Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

Already Belong? Login

Thursday, July 18, 2019   Congratulations to Our Southern California Class of 2019 Graduates!

2019 WECA Southern California Graduation


2019 WECA Southern California Graduation

And that's a wrap! Congratulations to our Southern California Class of 2019 graduates! May the successes, knowledge, and lessons learned during your WECA apprenticeship continue to carry you to great heights.

WECA's Southern California graduation - held on July 13th at the picturesque Falkner Winery in Temecula - was an evening to remember as graduates and their loved ones celebrated the end of a long but rewarding journey.

"It doesn't get much more perfect than this," said Wendy Flanagan, WECA's Assistant Director of Apprenticeship. "Nor does it ever get old, watching these students' family and friends come together to cheer them on."

Attendees started out the evening with a lively cocktail hour and a delectable dinner provided by Falkner Winery's own Pinnacle Restaurant before moving onto the main attraction - the graduation itself!

WECA Southern California instructor Rick Labon emceed the ceremony, and his fellow Southern California instructors Talon Pobuda, Neil Pesarillo, Rick Mortensen, and Raymond Newton, as well as WECA Apprentice Training Director Don Black, were on hand to present the graduates with their diplomas. During the ceremony, WECA's Southern California valedictorians were presented with commemorative plaques and gifted items from WECA Industry Partner Ideal Industries, Milwaukee Tools, and Klein Tools. Additionally, the salutatorians received gifts from Ideal Industries.
The Valedictorians and Salutatorians for the Southern California Class of 2019 were:

Valedictorians
  • Tyler Nicks (Commercial)
  • Robert Bucklin (Low voltage)
  • Alan Torres (Residential)
Salutatorians
  • Ryan Galarneau (Commercial)
  • Alonso Arturo, Jr. (Low voltage)
The evening concluded with a raffle of special swag for graduates, courtesy of WECA Industry Partner Ideal Industries.

Congratulations, all! We here at WECA look forward to watching our graduates continue to shape and revolutionize the merit shop electrical industry!
Read more >>


Thursday, July 18, 2019   Thank You, Sponsors, for Making WECA's Southern California Class of 2019 Graduation Memorable!


The gracious support we've received from our sponsors means a lot to us - and our graduates, of course!

Our sponsors helped to make our graduates' graduation day memorable, and for that, we cannot thank them enough.
Read more >>


Thursday, July 18, 2019   Employee Spotlight: Rebecca Archer



At WECA, we take pride in having become a second home and family for our employees.

And Rebecca Archer - WECA employee of six years, in her current role of Curriculum Production and eLearning Specialist since 2018 - is the perfect embodiment of that.

Archer - a native of Galt, California - studied English at Consumes River College and worked as a night and weekend receptionist at a tax and accounting business in Galt for three tax seasons before joining the WECA team. After obtaining her degree, Archer was looking for a similar role in a different industry, and WECA fit the bill.

"I was interested in how the association comes together to offer training and support for electricians throughout the state," said Archer.

Archer's first two positions with WECA were that of Assistant ET/Journeyman Registrar and, following a promotion, ET/Journeyman Registrar, respectively.

"In both roles I was responsible for processing eCommerce enrollments, maintaining and ordering inventory, and providing backup for both the apprenticeship and ET programs," said Archer. "I also maintained the association's files."

Archer then landed in her current position when she "filled in on a GetWired! curriculum project based on some previous editing work I had done with the marketing team, and it ended up being something I really enjoyed."

WECA Director of Marketing, Product, and Learning Michelle Gilkey comments that "Rebecca's skill and professionalism were obvious, and we were thrilled to be able to redirect her efforts to the important role she now plays in keeping the technical and logistical aspects of our education programs on point."

As the Curriculum Production and eLearning Specialist, Archer runs WECA's eCampus (online LMS, or Learning Management System), implements updated curriculum for all of WECA's educational programs, and provides technical support for GetWired! online learning courses.

"I like working to deliver curriculum and helping to further improve what we're doing and how we deliver it," said Archer.

Ahead of her sixth working anniversary at WECA, Archer mused that she would "like to help further improve our curriculum and expand our course offerings to our students."

When not keeping things at WECA in ship-shape or helping students fulfill their career goals, Archer enjoys playing video games, reading, and all things tea-related.

Especially tea - although Archer reports that it did take her a while to appreciate it.

"I used to hate any tea that wasn't oolong," said Archer. "And I still absolutely hate green tea, but my favorites are white, oolong, and mint teas."

And occasionally, Archer even combines two of her passions - reading and tea - into one.

"I just read a book about tea earlier this year. For example, did you know that white, oolong, black, and green teas are all made using the same leaves? Or that there is a black market for tea where people sell counterfeits of rare teas?"

We hope working at WECA remains Archer's cup of tea for a good long while.
Read more >>


Thursday, July 18, 2019   Electrician Trainee Spotlight: Vernon de Peralta

Electrician Trainee Certificate Program Grad Vernon de Peralta (left) with Instructor Talon Pobuda at WECA's 2019 Graduation Cermony

"Their experience is gold."

That's what Vernon de Peralta, a 2019 electrician trainee graduate, had to say about WECA's instructors.

De Peralta also shared that instructor John Arias "is a very good instructor; informative and knowledgeable. If you had a question or didn't understand a subject or question, he would try his best to walk you through it and he got the class involved in his lectures."

"A good guy to know," de Peralta mused.

De Peralta - who came to WECA by way of a car audio background - was inspired to enter the electrical trade and study at WECA by supportive and experienced coworkers.

"They were also in the program," said de Peralta. "And I wanted to expand my knowledge in commercial housing and construction, learn more about myself, and advance my career."

Ahead of his graduation, de Peralta fondly reminisced about his time at WECA.

"You meet many people from all over in your classes. And weekend labs were fun, because you had a chance to meet good instructors and apply hands-on training and knowledge of what you would be doing in the actual field," said de Peralta.

In the spirit of his upcoming graduation, de Peralta offered up sage words of advice to current and future students.

"Take notes - lots of notes - and get the proper textbooks. Also listen to the instructors because they say a lot of things that are not in the books," said de Peralta.

Looking back at his time in the program, de Peralta stated "I'm proud to have the electrician trainee program under my belt. I can use that valuable knowledge for a raise, and even after I leave my current job, I can take my WECA Electrician Trainee program certificate with me. I may plan to join the commercial housing industry."

What's more, de Peralta enthused that he is "very excited about my future. And I am proud to be affiliated with WECA."
Read more >>


Thursday, July 18, 2019   Industry Partner Spotlight: the All-American Ideal Industries


Ideal Industries is all-American.

This sentiment was perfectly illustrated on July 20, 1969, when Apollo 11 - stocked with specially-requested Ideal wire strippers - and its crew landed on the moon in a lunar landing module constructed with Ideal tools.

When Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin planted that flag into the lunar soil and saluted it, Ideal was there.

And fifty years later, "American ingenuity runs through everything we do - especially our commitment to producing tools here," said Kristen Pentolino, Ideal's Area Sales Manager for Los Angeles, the Inland Empire, and Las Vegas.

Pentolino further stated that "it's not just about making high-quality tools, but it's about making them the right way - with American steel and American labor, right here in the USA. Look for our Made in the USA badge for tools that are American through and through."

And that commitment to excellence permeates everything Ideal does. Their products offer electricians start-to-finish excellence - from their industry-defining wire connectors and fish tapes, to their superior wire strippers to their advanced electrical testers.

"We are the electrician's champion," said Pentolino. "From pulling wire to installation to testing connection, we understand what electricians go through during every stage of the job, and design tools and supplies to make each stage easier."

To that end, Ideal's partnership with WECA strives to offer value-added services to enrich the educational experience of WECA apprentices, electrician trainees, and journeymen.

"From the classroom to the jobsite, Ideal is committed to being the ultimate training partner for students and apprentices. We want to assist students in gaining the tools they need to be successful in the field," said Pentolino.

This is evident in Ideal's practice of hiring employees who are intimately acquainted with not only the electrical industry, but also the electrical trade school industry. A perfect example is Ned Johns, Ideal's Western Region Area Training Manager. Prior to joining Ideal, Johns was a commercial electrician instructor at WECA for a decade.

"Having Ned at Ideal is wonderful," said Terry Seabury, WECA's Executive Director and CEO. "It has helped strengthen our partnership with Ideal, and our member contractors and students can rest easy knowing that Ned knows exactly what they're looking for."

With strong partnerships like this, everyone wins. WECA's member contractors and students can benefit from a 25 percent discount on tools and supplies. Member contractors interested in utilizing Ideal's products and services can contact their local Ideal sales manager below, while students interested in utilizing Ideal's products and services can either contact their local Ideal sales manager below or visit the IDEAL4students page.

To learn more about Ideal's products, services, and/or training programs, contact them at the below:

Ned Johns, Area Training Manager: Ned.Johns@idealindustries.com for questions about training programs

Elissa Wenster, Western Regional Manager: Elissa.Wenster@idealindustries.com for questions about products and services that Ideal offers

But the benefits don't end there.

Another perk of Ideal's partnership with WECA is the opportunity for WECA-affiliated students and professionals to compete in a qualifying event - leading to the opportunity to compete in the Ideal National Championship - for a chance at over $500,000 in cash and prizes.

WECA member contractors and students who are interested in competing can learn more here.
Read more >>


Thursday, July 18, 2019   Congratulations! WECA Member Contractors Dominate SBJ Top 25 List!

This year, 15 WECA Member Contractors made the Sacramento Business Journal's list of Top Electrical Contractors, holding well over half the positions and dominating the rankings. 
 
Click Image for Full List

WECA ran a congratulatory ad in the Journal in February, and you can watch for the list and the ad again in the Sacramento Business Journal's keepsake "Book of Lists" edition in December. Please join us in congratulating all the listed contractors!
 
Click to View Larger

Our members who made the list, in listed order, are:

1. Rex Moore Group Inc.

2. Royal Electric Co.
4. Barnum & Celillo Electric Inc.
6. Helix Electric Inc.
8. North State Electrical Contractors Inc.
9. Capitol Valley Electric Inc.
10. Vasko Electric Inc.
12. Alessandro Electric Inc.
13. All-Bright Electric Inc.
14. Butterfield Electric Inc.
15. Bosley Electric Co.
16. Perfection Electric Co. Inc.
18. Garrahan Electric Inc.
19. KS Telecom
20. Ample Electric Inc.

We feel confident our member contractors will continue to dominate the list in future years-let's see if someday soon we can take all 25 spots! 

 
WECA was included on the Sacramento Area-based Business Advocacy Groups as well, landing in #16th place! Take a look below!
Click Image for Full List
Read more >>


Thursday, July 18, 2019   Act Fast - Time Running Out For Exclusive WECA Member and Employee July Special


32 Hours of Continuing Education: Easily Fulfilled! 


WECA-developed Packages for Journeymen: "Perfect Sizing", "Faultless Solar", "Voice Data Video Exam Preparation", and "Fire Life Safety Exam Preparation". Currently available for $150 each to members and their employees through July 31, 2019. 

WECA is offering Perfect Sizing, Faultless Solar, Voice Data Video Exam Prep, and Fire Life Safety Exam Prep. - all 32-hour online classes - to 
WECA member contractors and their employees at the special price of $150 each for the month of July! Members' journeymen can choose from these four courses and get their full 32 renewal hours for just $150.
Only employees of WECA member contractors are eligible for this deal. 

To get the discount, these courses must be ordered by phone, mail, fax, email, or walk-in, so we can confirm employment with a WECA member contractor. These discounts are not available through online enrollment. Quickest way: call us at 1-877-444-9322!


Perfect Sizing:

In this course, students learn about sizing motor circuits, sizing motor feeder circuits, wiring motors and air conditioners, and proper selection and installation of the correct electrical circuit components and conductors needed for different load and circuit configurations.

 Learn more about Perfect Sizing
  But call in to get your discount!
 
Faultless Solar:
 
This course combines two of WECA's popular 16-hour courses, "Faultless" and "Solar Power for Electricians," into one convenient 32-hour package. Journeymen learn about how to coordinate information in specific NEC articles, so they can properly select and install the correct electrical circuit components and conductors needed for different load and circuit configurations. Then, build on that knowledge as they learn about the fundamental concepts required for safe, code-compliant installation of residential and commercial-scale Solar Photovoltaic systems.
 
Learn more about Faultless Solar
But call in to get your discount!

Fire Life Safety Exam Preparation:

This self-paced online course is for students who want to study for the California Fire Life Safety Technician certification exam at their own pace. Informative presentations help guide students through the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) as well as the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (NFPA 72). It is meant for individuals almost ready to take the exam. Much of the class is dedicated to sample testing similar to state exams. It focuses on practical research by the students to find the answers to code questions rather than instruction by lecture.

Learn more about Fire Life Safety Exam Prep.
But call in to get your discount!

Voice Data Video Exam Preparation

This self-paced online course is for students who want to study for the California Voice Data Video Technician certification exam at their own pace. Informative presentations help guide students through developing proficiency in the preparation for and execution of the VDV certification exam. It is meant for individuals who are almost ready to take the exam. Much of the class is dedicated to sample testing similar to state exams. It focuses on practical research by the students to find the answers to questions rather than instruction by lecture.

Learn more about Voice Data Video Exam Prep.
But call in to get your discount!


Note: if you or your journeymen have previously taken any of the standalone classes "Faultless," "Solar Power for Electricians," "Sizing Motor Circuits," "Wiring Motors and Air Conditioners," or "GetWired! 304" on the current code year (2014), please consult a WECA client services representative for help selecting the appropriate 32-hour package.
  
What if you don't work for a WECA member contractor?

You can still enroll in these classes at our usual competitive pricing. Or, tell your contractor about WECA! Ask them to read all about our  member benefits and services, including our training discounts for their employees.
Read more >>


Thursday, July 18, 2019   Don't Forget: Stay on Top of Employee Training w/ Contractor Authorization Forms

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


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


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


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

Please note that WECA now offers three - rather than the previous four - different versions of the authorization form:
 
  • For electrician trainees: the form expires upon the student's request or upon completion or cancellation of the program; whichever occurs first
  • For journeymen: the form expires upon the student's request or three years after the signed effective date; whichever occurs first
  • Release of records for general students and electrician trainees who work for non-member contractors: these forms will expire 30 days from the effective date or upon the student's request; whichever occurs first
Member contractors or their employees who wish to obtain and/or file authorization forms may do so by either obtaining the student's signature, or signing the form, and submitting the form to etregistrar@goweca.com. Upon submission and processing of the form, contractors will have access to their students' information on their member dashboard (accessible here ) within two business days.

Member contractors - if the concerned employee(s) are electrician trainees (ETs) - will also be able to assist those employees in maintaining active ET cards with the State of California and help monitor their employees' progress in the program.

Employees enrolled in the ET program will also receive ET overview reports. Member contractors employing ETs will also gain access to these reports, whose release are also included in the filing of the authorization forms.

ET reports provide the following benefits to both member contractors and their employees:
  • Transcript browse: this function allows members to pull up-to-date copies of their employees' transcripts for renewal purposes
  • ET or journeyman certificate browse: allows members to pull course completion certificates for their employees who have successfully met course requirements to pass
  • ET enrollment letter browse: allows members to find proof of the student's active renewal with WECA, either for initial registration with the State of California or for renewal purposes
  • Active ET student status: allows members to see the current status of their employees and see if they are enrolled, or currently between classes and their deadline to get signed up to maintain enrollment with WECA
  • Daily grades and attendance: allows members to check on their employee's current grades and attendance for the classes they are attending
To obtain ET reports, contractors may login to the WECA website with their member login.

WECA is also pleased to announce that additional benefits will be added in the future, such as improved enrollment functionality online for member contractors with students already in the program, to improve the user experience for our member contractors. 
Read more >>


Thursday, July 18, 2019   Hiring? Post Today to Our Job Board or Access Our Student Referral Service!

 
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.

You may also use our free job referral service connecting currently-unemployed ETs, 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, at alopez@goweca.com or 1-877-444-9322.
 
Post a job today!
 
Read more >>


Thursday, July 18, 2019   Today's Read: Union-rigged government contract scheme plays favorites, robs jobs


Content courtesy of Pacific Legal Foundation


Editor's note: The company prominently featured in the article - Lakeside Electric - is actually Laketown Electric.


If you've ever visited the Twin Cities region of Minnesota, there's a decent chance you've encountered the work of Lakeside Electric. In fact, CEO Matt Bergman says the electrical handicraft of the company his dad started 44 years ago is woven into many large buildings Minnesotans use every day.


"We've done municipal projects like wastewater treatment plants, police stations, city halls, courthouses, and jails," Matt says. "We've also done ball fields and a brewery. And we're doing a food hall in downtown Minneapolis that will have six different restaurants. Nearly anything you can name, we've done it."


Much of the work came about after Matt took the helm of the family business following his father's death seven years ago. Since then, the firm has grown from 12 employees to 110, opened a second location, and offers training and profit-sharing bonuses, making it one of the fastest growing companies in the Twin Cities.


Despite their proven expertise, one area remains virtually untouchable to Matt's team: the Minneapolis School District.


Read more here
Read more >>


Thursday, July 18, 2019   Today's Read: It's Time to Take CEQA Reform Seriously


Content courtesy of Borre Winckel and the Voice of San Diego

Regulations in California have something of a dubious (and occasionally comical) reputation within the state and throughout the country. California is a state notoriously draped in red tape, complicating just about everything imaginable. After all, it was just last year that we were debating whether your morning coffee needed to come with a cancer warning. Unfortunately, some of the red tape in our state is misused to a much graver and more dangerous extent, putting low-income residents and entire sectors of the economy at risk.

Nowhere is this more plainly visible than in the weaponization of the California Environmental Quality Act, known more commonly as CEQA. Originally written with the noble intention of ensuring that new development projects around California were undertaken in an environmentally responsible manner, it has since become a blunt-force bit of regulation used to put permanent holds on important housing and development projects throughout the state. Instead of protecting the environment, CEQA is now often misused to freeze a critical sector of our economy and keep our courts full.

California's housing prices have been impossibly high for some time, and they continue to rise. State residents are having a tough time finding an affordable place to live, and in one study conducted by the Public Policy Institute of California, 35 percent of respondents said they are considering moving out of state altogether because of how expensive it has become to live here. California has long been a place where people dream of living, and we should not let housing prices get in their way.

Read more here
Read more >>


Thursday, July 11, 2019   State Legislation

Clean Vehicle Rebate Program California may increase rebates for low-emission vehicles under bill amendments by Assemblyman Phil Ting (D-San Francisco). AB 1046 previously would have established a new incentive program but is being amended to instead reform the existing Clean Vehicle Rebate Program, which gives low-emission vehicle buyers $900 to $5,000, depending on the type of vehicle. Under the changes, the state would initially provide a higher maximum rebate of $7,500 per car, which would eventually fall to zero as the state makes progress toward its goal of 5 million zero-emission vehicles by 2030 as established in an executive order last year by former Gov. Jerry Brown. The bill is silent on funding sources; it would have the Department of Finance and Treasurer figure out a funding plan - maybe the State will find a Golden Goose. The Senate Transportation Committee analysis raised issues: Californians operate 600,000 zero emission vehicles, more than any other state but far short of the 5 million goal. The total rebate cost to reach the goal could be $16.5 billion. It's not clear where the money would come from. California would need 250,000 charging stations for just 1.5 million ZEVs. The state has 18,000 charging stations now.
Read more >>


Thursday, July 11, 2019   Labor Law, NLRB, and Recent Court Decisions

NLRB Makes It Easier For Employers To Drop UnionsThe National Labor Relations Board last week issued a ruling, 3-1, that lowered the legal hurdles an employer must pass through to rid their business of a labor union. The ruling in Johnson Controls, Inc. now places the onus on unions to prove that they still maintain majority support through a ballot election if an employer submits an "anticipatory" withdrawal of recognition indicating the employer possesses evidence that a majority of employees in the bargaining unit no longer supports union representation. A business may now stop bargaining up to 90 days before the expiration of a union contract so long as it notifies the union that it plans to withdrawal recognition. Under prior precedent, the board said if a union challenged the withdrawal, an employer would be in violation of the National Labor Relations Act if it failed "to establish that the union lacked majority status at the time recognition was actually withdrawn." Under the new ruling, a union must file an election petition within 45 days of the employer's "anticipatory" withdrawal notice. Read the decision. [Politico]
Read more >>


Thursday, July 11, 2019   What We're Reading, Listening To, and Watching

The New Gov. Moonbeam? Back in the 70s's, Chicago news icon Mike Royko famously dubbed then-California Gov. Jerry Brown "Governor Moonbeam" for the brash young governor's appeal to young progressive voters, or what Royko called "the moonbeam vote." The nickname was only reinforced by Brown's idea of California becoming the first state to launch its own satellite. Well, here all these years later the Jackson Clarion-Ledger reports that Mississippi Gov. Phil Bryant has issued an executive order to form the Mississippi National Guard Space Directorate, which would be a state-level part of President Donald Trump's plan to create a Space Force as a new branch of the U.S. military. One can only wonder what fun the late Royko would have had with this one. [StateNet Capitol Journal]
 
How's Newsom Doing? 
Gov. Newsom set several goals including increasing the number of apprentices by 500,000 by 2029. The Sacramento Bee said this: "In the Central Valley, where fewer residents have college degrees than in other parts of the state, Newsom campaigned on boosting apprenticeships to help workers get jobs in a rapidly changing economy. He proposed partnering with community colleges and businesses to create half a million apprenticeships over the next decade in growing fields like advanced manufacturing, health services and information technology. 'The vast majority of us will not get a bachelor's degree in a fancy institution of higher learning, and we need an agenda to support those folks,' Newsom said in Fresno. He suggested it could be an area of collaboration with the federal government. What he's doing: The budget includes $165 million over five years (about $33 million per year) for workforce development projects called for under California's cap-and-trade law, which Newsom's predecessor Jerry Brown signed into law in 2017. The spending will come from money raised by the cap-and-trade program, which makes companies pay to pollute. Newsom's Department of Finance estimates these programs will train about 5,100 people for apprenticeships and other jobs, far short of Newsom's stated goal. [Sacramento BEE]
 
Modular construction: threat or opportunity? When Jan Mischke speaks to industry leaders about the benefits of modular construction, they usually respond in one of two ways, he said. "They are either optimistic about the future of modular or they are really worried that modular companies are going to eat their cake." Story
 
The top OSHA fines of Q2 2019 Once again, fall-related violations were behind most of the biggest fines OSHA issued to construction companies in the second quarter of this year, but burn and asbestos hazards made a showing as well. Story
Read more >>


Thursday, July 11, 2019   2020 Election

One Dem Out, One InCalifornia Rep. Eric Swalwell, dogged by fundraising challenges and a failure to register in the polls, is ending his longshot bid for the presidency. Two weeks ago, Swalwell, 38, called on Democratic front-runner Joe Biden to "pass the torch" of party leadership to a new generation in the first Democratic presidential debates. But this Monday, Swalwell called a press conference at his Dublin campaign headquarters to announce that instead of continuing in the Democratic primary, he will instead seek a fifth term representing the strongly Democratic East Bay 15th district in Congress. "Being honest with ourselves, we had to look at how much money we were raising, where we were in the polls," Swalwell told supporters, arguing that he had "moved the needle on the debate stage with an issue I was very passionate about," referring to gun control measures. "So we've achieved that,'' he said. "But we have to be honest about our own candidacy's viability." Swalwell's decision to bow out comes as another Californian, billionaire activist Tom Steyer - who had earlier ruled out a run for the White House - prepared to announce his entry into the race.
Read more >>


Thursday, July 11, 2019   Opinions

 


Richard Markuson

What are IBEW (and Scott Wetch) Up to Now? 

We have mentioned that IBEW and their subsidiary, NECA, are seeking to end the authority for C46 solar contractors to install energy storage systems and that they are also sponsoring SB 524 (Stern), which was heard Wednesday afternoon in the Assembly Utilities and Energy Committee. This bill requires that the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) directs an energy efficiency program administrator or program implementer to ensure that work is performed by a skilled and trained workforce for projects receiving $50,000 or more in ratepayer-funded incentives for energy efficiency projects within the same building, facility, or building complex. For example, an apartment complex of 300 units that received an incentive of $166 per unit to reduce energy consumption would be required to comply with Public Contract Code §2601, which, for work performed on or after January 1, 2020, requires that at least 60 percent of the journeypersons employed are graduates of an apprenticeship program for the applicable occupation.
 
According to the CPUC's 2018 annual report, they implemented a series of recent policy decisions to achieve their established goal of doubling energy efficiency (EE) savings. Those decisions included allowing the EE program administrators a combination of budget certainty, continuity, and flexibility in program administration. In 2018, the CPUC approved a $7.5 billion budget for EE through 2025. Additionally, new incentive mechanisms, such as pay for performance, will allow program designers to better ensure energy savings. The CPUC is also designing a new policy initiative, in which EE programs will be evaluated for effectiveness by utilizing a framework for tracking progress using common metrics.

Existing law requires the CPUC to work with stakeholders - including the California Energy Commission (CEC) - to identify all potentially achievable, cost-effective electricity and natural gas efficiency savings, and establish energy efficiency targets and ratepayer-funded programs for investor-owned utilities. Under existing law, IOUs can offer customers ratepayer-funded incentives to make energy efficiency improvements that produce energy savings. These improvements can include a number of changes to a building, including energy-saving lighting, refrigeration, and heating, ventilation, and cooling (HVAC). Rebates that help lower the cost of less expensive energy-saving appliances and equipment like smart thermostats may also be offered an incentive.

Workforce Issues. In 2013, the CPUC directed the IOUs to employ an expert consultant to help develop a comprehensive plan to address workforce issues in the IOU energy efficiency programs. The University of California, Berkeley's Donald Vial Center for Employment in the Green Economy was selected as the consultant and developed a guidance plan with recommendations for addressing workforce issues in the IOUs rolling portfolio investments. The plan made three broad recommendations:

1)          The IOUs should incorporate a set of contractor and workforce standards and other measures into the program requirements for their energy efficiency incentive programs.

2)          The IOUs should redesign their workforce programs to better align, leverage, and develop influence over California's main training and education institutions.

3)          The IOUs should create a program to increase opportunities for workers from disadvantaged communities to enter rewarding careers in energy efficiency.

Read that last recommendation again: The IOUs should create a program to increase opportunities for workers from disadvantaged communities to enter rewarding careers in energy efficiency. Does requiring a 60 percent graduation from an apprenticeship program help workers from disadvantaged communities to enter rewarding careers in energy efficiency or does it lock in building trades workers to perform the majority of the $7.5 billion EE work?
 
The bill was approved by the committee, but not without some limiting amendments and some self-serving comments by members of the committee, like Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi (D-Torrance). Muratsuchi - who over the course of four elections has received over $800,000 from construction unions - said he'd vote for any bill that ensured more union construction jobs.
 
In the end, that $7-plus billion in energy efficiency work is too big a prize to leave on the table. Not only that, but a few $800,000 contributions here and there result in a pretty decent return on investment - especially when the money comes from dues and industry advancement contributions, whose ultimate source is the wallet of every California taxpayer!
Read more >>


Thursday, July 11, 2019   Special Event Notice

WECA members with an interest in workers compensation may want to attend the below event. WECA is not a sponsor, but members are welcome to attend and are encouraged to consider contributing to this cause. 

Courtesy of Workers' Compensation Action Network

 

 

Workers' Compensation Action Network Town Hall and Summit
FEATURING

Stephen Wagstaffe
San Mateo County District Attorney

Teena Barton
Senior Fraud Investigator, ICW Group

Friday, July 26, 2019
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Angelica's

863 Main Street
Redwood City, CA 94063

JOIN US FOR LUNCH!
  • Come to a riveting, free Town Hall meeting sponsored by the Workers' Compensation Action Network, and featuring San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe who will highlight how the county is aggressively pursuing workers' comp fraud prosecutions. 
  • Also presenting is nationally recognized expert in the insurance industry and law enforcement, Teena Barton, who is a Major Case Special Investigator in a workers' comp fraud investigation unit with ICW Group. She will share stories of how injured workers are used for profit and how recruitment firms receive illegal kickbacks for referrals to hospitals, doctors and ancillary medical service providers, essentially "using people like ATMs". She will discuss her own expertise as well as the case of Sean O'Keefe, a convicted workers' compensation attorney serving 13 months in federal prison for his involvement in a $200 million scheme built around recruitment referrals and kickbacks to use injured workers for fraudulent billing.
  • Jerry Azevedo with the Workers' Compensation Action Network (WCAN) will provide an update on the status of the workers' comp system in California and activity in the State Capitol. We will also hear from YOU, business owners, who can share your workers' comp experiences with the District Attorney.
  • WCAN is a broad-based, statewide coalition that has successfully fought for reforms to provide state and local officials more tools to combat workers' compensation fraud to help meet the dual goals of stable costs for employers and higher benefits for injured workers. In recent years, state lawmakers enacted several pieces of legislation designed to improve system efficiency, reduce conflict and legislation, and stem abuses by service providers. These reforms are delivering higher benefits to California workers while stabilizing employer costs. Despite these reforms, California's system remains one of the most costly and litigious in the nation and vulnerable to evolving forms of fraud and abuse.
  • Complimentary lunch will be provided. 

  •  Why Crack Down on Workers' Comp Fraud?
  • Fraud hurts both employers and injured workers. It inflates employer costs, clogs the injured workers' compensation court and administrative systems, delays the resolution of claims, diverts limited system resources, and exploits injured workers who do not receive the medical care needed to properly heal from their injuries. 
Read more >>


Wednesday, July 03, 2019   Opportunity Knocks: Calling All WECA Member Contractors to Bid on Statewide Walgreens Project



WECA is pleased to announce our partnership with our newest industry partner, ProGroup Contracting. ProGroup, based in New Bedford, MA, is a national painting and renovation company focused on servicing commercial properties across the United States. Our partnership not only marks ProGroup's expansion into California, but also its first large scale contract in California - the renovation of an initial 32 Walgreens drugstores statewide, with more to come.
To achieve this, ProGroup must build a network of contractors throughout California. Thus, ProGroup has opened its open-program bidding process to WECA member contractors - an opportunity that WECA Executive Director and CEO Terry Seabury calls "tremendous". 
We strongly encourage our member contractors to take advantage of this great opportunity to build their portfolio and garner increased recognition within the electrical and contracting industries. 

Peter Suneson, ProGroup Contracting's Vice President of Client Integration and Training, states that "the 32 contracted locations only represent the first wave of conversions" and that "both the retail and hospitality industries are driving us to bid future work across the entire state".
And upon successful completion, Walgreens will 'most likely' move forward and utilize ProGroup Contracting's Services at every Walgreens location in California and the rest of the United States, according to Suneson. 
Interested WECA member contractors should take note of the following:
  • Jobs will average about $5,000 per location
  • The project start date(s) are to be determined. However:
    • Work will commence Mondays through Wednesdays
    • The first wave of work will run into September, 2019
  • WECA member contractors doing business in the general vicinity of more than one contracted Walgreens location may submit and secure bids for more than one job/location.
To submit bids or learn more about the project(s), WECA member contractors may contact ProGroup at the following:

Peter Suneson, Vice President of Client Integration and Training, ProGroup Contracting

peter@progroupcontracting.com
Read more >>


Wednesday, July 03, 2019   California Sexual Harassment Legislation Update from WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP



Content provided courtesy of WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

"Clean Up" Legislation Gives Employers Another Year to Implement New Sexual Harassment Training Requirements

by Regina Agopian & Lisa Ryan of Cook Brown, LLP

In response to widespread confusion about the timing of California's expanded sexual harassment training requirements, the California Legislature has introduced a "clean up" measure to last year's Senate Bill 1343. That bill mandated employers to provide one hour of harassment training to non-supervisory employees. It also extended the two-hour supervisory training to employers with just five or more employees.

The new legislation, SB 778, now extends the deadline for employers to provide anti-harassment training for non-supervisory employees from January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021. Most importantly, SB 778 clarifies that employers need not provide training again in 2019 when they already provided supervisory training in 2018. But SB 778 also allows covered employers who have provided anti-harassment training to an employee in 2019 to wait two full years before providing refresher training to those trained employees.

What Does this Mean for Employers?

Learn more here
Read more >>


Wednesday, July 03, 2019   Help Your Journeymen Fulfill Their 32-hour Continuing Education Requirement - for just $150


Help your journeymen fulfill their continuing education requirement with WECA's Perfect Sizing, Faultless Solar, Voice Data Video Exam Prep, and Fire Life Safety Exam Prep class packages. 

The four packages - each consisting of a 32-hour online class that fulfills the full 32 hours renewal requirement - are available to WECA member contractors and their journeymen at the special price of $150 each for the month of July only

So act fast and snap up the deal before it's gone for good at 11:59 PM PST July 31st
Only employees of WECA member contractors are eligible for this deal. 
 
To get the discount, these courses must be ordered by phone, mail, fax, email, or walk-in, so we can confirm employment with a WECA member contractor. These discounts are not available through online enrollmentQuickest way: call us at 1-877-444-9322!
Read more >>


Wednesday, July 03, 2019   Behind the Scenes at WECA: LowVolt Apprentices

A quick peek behind the scenes at your apprentices in the WECA labs: Low Voltage Apprentices spent an afternoon last week fusion splicing single and ribbon fiber optic cables, which are used in server rooms to transmit large amounts of high speed data. 
 
Low Voltage Rancho Labs
 
Low Voltage Rancho Labs
 
Low Voltage Rancho Labs
Read more >>


Thursday, June 20, 2019   An Evening to Remember: Congratulations to the Northern California Graduating Class of 2019!

WECA graduations do not mark beginnings, nor ends. Rather, they are exciting milestones on already distinguished journeys.

And WECA's Northern California graduation ceremony - held at WECA's Rancho Cordova headquarters on Saturday, June 8th - was no different. The halls of WECA bustled with graduates and their loved ones and reverberated with love and support.

"I was glad to see so many family and friends at the graduation," said Jimmie Slemp, Lead Instructor and graduation emcee. "Graduating from these programs is not easy, so to have that continued support from your loved ones is important."

WECA's Assistant Director of Apprenticeship, Wendy Flanagan, concurred.
"I love seeing everyone's family and friends here. They are just as much the driving force behind a graduate's success as the graduate themselves," Flanagan said.

The evening began with a lively cocktail hour featuring delicious appetizers from Hannibal's Catering and drinks poured by WECA's Curtis Hicks and Audra Jamieson, and then segued into a heartfelt ceremony emceed by Slemp.
Highlights of the graduation ceremony included:
  • Spotlights on WECA member contractors who were contributing sponsors to the graduation celebration, as well as special guests like Chris Nelson of Bergelectric, Jay Taylor of Vasko Electric, and Nora Carlton from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship
  • An inspiring speech from Windell Pascascio, Jr. - alumni of the WECA Class of 2013, and current WECA member contractor
  • Presentation of awards to the 20 graduating apprentices who completed their entire Apprenticeship while maintaining all of their discipline points
  • Presentation of diplomas by apprenticeship instructors Zach Wallace, Steve Kappes, John Arias, James Hall, and Lakeal Morris
  • Ideal Industries raffle hosted by current Ideal Industries representative and former WECA instructor Ned Johns
One of the focal points of the ceremony - aside from the presentation of awards and diplomas - was Pascascio, Jr.'s rousing speech. Pascascio, Jr. - a Belizean native who has worked in the electrical industry since he was 16 years old - detailed his journey to success and dispensed sage advice in his speech.
"My WECA apprenticeship years were exciting; I worked with Valley Unique Electric through my five years of the program before working with Rex Moore as a project manager for two years," said Pascascio, Jr. "Then I received my C10 license in 2016 and started my own business."
Pascascio, Jr. continued, stating, "Our first WECA apprentice will start their apprenticeship later this year, so I'm proud of that. And I want to take this moment to encourage everyone out there who has plans to eventually own their own electrical contracting business - you can do it."
Then Pascascio, Jr. rounded out his speech by saying, "I remember riding my bicycle with my tools in my backpack doing residential work and now I'm here today [as an electrical contractor], so if I can make it happen, any of you guys can make it happen."
And then the evening ended on a poignant note - provided by none other than emcee Slemp.
"I don't have tears in my eyes - it's just allergies," Slemp joked.
Slemp then added, "But seriously, I will miss some of these guys. This is one of the things I love about my job - being able to train apprentices to become electricians, and then watch them go out and succeed." 



 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 20, 2019   Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors and Donors for Making the NorCal Class of 2019 Graduation Great!

The gracious support we've received from our sponsors means a lot to us - and our graduates, of course!
Our sponsors helped to make our graduates' graduation day memorable, and for that, we cannot thank them enough.
 


Thank you for your continued support of WECA! 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 20, 2019   Northern California Commercial Apprenticeship Program Valedictorian Spotlight: Mark Mendenhall



Being an electrician is in the blood for 2019 Commercial Apprentice Valedictorian Mark Mendenhall.

Though Mendenhall initially wanted to be a firefighter, he cited his dad [Mendenhall Electric owner Carroll Mendenhall] as his inspiration for giving the electrical industry - and WECA - a chance.

"My dad played a big part in encouraging me to go down the path of becoming an electrician," said Mendenhall. "When I started at WECA, I wasn't 100 percent sure I wanted to be an electrician. But the classes kept me interested and I continued to learn new things that I could then apply out in the field."

Although Mendenhall grew up around the
 electrical industry, his WECA education prepared him for an industry career far more than simply being in the field ever could.

"My WECA education helped me learn a lot of code that you don't get to learn in the field, and WECA didn't just cram a bunch of information into my head to help me pass a test - instead it showed me how it actually applies. More importantly, WECA taught me how to better understand electricity and how it works, which then helps me understand what I'm doing and not just doing something because it says to on the prints. WECA has helped prepare me to hopefully take over the company in the future," said Mendenhall.

Mendenhall continued, "I get to put into practice what I have learned, but I still learn new things almost daily from those who have decades of experience and knowledge as electricians."

Mendenhall also encouraged current and future students to "do what you can to learn something new every day, whether it's from the code book or from one of the textbooks. There are going to be some boring or mundane days, but that can't keep you from choosing to learn and progress not only as an electrician, but also as a person."

And - as is typical for new graduates - Mendenhall found himself not only reflecting upon his educational journey, but also anticipating his future in the 
electrical field.

"I couldn't have done this without the support and encouragement from my beautiful wife, Tosha," said Mendenhall. "And now, I plan to learn more of the business side of things at the company [Mendenhall Electric]. I still have a lot to learn about how the business is run."

From all of us here at WECA - congratulations, Mark! We're excited to see what the future brings to the next generation of Mendenhall Electric.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 20, 2019   Come Support the WECA Southern California Graduating Class of 2019!

diploma_grad_cap.jpg

One graduation down, one more to go!

WECA's Southern California graduation is coming around the corner, so don't forget to come support our graduates on Saturday, July 13th at Faulkner Winery in Temecula!

Class of 2019 SoCal Graduation

Saturday, July 13th

5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.


Faulkner Winery

40620 Calle Contento

Temecula, CA 92591

Member contractors, industry partners, and industry supporters: buy your tickets and/or sponsorships here.

As always, thank you for your continued support of electrical and low voltage education, and we look forward to seeing you!  
 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 20, 2019   U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division Announces New Website for Wage Determination Data

Notice courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division


The U.S. Department of Labor is excited to announce that this Friday, June 14, 2019, WDOL.gov will be transitioning to https://beta.SAM.govwhich will become the new website for wage determination data.

Features of the new beta.SAM.gov website include:
  • Search-based structure: Users may search for a variety of information including specific Davis-Bacon Act and McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act wage determinations.
  • Learning Center with tutorial videos, tools, and other information to familiarize users with the new site.
    • Ability to filter and search for content in the Learning Center. Users will find links to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Code of Federal Regulations citations for specific subjects via a Cross Index page for Contractor Labor Standards.
    • The site features more FAR Supplements and other acquisition regulations than WDOL.gov.
    • A Transition Quick Start Guide will be available soon.
  • Create an account: By creating a beta.SAM.gov account, users may access certain features of the system only available to account holders. For example, users will have the option to:
    • Save previous searches.
    • Start or modify a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
    • "Follow" specific wage determinations and receive email alerts when changes or modifications are published.
      • Users will determine what to follow and the frequency of email alerts.
  • Timeline and history of changes to wage determinations.
Support for the wage determinations in beta.SAM.gov will continue to be provided by the Federal Service Desk.
Employers can find compliance assistance resources from the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division at www.dol.gov/WHD/foremployers.htm. 
Additional compliance assistance resources and answers to common questions regarding federal labor laws can be found at www.Employer.gov. 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 20, 2019   Get an Up-Close Look at WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship Program

WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship Program
WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship Program

Are you - or is one of your employees, or someone you know -  interested in fire alarm systems, security systems, intrusion detection systems, CCTV systems, access control systems, audio systems, nurse call systems, and basic electrical systems?
Then a WECA low voltage apprenticeship - culminating in a multi-faceted, fast-paced, and competitive career as a low voltage technician - is a great choice!
Our three-year apprenticeship program prepares low voltage apprentices for successful careers in the industry through applying their learning and knowledge directly to their real-life job duties. 
Apprentices enrolled in our low voltage apprenticeship program also receive the following:
  • classroom and paid on-the-job training
  • fringe benefit packages provided by their contractor (which may include major medical, a 401k, or cash equivalent per the contractor's discretion)
  • hourly wages starting from minimum wage to $22 base per hour and increasing to between $14-$34 per hour by their third year of apprenticeship
Interested? Here's how to start a low voltage apprenticeship journey today:

Apply for apprenticeship here
or call us at 877-444-9322
Read more >>


Thursday, June 20, 2019   Upcoming Event: Workers' Compensation Action Network Town Hall and Summit in Redwood City

Courtesy of Workers' Compensation Action Network
 

Workers' Compensation Action Network Town Hall and Summit

FEATURING

Stephen Wagstaffe
San Mateo County District Attorney

Teena Barton
Senior Fraud Investigator, ICW Group

Friday, July 26, 2019
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Angelica's

863 Main Street
Redwood City, CA 94063

JOIN US FOR LUNCH!
  • Come to a riveting, free Town Hall meeting sponsored by the Workers' Compensation Action Network, and featuring San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe who will highlight how the county is aggressively pursuing workers' comp fraud prosecutions. 
  • Also presenting is nationally recognized expert in the insurance industry and law enforcement, Teena Barton, who is a Major Case Special Investigator in a workers' comp fraud investigation unit with ICW Group. She will share stories of how injured workers are used for profit and how recruitment firms receive illegal kickbacks for referrals to hospitals, doctors and ancillary medical service providers, essentially "using people like ATMs". She will discuss her own expertise as well as the case of Sean O'Keefe, a convicted workers' compensation attorney serving 13 months in federal prison for his involvement in a $200 million scheme built around recruitment referrals and kickbacks to use injured workers for fraudulent billing.
  • Jerry Azevedo with the Workers' Compensation Action Network (WCAN) will provide an update on the status of the workers' comp system in California and activity in the State Capitol. We will also hear from YOU, business owners, who can share your workers' comp experiences with the District Attorney.
  • WCAN is a broad-based, statewide coalition that has successfully fought for reforms to provide state and local officials more tools to combat workers' compensation fraud to help meet the dual goals of stable costs for employers and higher benefits for injured workers. In recent years, state lawmakers enacted several pieces of legislation designed to improve system efficiency, reduce conflict and legislation, and stem abuses by service providers. These reforms are delivering higher benefits to California workers while stabilizing employer costs. Despite these reforms, California's system remains one of the most costly and litigious in the nation and vulnerable to evolving forms of fraud and abuse.
  • Complimentary lunch will be provided. 
 
  •  Why Crack Down on Workers' Comp Fraud?
  • Fraud hurts both employers and injured workers. It inflates employer costs, clogs the injured workers' compensation court and administrative systems, delays the resolution of claims, diverts limited system resources, and exploits injured workers who do not receive the medical care needed to properly heal from their injuries. 
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 19, 2019   An Evening to Remember: Congratulations to the Northern California Graduating Class of 2019!

2019 Northern California Graduation Highlights
 
WECA graduations do not mark beginnings, nor ends. Rather, they are exciting milestones on already distinguished journeys.

And WECA's Northern California graduation ceremony - held at WECA's Rancho Cordova headquarters on Saturday, June 8th - was no different. The halls of WECA bustled with graduates and their loved ones and reverberated with love and support.
 
"I was glad to see so many family and friends at the graduation," said Jimmie Slemp, Lead Instructor and graduation emcee. "Graduating from these programs is not easy, so to have that continued support from your loved ones is important."

WECA's Assistant Director of Apprenticeship, Wendy Flanagan, concurred.

"I love seeing everyone's family and friends here. They are just as much the driving force behind a graduate's success as the graduate themselves," Flanagan said.

The evening began with a lively cocktail hour featuring delicious appetizers from Hannibal's Catering and drinks poured by WECA's Curtis Hicks and Audra Jamieson, and then segued into a heartfelt ceremony emceed by Slemp.

Highlights of the graduation ceremony included:
  • Spotlights on WECA member contractors who were contributing sponsors to the graduation celebration, as well as special guests like Chris Nelson of Bergelectric, Jay Taylor of Vasko Electric, and Nora Carlton from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship
  • An inspiring speech from Windell Pascascio, Jr. - alumni of the WECA Class of 2013, and current WECA member contractor
  • Presentation of awards to the 20 graduating apprentices who completed their entire Apprenticeship while maintaining all of their discipline points
  • Presentation of diplomas by apprenticeship instructors Zach Wallace, Steve Kappes, John Arias, James Hall, and Lakeal Morris
  • Ideal Industries raffle hosted by current Ideal Industries representative and former WECA instructor Ned Johns
One of the focal points of the ceremony - aside from the presentation of awards and diplomas - was Pascascio, Jr.'s rousing speech. Pascascio, Jr. - a Belizean native who has worked in the electrical industry since he was 16 years old - detailed his journey to success and dispensed sage advice in his speech.

"My WECA apprenticeship years were exciting; I worked with Valley Unique Electric through my five years of the program before working with Rex Moore as a project manager for two years," said Pascascio, Jr. "Then I received my C10 license in 2016 and started my own business."

Pascascio, Jr. continued, stating, "Our first WECA apprentice will start their apprenticeship later this year, so I'm proud of that. And I want to take this moment to encourage everyone out there who has plans to eventually own their own electrical contracting business - you can do it."

Then Pascascio, Jr. rounded out his speech by saying, "I remember riding my bicycle with my tools in my backpack doing residential work and now I'm here today [as an electrical contractor], so if I can make it happen, any of you guys can make it happen."

And then the evening ended on a poignant note - provided by none other than emcee Slemp.

"I don't have tears in my eyes - it's just allergies," Slemp joked.
 
Slemp then added, "But seriously, I will miss some of these guys. This is one of the things I love about my job - being able to train apprentices to become electricians, and then watch them go out and succeed."
 
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 19, 2019   Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors and Donors for Making the NorCal Class of 2019 Graduation Great!

The gracious support we've received from our sponsors means a lot to us - and our graduates, of course!

Our sponsors helped to make our graduates' graduation day memorable, and for that, we cannot thank them enough.

Thank you for your continued support of WECA! 
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 19, 2019   Get an Up-Close Look at WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship Program

WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship Program
WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship Program


Are you interested in fire alarm systems, security systems, intrusion detection systems, CCTV systems, access control systems, audio systems, or basic electrical systems?

Then a WECA low voltage apprenticeship - culminating in a multi-faceted, fast-paced, and competitive career as a low voltage technician - may be right for you!

Our three-year apprenticeship program prepares apprentices for successful careers in the electrical industry through applying their learning and knowledge directly to their real-life job duties. 

Apprentices enrolled in our low voltage apprenticeship program also receive the following:
  • classroom and paid on-the-job training
  • fringe benefit packages provided by their contractor (which may include major medical, a 401k, or cash equivalent per the contractor's discretion)
  • competitive hourly wages increasing through third year of apprenticeship
Interested? Here's how you can start your low voltage apprenticeship journey today:

Apply for apprenticeship here
or call us at 877-444-9322
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 19, 2019   Journeyman Continuing Education Spotlight: Solar Power for Electricians


Solar Power for Electricians (16 hour course)(2014 NEC Edition)

This course establishes the fundamental concepts required for safe, code-compliant installation of photovoltaic systems. Focusing on residential and commercial-scale systems, the course includes array configurations and electrical design characteristics for grid-tied Photovoltaic (PV) systems but also covers equipment essential to understanding all types of PV systems, including systems incorporating back-up energy and energy storage sources. This course addresses PV system installations from the perspective of the 2014 National Electrical Code (NEC), including but not limited to: interconnection requirements and calculations; disconnect requirements; overcurrent protection; and wire sizing and grounding requirements, applicable to all types and sizes of PV installations. This course can be taken as an introductory course or as a gateway for those seeking to advance their knowledge in the solar industry. 

Interested? Learn more and sign up here! 
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 19, 2019   Commercial Apprentice Health Insurance Update: Anthem Blue Cross's Pharmacy Benefits

Notice from our health insurance provider, Anthem Blue Cross

Background

On January 30, Anthem announced that we're accelerating the launch of IngenioRx, our new pharmacy benefits manager (PBM), and we wanted to let you know that your pharmacy benefits will move to IngenioRx on July 1, 2019.

We have spent more than 15 months planning this transition and, based on the results of our rigorous testing, we are confident in our ability to transition with as little disruption as possible.

More importantly, we are excited about the additional value we will be able to deliver to you with this move through things like improved pricing and enhanced member tools.

Our goal is to make this as easy as possible for you. Most of the changes will be behind the scenes so there is very little that you should have to do. And, if there is something you need to do, we'll let you know.

Here is a Client Guide that provides some general information about the move, along with answers to frequently asked questions.

Questions?

If you have questions, please contact your Anthem Account Manager.

Implementation

You should have recently received a letter from Anthem letting you know that your pharmacy benefits will be powered by IngenioRx beginning on July 1, 2019. We're excited about all the opportunities IngenioRx brings, but most of all, we want to make sure you can continue to get your prescriptions without missing a beat.

One of the most important steps you can take to make sure you are ready for the transition is to make sure any pharmacy you use has your most recent Anthem ID card information on file. This will help to ensure that they have the information they need to quickly and accurately process your prescriptions.

Not sure if you are using your most recent card?

Your ID card has an "Issue Date" on the back corner. As long as your issue date is September 2018 or later, you have your most recent card.

What should I do if I don't have my most recent card?

First, you can download a digital copy of your ID card at anthem.com or on the Anthem Anywhere mobile app. You can even use the digital ID card straight from your smartphone at the pharmacy counter.

Second, you can order a new ID card anytime by requesting one online or giving us a call. Just login at anthem.com and click on Request ID card to order a new one. Or call the Member Services number on the back of the ID card you do have. A new ID card will be mailed to your home in about five business days.

Finally, you can also bring a copy of this letter to your pharmacy and share it with your pharmacist. Please ask them to update your record with the information below:

RXBIN: 020099
RXPCN: WG

If you have any questions, please call the Pharmacy Member Services number on your card. 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 13, 2019   Thought

 


Richard Markuson

Update on 2019 Labor and Employment Legislation: What Remains? by Chris Micheli of Aprea and Micheli Now that the house of origin deadline has passed, and we are basically at the mid-point in the California Legislative Session, we can take a look at pending legislation with particular attention to the bills that will continue along the legislative process in the second house. The focus of this article is on pending labor and employment legislation. The following are the major bills of particular interest to the California business community.

AB 5 (Gonzalez) - Independent contractors This bill would codify the decision in the Dynamex case and clarify its application. The bill would provide that the factors of the "ABC" test be applied to determine the status of a worker as an employee or independent contractor for all provisions of the Labor Code and the Unemployment Insurance Code. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 9 (Reyes) - Statute of limitations This bill would extend the statute of limitations period to three years for complaints alleging employment discrimination. The bill would make conforming changes in provisions that grant a person allegedly aggrieved by an unlawful practice who first obtains knowledge of the facts of the alleged unlawful practice after the expiration of the limitations period. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 35 (Kalra) - Blood lead levels This bill would require the State Department of Public Health to consider a report from a laboratory of an employee's blood lead level at or above 20 micrograms per deciliter to be injurious to the health of the employee and to report that case within five business days of receiving the report to the Division of Occupational Safety Health. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 51 (Gonzalez) - Employment arbitration This bill would prohibit a person from requiring any applicant for employment or any employee to waive any right, forum, or procedure for a violation of any provision of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or other specific statutes governing employment as a condition of employment, continued employment, or the receipt of any employment-related benefit. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 170 (Gonzalez) - Joint employer liability This bill would require a client employer to share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liability for harassment for all workers supplied by that labor contractor. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 171 (Gonzalez) - Retaliation claims The bill would prohibit an employer from discharging or in any manner discriminating or retaliating against an employee because of the employee's status as a victim of sexual harassment, as defined by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 403 (Kalra) - Attorneys' fees in DLSE cases This bill would authorize a court to award attorney's fees to a plaintiff who brings a successful action for a violation of the law. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 418 (Kalra) - Union representative privilege This bill would establish a privilege between a union agent, as defined, and a represented employee or represented former employee to refuse to disclose any confidential communication between the employee or former employee and the union agent made while the union agent was acting in the union agent's representative capacity. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 520 (Kalra) - Prevailing wage This bill would provide that a public subsidy is de minimis if it is both less than $275,000 and less than two percent of the total project cost. The bill would specify that those provisions do not apply to a project that was advertised for bid, or a contract that was awarded before July 1, 2020. Status: Pending in the Senate fiscal committee

AB 547 (Gonzalez) - Janitorial workers This bill would prohibit the division from approving a registration if the employer does not include in their written application the name of any subcontractor or franchise servicing contracts affiliated with a branch location and the number of subcontracted or franchise covered workers servicing each of those contracts, the total number of covered workers working out of a listed branch office, and the address of each work location serviced by a branch office. Status: Pending in the Senate fiscal committee

AB 589 (Gonzalez) - Workers' bill of rights This bill would make it unlawful for an employer to knowingly destroy, conceal, remove, confiscate, or possess any actual or purported passport or other immigration document, or any other actual or purported government identification document of another person in the course of committing, or with the intent to commit, trafficking, peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or a coercive labor practice. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 749 (Stone) - No-rehire provisions This bill would prohibit an agreement to settle an employment dispute from containing a provision that prohibits, prevents, or otherwise restricts a settling party that is an aggrieved person, as defined, from working for the employer against which the aggrieved person has filed a claim or any parent company, subsidiary, division, affiliate, or contractor of the employer. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 1066 (Gonzalez) - Unemployment insurance This bill would restore eligibility for unemployment benefits after the first four weeks of a trade dispute for an employee who left work because of the trade dispute. The bill would specify that the one-week waiting period otherwise required for unemployment benefits is not additionally required under these circumstances. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 1360 (Ting) - Food deliveries This bill would define a food delivery platform as a business engaged in the service of online food ordering and delivery from retail food establishments to a consumer, and would require a food delivery platform and food delivery driver to ensure that food is transported during delivery in a manner that meets specified food safety requirements. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 1478 (Carrillo) - Job protected leave This bill would authorize an employee aggrieved to bring a private civil action against the employee's employer and would not require that employee to pursue any other remedy before bringing that action. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 1677 (Weber) - Call centers This bill would establish the Protect Call Center Jobs Act of 2019 to require an employer of customer service employees in a call center, as specified, that intends to relocate from this state to a foreign country to notify the commissioner at least 120 days before the relocation. The bill would require the Labor Commissioner to impose, in the commissioner's discretion, one of two specified penalties, including a civil penalty of up to $10,000, upon an employer that fails to provide this notice. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

SB 142 (Wiener) - Lactation accommodation This bill would require an employer to provide a lactation room or location that includes prescribed features and would require an employer to provide access to a sink and refrigerator close to the employee's workspace, as specified. Status: Pending in the Assembly policy committee

SB 171 (Jackson) - Pay data disclosure This bill would require, on or before March 31, 2021, and on or before March 31 each year thereafter, a private employer that has 100 or more employees and who is required to file an annual Employer Information Report under federal law, to submit a pay data report to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing that contains specified wage information. Status: Pending in the Assembly policy committee

SB 218 (Bradford) - Local FEHA enforcement This bill would authorize the legislative body of a local government to enact anti-discrimination laws relating to employment, including establishing remedies and penalties for violations. The bill would authorize local governments to create a local agency to enforce these local anti-discrimination laws. Status: Pending in the Assembly policy committee

SB 707 (Wieckowski) - Arbitration This bill would require the court to impose a monetary sanction on the drafting party who materially breaches an arbitration agreement, and would authorize the court to impose other sanctions, as specified. If the employee or consumer compels arbitration, the bill would require the arbitrator to impose appropriate sanctions on the drafting party, including monetary sanctions, issue sanctions, evidence sanctions, or terminating sanctions. Status: Pending in the Assembly policy committee

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on September 13, and Governor Gavin Newsom will have 30 days to act on measures sent to him by that date. We'll check back after final actions take place on these and other measures.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 13, 2019   Legislative Update

WECA Supported Legislation (AB 1736) Ever wonder what happened to that bid? The sponsor of AB 1736 (ASAC) needs contractor input. The bill would expedite notification of bid results. The Senate has asked sponsors some questions, and they need answers by 3 p.m. Monday, June 17. All responses will be aggregated, and you will not be identified. Survey Link
 
Federal Legislative Update
Labor Bills Pass Committee: The House Education and Labor Committee cleared three labor-related bills Tuesday, including a measure aimed at protecting older workers from discrimination on the job and another that seeks to prevent violence against health care workers. The panel also green-lighted legislation to shore up failing multiemployer pension plans. All three bills now head to the floor for a full House vote.
 
Dems Take on Overtime: Four Democrats on Tuesday introduced legislation to reinstate an Obama-era rule that more than doubled the salary level under which virtually all workers qualify for overtime pay and to head off a proposed Trump administration rule that would extend those benefits to millions fewer. The bill - introduced by Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Mark Takano (D-Calif.), and Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) - would guarantee overtime eligibility for nearly all workers making less than $51,000. The ceiling currently is $23,660. The Trump administration has proposed raising the overtime salary threshold to $35,308. That would extend overtime benefits to an additional 1.1 million workers; the Democrats' proposal would extend it to more than 4 million.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 13, 2019   What We're Reading, Listening To, and Watching

Housing - Two Takes on Why it is Expensive Los Angeles Times housing reporter Liam Dillon and CALmatters' data reporter Matt Levin chat about the latest developments in California housing policy and interview Dan Dunmoyer of CBIA and Cesar Diaz of State Building and Construction Trades Council. Diaz begins at 48 minutes. Listen
 
Analysts: Infrastructure, modularization, resiliency top industry drivers Approaching the halfway mark of the year, the commercial construction industry is strong, staving off any premature cooling before an impending economic downturn and integrating innovation in relatively slow but steady measures all the time. But what do experts anticipate for the rest of the year and going into next? Two presenters at last week's ENR FutureTech conference in San Francisco offered their takes on where the industry is heading - some that mirror the trends Construction Dive anticipated going into the year and some that represent minor shifts in the market. Story
 
States Sue Over Sprint-T-Mobile Merger: A group of 10 state attorneys general led by New York's Letitia James and California's Xavier Becerra is suing to block the $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint." Joined by AGs from Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Virginia, and Wisconsin, the AGs argued in a written statement that the deal would kill jobs and harm consumers. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced in May that he planned to approve the deal, but DOJ antitrust officials "aren't satisfied with the T-Mobile-Sprint transaction as structured and have been negotiating with the companies on divesting assets." The merger would reduce the U.S. wireless market to three major players (the others are AT&T and Verizon). The state AGs' objections echo those of 37 House Democrats who sent a letter to federal regulators earlier this year arguing the deal will "destroy jobs and drive down wages." The Communication Workers of America estimates the consolidation will eliminate 30,000 jobs, and researchers at the Economic Policy Institute and the Roosevelt Institute, two left-leaning think tanks, estimate it will lower wireless workers' average weekly earnings by up to 7 percent in affected labor markets.
 
School Money: Los Angeles teachers union officials were banking on Measure EE's parcel tax allaying a fiscal shortfall that drove this year's strike, but EE failing badly last week raises the stakes for a statewide ballot initiative that would lift Prop 13 tax caps on commercial properties. United Teachers Los Angeles just kicked in another $50,000 for the measure and SEIU's long-term care local an additional $50,000. This comes after the California Federation of Teachers and SEIU California pouring on a combined $750,000 since March. Business money is flowing into the "no" side too, with real estate and railroad companies reporting a fresh round of contributions. And Governor Newsom weighed in recently noting that Measure EE going down increases the pressure on split role.
 
New Oregon Gross Receipts Tax Presents Special Challenges for Construction Projects Located in Oregon Oregon has enacted a new gross receipts tax (the "Oregon CAT"), primarily based on the Ohio commercial activity tax ("Ohio CAT"), but with significant differences. The Oregon CAT could prove especially burdensome for the construction industry, particularly for general contractors and design professionals, because a substantial portion of gross revenue received often is dedicated to the payment of subcontractors, suppliers and subconsultants (who each will again pay the Oregon CAT on their Oregon-source gross receipts). Further, the statute does not provide transition relief for contracts entered into before the Oregon CAT could be factored into bids and contract prices. Story
Read more >>


Thursday, June 13, 2019   Labor Law, NLRB, and Recent Court Decisions

SSA "No-Match" Letters In March 2019, the Social Security Administration ("SSA") resumed the practice of sending "No-Match Letters" to those employers who the SSA identified as having at least one name and social security number ("SSN") combination submitted on a wage and tax statement (Form W-2) that did not match its SSA records. In response to that, an employer must respond with any corrections on Form W-2c (a Corrected Wage and Tax Statement) within 60 days of receipt of the no-match letter. Some employers may remember receiving these No-Match Letters in the past, until 2012, when the Obama Administration suspended this practice. Story
 
Cannabis in California In a simpler time, courts that were reviewing medical cannabis laws issued employer-friendly decisions, generally finding no duty to accommodate medical cannabis even when state laws allowed its use for medical purposes. Now, however, the tide is rapidly turning. Where does California employment law currently stand on cannabis? Story
 
NLRA Rights Poster Has Been Updated The U.S. Department of Labor has announced minor "technical" updates to the National Labor Relations Act poster entitled "Notification of Employee Rights under Federal Labor Law." Federal contractors and subcontractors are required to display this poster pursuant to Executive Order 13496.
The DOL has made the following changes to the poster:
  • Updated the phone number for the National Labor Relations Board, which enforces the NLRA. The new number is 1-844-762-NLRB (6572).
  • Updated the contact information that can be used by individuals who have hearing impairments by including a link to the Federal Relay Service.
Contractors should ensure that they are displaying the most up-to-date version of the poster, which may be obtained free of charge here.
 
Profanity and Aggressive Physical Conduct May Be Protected Activity
The National Labor Relations Board found that a union steward's use of profanity and "aggressive physical conduct" in a location visible to employees and customers may be protected by the National Labor Relations Act. In Greyhound Lines, Inc., a chief union steward was terminated for his conduct during a confrontation with a company manager over the manager's alleged mistreatment of a fellow employee. The Board found that the steward was engaged in protected union activity during the confrontation. Under Board law set forth in the 1979 case of Atlantic Steel Co., however, an employee's misconduct may cause the loss of protection under the Act, depending on four factors: (1) the location of the discussion; (2) the subject matter of the discussion; (3) the nature of the employee's outburst; and (4) whether the outburst was, in any way, provoked by the employer's unfair labor practices. Story
 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 13, 2019   Special Event Notice

WECA members with interest in San Joaquin County may want to attend an event next week for Supervisor Tom Patti at Haggerty Construction. WECA is a sponsor, and WECA members can attend for free but are encouraged to consider contributing.

Read more >>


Thursday, June 06, 2019   2019 WECA All-Team Meeting: reinvigorating WECA's culture and strengthening relationships



There is no 'I' in WECA ... or in team.

This much was evident at WECA's annual All-Team Meeting at its Rancho Cordova headquarters on Friday, May 31st. The event - which included WECA employees based in San Diego, Riverside, and Texas - highlighted the employees' impressive display of teamwork, camaraderie, and passion for continuing and improving upon WECA's standards of excellence.

"It was a full day of helping each other determine paths for professional growth, and having fun with teamwork," said Terry Seabury, WECA's Executive Director and CEO. "It is always great to have the entire team together to focus on ourselves and each other."

The day kicked off with rousing remarks from Seabury as well as Don Black, WECA's apprenticeship training director.

"Professional development is a key component of both WECA's success and each employee's growth," said Black. "Don't be afraid to ask the question - what could I do? And focus on professional development that will help you in your daily job and that is
interesting to you." 

Black also implored employees to not be "afraid to think beyond your current job duties. By growing your skills, you create added value and resources to WECA, and invest in what you do to support the organization."

Black then invited employees to share their thoughts on how WECA could improve both internally and externally as an organization. Employees offered thoughtful and proactive suggestions such as focusing on education development, promoting personal and organizational wellness, fostering leadership opportunities for employees, improving WECA's technology offerings, and streamlining the apprenticeship onboarding process.

To implement these ideas, employees then formed groups - one for each of the above suggestions. In these groups, employees participated in an hour-long scavenger hunt of sorts; bouncing around practicable goals and researching and identifying courses and certifications employees could take to meet these goals. After the scavenger hunt, the WECA team re-convened to present their suggested goals and courses for each idea.
Following the scavenger hunt was a raffle replete with unique prizes, such as a basket chock-full of lottery tickets, a s'mores grilling set, tickets to a Sacramento River Cats baseball game, and more. The raffle elicited smiles and cheers, as well as conciliatory groans from those who didn't win their desired prizes.

After lunch came the main attraction of the day: the games.

WECA employees partook in good-natured competition as they split into groups and completed zany activities which required teamwork and effective communication.

The event concluded with the winning team receiving medals, and with the entire WECA team assembling for two group shots - one serious, one humorous - amidst a sea of colorful balloons. It was the perfect note to end on.

Here's to another fun, productive, and fulfilling year of training and serving California's best merit shop contractors and their employees!
Read more >>


Thursday, June 06, 2019   Online solar courses for Electrician Trainees and Journeymen

Have your electrican trainees and journeymen harness the power of the sun this summer with WECA's online solar course offerings!

And for Spanish-speaking electrician trainees and journeymen, WECA offers three online solar course offerings in Spanish.

Learn more about and register your electrician trainees and journeymen for any of our solar course offerings, below. 

Faultless Solar (32-hour course)
 



This course combines two of WECA's popular 16-hour courses, "Faultless" and "Solar Power for Electricians," into one convenient 32-hour package. Learn about how to coordinate information in specific NEC articles, so you can properly select and install the correct electrical circuit components and conductors needed for different load and circuit configurations. Then, build on that knowledge as you learn about the fundamental concepts required for safe, code-compliant installation of residential and commercial-scale Solar Photovoltaic systems. Learn more and register here. 

 FVOL101: Solar Electric Design and Installation (Grid-Direct) Spanish (60-hour course)
 


This is a fundamental course for anyone who wants to start a career in photovoltaic energy (FV) and/or understand the details of electricity generation based on the photoelectric effect. The FV101 course platform will allow you to continue to develop in areas such as: Design, inspection, installation, maintenance, technical sales and technical support; all based on the most rigorous electrical codes and practices recommended by professionals with decades of experience; with WECA education partner Solar Energy International. Learn more and register here. 

 FVOL202: Advanced PV System Design and the NEC (Grid-Direct) Spanish (60-hour course)


Immerse yourself in the advanced details of design and good practices related to photovoltaic (PV) systems in this scheduled, self-paced course from WECA education partner Solar Energy International. With a highly technical approach, this course was designed to support designers, installers, inspectors and engineers who want to understand the intrinsic details of the PV system design, and the requirements for proper installation. The course provides a deep look at the National Electrical Code (NEC® 2014) standards as well as recommended industry practices. Learn more and register here. 

 FVOL203: PV System Fundamentals (Battery-Based) Spanish (40-hour course)
 


This scheduled, self-paced course from WECA education partner Solar Energy International will provide the student with an understanding of the fundamental concepts needed to work safely on battery-based PV systems; These include isolated (or self-contained) PV systems and GRID-connected PV systems with battery backup. We study the purpose, applications and design criteria required for the different components to be selected and integrated as: Charge controllers, batteries, PV array and battery-based inverters (extremely different from the inverters connected to the network). The information in this course will provide you with a theoretical understanding of battery-based PV systems that you can apply to real installations and practical applications. Learn more and register here. 

 PVOL101: Solar Electric Design and Installation (Grid-Direct) (60-hour course)
 


This scheduled self-paced instructor-led course from WECA education partner Solar Energy International is for students who want to learn the fundamentals and gain a solid understanding of various components, system architectures, and applications for PV systems. Successful completion of this course results in State of California Journeyman Continuing Education or Electrician Trainee hours, and also counts as one of the two courses required to qualify students to sit for the NABCEP PV Associate Exam. Learn more and register here. 


 PVOL202: Advanced PV System Design and the NEC (Grid-Direct) (60-hour course) 
 


This scheduled self-paced instructor-led course from WECA education partner Solar Energy International is for students who want to take a deep dive into National Electrical Code 2017 standards as well as other best practices that pertain to designing grid-direct PV systems. Learn more and register here. 


 PVOL203: PV System Fundamentals (Battery-Based) (40-hour course)
 


This scheduled self-paced instructor-led course from WECA education partner Solar Energy International is for students who want to focus on the fundamentals of battery-based PV systems. Components such as batteries, charge controllers, and battery-based inverters are covered in detail, along with safety and maintenance considerations unique to battery-based systems, load analysis, battery bank configuration, and the electrical integration of the system. Learn more and register here. 


 PVOL350: Tools and Techniques for Operations and Maintenance (40-hour course) 
 


This scheduled self-paced instructor-led course from WECA education partner Solar Energy International is an advanced online training targeted towards solar professionals who want to take their technical skills to the next level. This course is geared towards training PV technicians to safely and effectively perform operations and maintenance (O&M) tasks including inspections, commissioning, performance verification, and troubleshooting. Learn more and register here. 


 Solar Power for Electricians (16-hour course)
 


Learn about the fundamental concepts required for safe, code-compliant installation of residential and commercial-scale Photovoltaic systems. Learn more and register here. 



Understanding NEC Requirements for Solar Photovoltaic Systems Home Study Course (16-hour course) 
 


This 16-hour course is based on Mike Holt's "Illustrated Guide to Understanding NEC Requirements for Solar Photovoltaic Systems, based on the 2014 NEC" textbook and DVDs. Learn more and register here. 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 06, 2019   All parties working with apprentices must participate in anti-harassment training



WECA currently provides anti-harassment training to every WECA apprentice as part of their apprenticeship. However, it is also required for you, the employer, to ensure that all parties working with apprentices have participated in anti-harassment training.


Per Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) regulations, 29 CFR 30.3(b)(4), this training must be provided to all individuals including: apprentices, apprentice supervisors, forepersons, journey-workers, instructors, and other employees regularly working alongside apprentices, including management and administrative personnel.


If you have not already educated your workers in anti-harassment training, we strongly encourage our members to utilize and make available to all employees the U.S. Department of Labor's interactive, web-based, self-directed EEO training


It's easy - just have your employees read and utilize the following resources. Further resources are also available to our member contractors on WECA's website under 'Member Forms and Resources' in the 'Approved to Train' section. 

Anti-Harassment and EEO Resources for Member Contractors and their Employees

View the EEO Training Here

Read the Anti-Harassment Fact Sheet

Read WECA's Equal Opportunity Pledge
Read more >>


Thursday, June 06, 2019   Come support the WECA Graduating Classes of 2019!

diploma_grad_cap.jpg

Graduation is literally just right around the corner - so don't forget to come support our NorCal graduates this Saturday, June 8th at WECA headquarters in Rancho Cordova!

Class of 2019 NorCal Graduation

Saturday, June 8th

4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.


WECA headquarters

3695 Bleckely Street

Rancho Cordova, CA 95655


For member contractors, industry partners, and industry supporters in Southern California, there's still time to buy tickets and/or sponsorships for our SoCalgraduation on Saturday, July 13th at Faulkner Winery in Temecula!


Class of 2019 SoCal Graduation

Saturday, July 13th

5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.


Faulkner Winery

40620 Calle Contento

Temecula, CA 92591



As always, thank you for your continued support electrical and low voltage education, and we look forward to seeing you! 
 
Read more >>


Thursday, May 30, 2019   Thought

 

Richard Markuson

Does "Separation of Powers" Accurately Describe the USA? I apologize in advance to my readers who are Tom Steyer fans, but this guy really is over the top. Steyer, the Democratic activist whose NeedtoImpeach.com organization has amassed more than 8 million signatures in support of impeachment, said that Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent statements were "honestly, silly.'' What did the Speaker say that veered into "silly?" When Speaker Pelosi reacted to the only public comments by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, "she promised that congressional Democrats will continue their constitutional duty of 'investigating and litigating' to seek 'ironclad' evidence of wrongdoing by President Donald Trump.
 
Steyer was not satisfied and pronounced the Mueller report provided the "ironclad evidence" Pelosi sought. Steyer continued, "We have a President who literally won't speak to Congress, let alone answer their subpoenas or provide any witnesses on anything. The President has said, 'I am not subject to oversight by Congress ... the Constitution be damned." [Editor: I have yet to find a direct quote from President Trump that the Constitution provides 'congressional oversight' of the President and I have asked Mr. Steyer to point to the provision in the Constitution that gives it this power - I'll report next time on his response].
 
Now I will agree with some critics of the growth of "Imperial Presidency"; that was never the intention of the framers of the Constitution. In Federalist 51, James Madison justifies bicameralism in terms of maintaining congressional authority. "It is not possible to give" the judicial and the executive branches "an equal power of self-defense" against the Congress, because that would undermine the republican quality of the government, where "the legislative authority necessarily predominates." Instead, the proper safeguard against legislative abuse is "to divide the legislature into different branches," which will "render them . . . as little connected with each other" as practicable.
 
And Mickey Edwards - a former eight-term member of Congress and chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee - observed in 2017 that his teaching of government at Harvard and Princeton was flawed. "I taught my students a system of government based on the Constitution. I thought I was teaching about current events. Instead, I now realize, I was teaching ancient history," said Edwards. Edwards' take on today's separation of powers is that it is "no longer between the three original, constitutionally created, branches of government ... but between, on the one hand, a branch consisting of the President, his supporters in Congress and their mutual supporters on the federal bench; and on the other hand, a branch made up of the party in opposition to the President, his opponents in Congress and their co-partisans on the bench." (You can read his article here)
 
What Edwards neglected to include in his analysis is the role of voters. You could add to his commentary after the judiciary, "voters who support the President and voters who oppose the President." They are as polarized (and polarizing) as the others. And as Stephan Chapman pointed out in Reason, "Donald Trump exploits this growing political and cultural separation. Extreme, vocal ideologues are gaining ground on both the right and the left. One-third of likely voters, a poll found, think we are on the verge on civil war."
 
But lest I leave you with my usual dour view on political life, Chapman offers Morris Fiorina, a political scientist at Stanford University and the Hoover Institution "who does us the favor of explaining why much of what we worry about is unfounded."
 
Fiorina observes that in the 1950s, 75 percent of Americans were happy to call themselves Democrats or Republicans, but today, only 60 percent identify with either party. Independents now make up a plurality of the public. Self-described moderates outnumber either liberals or conservatives. Fiorina says, "most people are not very conservative or very liberal. But the middle has no home in either party. That's one reason more Americans call themselves independents."
 
Chapman concludes, "The bad news is that our democracy does a poor job of giving the people what they want." The struggle is to decide what America wants, and how to deliver it in a political culture where cooperation and bi-partisanship seems to be non-existent.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 30, 2019   Legislative Update

Assembly Passes Gig Work Bill, Limiting Contractor Status The State Assembly on Wednesday passed AB 5 (Gonzalez) that could send seismic changes across California's employment landscape if passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Newsom. Hundreds of thousands of independent contractors, ranging from Uber and Lyft drivers to manicurists, could become employees under AB 5, which codifies the recent California Supreme Court decision known as Dynamex.
 
Spend that Surplus California's Democratic legislators continued their push to expand health care for poor people, as tracked by CALmatters health reporter Elizabeth Aguilera. The Senate and Assembly approved bills to expand state-funded health care for low-income adult undocumented immigrants. Children already are covered. One bill by Sen. Maria Elena Durazo of Los Angeles would cover undocumented immigrants ages 19-25 and 65 and older. Sen. Richard Pan of Sacramento is carrying Senate Bill 65 to provide state-funded subsidies for middle-income people who don't receive help with the cost of health insurance. To pay for those subsidies, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed imposing a state-only individual mandate charging people $695 a year if they fail to buy health insurance. Pan is holding his legislation to create an individual state mandate but intends to push to have the mandate included as part of the state budget being negotiated now. If approved as part of the budget, the measure would take effect July 1.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 30, 2019   What We're Reading and Watching

Robots: more than 7K robots to take on construction work by 2025 A growing number of construction companies are incorporating robots to solve labor shortages and reap the benefits of improved speed, efficiency, safety, and profits, according to a new report. More
 
Preparing for California's Next Recession California is enjoying one of the longest growth periods in history and appears well-prepared to endure a mild economic downturn. But a more severe crisis would exhaust current reserves, decrease school funding, and open a significant budget gap for several years. What steps can the state be taking to prepare for and minimize these outcomes? Report
 
9 Signs Your Small Business is About to Get HackedYou can never really tell if your small business is going to be hacked. But the likelihood is high. In fact, according to a 2015 report, 62% of small and medium-sized companies have been hit by a data breach. Even if you take every precaution, you're still at risk. But if you ignore this situation, you're putting yourself and your company in danger of severe disruption, loss of information, and potential liabilities. Are you in trouble? The hackers are looking for weaknesses and, when found, they'll pounce. If you are doing (or not doing) any of these nine things you're definitely more at risk of being hacked. Report
 
Nevada Governor Signs Prevailing Wage, Union Bills Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed several new bills into law this week, including two construction-related regulations - one that raises the prevailing wage for workers on some public construction projects and another that removes restrictions on union-affiliated contractors by public agencies. Story
Read more >>


Thursday, May 30, 2019   Labor Law, NLRB, and Recent Court Decisions

Staff Changes at the NLRB: "The heads of the National Labor Relations Board are planning a restructure of administrative staff at the agency's roughly 26 regional offices, including demoting employees in certain job classifications nationwide," Bloomberg Law's Hassan Kanu reports. "The plan would reclassify almost all NLRB administrative professionals as general 'program support assistants,' and place those employees into the same grade within the government's General Schedule pay system," he writes. NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb and the agency's career staff have been at odds since January 2018, when Robb proposed restructuring the agency to demote regional directors, whom the business lobby considers too pro-union. More from Bloomberg Law here.
Read more >>