your course.
    WECA will be postponing or rescheduling most in-person classroom courses (such as Two Day Exam Prep) scheduled for the remainder of March and April, 2020.
For those students enrolled in the Basic Motor Controls (BMC) Part 2 class in Rancho Cordova which has its final class day scheduled for Saturday March 21st: 
  • WECA will deliver the final day of this class at our Rancho Cordova location as scheduled . 
  • WECA staff and instructors are following all recommended precautions to keep our facilities clean and sanitized. Students are asked to join us in stringent application of best practices for avoiding the spread of COVID-19.
  • Students who would prefer to transfer into a later instance of BMC 2 may do so at no additional charge. Please contact WECA to arrange your transfer.

 
For those students currently enrolled in GetWired 301, with a lab day scheduled for Saturday April 3rd. 
  • Your lab, an introduction to commercial blueprint reading, will be conducted entirely online.
  • Your lab date and times remain identical.
  • WECA will ship you your tablet, loaded with blueprints, in advance of your lab date.
  • WECA will send you confirmation of your login instructions for your remote lab.
For those students currently enrolled in GetWired 102, with a lab day scheduled for Saturday April 25th. 
  • We are working on a plan to deliver your lab experience online.
  • Your lab date and times will remain identical.
  • WECA will send you confirmation of your login instructions for your remote lab and other details shortly.
For those students enrolled in Two Day Exam Prep on April 18th in Rancho Cordova or Riverside. 
  • WECA is cancelling these class instances.
  • You may transfer into an upcoming Two Day Exam Prep instance with no transfer fees.
  • You may also transfer into an upcoming GetWIred 404 Exam prep instance with no transfer fees and at no additional cost. (GetWired 404 is entirely online and delves even more deeply into preparation for the State certification exam).
  • You may request a full refund.
For those students enrolled in Basic Motor Controls Part 1 in Rancho Cordova, beginning April 25th, or Basic Motor Controls Part 2 in San Diego, beginning April 18th:
  • WECA is cancelling these class instances.
  • You may transfer into an upcoming Basic Motor Controls instance with no transfer fees.
  • You may request a full refund.

        The situation around COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and WECA's class delivery plans are subject to further modifications based upon subsequent advice from authorities. We're glad to be able to deliver our regularly-scheduled online classes without interruption. Please follow WECA's communications closely for further updates, as we will do our best to rapidly communicate any further changes to you. Thank you for your patience and solidarity as we all work together to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our community.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 12, 2020   These Boots Are Made for Working -- Content Courtesy of WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

By: Lisa V. Ryan of Cook Brown, LLP

Court Rules California Employers Must Pay for Employee Work Boots

According to a recent unpublished appellate court decision, California employers must pay for employee safety equipment, including steel-toed shoes. In UPS Ground Freight Inc. v. California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board (Cal. Ct. App., Feb. 6, 2020, No. B296657), UPS had challenged a Cal-OSHA ruling that it was required to pay for its employees' protective footwear. But the court upheld the Administrative law decision finding the employer had violated California Code of Regulations, title 8, section 3385, subdivision (a) by failing to pay for its employees' required protective footwear.

Background on Providing Protective Gear

The decision stemmed from a 2016 Cal/OSHA citation after an inspection found workers were wearing safety shoes that were not "provided" by the employer. It was undisputed that employers have a duty to require "appropriate foot protection" per Labor Code §3385. But the issue relates to an employer's duty to purchase footwear. UPS conceded that it required employees to wear steel-toed safety shoes to work at its facility. However, like many employers, it took the position that it did not have to pay for the footwear because there was no applicable law requiring such.

California Labor Code section 6401 simply requires employers to "furnish and use safety devices and safeguards ... reasonably adequate to render such employment and place of employment safe and healthful." Similarly, another state law states that employers must not fail to "provide and use safety devices and safeguards reasonably adequate to render the employment and place of employment safe." (See Cal. Labor Code §6403.) The court held that the clear purpose of these laws is to "make the employer responsible for (1) ensuring that all safety devices and safeguards meet the standards of title 8 and (2) maintaining those devices and safeguards."

But many California employers had relied on a federal regulation that expressly exempts footwear from the requirement that employers purchase required safety gear. [See 29 C.F.R. § 1910.132 (h)(2), providing the employer is not required to pay for non-specialty safety-toe protective footwear (including steel-toe shoes or steel-toe boots).]

Relying on a 1979 California Supreme Court ruling, holding that the employer had to pay for work gloves for its employees, Cal/OSHA took a contrary position stating that the federal regulation was not applicable to California employers. That case, Bendix Forest Products Corp. v. Division of Occupational Safety and Health, held that employers were required to purchase mittens for their logging employees to protect their hands.

On appeal, the court also cited to a 2011 Cal/OSHA decision, which based on the Bendix ruling held employers responsible for paying for all employee safety gear. "Where an employer requires an employee to wear safety shoes, they are 'reasonably necessary to protect the life, safety, and health of employees', and must be furnished or provided by the employer at employer's expense." (See Newman Flange & Fitting Company, Cal/OSHA App. 07-2581, Decision After Reconsideration (Oct. 5, 2011).)

Unfortunately, the court failed to acknowledge the practical distinction between providing work gloves versus providing footwear to all employees. The ruling further acknowledged that an "employee might, for example, desire a higher level of protection or find a different brand of equipment more comfortable. An employee's decision to pay for his or her own personal protective equipment does not relieve the employer of its responsibility to pay for that equipment."

What Should Employers Do?

While the decision is not currently published, this is a clear adoption of Cal-OSHA's enforcement position requiring California employers to pay for any safety gear, to include steel-toed boots, required to protect employees from hazards they're exposed to at work.

In order to "furnish or provide" such footwear at the employer's expense, employers should provide all employees work boots upon hire. But recognizing the unique nature of each employee's foot size and preference, many employers choose to provide employees a stipend to pay for the reasonable costs associated with purchasing required boots. Other employers, citing the costs and transient nature of its workforce, simply purchase a variety of work boot sizes and provide the employees access to such each workday. Clearly there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to employers' obligation to furnish required protective footwear.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 12, 2020   Register for Apr. 15 Cook Brown, LLP Prevailing Wage Webinar with Carrie Bushman, Attorney at Law


Join Cook Brown Partner Carrie Bushman as she discusses:
  • Recently enacted statutory provisions regarding new penalties for non-compliance with skilled and trained workforce requirements;
  • The small project exemption for contractor registration and submission of eCPRs;
  • How to read and interpret prevailing wage determinations, including scopes of work, travel and subsistence provisions, and shift differential provisions;
  • Taking credit for fringe benefit contributions;
  • Public works contractor registration requirements;
  • Apprenticeship compliance; and,
  • Record keeping requirements, including eCPR.
Register today to join us online on April 15, from 8:30-12pm, for this informative webinar. 

This webinar is free for WECA member contractors, industry partners, and their employees. All others are $75/registration.

Want a handy Prevailing Wage reference in the meantime? Purchase WECA's updated ePublication, "Blueprint to California's Prevailing Wage: A Contractors Guide Second Edition". Now available for Amazon Kindle, and as an interactive PDF.

This webinar is free for WECA Member Contractors and their employees. All others $75.

Register now

Not yet a member of WECA? See our membership benefits and services.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 12, 2020   In Memoriam: WECA Honors and Remembers L. Frank Vellutini, Jr. of Royal Electric Company


WECA honors and remembers L. Frank Vellutini, Jr., who passed away on February 28th.
Frank was the Chairman of the Board of Royal Electric Company, which was founded by his father and has been a member of the Western Electrical Contractors Association since 1971. 

Frank was a distinguished member of our Board of Directors from 1992 - 2016 and served as Vice President and President from 1993 - 1994. Frank was responsible for helping the association to overcome numerous challenges and was a major contributor to its advancement, year after year. In 2016, the association presented him with an award in honor of his longstanding commitment to the organization and his guidance in its growth and evolution. 
His daughter Dina Kimble, now President and CEO, Partner of Royal Electric Company, carries on his tradition as a presently-serving member of WECA's Board of Directors.  


All of us at WECA will be pleased to carry on his values and continue to build on the work he put into making WECA what it is today. 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 12, 2020   Register for NLCAA 3/19 Webinar: "What Contractors Need to Know About Title 24 & Acceptance Testing"


Please join WECA and the National Lighting Contractors Association of America (NLCAA) for an informative webinar -- hosted by Michael Scalzo, Executive Director of the NLCAA, and co-hosted by WECA -- on what contractors need to know about Title 24 and Acceptance Testing. Webinar topics will include:
  • What is Title 24, Part 6? What is Acceptance Testing?
    • The California Energy Code contains energy conservation standards applicable to all residential and non-residential buildings throughout California.
  • What parts do we need to be concerned with? It depends:
    • Scope of project
      • New Construction
      • Alterations/Additions/Repairs (Retrofit)
  • Is your design compliant? What can I do to ensure my project will pass the Acceptance Testing Process?
    • How do you know?
    • What could happen if I don't worry about this?
Register today to join us online on March 19 from 9 to 10 a.m., for this informative webinar.

Get all these questions answered -- and more! -- at this webinar, which is complimentary for WECA members and their employees! Registration for members of the public is $15.

Register now
 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 12, 2020   Your Next Great Employee May Be Waiting for an Introduction to You -- Find Them with WECA's SRS

WECA's Student Referral Service 
 

Our job referral service helps job seekers find work, and helps Member Contractors meet their staffing needs. 

What is this Service?
free job referral service that introduces our current ET, Journeymen, and WECA Graduate job seekers to Member Contractors in order to help meet their staffing needs. It's included with your membership!
 
Who does this benefit?
Everyone! WECA Member Contractors are referred qualified, WECA-trained applicants to help meet their staffing needs. And WECA Electrician Trainees, Journeymen Continuing Education Students, and Graduates get valuable job referrals. 
 
How does this differ from the WECA Job Board?
WECA's Electrical and Low Voltage Industry Job Board is a self-service portal where members and electrical and low voltage employment job-seekers submit and review resumes and job postings online.
 
This service provides additional customer service by having WECA staff supply you with hands-on referrals. In other words, we take some of the hard work off your plate. 
 
The Student Referral Service refers more experienced employees to you, and you hire them directly.
 
To receive referrals from WECA's Student Referral Service, please contact Ana Lopez, WECA ET/CE Program Manager, at alopez@goweca.com or 1-877-444-9322.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 12, 2020   Can an Owner Preemptively Avoid a Mechanics Lien? Content Courtesy of Porter Law Group, Inc.

By: William L. Porter, Esq. of Porter Law Group, Inc.

Valid Process?  Unconstitutional?  Invitation for Legislative Change?

Various sections of the California Civil Code, beginning with section 8000, protect the right of contractors, subcontractors and suppliers in the construction industry to obtain payment for work performed and materials supplied to construction projects. Under these statutes, unpaid claimants are entitled to use mechanics liens, stop payment notices and other methods to protect their right to payment. Mechanics liens allow unpaid claimants to sell the property where the work was performed in order to obtain payment. Stop payment notices force the owner or the bank to set money aside to pay unpaid claimants. Article XIV of our California Constitution even elevates the mechanics lien remedy to a "constitutional right". The system generally works well, and claimants are paid.

As someone who practices and teaches construction law, I have noticed a seldom used statutory tool that seems to provide a mechanism for property owners under certain circumstances to prevent subcontractors and suppliers from imposing enforceable mechanics lien on property where work was performed. Under California Civil Code section 8520, it appears that all that an owner of property need do to avoid a mechanics lien on its property is to give a proper notice (per Civil Code section 8100 et seq.) to a person who has a mechanics lien right (a subcontractor or supplier) that the owner is invoking Civil Code section 8520 and that if the claimant is unpaid for work performed or materials supplied to the owner's property that the claimant must either provide the owner with a stop payment notice or forfeit the right to a mechanics lien on the owner's property. This would allow an owner to avoid a mechanics lien on its property if the claimant failed to send a stop payment notice to the owner.

Providing the "notice" under Civil Code section 8100 appears to be easy. It can be sent by "registered or certified mail or by express mail or by overnight delivery by an express service carrier". It can even be by "hand delivery". As far as the notice itself, it would seem that it can be very simple and easily performed under the process described below, which can be implemented within the office of any owner or developer.

The process begins with the "preliminary notice" described in California Civil Code section 8200 et seq. By law, subcontractors and suppliers are required to serve the owner with a "preliminary notice" if they wish to later record an enforceable mechanics lien on a property. The service of a preliminary notice is thus a key prerequisite to a subcontractor or supplier mechanics lien. To protect itself from a mechanics lien on its property, all it seems the owner has to do when it receives a preliminary notice from a subcontractor or supplier is to turn around and immediately send a notice to the same subcontractor or supplier (by registered or certified mail or by express mail or by overnight delivery by an express service carrier or by hand delivery) stating something like the following:

NOTICE Of OWNER INVOKING CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE SECTION 8520
Owner (_____________) of the property located at _______________ (Property") and as to which you have provided Owner with a preliminary notice pursuant to California Civil Code section 8200 et seq., hereby invokes its right under California Civil Code section 8520 to require that you give the Owner a stop payment notice if you are to any extent unpaid for work performed or materials supplied to the Property. Pursuant to Civil Code 8520 (b), if you are unpaid and fail to give the Owner a stop payment notice, as hereby demanded, you forfeit your right to a mechanics lien under Civil Code 8400, et seq.
_____________ __________________________________
Date
___________________________, Owner

By sending the notice, the Owner forces the claimant to serve a stop payment notice on the owner so that the owner has a legal right to withhold money from its contractor. If the claimant fails to serve the stop payment notice, the claimant gives up the right to a mechanics lien and generally has no right to any claim at all against the owner. The claimant has no contract claim against the owner because the claimant did not contract directly with the owner. The claimant has no stop payment notice claim against the owner because it did not serve a stop payment notice as the owner requested. The claimant has no enforceable mechanics lien claim against the owner because it was served with the 8520 notice and failed to serve a stop payment notice. The owner is thus well protected from any subcontractor claim against it.

I am unsure why owners have not, heretofore, regularly invoked this section and sent a notice such as this. The statute has been around since 1971 (former Civil Code 3158) and the process is simple. Perhaps it is because owners have no strong lobby to advise them to use statutes such as this, like Associated General Contractors might do for direct contractors or the American Subcontractors Association might do for subcontractors. Perhaps it is because the American Institute of Architects, which typically represents the interests of Owners in contracting matters, has not ventured into the market of state-by-state construction documents and considered this California statute. I cannot be sure. For 30 years as a practicing and teaching construction attorney, I have never seen the section invoked by an owner, until now. Finally, in recent weeks, I have seen this section invoked by an owner. Whether it is the beginning of a trend, I cannot be sure.

Certain Questions arise. First, I question whether the statute is even constitutional. After all, doesn't a Constitutional mandate to preserve the right to a mechanics lien prevail over a statute that purports to degrade or defeat the same right? Thus far, no court has ventured to answer the question as it concerns this statute. Perhaps the legislature can step in to rescind Civil Code section 8520 and protect the constitutional right to a mechanics lien. On the other side of the equation though, the interests of the owners are also entitled to consideration. How are owners, who are quite willing to set aside money for claimants under a stop payment notice, to protect their properties from mechanics liens? After all, if owners are willing to set aside funds for a claimant and even invite a stop payment notice as per Civil Code section 8520, why should owners then also be burdened with a mechanics lien and the prospect of their property being sold out from under them? What is the best public policy? Whose interest should prevail? These are good questions for debate. Let the debate begin. I will be interested to see how it turns out.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 12, 2020   Important Coronavirus Preparation & Prevention Information from U.S. Chamber of Commerce & Cal/OSHA

The health and safety of our Member Contractors and their employees is of utmost importance. We've included important information regarding coronavirus -- guidelines, educational materials, and programs -- from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Cal/OSHA below to help our Member Contractors and their employees navigate, prevent, and prepare for coronavirus.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Guidance for Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 U.S. Chamber of Commerce: (COVID-19) Workplace Tips for Employees

Cal/OSHA Notice: Guidance Posted on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus

Cal/OSHA Interim Guidelines for General Industry on 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
Read more >>


Thursday, March 12, 2020   Employer Registrations Open for the Skilled Trades Job Fair on Saturday, April 18th

Hosted by North State Building Industry Association and WECA Industry Partner ConstructionHappens.com jobs
 

Learn more and register
Read more >>


Thursday, March 12, 2020   The Latest in the World of California Construction: Read CSLB's Spring 2020 Newsletter Here

Read more >>


Thursday, March 05, 2020   WECA Political Update, 3-5-2020

Proposition 13 School Bond

Joel Fox writes in Fox & Hounds “The biggest surprise so far is that it appears the statewide school construction and maintenance bond is going down to defeat. With 93 percent of the precinct counted, it trails 44 percent Yes, 56 percent No. The gap of over half-a-million votes will be hard to close with the votes remaining to be counted. Two political aspects if Proposition 13 fails—Gov. Gavin Newsom’s influence is damaged. He was the face of the bond appearing in television commercials and touring the state on behalf of the proposition. The school issue, which has been assumed to be a sure winner in the state with many polls indicating voters want to support the schools, may not be as powerful as believed. What does that mean to the coming campaign in the battle to raise taxes by altering 1978’s Proposition 13 with schools listed first as beneficiary of the new funds in both the title of the “Schools and Communities First” name and the Attorney General’s ballot label leading with “Increases Funding for Public Schools”…?

Fox neglects to mention the developer fee break or PLA language in Prop. 13, or authority to raise property taxes for local school bonds.

The SF Chronicle observed that “Supporters raised more than $9 million to pass the measure, while opponents listed no campaign contributions or spending. The state Legislature placed the measure on the ballot with bipartisan support. Gov. Gavin Newsom actively campaigned for the measure, making a stop in Oakland to plug the bond on Monday. It appeared it wasn’t enough to overcome what polls found was lukewarm support for the initiative in the weeks and months preceding the election. Early on, supporters feared that voters would confuse efforts to amend the original Prop. 13 passed in 1978 with the facilities bond measure, but efforts to change the number assigned to the initiative failed. It’s unclear how much that affected the tally Tuesday.”

One of the authors of AB 48 (which became Prop. 13), Assemblymember Patrick O’Donnell (not thinking voters know what they are voting on – except in the case where he was elected, I guess), said “If it passes, it was because it was a school construction bond, and if it fails, it was because it was named Prop. 13”. O’Donnell has already announced legislation to remove Prop. 13 from the rotation.

There are at least three possible outcomes: 1) as ballots continue to be counted, Prop. 13 could ultimately pass as early votes tend to be more conservative that late votes, 2) the Legislature and Governor could try again in November with a different bond but would the people who contributed $9 million for Prop. 13 pony up the money again – and more importantly – would the teachers’ unions and public employees who want a split roll initiative on the November ballot want a school bond on the same ballot, 3) Prop. 13’s defeat could make passage of split roll more important for the special interest spending lobby and cause them to pour more money into that measure, and 4) the Legislature may finally retire Proposition 13 from circulation once and for all.

Oil industry millions fail to secure clear California wins

From Politico: The oil industry is learning the same lesson in California as former New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg is nationally: money isn’t everything.

Energy-producing companies deployed millions of dollars to push chosen candidates into runoffs for the state Legislature, but early returns show those investments aren't yielding great returns. While the results are still shifting as ballots flow in, the early picture has some of the industry’s preferred Democrats running behind.

Modesto City Council Member Manmeet “Mani” Grewal – a Democrat seeking the open SD-5 seat – was 10 points behind in his attempt to land a spot before voters in November, despite an industry PAC spending $750,000 on his behalf. Similarly, former Assemblywoman Nora Campos drew more than $1 million from the industry PAC but trailed two Democrats in the race for an open SD-13 seat.

A brawl for the open AD-57 seat — the most expensive Assembly contest — has centrist oil-backed Democrat Sylvia Rubio effectively in a tie for a November spot with Democrat Lisa Calderon, who drew heavy labor support.

Along with Rubio’s prospects, it remains unclear if the more than $800,000 the industry spent to propel Democrat Carlos Villapudua into November will do the trick. Villapudua was leading two other Democrats for the open AD-13 seat, but Kathy Miller and Christina Fugazi were both within roughly a thousand votes.

And the industry’s chosen Republican was on the bubble in the open SD-23, a potential swing district: Republican Rosilicie Bogh sat in third, behind both Democrat Abigail Medina and Republican Lloyd White, despite some television support from the oil industry PAC. That race also remains too close to call, with about 1,200 votes separating Bogh and top vote-getter Medina.

The NLRA Offers California Tribes a Shield Against State Labor Protections For over 20 years, the State of California has used tribal gaming compacts to accomplish what federal law and tribal sovereignty would otherwise forbid: forcing tribes to follow state labor law in their casinos. Recently however, the Ninth Circuit decided that Congress, not California, has the paramount authority to regulate labor relations in Indian Country, and that the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) applies to tribal casinos. With federal authority confirmed, tribes can challenge state interference in their labor relations as a violation of federal law. More
Presidents have issued 14,215 pardons since 1902 President Donald Trump (R) issued seven pardons and commuted four prison sentences on Feb. 18. Trump has pardoned 25 people and commuted the sentences of 10 others since taking office. So, what exactly are pardons and commutations, and how do they work? What kind of historical data is available? Our elections team has been tracking this for years, so they sent me over some information yesterday. Article II, Section 2 of the U.S. Constitution grants the president the power of executive clemency. Executive clemency includes the power to pardon, in which the president overturns a federal conviction and restores “an individual to the state of innocence that existed before the conviction.” Executive clemency also includes the power of commutation, which allows a president to shorten or reduce a federal prison sentence. Clemency can also include the power to postpone a sentence or punishment—known as a reprieve—and the remission of fines. A president’s power of executive clemency is limited to federal offenses. He or she cannot pardon individuals for civil or state offenses. A president may also not use this power to intervene in impeachment proceedings. One of the first uses of the powers of executive clemency in U.S. history came in 1795 when President George Washington pardoned participants in a tax riot known as the Whisky Rebellion. Since 1902, presidents have issued 14,215 pardons and 6,557 commutations. The chart below shows the number of pardons and commutations by president since Theodore Roosevelt (R). This data was taken from the website of the U.S. Department of Justice, which includes information dating back to 1900. Our data starts with 1902 since that's the beginning of the first complete presidency using this information. Also, these numbers do not include instances of mass pardons such as in 1974 when President Gerald Ford (R) pardoned those who evaded the draft during the Vietnam War.

From 1914 to 1981—during all presidencies from Woodrow Wilson (D) to Jimmy Carter (D)—the number of pardons issued by each president was over 100 per year. Since Ronald Reagan (R), the average number of pardons per year has been less than 50. Rachel Barkow, a law professor at New York University, wrote in a New York University Law Review article in June 2015 that "The main reason for fewer clemency grants is the politics surrounding clemency and crime more generally." She stated that elected officials responded to public criticism of the criminal justice system by limiting their use of executive clemency. Barkow also noted in an email to Ballotpedia that beginning in 1978, the U.S. Attorney General delegated supervisory authority over clemency to the Deputy Attorney General who also supervises federal prosecutions.

Flow-Down Clauses To Subcontractors: What Actually Flows? Subcontractors must pay close attention to provisions in their subcontract that refer back to terms in the prime contract. These provisions are commonly referred to as "flow-down" clauses. Most subs are, of course, familiar with these provisions. They attempt to make the terms of a prime contract “flow down” to the subcontract. More

White House Announces EEOC, NLRB Nominees: The White House announced four nominations Monday to the NLRB and EEOC. Trump will nominate Jocelyn Samuels for a Democratic seat on the EEOC; former NLRB member Lauren McFerran for one of two vacant Democratic seats on the NLRB; Marvin Kaplan for an additional term in his Republican seat on the NLRB; and Gibson Dunn lawyer Andrea Lucas for a Republican seat on the EEOC.

Former UAW President Charged with Conspiring to Embezzle Union Funds From WSJ Federal prosecutors have charged former United Auto Workers President Gary Jones with conspiracy to embezzle union funds, making him the highest-ranking ex-union official to be ensnared in the Justice Department’s years long corruption probe. Story (Subscription may be required)

Community Solar Meets Requirements of California Solar Mandate The California Energy Commission (CEC) has approved the first community solar program as a means of complying with California’s solar mandate. Specifically, on February 20, 2020, following a three-hour hearing with many speakers on both sides of the issue, the CEC unanimously approved the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s (SMUD) proposal to allow homebuilders to use a community solar alternative to the California solar mandate, which went into effect on January 1, 2020. SMUD’s community solar plan is called Neighborhood SolarShares. More
Read more >>


Thursday, February 27, 2020   The 2020 Labor Law Book is Here!


Selected California Laws Affecting Electrical and Low Voltage Contractors - 2020 Edition

WECA Member Contractors: watch your mailboxes, because your complimentary copy will arrive soon! 

The 2020 edition of WECA's "Selected California Laws Affecting Electrical and Low Voltage Contractors" is here. It's an important reference guide -- for members, the industry, and the general public -- to the latest new and amended laws that could affect your business.

Not a Member Contractor with WECA yet? No worries -- you can purchase the 2020 edition of "Selected California Laws Affecting Electrical and Low Voltage Contractors" in our Amazon store.

Want to become a WECA Member Contractor? Learn more about our membership services and benefits. 
Read more >>


Thursday, February 27, 2020   GetWired! Instructor Spotlight: Bill Garr


At WECA, we pride ourselves on providing a comprehensive electrical industry education - thanks in no small part to our talented, knowledgeable, and passionate instructors. And we think that Bill Garr - third-generation electrician, Santa Rosa native, and one of our many talented GetWired! instructors - perfectly embodies these sentiments.

"I was highly interested in teaching for a long time due to the fact that WECA has the facilities and resources to reach out to the industry and instruct with great teachers, coupled with how awe-inspiring working with raw energy and construction truly is."

Garr states that as a teacher, he loves that he "gets to interact with and show my passion and excitement for electrical theory, construction and science; reach multiple people at any given time online and in the labs, and that having the classes taught online coupled with the availability of the hands-on labs makes it [our curriculum] available for everyone on a personal basis."

That, and Garr simply just loves "teaching electrical theory and code, which leads to helping people be better at what they do. My goal is to educate and inspire electricians, so that we leave and build a better place for all."

It is, after all, in his blood.

"My grandfather and father were both electricians," said Garr. "I first attended community college for general education credits toward an AA, and then I was a caretaker to my grandparents [along] with my father for a few years. After that, I joined WECA, took all the required Electrician Trainee (ET) courses, and received my Electrician Trainee program certificate through WECA."

And it shows - Garr lists two crucial traits for electricians: curious and always learning - in his personal philosophy. But he also espouses the importance of being humble, respectful, honest, adventurous, and thankful for all opportunities.

When not educating and inspiring the next generation of California's merit shop electricians, Garr partakes in an impressive repertoire of hobbies like practicing instinctual traditional archery, fly fishing, playing computer games, enjoying the outdoors with his dog, and working out at the gym.

Thank you, Bill, for being part of the WECA family and for continuing your family's proud tradition of working in the electrical industry, as well as WECA's proud tradition of counting alumni among its most dedicated instructors. We are thrilled to have a talented and well-rounded individual such as yourself on our team!
Read more >>


Thursday, February 27, 2020   Action Alert: No on Prop 13 on the March 2020 Ballot


Dear WECA Members,

The California Legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom placed Prop 13 on the March ballot last year to sell bonds for school construction. But because of the influence of the State Building and Construction Trades Council, and the acquiescence of developers and other business groups, it includes a provision that gives priority to school districts with a Project Labor Agreement (PLA).

As the San Jose Mercury News said recently -- when it encouraged a "NO" vote on Prop 13 -- "Four years ago, when California voters last approved state school construction bonds, we objected to the measure, Proposition 51, because it continued developer subsidy. Proposition 13 on the March 3 ballot makes it worse. Voters should reject it. Prop. 13 would drive up the cost of school construction by giving priority for state funding to projects that include union labor agreements [PLAs]. State law for public projects, including school construction, already requires paying prevailing wages for the area. This would further push up the cost by discouraging non-union contractors from bidding on the work."

WECA encourages you to share this information with employees, family, friends, and business associates. If Prop 13 passes with this PLA language, WECA believes it will be incorporated into every ballot measure and funding legislation approved by the California Legislature.

You can read the San Jose Mercury News article here and a similar article in the Orange County Register here.

Have questions or want more information? Contact Richard Markuson at richard@pacificadvocacygroup.com
Read more >>


Thursday, February 27, 2020   Register for Mar. 19 Webinar "What Contractors Need to Know About Title 24 & Acceptance Testing"


Please join WECA and the National Lighting Contractors Association of America (NLCAA) for an informative webinar -- hosted by Michael Scalzo, Executive Director of the NLCAA, and co-hosted by WECA -- on what contractors need to know about Title 24 and Acceptance Testing. Webinar topics will include:
  • What is Title 24, Part 6? What is Acceptance Testing?
    • The California Energy Code contains energy conservation standards applicable to all residential and non-residential buildings throughout California.
  • What parts do we need to be concerned with? It depends:
    • Scope of project
      • New Construction
      • Alterations/Additions/Repairs (Retrofit)
  • Is your design compliant? What can I do to ensure my project will pass the Acceptance Testing Process?
    • How do you know?
    • What could happen if I don't worry about this?
Register today to join us online on March 19 from 9 to 10 a.m., for this informative webinar.
Get all these questions answered -- and more! -- at this webinar, which is complimentary for WECA members and their employees! Registration for members of the public is $15.

Register now

Not yet a member of WECA? Learn more about our membership services and benefits.
 
Read more >>


Thursday, February 27, 2020   Keep Your Skills Sharp this Summer w/ BICSI's PM102 and OSP102 Classes at WECA's Rancho Cordova HQ!


WECA is pleased to offer the BICSI PM102 and OSP102 classes at our Rancho Cordova headquarters in June 2020.

Seats always fill fast, so get one for yourself or your employees before they're gone!

PM102: Applied Telecommunications Project Management, June 15 - 19
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

OSP102: Applied Outside Plant Design, June 29 - July 3
In this unparalleled training class, you will learn elements common to all OSP projects, along with design techniques for underground, direct-buried and aerial cable plant applications. You will have an opportunity to apply what you have learned through a series of design scenarios such as
route...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 this course and to enroll yourself or an employee, visit BICSI here
 
Read more >>


Tuesday, February 25, 2020   GetWired! Instructor Spotlight: Bill Garr



At WECA, we pride ourselves on providing a comprehensive electrical industry education - thanks in no small part to our talented, knowledgeable, and passionate instructors. And we think that Bill Garr - third-generation electrician, Santa Rosa native, and one of our many talented GetWired! instructors - perfectly embodies these sentiments.

"I was highly interested in teaching for a long time due to the fact that WECA has the facilities and resources to reach out to the industry and instruct with great teachers, coupled with how awe-inspiring working with raw energy and construction truly is."

Garr states that as a teacher, he loves that he "gets to interact with and show my passion and excitement for electrical theory, construction and science; reach multiple people at any given time online and in the labs, and that having the classes taught online coupled with the availability of the hands-on labs makes it [our curriculum] available for everyone on a personal basis."

That, and Garr simply just loves "teaching electrical theory and code, which leads to helping people be better at what they do. My goal is to educate and inspire electricians, so that we leave and build a better place for all."

It is, after all, in his blood.

"My grandfather and father were both electricians," said Garr. "I first attended community college for general education credits toward an AA, and then I was a caretaker to my grandparents [along] with my father for a few years. After that, I joined WECA, took all the required Electrician Trainee (ET) courses, and received my Electrician Trainee program certificate through WECA."

And it shows - Garr lists two crucial traits for electricians: curious and always learning - in his personal philosophy. But he also espouses the importance of being humble, respectful, honest, adventurous, and thankful for all opportunities.

When not educating and inspiring the next generation of California's merit shop electricians, Garr partakes in an impressive repertoire of hobbies like practicing instinctual traditional archery, fly fishing, playing computer games, enjoying the outdoors with his dog, and working out at the gym.

Thank you, Bill, for being part of the WECA family and for continuing your family's proud tradition of working in the electrical industry, as well as WECA's proud tradition of counting alumni among its most dedicated instructors. We are thrilled to have a talented and well-rounded individual such as yourself on our team!
Read more >>


Tuesday, February 25, 2020   Congratulations to the 2020 WECEF Scholarship Winners!

wecef

Please join us in congratulating the 2020 WECEF Scholarship winners!

WECEF was gratified to receive untold numbers of scholarship applications, and ultimately awarded 38 scholarships -- totaling $14,125 -- to eight Electrician Trainees and 30 apprentices.

"In all the years we have reviewed applicants' essays, these were some of the best and seemed heartfelt and genuine," said Terry Seabury, Executive Director and CEO of WECA. "They are certainly well-deserved appreciation and comments for our instructors and how they are helping people's lives and careers. There is no doubt in my mind that we are making a difference and are the best!"

From all of us at WECA, congratulations to all the winners. Your awards are well-deserved, and we cannot wait to see all that you accomplish with a WECA education! 

Click here to view the full list of the 2020 WECEF Scholarship winners.
 
Read more >>


Tuesday, February 25, 2020   Just a Few Seats Left: LowVolt BICSI Training in March

Back by Popular Demand -- BICSI's ICT Installer 1 Training Class in March (Seats Going Fast!). Plus, BICSI's PM102 and OSP102 Classes Coming in June!
All classes will be held at WECA's Rancho Cordova HQ bicsi
 

WECA is pleased to offer the BICSI ICT Installer 1 Training class at our Rancho Cordova headquarters in March 2020, and the BICSI PM102 and OSP102 classes -- also at our Rancho Cordova headquarters -- in June 2020.

Seats are filling fast for the March 23 - 27 BICSI ICT Installer 1 Training class, so get one before they're gone! 

IN101: BICSI ICT Installer 1 Training, March 23 - 27 (Added by Popular Demand!)

COURSE DESCRIPTION

This course is designed to provide entry-level installers with the background, knowledge and basic skills needed to function safely and effectively as part of a cabling installation team. The BICSI Installer 1 Training course is the introductory course of the Installation Program series.

Who should attend?

This course will greatly benefit anyone planning to take the BICSI Installer 1 exam to include individuals with little or no cabling experience, anyone wishing to pursue a career in ICT cabling distribution, and individuals seeking basic knowledge of and skills in cabling installation.

Why should you attend?
  • Learn the background knowledge and basic skills to function safely and effectively as part of a cabling installation team.
  • Learn the best practices and methods outlined in the Information Technology systems Installation Methods manual (ITSIMM), 7th edition.
  • Complete modules and activities which incorporate codes, standards, and best practices.
What will you learn?
  • Describe the professional expectations for an installer
  • Describe how information is transmitted over telecommunication media
  • Describe the primary characteristics of copper cabling media
  • Ensure that work is performed in accordance with applicable codes, standards, and regulations
  • Describe the basic configuration of a structured cabling system
  • Comply with safety policies and procedures
  • Pull horizontal cable, terminate and copper cabling media
  • Explain an installer's role in the firestopping process
How long is this course?

This class takes place over a period of 4.5 days; 5 days for students planning to take the hands-on exam to earn the certification. After successful completion of the hands-on exam, examinees will be required to take and pass the written exam at a Pearson Vue testing center of their choosing to earn certification.

Please note: the Installer 1 (INST1) exam is not included in the course fee. You must register for the exam separately.

Can I earn credit?
Yes, you can earn 35 continuing education credits towards an existing BICSI credentials recertification requirements upon successfully completing this program.

PM102: Applied Telecommunications Project Management, June 15 - 19

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

OSP102: Applied Outside Plant Design, June 29 - July 3

In this unparalleled training class, you will learn elements common to all OSP projects, along with design techniques for underground, direct-buried and aerial cable plant applications. You will have an opportunity to apply what you have learned through a series of design scenarios such as route...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 this course and to enroll yourself or an employee, visit BICSI here
Read more >>


Tuesday, February 25, 2020   Think The WECA Electrician Trainee Program Might Be the Right Fit for You? Learn More!


Are you interested in becoming an electrician, but aren't sure if WECA's Apprenticeship programs are right for you? We've got you covered with our Electrician Trainee program.
 

WECA's state-approved Electrician Trainee program is available to students throughout the state of California. All classes are exclusively taught online by experienced electrical industry professionals.
 

That's right -- you get the best of both worlds with a variety of online courses (taken in the evenings from the comfort of your home) and one to two hands-on, instructor-led lab days (held on weekends) at your nearest WECA training facility. 
 

The Electrician Trainee program also offers shorter self-paced online course options that Electrician Trainees can take to supplement their program coursework. While these courses are not required, they can be used to make up missed hours or fill the gaps between classes -- allowing you to maintain your Electrician Trainee registration with the state of California.

Want to learn more, or enroll? Click here! 
Read more >>


Tuesday, February 25, 2020   Take Your First -- and Best! -- Step Toward a Rewarding Career Career as a Low Voltage Technician!


Do you enjoy the technical or analytical side of things?

If so, a career as a Low Voltage Technician is a great choice! WECA is seeking applications statewide for our Low Voltage apprenticeship program.

Wondering what, exactly, a Low Voltage Technician does? Great question!

Low Voltage Technicians specialize in installing, testing, servicing, and maintaining systems such as:
  • fire alarm systems
  • security systems
  • nurse call systems
  • voice evacuation systems
  • very early smoke detection apparatuses
  • open-area smoke imaging detection systems
  • cable and satellite TV
  • the Internet
  • home entertainment systems
  • landline phone networks
  • and more!
The possibilities are nearly endless.

And at WECA, we can help you -- or someone you know -- achieve a fast-paced, satisfying career as a Low Voltage Technician.

Apply today to start your Low Voltage Apprenticeship journey!

Have questions? Contact Wendy Flanagan, Assistant Director of Apprenticeship, via phone at 877-444-9322, ext. 145, or via email at wflanagan@goweca.com.
 
Read more >>


Tuesday, February 25, 2020   Celebrate Women in Construction Week with Us: Stay Tuned for Relevant Social Media Content!


March 1 - 7 is Women in Construction Week, and WECA is celebrating accordingly with social media coverage of all things women in construction!

Follow us on social media as we shine the spotlight on awesome female Apprentices and Electrician Trainees at WECA, share some fun facts about women in construction, feature photos of our female Apprentices and Electrician Trainees in the classroom and on-the-job, and more!

Don't follow us on social media? Check us out -- and follow us! -- on these platforms for the latest at WECA:
 
See what's happening on our social sites:
Like us on Facebook Follow us on Twitter View our profile on LinkedIn View on Instagram
Read more >>


Thursday, February 20, 2020   WECA Political Update -- February 20, 2020

Dear WECA Members,

The California Legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom placed Prop 13 on the March ballot last year to sell bonds for school construction. But because of the influence of the State Building and Construction Trades Council, and the acquiescence of developers and other business groups, it includes a provision that gives priority to school districts with a Project Labor Agreement (PLA). As the San Jose Mercury News said recently -- when it encouraged a "NO" vote on Prop 13 -- "Four years ago, when California voters last approved state school construction bonds, we objected to the measure, Proposition 51, because it continued the developer subsidy. Proposition 13 on the March 3 ballot makes it worse. Voters should reject it. Prop. 13 would drive up the cost of school construction by giving priority for state funding to projects that include union labor agreements [PLAs]. State law for public projects, including school construction, already requires paying prevailing wages for the area. This would further push up the cost by discouraging non-union contractors from bidding on the work."

WECA encourages you to share this information with employees, family, friends, and business associates. If Prop 13 passes with this PLA language, WECA believes it will be incorporated in every ballot measure and funding legislation approved by the California Legislature.

You can read the Mercury article here.

Have questions, concerns, or thoughts? Please contact Richard Markuson using the form below or click here.
 

2,557 major party candidates have filed for Congress in 2020 With 38 filing deadlines remaining, 2,557 major party candidates have filed to run for the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives in 2020. That figure has grown by 210 in the past month. 360 candidates have filed with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) to run for U.S. Senate. There are 163 Democrats and 144 Republicans running. Fifty-three candidates are either independent or third party affiliated. In 2018, 527 candidates filed with the FEC to run for U.S. Senate, including 137 Democrats and 240 Republicans. 2,472 candidates have filed with the FEC to run for the U.S. House. There are 1,070 Democrats and 1,180 Republicans running. 222 are either independent or third-party candidates. In 2018, 3,244 candidates filed with the FEC, including 1,566 Democrats and 1,155 Republicans. Since January 20, 187 major party candidates have filed for the U.S. House. Of those, 121 are Republicans and 66 are Democrats. 23 major party candidates have filed for the U.S. Senate in the same time period. Of those, 13 are Democrats and 10 are Republicans. Four senators (three Republicans and one Democrat) are not running for re-election this year. Thirty-six representatives are not seeking re-election. Of those, 27 are Republican and nine are Democratic. In 2018, 55 members of Congress—18 Democrats and 37 Republicans—did not seek re-election. Thirty-five Senate seats and all 435 House seats are up for election on November 3, 2020. Two of those Senate races (Arizona and Georgia) are special elections. Twelve are Democratic-held seats and 23 are Republican-held seats. In the House, Democrats currently hold a 232-197 majority with one independent member. [Ballotpedia]

Bills, Bills, Bills Through today, February 20, there have been 1,170 bills introduced in the Legislature. That includes 792 ABs and 378 SBs. The deadline for introducing bills in the 2020 Session is Friday, February 21. With Monday being a state holiday, there are two remaining days for bill introductions. Historically, the second year of a 2-year session has had fewer bills introduced than in the first year. Last year, there were 2,576 bills introduced between the two houses, which is the most in the past decade. Over the past decade, there have been between 1,900 and 2,200 bills introduced in the second year of Session.

Split Roll Shares: According to a report released by the University of Southern California, only 6 percent of commercial properties facing a potential tax hike would make up the bulk of the projected billions of dollars in new state revenue if the "split-roll" measure is approved by voters in November. The report is being hailed as a win for the Schools & Communities First campaign, which says the analysis is proof that opponents' concerns about the impact on small businesses are unfounded. If approved, the tax measure would bring in between $10.3 billion to $12.6 billion annually, according to the report, with 6 percent of big commercial properties — worth more than $5 million — accounting for 78 percent of total state revenue. "It clearly shows that a fraction of the top corporations which have overwhelmingly benefited for so many years would finally pay their fair share," Schools & Communities First spokesperson Alex Stack said of the report. But critics of the proposal say the report doesn't accurately take into account the impacts on agricultural landowners and on small business owners who are renters. "This deeply flawed report is merely campaign propaganda," John Kabateck, California director of the National Federation of Independent Business, said in an email. Ed Ring with the CPC talks about the ballot measure here.

Presidential candidates have collectively raised more than $1 billion The 15 noteworthy Democratic and Republican candidates have raised a combined $1.015 billion since the start of the election cycle. We looked at presidential election fundraising since January 1, 2017, to determine who’s raised the most money so far. Story



Powerful Nevada Union Declines to Endorse: After clashing with Sanders over "Medicare for All," Nevada's Culinary Workers Union said Thursday it will not endorse in the presidential primary, POLITICO's Marc Caputo, David Siders and Natasha Korecki report. The union didn't endorse a candidate during the 2016 primaries, either. But the announcement is a setback for Sanders and to Joe Biden, who were vying for its blessing. The union and its affiliates are a key mobilization bloc for the Nevada caucuses, representing 60,000 workers in the restaurant and hospitality industries. Tensions between the Culinary Workers and Sanders remain fraught after the union circulated a leaflet warning that the Vermont senator would "end Culinary Healthcare" and "require Medicare for All," which in turn sparked outrage among Sanders' supporters and other progressives. Union leaders were doxed, meaning their personal information was released on social media. Sanders later tweeted a message of support for the union and called the harassment "unacceptable." Caputo, Siders and Korecki note that the non-endorsement creates an opening for moderates Pete Buttigieg and Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who now may have an inroad with Latino voters, a crucial demographic, in a state where both candidates were polling in the single digits last month. [Politico]

Money for Fighter Jets Could Pay for Border Wall: The Trump administration plans to take $3.8 billion allocated by Congress to build fighter jets, ships, vehicles and National Guard equipment to fund barrier construction along the U.S.-Mexico border. That puts the total amount the Pentagon has contributed for Trump's border wall at nearly $10 billion. The move sets the stage for another fight over border wall money on Capitol Hill. "We're going to scream about it. We're going to complain about it. We're going to try to stop it anyway we can," House Armed Services Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.) told POLITICO. "But at the end of the day, unless Republicans in Congress support us, then we won't be able to get it done."

California Governor Recall Effort Signature Deadline Passes Supporters of the effort to recall California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) had until February 13 to submit 1,495,709 signatures to force a recall election. Republican congressional candidate Erin Cruz submitted the recall. Secretary of State Alex Padilla (D) approved the recall for circulation on September 6, 2019. As of January 29 this year, there were 197,150 signatures submitted, and 134,357 had been deemed valid by the secretary of state. The recall petition alleges that Newsom mismanaged the state and caused poor schools, deteriorating infrastructure, high costs for gas and utilities, and increased homelessness and debt. The recall petition also criticized Newsom’s support of policies such as Medicare for All and laws that aid immigrants living in the country illegally. In response to the recall efforts, Newsom filed a statement with the secretary of state in August 2019. In his statement, Newsom said that the "…recall effort will cost California taxpayers $81 million dollars! It is being pushed by political extremists supporting President Trump’s hateful attacks on California." California became a Democratic trifecta in 2011. A state government trifecta exists when one political party simultaneously holds the governor’s office and both state legislative chambers. Democrats control the California state House by a 61-18 margin with one vacancy and the state Senate by a 29-10 margin with one vacancy. Newsom succeeded Jerry Brown (D) as governor in 2019. He won the 2018 election with 61.9% of the vote. Three gubernatorial recall efforts are currently underway in 2020. From 2003 to 2019, Ballotpedia tracked 22 gubernatorial recall efforts. During that time, two recalls made the ballot, and one governor was successfully recalled. Former California Gov. Gray Davis (D) was recalled in 2003 and replaced by Arnold Schwarzenegger (R). In 2012, former Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) was retained in a recall election. The only other governor to ever be successfully recalled was former North Dakota Gov. Lynn Frazier (R) in 1921. [Ballotpedia]

Employment Law Risks for Family Businesses One of the benefits of operating a family business is the opportunity to work closely with other family members on a daily basis. However, it is important to remember that a family member is just like any other employee in the eyes of the law and should be treated as such. Story

OSHA Issues Guidance on the Usage of Headphones on Construction Sites In late 2019, OSHA released a letter of interpretation in response to employers’ questions regarding the rapidly increasing use of headphones on construction sites. The convenience, simplicity, and decrease in price of wireless headphones have made them wildly popular. Manufacturers and advertisers have taken advantage of that popularity to advertise wireless headphones as having features appealing to workers, such as volume-limiting capabilities and noise-canceling capabilities, and even promoted them as ear protection devices. These products, however, also have the ability to play music, podcasts, videos – anything that can be watched or listened to via a Bluetooth device. To better appeal to workers, some manufacturers have gone as far as to advertise their products as “OSHA approved”. Employers subsequently sought clarification and guidance on whether use of headphones on job sites is prohibited by OSHA regulations. Story

CA Supreme Court Publishes "Hours Worked" Decision The California Supreme Court has concluded that employees must be compensated for time spent on the employer’s premises waiting for, and undergoing, required exit searches of packages, bags, or personal technology devices. The Court explained that this time is compensable because the employees are under the employer’s control and the searches are being performed for the employer’s benefit. The Court reached this decision applying California law, and the same result would not necessarily be reached under the FLSA. Employers should therefore review any policies or practices that require employees to perform any “off the clock” or otherwise uncompensated tasks. Key factors identified by the Court as to whether the activities are compensable are the location of the activity, the degree of the employer’s control, whether the activity primarily benefits the employee or employer, and whether the activity is enforced through disciplinary measures. The Court’s opinion, Frlekin v. Apple, Inc., Case No. S243805, can be accessed here.

Microgrids on the Rise as CPUC Seeks to Streamline Resiliency Projects The state of California is calling for more investments in microgrids for electric power resiliency. Spurred by a 2018 legislative effort that recognized the multitude of benefits microgrid technologies can offer (e.g., grid reliability, renewable integration), the reality of increasing California wildfires and power outages make microgrid deployment a necessary option. Story

Vocational ed makes a comeback Columnist Dan Walters writes “Somewhere along the way, California’s public schools became enamored with the notion that all students will — or at least should — acquire degrees from four-year colleges. Local school districts often adopted college-prep-for-all policies and in doing so denigrated and often eliminated what was once called vocational education — classes to prepare students for useful and often lucrative jobs in the real world. Story

Some States’ Economies Could Slump This Year The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia projected last month that the economies of ten states would contract in 2020, according to a report by Bloomberg Businessweek. The Philadelphia Fed’s forecast didn’t take into account the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China in December, which could hurt the economies of other states, including California and North Carolina, that trade heavily with that country. [United Press International, US News & World Report]

Read more >>


Thursday, February 13, 2020   Important Information on Prop 13 for the March 2020 Ballot

Dear WECA Members,

The California Legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom placed Prop 13 on the March ballot last year to sell bonds for school construction. But because of the influence of the State Building and Construction Trades Council, and the acquiescence of developers and other business groups, it includes a provision that gives priority to school districts with a Project Labor Agreement (PLA). 

As the San Jose Mercury News said recently -- when it encouraged a "NO" vote on Prop 13 -- "Four years ago, when California voters last approved state school construction bonds, we objected to the measure, Proposition 51, because it continued the developer subsidy. Proposition 13 on the March 3 ballot makes it worse. Voters should reject it. Prop. 13 would drive up the cost of school construction by giving priority for state funding to projects that include union labor agreements [PLAs]. State law for public projects, including school construction, already requires paying prevailing wages for the area. This would further push up the cost by discouraging non-union contractors from bidding on the work."

WECA encourages you to share this information with employees, family, friends, and business associates. If Prop 13 passes with this PLA language, WECA believes it will be incorporated into every ballot measure and funding legislation approved by the California Legislature.

You can read the San Jose Mercury News article here and a similar article in the Orange County Register here. 

Have questions or want more information? Contact Richard Markuson at richard@pacificadvocacygroup.com.
Read more >>


Thursday, February 13, 2020   Join Us for Mar. 19 Webinar: "What Contractors Need to Know About Title 24 and Acceptance Testing"


Please join WECA and the National Lighting Contractors Association of America (NLCAA) for an informative webinar -- hosted by Michael Scalzo, Executive Director of the NLCAA, and co-hosted by WECA -- on what contractors need to know about Title 24 and Acceptance Testing. Webinar topics will include:
  • What is Title 24, Part 6? What is Acceptance Testing?
    • The California Energy Code contains energy conservation standards applicable to all residential and non-residential buildings throughout California.
  • What parts do we need to be concerned with? It depends:
    • Scope of project
      • New Construction
      • Alterations/Additions/Repairs (Retrofit)
  • Is your design compliant? What can I do to ensure my project will pass the Acceptance Testing Process?
    • How do you know?
    • What could happen if I don't worry about this?
Register today to join us online on March 19 from 9 to 10 a.m., for this informative webinar.
Get all these questions answered -- and more! -- at this webinar, which is complimentary for WECA members and their employees! Registration for members of the public is $15. 

Register now!

Not yet a member of WECA? Learn more about our membership services and benefits.
Read more >>


Thursday, February 13, 2020   Enlightening Young Minds at Merced College and Victory High School (Rocklin)

WECA's recruitment and outreach season has officially started! On Wednesday, January 29th, our Apprenticeship Recruiter Diane Trotter visited Merced College in Merced to share information about WECA's Apprenticeship programs with students enrolled in their Career Technical Education (CTE) program. 

And on Thursday, January 30th, Diane ventured a bit closer to WECA's Rancho Cordova headquarters and visited the students at Victory High School in Rocklin, where she spread the good news about WECA at a career fair there. 

Check out the snaps from her visits below!
 

Merced College students listen intently as Diane gives her presentation on WECA's Apprenticeship programs.
 

Diane's ready to inform Victory High School students of their electrical career options!
Read more >>


Thursday, February 13, 2020   Poway Unified School District Trustee TJ Zane Guest of Honor at WECA's San Diego Training Facility

 

WECA's San Diego training facility had a special visitor on Monday - Poway School Board Member TJ Zane! TJ (center right) stopped by to learn more about apprenticeship, workforce development, and the electrical industry - and to share a few laughs with (from left to right) instructor Neil Pesarillo, Membership Director Bob Bartlett, and instructor Talon Pobuda.

As part of WECA's enhanced public affairs program, local public officials will be visiting WECA facilities in San Diego, Riverside and Rancho Cordova to learn more about what we do. Our goal is to conduct 30-40 visits in 2020 and we will be contacting WECA members to participate in these visits. 

If you are interested in participating in this program -- or know a public official or business leader who might enjoy visiting WECA -- contact Richard Markuson at richard@pacificadvocacygroup.com.
Read more >>


Thursday, February 13, 2020   BICSI's Offering June Classes at WECA's Rancho Cordova HQ -- Plus One in March!

Seats Are Going Fast -- Enroll Today! bicsi
 

WECA is pleased to offer the BICSI ICT Installer 1 Training class at our Rancho Cordova headquarters in Spring 2020, and the BICSI PM102 and OSP102 classes -- also at our Rancho Cordova headquarters -- in June 2020.

Seats are filling fast for the March 23 - 27 BICSI ICT Installer 1 Training class, so get one before they're gone! 

IN101: BICSI ICT Installer 1 Training, March 23 - 27 (Added by Popular Demand!)

COURSE DESCRIPTION

This course is designed to provide entry-level installers with the background, knowledge and basic skills needed to function safely and effectively as part of a cabling installation team. The BICSI Installer 1 Training course is the introductory course of the Installation Program series.

Who should attend?

This course will greatly benefit anyone planning to take the BICSI Installer 1 exam to include individuals with little or no cabling experience, anyone wishing to pursue a career in ICT cabling distribution, and individuals seeking basic knowledge of and skills in cabling installation.

Why should you attend?
  • Learn the background knowledge and basic skills to function safely and effectively as part of a cabling installation team.
  • Learn the best practices and methods outlined in the Information Technology systems Installation Methods manual (ITSIMM), 7th edition.
  • Complete modules and activities which incorporate codes, standards, and best practices.
What will you learn?
  • Describe the professional expectations for an installer
  • Describe how information is transmitted over telecommunication media
  • Describe the primary characteristics of copper cabling media
  • Ensure that work is performed in accordance with applicable codes, standards, and regulations
  • Describe the basic configuration of a structured cabling system
  • Comply with safety policies and procedures
  • Pull horizontal cable, terminate and copper cabling media
  • Explain an installer's role in the firestopping process
How long is this course?
This class takes place over a period of 4.5 days; 5 days for students planning to take the hands-on exam to earn the certification. After successful completion of the hands-on exam, examinees will be required to take and pass the written exam at a Pearson Vue testing center of their choosing to earn certification.

Please note: the Installer 1 (INST1) exam is not included in the course fee. You must register for the exam separately.

Can I earn credit?

Yes, you can earn 35 continuing education credits towards an existing BICSI credentials recertification requirements upon successfully completing this program.

PM102: Applied Telecommunications Project Management, June 15 - 19
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

OSP102: Applied Outside Plant Design, June 29 - July 3
In this unparalleled training class, you will learn elements common to all OSP projects, along with design techniques for underground, direct-buried and aerial cable plant applications. You will have an opportunity to apply what you have learned through a series of design scenarios such as route...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 this course and to enroll yourself or an employee, visit BICSI here
Read more >>


Thursday, February 13, 2020   Congratulations to the 2020 WECEF Scholarship Winners!

wecef

Please join us in congratulating the 2020 WECEF Scholarship winners!

WECEF was gratified to receive untold numbers of scholarship applications, and ultimately awarded 38 scholarships -- totaling $14,125 -- to eight Electrician Trainees and 30 apprentices.

"In all the years we have reviewed applicants' essays, these were some of the best and seemed heartfelt and genuine," said Terry Seabury, Executive Director and CEO of WECA. "They are certainly well-deserved appreciation and comments for our instructors and how they are helping people's lives and careers. There is no doubt in my mind that we are making a difference and are the best!"

From all of us at WECA, congratulations to all the winners. Your awards are well-deserved, and we cannot wait to see all that you accomplish with a WECA education!

Click here to view the full list of the 2020 WECEF Scholarship winners.
Read more >>


Thursday, February 06, 2020   Before reading more...


...please take a moment to look at your calendar for February 19 and consider joining your peers at PHCC and ABC for an informative morning of briefings on both politics and the economy. Contractors in California will need to be prepared to adjust to a changing regulatory environment and new employer mandates. You can get more information and register here.

Read more >>


Thursday, February 06, 2020   Carbon Neutral California

A new study by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory concludes California can reach its ambitious greenhouse gas goals with a multibillion-dollar statewide project to remove carbon dioxide directly from the air and extract energy from plant fibers and sewage. The study, commissioned by the ClimateWorks Foundation, presents a vision of infrastructure designed to collect and process agricultural and forest waste, sewage and landfill gas, as well as the commercial deployment of machines that capture carbon dioxide from the air and bury it in geologic formations under the Central Valley.
Read more >>


Thursday, February 06, 2020   Union Strong

According to Politico, Tom Steyer's campaign said Sunday "it had recognized a staff bargaining unit with IBEW Local 2325. 'Tom's strongest partner has always been organized labor, and we look forward to partnering with IBEW as they represent our campaign staff,' campaign manager Heather Hargreaves said in a statement. Workers for other Democratic candidates, including Pete Buttigieg, Elizabeth Warren and Sanders, have already formed unions. With Steyer polling at just 3 percent in Iowa, his campaign might not be around long enough to negotiate a contract."
Read more >>


Thursday, February 06, 2020   Responding to the Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) Outbreak: Best Practices for Employers

The 2019 Novel Coronavirus ("2019-nCoV" or "Coronavirus") is a rapidly spreading respiratory illness that is raising important issues for employers. Employers are faced with balancing their obligation to maintain a safe and healthful workplace with an employee's right to be free from discrimination. In this Advisory, the legal framework pertaining to Coronavirus risks in the workplace is discussed. The information from public health officials is changing quickly as the disease spreads, so employers should continue to monitor guidance provided by agencies charged with guiding the public, such as the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ("CDC") and local public health agencies.
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Thursday, February 06, 2020   Big Infrastructure Deal Faces a New Hurdle

From Bloomberg (the publication, not Presidential aspirant): Democrats and Republicans seem to disagree about almost everything with one exception: the need to repair and upgrade America's shaky infrastructure. Although it's difficult to envision big legislation passing in an election year, Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says she intends to try. One thing working in favor of a large infrastructure bill is that both parties have grown increasingly comfortable with running huge budget deficits. But that doesn't answer a pressing new issue: in the tightening and evolving U.S. jobs market, it might be hard to find enough construction workers. In other words, if money was an obstacle before, now it might be a labor shortage. Read more here. But in Tuesday's State of the Union address, the President seemed to throw water on that. Politico observed "Two years ago, Trump stood in the House chamber and called on Congress to produce a $1.5 trillion infrastructure bill. On Tuesday night, during this year's State of the Union and two years wiser about the ways of Washington, it became clear his sights are aimed much lower. The President called on Congress to 'rebuild America's infrastructure' by passing the Senate's surface transportation bill, a $287 billion reauthorization of the expiring FAST Act. It may not be the most ambitious target, but it's probably a more realistic goal than his previous proposal(s). The Senate bill is largely a continuation of highway policy as it's been done for decades, although it also has a first-ever climate title and buy-in from Democrats on the Environment and Public Works Committee. The brief infrastructure mention was a rare moment of applause from both sides of the aisle, but the early signs aren't great for a friendly agreement. House Democrats are already preparing their own infrastructure bill, though the White House has already derided it as a 'Green New Deal 2.0".
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Thursday, February 06, 2020   Discouraged Workers a Priority for DOL

The Labor Department will try this year to help states bring "discouraged" workers -- who are not included in the Bureau of Labor Statistics' unemployment tallies -- back into the workforce, according to DOL Assistant Secretary for Employment and Training John Pallasch, who acknowledged that labor force participation is a problem. "The only way we're going to be able to feed the need of employers is by pulling in those folks that are not a part of the workforce," Pallasch said at a National Skills Convention conference in Washington. He said his office hasn't "done a good job in terms of defining and providing technical assistance to the states on how exactly they go out and they engage that population, so that's another thing we're going to be working on in the near future." [Politico]
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Thursday, February 06, 2020   10 biggest OSHA fines of 2019

Last year, nine of the most expensive OSHA citations included some kind of fall protection violation, whether the company in question primarily performed roofing or mixed asphalt. The tenth mostly dealt with excavation and trenching violations. It's easy to understand why these occupations warranted the highest penalties, as they are among the most dangerous activities that can happen on a construction project. In fact, falls constituted more than 33 percent of all construction deaths in 2018. In addition, four of the 10 most-cited OSHA violations are related to falls. Story
 
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Thursday, February 06, 2020   DOL New-Hires

According to Bloomberg Law, Rusty Brown, a business consultant, started last month as a policy adviser at the Office of Labor-Management Standards, and Trey Kovacs, formerly a labor policy analyst at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, signed on as a special assistant at OLMS. "Brown was involved in a campaign to decertify a union representing 27,000 home care workers in Minnesota, and Kovacs has accused the department of 'dragging feet' on a pair of pending regulations to expand union financial disclosures." [Bloomberg Law]
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Thursday, February 06, 2020   Salmon to Support Newsom in 2022

Gov. Gavin Newsom announced a new goal of doubling the state's dwindling salmon population by 2050. He also made the case for a deal between water users and the state aimed at preserving water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta. In a CALMatters op-ed, Newsom argued that "voluntary agreements" on the Delta aimed at improving flows for endangered salmon and steelhead trout are the best path forward. Newsom has thrown his weight behind them as an alternative to mandatory water-supply cuts to cities and agricultural users that he argues will be tied up in litigation for years.
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Thursday, February 06, 2020   Federal Court Enjoins California's New Arbitration Statute

California's brand-new anti-arbitration statue likely is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced against agreements governed by the Federal Arbitration Act, given a ruling Friday by the United States District Court in Sacramento. In Chamber of Commerce v. Becerra, U.S. District Judge Kimberly Mueller issued a preliminary injunction that effectively permits employers to continue to enter into arbitration agreements covered by the FAA, apparently concluding that the FAA likely preempts newly enacted California Assembly Bill 51. More
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Thursday, February 06, 2020   'All-Electric' Movement Picks Up Speed, Catching Some Off Guard

From the NYTimes As cities across the nation embrace electric power as a cleaner alternative to natural gas, developers are scrambling to keep up. Story
 
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Thursday, February 06, 2020   State Correctional Spending Increased Despite Significant Population Reductions

In what will surely be shocking to regular readers, the State Legislative Analyst found "that the major reasons why CDCR's costs did not decline in line with the substantial decrease in the populations are: (1) costly operational changes to comply with various federal court orders, (2) increased employee compensation costs, and (3) the payment of costs that were deferred during the state's fiscal crisis. Since 2011, "the state's inmate population declined by nearly one-quarter and the parolee population declined by nearly one-half. However, over the same period, CDCR spending increased by over $3 billion, or more than one-third." The study found that although "the total number of positions in CDCR is currently similar to its level prior to the 2011 realignment, the cost per position has increased--contributing to over $3 billion in increased CDCR spending. Whereas each position cost CDCR an average of $110,000 in 2010-11, each position cost CDCR an average of $158,000 in 2018-19, a 43 percent increase--nearly triple the rate of inflation." Report
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Thursday, January 30, 2020   Need Employees? Try WECA's Electrical and Low Voltage Industry Job Board!

WECA Members: Post Open Positions, View Resumes, and Get a Referral with Our Electrical and Low Voltage Industry Job Board and Student Referral Service

91 Active Resumes On Our Job Board Right Now jobs
 

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

Our job board exists for...
  • Talented electricians
  • Low voltage technicians
  • Electrician Trainees
  • Industry employees (including office personnel)
  • And the Member Contractors who want to hire them.
View this WECA-provided, free, no-obligation service here, and post a position to help you find your next great employee today! You can also view active resumes here as part of your member contractor benefits. What's more -- the job board's resume bank currently has 91 active resumes waiting for you to view them -- so don't miss out on your next great employee!

You may also use our free job referral service connecting currently-unemployed Electrician Trainees, Journeymen, and WECA Graduate job seekers to Member Contractors in order to help meet their staffing needs. It's included with your contractor membership!

This service provides additional customer service by having WECA staff supply you with hands-on referrals. In other words, we take some of the hard work off your plate. The Student Referral Service refers job-seekers to you, and you hire them directly.

To receive referrals from WECA's Student Referral Service, please contact Ana Lopez, WECA ET/Journeyman Program Manager, via email at alopez@goweca.com or by phone at (877) 444-9322. 

Post a job today!
 
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Thursday, January 30, 2020   BICSI to Offer Classes at WECA's Rancho Cordova Headquarters in June 2020


WECA is pleased to announce that the following BICSI classes will be held at our Rancho Cordova headquarters in June 2020:

PM102: Applied Telecommunications Project Management June 15 - 19

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

OSP102: Applied Outside Plant Design June 29 - July 3

In this unparalleled training class, you will learn elements common to all OSP projects, along with design techniques for underground, direct-buried and aerial cable plant applications. You will have an opportunity to apply what you have learned through a series of design scenarios such as route...Learn more

These classes are open to the public and we encourage interested WECA members to enroll early in order to secure these 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 and enroll in these coursesclick on the individual course links above, or visit www.bicsi.org and search courses by location for "Rancho Cordova". 
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Thursday, January 30, 2020   Calling All Talented, Certified Electricians -- Seeking Part-Time Instructors for Nights & Weekends

Earn Extra Money with the Perfect Side Gig PT

Make a Difference in Your Industry.

Teaching Others is a Rewarding Opportunity. 
 

Experienced, certified electricians (including the recently retired!) who:
  • Are natural leaders and teachers
  • Enjoy learning more about the field all the time
  • Enjoy sharing knowledge about all things electrical with a new generation of prospective electricians
  • Want to earn more money in the evening, without having to leave home
We'd be excited to have you join our team and help us in developing the workforce for our industry! 

Contractors: If you have an employee you think would be perfect for this, please share this post with them! They'll keep their skills and Code knowledge sharp, and you'll reap the benefits.

Part-Time instructors for our GetWired! programs teach weeknights online and/or occasional Saturday labs at our training facilities.

This is the side gig that lets you earn extra money while keeping your day job!

View the job posting and application details here to learn more and apply today.
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