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Thursday, July 30, 2020   Thank You, Rex Moore, for Your Generous Donations!


 

Thank you, Rex Moore, for your generous donations!

Rex Moore recently donated a plethora of tools for WECA's labs, which we very much look forward to using when it is safe for our students and instructors to get back into the labs.

Thanks to dedicated Member Contractors like Rex Moore--and you and your companies--WECA is able to fulfill its mission of educating the finest up-and-coming electricians and low voltage technicians in California to support the needs of our member contractors for a talented and skilled workforce. Please join us in thanking Rex Moore for their generosity, and please take a moment to read the article below and consider making a donation of your own if you are able to do so.
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Thursday, July 30, 2020   Help Make a Difference w/ Donations to WECA: Lab Scoreboard Update; Thank You to Our Generous Donor!

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

"Thank you to everyone who's donated supplies and equipment this year," said Jimmie Slemp, WECA's lead instructor and lab facilities manager. "It means a lot to us that we're working together to provide students with a comprehensive and hands-on education, even in the midst of a pandemic. We can't wait to get our hands on these once we get back into the labs."

WECA extends a huge thank-you to:
  • Rex Moore (our new scoreboard leader!)
  • Western Tube and Conduit
  • Milwaukee Tools
Want to make a difference and claim your place on this year's scoreboard? There's still time! To see what kind of lab materials WECA could best use, click here or on the image above to be redirected to our lab donations scoreboard and wish list. Donors are featured on the lab donations scoreboard and our website!
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Thursday, July 30, 2020   WECA Begins Outdoor Apprentice Applicant Testing at Rancho Cordova Headquarters


In efforts to meet the growing needs of our member contractors for apprentices, and to ensure a quicker onboarding process for WECA Apprenticeship applicants (rather than testing applicants separately and remotely via the Internet), WECA has begun to proctor applicant testing onsite (and outdoors!) at its Rancho Cordova headquarters. Following this first successful event, WECA anticipates holding further outdoor testing this summer, including in Southern California.

The tests--shown being proctored recently by WECA administrators outside of our headquarters--ensure a quicker onboarding process for WECA Apprenticeship applicants (rather than testing applicants separately and remotely via the Internet) while adhering to strict COVID-19 safety practices. Testing more applicants at once helps us to meet the growing needs of our member contractors for apprentices.
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Thursday, July 30, 2020   Employee Spotlights: Married WECA Colleagues Will and Trisha Hughes

 
Will and Trisha Hughes, Then and Now!
Here at WECA, we take pride in being the “WECA Family.” However, some of our employees are actually family! Such is the case of William Hughes, Electrician Trainee and Journeymen Registrar II, and his wife, Trisha Hughes, Junior Client Services Specialist.

But lest you think this began as a workplace romance—Will and Trisha’s story actually began in high school. They dated for a time before heading their separate ways, but reconnected on Facebook years later. Eighteen months later, they got married. Today, they’re a close family—which consists of themselves, Will’s teenage son Ethan, and their two dogs, Lilu and Corbin.

Will, a Sacramento-area native, began working for WECA on January 7, 2019. He considers himself a “jack of all trades”, stating that he “mainly processes E-Commerce, final grades, cancellation letters, and prepares labels for mailing class materials”. However, he also provides tech support for GetWired! and self-paced courses, processes contractor payment requests, and serves as third-tier support on phones as needed.

“I love interacting with all of the people in my job—students and coworkers alike,” says Will. “And I really like the idea of helping people”.

This is evident when considering Will’s personal philosophy: “kindness, compassion, understanding, and empathy. I try my best to only put good energy out into the world.”

Meanwhile, Trisha—also a Sacramento-area native—began working for WECA on January 6, 2020--just one day shy of a year after Will began working at WECA! Prior to being hired on at WECA, she would listen to Will talk about his workdays at home—about how students would thank him for his help and how it made him feel good about himself—and knew that she wanted to make a difference, too.

Now at WECA, Trisha answers phones, signs students up for classes, takes care of the Student Referral Service (SRS) and connects Member Contractors with students looking for work, and as of late, has been contacting students enrolled in classroom-based courses to help them transfer to online alternatives.

“I love the people I work with,” says Trisha. “And I always feel like giving good customer service is very important to give people a better day, and helping students is great”.

And as for her personal philosophy, Trisha states that it is “treat all creatures with kindness. People think I am crazy when I stop and talk to the squirrels, but my husband calls me a Disney princess when they walk right up to me and chirp back!”

At the office, Will and Trisha both agree that it is simultaneously fun but weird to work together, stating that they have to remember to use their actual names—rather than pet names—with each other.

“It’s hard not to use our everyday terms for each other [in the office]”, says Will. “We always talk about how weird it is when we say our first names!”

And as of late, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Will and Trisha report that it is “great” but also “a struggle” to work together at home because they can help each other out, but also drive each other crazy.

Will adds that “there is no ‘me’ time! Because I am high-risk, I constantly have to stay at home. Trisha has to be equally as safe, so we’ve spent pretty much every moment together since the start of this.”

Outside of the office (and the at-home office), Will and Trisha partake in similar interests. Will enjoys spending time with Trisha, his son, and dogs, playing video games, watching movies, and reading. Trisha, meanwhile, delights in walking her dogs twice a day, playing video games, watching scary movies, and cleaning her house.
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Thursday, July 30, 2020   EEOC Releases Updated Guidance on COVID-19 for Employers

Content Courtesy of WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

By: Terry A. Wills and Hanh B. Phan

Businesses are beginning to regain their footing after closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. As businesses work to reopen, employers must inevitably weigh their growing economic losses and public health concerns with shielding themselves from discrimination lawsuits.

Planning for Reopening

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (“EEOC”) recently updated its technical assistance publication to address important questions arising under discrimination laws related to the COVID-19 pandemic. In the latest update, the EEOC clarifies information on coronavirus testing, planning for reopening, accommodations and flexibility, and discrimination. For example, the Americans with Disabilities Act (“ADA”) strictly requires that any mandatory medical exams of employees be “job related and consistent with business necessity.” The EEOC has clarified that this standard permits employers to require COVID-19 testing, but does not allow them to require antibody testing before allowing employees to re-enter the workplace as it does not meet the “job related” criteria. (See Q&A A.7.) Employers may also screen applicants for COVID-19 and may postpone a new employee’s start date or withdraw an offer altogether if the individual has COVID-19 or is displaying symptoms of the virus.

Public health mandates serve to maintain the integrity of the health care system and protect especially vulnerable populations, such as individuals age 65 and over or pregnant. Accordingly, employers may want to take extra steps to protect these employees. To this end, the EEOC affirmed that employers are free to provide maximum flexibility to older employees even if younger employees are being treated less favorably in comparison. Job modifications, telework, or changes to work schedules and assignments are all acceptable options. In taking steps to protect pregnant employees, employers have the option to provide flexibility beyond what the law requires, notwithstanding disparate treatment on a protected EEO basis.

However, the EEOC warned that employers cannot bar elderly or pregnant workers from returning to the job site, even if the employer is trying to protect them from severe sickness. According to the Age Discrimination in Employment Act (“ADEA”), employers may not exclude anyone from the workplace because of age. Similarly, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act bars discrimination based on pregnancy. Therefore, companies cannot single out workers on the basis of either age or pregnancy and require them to stay home even if the reason for doing so is to protect the employee from being exposed because they are at a higher risk of contracting COVID-19. (See Q&A H.1.) Read the rest of the article here.
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Thursday, July 30, 2020   It's That Time of Year Again!

Commercial Apprentice Insurance Open Enrollment Runs from August 17 – August 28

WECA's annual open enrollment period for Commercial Apprentices will take place from August 17 – August 28 for changes to become effective on October 1, 2020. Your Commercial Apprentices will receive an email with open enrollment information along with the annual notices that include Medicare Part D and instructions if they are adding a dependent not already enrolled to the group health plans.

WECA is also mailing out postcards as a reminder of our annual open enrollment to Commercial Apprentices; these will be mailed within the next few weeks.

If you or your employees have any questions or concerns, please contact Cindy Cormier, Insurance Administrator, by phone at (877) 444-9322 ext. 117 or by email at ccormier@goweca.com.
Read more >>


Thursday, July 30, 2020   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

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

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


Thursday, July 23, 2020   WECA Political Update July 23, 2020

WECA Political Update
July 23, 2020
Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
__________________________________________________
California lawmakers are returning next week to Sacramento to begin a sprint to the final adjournment on August 31, 2020. Because of COVID-19 concerns, they will be holding a limited number of committee hearings Monday – Saturday and the Senate will allow remote voting.

Criminal Justice Sen. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) is pushing to end mandatory jail sentences for nonviolent drug offenders, adding to a growing raft of criminal justice measures circulating in Sacramento. SB 378 would allow judges to issue probation or suspend sentences for people who are convicted of various drug crimes on top of prior drug-related felonies. Judges could also do the same for people who possess for sale or sell large amounts of heroin or PCP. Current California law mandates harsher sentencing for those categories of offenders. If enacted, SB 378 would continue a trend of reducing criminal penalties for drug-related crimes in California. Voter-passed initiatives have already downgraded most forms of possession from felonies to misdemeanors and legalized recreational cannabis use for adults. A national upwelling of criminal justice activism, spurred by George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis, has increased the appetite among California lawmakers for further changes. During a Monday press conference, Wiener called his measure a blow against incarceration, which he said "has taken on a renewed sense of urgency" as coronavirus has spread in California jails and prisons. [Politico]
 
EV Charger Installation AB 841 (Ting D-San Francisco) was “gut and amended” at the end of June. It temporarily redirects 30 percent of existing energy efficiency funds to the California Energy Commission to create a grant program for schools to repair and replace HVAC systems and inefficient water fixtures. State agencies may also apply to replace water fixtures. The program requires 25 percent of funds to go to schools in low-income and disadvantaged communities and requires a skilled and trained workforce to install these projects. This bill also requires the CPUC to approve pending EV charging applications for SDG&E and SCE and reapprove a previous application for PG&E. This bill also streamlines EV infrastructure projects by ensuring that upgrades to the electrical system are regularly reviewed in a utility’s general rate case. This bill requires EV charging facilities funded by the CPUC, CEC, or CARB to be installed by a C-10 electrical contractor and at least one electrician who has passed the EV Infrastructure Training Program (EVITP). The bill is co-sponsored by the California Coalition of Utility Employees, State Pipe Trades Council, State Association of Electrical Workers, and Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers – all construction unions represented by the same lobbyist – Scott Wetch. EVITP is a “collaboration of industry stakeholders including: Automakers, EVSE Manufacturers, Educational Institutions, Utility Companies, Electrical Industry Professionals and key EV Industry Stakeholders.” There are only 3,000 certified electricians in the U.S. and Canada and 75 California contractors who employ these certified electricians. Is Wetch setting up a monopoly for these contractors?

Because elections are not confusing enough. In AD 72, (Westminster-Garden Grove) former State Senator and County Supervisor Janet Nguyen will face Garden Grove council member and scientist Diedre Thu-Ha Nguyen in November. Janet beat incumbent Tyler Diep – the lone Republican to support the Gonzalez gig-worker bill. Diep also encouraged the Anaheim City Council to adopt their city-wide PLA last year.

No Measure A Repeal this November. The San Diego City Council has until the end of the month to finalize which measures will appear on the November ballot, but voters won’t have to weigh in on one potential measure this year. A San Diego Building and Construction Trades Council proposal to repeal the 2012 Measure A ban on PLAs will have to wait for another election. The Council had been pushing the measure, with support from Council Democrats, to walk back the 2012 initiative that barred San Diego from requiring project labor on city projects. Since 2012, the state – at the direction of the State Building and Construction Trades Council – passed two bills intended to block state funds going to cities with such restrictions in place. San Diego has never lost state funds because of its ban, but the threat has loomed over its proposal to build a massive water recycling project that is only feasible with state money. This Tuesday, the Council was poised to vote to put the measure on the ballot. At the last minute, Council President Georgette Gómez said Councilman Chris Ward was working with Building Trades to make some changes to the measure and wanted to send it back to city staff to make them happen. KPBS reporter Andrew Bowen then reported that the state’s Building and Construction Trades Council sent a letter to the city informing it that the proposed measure wouldn’t fix the city’s issues with state funds. Since the measure specified that new PLAs would require apprenticeships, include community benefit provisions and exempt disadvantaged businesses, the city would still run afoul of state law, Scott Kronland, a Building Trades lawyer, wrote. But that still left Ward, city staff and Building Trades two more weeks to see if they could strike a deal and put the measure on the November ballot. That’s not happening. Carol Kim, political director for the San Diego Building Trades, said they were unable to finalize a measure in time. “We’re disappointed San Diegans won’t get a chance to vote on the measure this year, but we are committed to working with a new Council and new mayor to qualify an initiative to safeguard San Diego’s state funding for a future ballot,” she wrote in a text message. [Voice of San Diego]
Ask Richard


?Richard Markuson
WECA Government Affairs Advocate, Pacific Advocacy Group
Have questions or concerns?

?Ask Richard!
Dear WECA supporter,

It is our pleasure to provide you with this bi-weekly political update from WECA. Please feel free to contact WECA at (877) 444-9322 or info@goweca.com for more details about any of the articles included in this political update.

Join the WECA conversation. Follow us on social media.
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About WECA

WECA is California's premier independent electrical contractors' association. We provide innovative training and education programs, critical business services, and responsive customer support to surpass the needs of our members and students. We are California state approved, and our top-quality electrical training has found a nationwide audience. For over 90 years, we have been training the next generation of electricians, and advocating for and protecting fair and open competition in the electrical industry.
Learn More

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Apprenticeship
Classes for Electrician Trainees and Journeymen
Contact Us
Join our mailing list!
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Thursday, July 16, 2020   CA DAS Features WECA's Article in Quarterly Publication


When the COVID-19 outbreak hit and Californians were told to stay at home, Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc. (WECA) found itself well positioned to transition its electrical and low voltage apprenticeship classes online, quickly and appropriately.

Before these unprecedented events, WECA’s apprenticeship training board of trustees had the vision to ask us to expand our usage of learning technologies for our apprenticeship program, as well as increase the flexibility of our delivery model. This head start enabled us to rapidly convert our onsite apprenticeship classes to online delivery when everything began escalating so quickly in early-mid March. It also helped enormously that WECA has been delivering online education for its other programs since 2007. Our administrative and instructional teams had nearly 15 years of experience on which to draw.

“The (COVID-19) situation was constantly changing, so as it developed, we had to be ready at a moment’s notice to pull the trigger on transitioning our classes to online learning,” said Tom Thompson, WECA curriculum development manager. Read the rest of the article here.
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Thursday, July 16, 2020   Sacramento County Public Health Order Amended

Governor Gavin Newsom announced on July 13 that all counties on the State’s County Monitoring List for three consecutive days are required to shut down certain industries and activities unless they can be modified to operate outside or by pick-up. Sacramento County is on the Monitoring List, and the following industries/activities are to shut down unless they can operate outside/via pick-up:
  • Fitness centers
  • Worship services
  • Protests
  • Offices for non-essential sectors
  • Personal care services, like nail salons, body waxing and tattoo parlors
  • Hair salons and barbershops
  • Indoor Malls
This is in addition to the sectors that previously shut down indoor operations on July 2: 
  • Bars/Brew Pubs (only in conjunction with sit-down, outdoor meals)
  • Zoos/Museums
  • Wineries
  • Restaurants
  • Movie Theaters
  • Family Entertainment Centers
  • Cardrooms?
The amended Pub?lic Health Order went into effect at 3 p.m., July 14. 

For questions about the Public Health Order, call the Public Health hotline at (916) 875-2400. 

For more information about the County’s response to COVID-19, visit Sacramento County’s COVID-19 webpage.
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Thursday, July 16, 2020   Which face coverings are best for preventing jobsite coronavirus spread?:

Researchers at Florida Atlantic University's College of Engineering and Computer Science, using flow visualization testing in a laboratory equipped with laser light and a mannequin, recently published their findings as to which masks were the most effective.
 
Members are encouraged to check local County Public Health Orders in the communities where you are doing work to ensure your companies are complying with local regulations. Please note some jurisdictions may prohibit use of medical-grade PPE, unless specifically required due to the nature of the jobsite. California’s Public Health Order is found here.

Local orders can be accessed at the following links:

Northern California

Alameda County | Alpine County | Amador County | Butte County |

Calaveras County | Colusa County | Contra Costa County | El Dorado County |

Marin County | Napa County | Nevada County | Placer County |

Sacramento County | San Francisco County | San Joaquin County | San Mateo County |

Santa Clara County | Sierra County | Solano County | Stanislaus County |

Sutter County | Yolo County | Yuba County

Southern California

Imperial County | Kern County | Los Angeles County | Orange County |

Riverside County | San Bernardino County San Diego County | San Luis Obispo County

Santa Barbara County | Ventura County
Read more >>


Thursday, July 16, 2020   Learn About Sacramento, California's Worker Protection, Health, and Safety Act

Content Courtesy of Littler

By: Kayla Cox and Bruce Sarchet

On June 30, 2020, the Sacramento City Council enacted the Sacramento Worker Protection, Health, and Safety Act. This ordinance, which becomes operative on July 15 and sunsets on December 31, 2020,1 addresses various workplace concerns in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The ordinance has six particularly notable provisions: 1) Employer Safety Practices and Protocols, 2) Right to Refuse Work Under Certain Circumstances, 3) Supplemental Paid Sick Leave, 4) Enforcement, 5) Conditions on City Financial Assistance, and 6) No Waiver of Rights. Each of these provisions are discussed below.

Employer Safety Practices and Protocols: Under this provision, covered employers are required to implement specific safety practices and protocols at employment sites: 
  1. Daily cleaning and disinfection of high-touch areas in accordance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines;
  2. Formalized cleaning protocols for all other areas of an employment site;
  3. Formalized protocols for responding to the discovery that a person with a confirmed or probable case of COVID-19 has been at the employment site;
  4. Ensuring employees have access to regular handwashing with soap, hand sanitizer, and disinfectant wipes;
  5. Cleaning of common areas (e.g., break rooms, locker rooms, dining facilities, restrooms, conference rooms, and training rooms) daily and between shifts;
  6. Providing face coverings for employees to wear during their time at the employment site, mandating the use of face coverings while at the employment site in accordance with the CDC guidelines and subject to exceptions, and establishing protocols to ensure proper physical distancing; and
  7. Providing employees with written notice of these required practices and protocols in English and any other language spoken by at least 10 percent of the employees at the employment site.
For employees working at sites that are not owned, maintained, leased, or controlled by their employer, an employer is not in violation of requirements 1, 2, and/or 5 if it takes steps to contact the entity that owns, maintains, leases, or controls the site and encourages compliance with the required safety practices and protocols.

Right to Refuse Work Under Certain Circumstances: An employee may refuse to work for an employer if the employee reasonably believes that the employer is in violation of one or more of the seven specified safety practices and protocols listed above, and provides the employer with notice of the alleged violation(s).

Additionally, the city may investigate whether an employer violated a required safety practice or protocol, as alleged by an employee. If after conducting its investigation, however, the city finds that the employer was not in violation of a required safety practice or protocol, or if the employer provides the city with proof that it has cured the violation, the employee who made the allegation no longer has the right to refuse to work. Read the rest of the article here.
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Thursday, July 16, 2020   Use Your Member-Exclusive Job Board Benefit: Post Open Positions to WECA's Job Board Today!

WECA Member Contractors: Have you posted your open positions on the WECA Job Board lately? Applicants are looking! 

WECA has been seeing unprecedented traffic to its job listings page by internet searchers over the past few months. Get your open listings in front of unemployed CA electricians and industry workers hoping to apply to a great company like yours.

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 contractors who want to hire them. 

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

WECA Members: Post a job today
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Thursday, July 16, 2020   All WECA GetWired! Classes Continue to be Delivered Online Without Interruption

In the screencap above, students thank Lead Instructor Galen Eckert for a great class. Eckert had just finished delivering an alternative online lab on combination circuits to a cohort of electrician trainees taking GetWired 102, the second class in their path towards certification. WECA is constantly innovating to make sure all learning objectives are still met during this time of 100% online instruction due to COVID-19.

Our GetWired classes have been running at full tilt, with enrollment continuing to grow even in the time of COVID, as WECA trains an ever-larger percentage of the electrician trainees in the State of CA.

An increasing number of our contractors cover their electrician trainees' tuition as an employment retention initiative, a way to ensure a skilled workforce, and a way to make sure their employees stay registered with the State and legal to work.

If you're interested in sponsoring the education of your trainees, make sure you get all the discounts available to you as a WECA member contractor--and they're substantial--by calling us at 1-877-444-9322 and letting us know you'd like to get started with using this member benefit.
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Thursday, July 16, 2020   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

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

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


Thursday, July 09, 2020   WECA Political Update July 9, 2020

How to Manage and Respond to Suspected and Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 on the Jobsite The AGC has developed a situation flow chart designed for contractors with suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the job-site. WECA advises members to discuss their COVID-19 response strategies with their insurance companies and legal counsel on what other steps should be taken. View the workflow chart here.

Yolo Issues Emergency Regulation on COVID-19 Compliance Yolo County just issued the following order with fines up to $10k for not abiding by local and state health orders:
https://www.yolocounty.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=65086
More here:
https://www.yolocounty.org/Home/Components/News/News/12038/26
 
Santa Clara County issued an updated Shelter in Place order. In addition to the order, the County issued industry specific mandatory directives which will become effective on July 13th, 2020. The Directive applies to all construction projects, but restrictions vary by the size of the project. Here is the full directive as well as a summary of what the directive entails.

Legislature sets July 27 return date The Legislature will return on July 27, leadership announced on Thursday. It will mark a two-week delay spurred by a coronavirus resurgence that has infected two Assembly members. President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced the July 27 return date, citing in a joint statement the imperative to "minimize potential COVID-19 exposure and transmission in the California State Capitol." This further narrows the already-tightened window for passing bills ahead of the end of the legislative session on August 31. Leadership already had delayed a planned July 13 return from recess as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have spiked around the state. Assembly members Autumn Burke (D-Marina del Rey) and Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) both tested positive in recent days. When lawmakers return they'll have just five weeks to pass about 1,000 bills out of committees and then off the respective floors of their houses — an attenuated session that could constrain opportunities to shape policy. [Politico]
 
NLRB Specifies Recommended Protocols for Manual Elections During COVID-19 After months of permitting almost exclusively mail ballot elections due to concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, the National Labor Relations Board released “suggested” protocols on July 6, 2020 for holding manual elections. These protocols will facilitate a return to in-person secret ballot voting, which is generally considered far superior to mail ballot voting both in terms of maximizing employee participation and in terms of ensuring employee free choice. Given the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, the protocols are understandably stringent, and will require significant effort on the part of employers that wish to take advantage of them. Nevertheless, the protocols represent a welcome development for employers that wish to ensure free and fair representation elections. Learn More
 
Webinar on California’s Flat Sum Bonus Overtime Rules One area of California labor law that can be troubling is California's overtime requirements for flat sum bonuses. While California's Labor Commissioner has long found that a different overtime calculation must be used for certain “flat sum" bonuses, many employers failed to comply with this position. But when the California Supreme Court adopted this view in its Alvarado v. Dart Container Corp. decision in March 2018, there was no longer a place to hide. Yet, many employers still do not fully understand the difference between a flat sum bonus and a production bonus or the significant impact on the overtime calculation if they get this wrong. Littler is offering a complimentary presentation, that will focus solely on addressing this unique quirk in California law, including a detailed overview of what qualifies as a flat sum bonus, samples of the overtime calculation applicable to flat sum bonuses, and options for changing the parameters of certain compensation to remove the payment from flat sum bonus consideration. The event is on July 22 at 11:00 am Register

Budget. Newsom and the Legislature reached a final resolution on how to balance the budget with a variety of accounting tricks and expectation of the receipt of federal bailout money. Here’s a two-minute video recap from Cal-Matters on the budget.

November ballot The Secretary of State released the ballot measure that will be on the November ballot:
  • Proposition 14: Authorizes $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to fund grants from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 15: “Split roll” change to untether commercial property taxes from Proposition 13 protection from annual increases. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 16: Repeals Proposition 209 of 1996 (also known as the California Civil Rights Initiative or CCRI). (ACA 5 Webber)
  • Proposition 17: Constitutional amendment allowing felony parolees to vote. (ACA 6 McCarthy)
  • Proposition 18: Constitutional amendment allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primaries and special elections if they are 18 for the general election. (ACA4 Mullin)
  • Proposition 19: Constitutional amendment allowing elderly and disabled Californians, and wildfire victims, to retain lower property tax rates when they change properties. (ACA 11 Mullin)
  • Proposition 20: Rolls back sentencing and parole reforms enacted via Propositions 47 and 57. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 21: Removes statewide constraint on local governments enacting rent control. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 22: Allows gig tech companies like Uber and DoorDash to continue classifying their drivers/delivery people as independent contractors. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 23: Authorizes new regulation of kidney dialysis clinics, including staffing requirements. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 24: Expands California’s online consumer privacy law. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 25: Referendum to overturn California’s prohibition on cash bail. (Initiative)
There was an exciting political drama associated with ACA 11 (Prop 19). The California Association of Realtors qualified an initiative altering property taxation and then agreed to withdraw it to make way for a compromise constitutional amendment — but the group wrote Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office that it would only pull its prior measure on the condition that the Legislature passed ACA 11.

After an official in Padilla’s office acceded to that request, Assembly Speaker Rendon wrote to Padilla’s office that it had no authority to do so — and Rendon argued that the first measure had to remain on the ballot. Padilla sided with CAR over Rendon by removing a measure previously passed by the Realtors despite Rendon asserting he could not do so. Since then – at least two bills have been amended to outlaw the practice of “contingent withdrawal.”
And proving the adage that politics make strange bedfellows – a bill that exempts solar farms from the split-roll ballot initiative (Prop 15) won’t be heard until the Assembly returns from their well-deserved summer vacation in mid-July, with sources pointing to behind-the-scenes drama driving the delay.

AB 105 (Ting D-San Francisco) was “gut and amended” last week as an agreement between the solar industry and Prop 15 backers on how solar farms would be treated were voters to approve the initiative this fall. Despite being packaged with budget trailer bills, AB 105 didn’t advance as the Legislature moved fiscal measures to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. [As an aside – Assembly Member Ting is in a bit of a personal mess; see article]

Solar energy advocates warn they will reconsider supporting the marquee split-roll proposal if the “solar fix” bill isn’t passed quickly. Legislative sources that AB 105 stayed in the Legislature because the measure deals with policy issues, rather than fiscal ones and lawmakers generally wanted to keep the two separate. However, the measure became collateral in an unrelated dispute over the natural resources trailer bill, AB 92. The sources said Scott Wetch, a longtime labor lobbyist, threatened to kill the solar-related AB 105 if the resources bill, AB 92, kept language that reinforced the state’s permitting authority over energy projects that also require federal approval. One of those is the contested Eagle Mountain hydropower venture that would be built outside Joshua Tree National Park. The threat by Wetch didn’t end up affecting the resources trailer bill, however. The Assembly on Friday passed AB 92 with the permitting language still included, sending it to Newsom for his expected signature. AB 105, the solar fix to the split-roll initiative, was referred Friday to the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee, which hasn’t set a hearing on the bill. It will eventually have to clear the full Assembly before going to Newsom. The chamber returns from recess on July 13. An insider said solar farms would be harder to finance if AB 105 isn’t eventually passed, which in turn could make the solar industry change its position on supporting split-roll because the initiative’s current provisions would apply a tax hike to existing solar farms — which are already excluded from 1978’s Proposition 13 that split-roll backers want to reform. Solar advocates and split-roll supporters have previously agreed to exempt existing solar farms from the initiative’s tax hike.

On to measures moving:

AB 5 Fix

AB 1850 (Gonzalez D-San Diego) exempts from the “ABC test” for employment status certain occupations such as musicians, insurance inspectors and competition judges, appraisers, and certain master teachers. This bill also revises the freelancer exemption and recasts the exemption for referral agencies. Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3)

Apprenticeship
 
SB 795 (Beall D-San Jose) allocates $2 billion to several existing housing, homelessness, and pre-apprenticeship programs, as well as creating two new infrastructure financing programs at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz). Gives $8 million to union-sponsored construction pre-apprenticeship programs. Approved by Senate (Y:29 N:10 A:1)
 
Business Issues
 
AB 2471 (Maienschein RD-San Diego) provides senior citizens an additional two days to review, evaluate, and possibly rescind specific contracts (including home improvement contracts) that are associated with increased risk of unfair business practices. Approved by Assembly (Y:78 N:0 A:1)

AB 3254 (Limón D-Santa Barbara) requires that people who will be cosigning certain contracts, negotiated primarily in the Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, or Korean languages, receive translated copies of those contracts to review before they sign. Approved by Assembly (Y:75 N:0 A:4)

SB 939 (Wiener D-San Francisco) would have established, for all commercial tenants, a temporary moratorium on evictions for the duration of the COVID-19 related state of emergency, and a yearlong period in which to make up rental payments missed during that state of emergency. Died in Senate Appropriations Committee

CEQA
 
AB 3279 (Friedman D-Glendale) revises CEQA litigation procedures by (a) reducing the deadline for a court to commence hearings from one year to 270 days, (b) allowing a lead agency to decide whether a plaintiff prepares the administrative record, and (c) authorizing a court to issue an interlocutory remand. It is opposed by the Sierra Club and State Building and Construction Trades Council but was approved by Assembly (Y:64 N:2 A:13) Amendments are expected in the Senate.

SB 974 (Hurtado D-Sanger) Exempts from CEQA projects that primarily benefit a small disadvantaged community water system by improving the water system’s water quality, water supply, or water supply reliability; by encouraging water conservation; or by providing drinking water service to existing residences within a disadvantaged community where there is evidence of contaminated or depleted drinking water wells. It was larded up with State Building and Construction Trades Council language at the last minute. You can watch the floor presentation here. Senate approved (Y:33 N:6 A:1)

SB 995 (Atkins D-San Diego)Extends for four years the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (AB 900) until 2025. It makes housing projects that meet specific requirements, including specified affordable housing requirements, eligible for certification under the Act. Amended to appease BTs Passed by Senate 32:4:4 Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) who is in a tight race voiced support for CWTAs on the floor – video here. Senator John Moorlach spoke in opposition (Video here).

SB 899 (Wiener D-San Francisco) Provides that housing is a use by right on land owned on or before January 1, 2020, by a religious institution or nonprofit college if the development meets all of a variety of criteria. Passed by Senate 39:0:1 despite BT opposition (and advertising campaign that was pulled), Beall called Wiener out on the floor for not protecting workers (video here).

Labor Law
 
AB 1947 (Kalra D) Doubles, from 6 months to one year, the time in which a person who believes that they have been discharged or otherwise discriminated against to file a complaint with the DLSE. Also, AB 1947 overturns the existing balance by prohibiting an employer from recovering its attorney’s fees, which could create an incentive for more potentially frivolous litigation. Approved by Assembly (Y:46 N:23 A:10) (P)

AB 3075 (Gonzalez D) Allows interference with corporate formation based on arbitrary, unclear, and unfair standards. The bill would also result in chaotic and inconsistent enforcement of wage and hour laws by local jurisdictions by authorizing them to impose their wage payment requirements as long as they are “at least as stringent” as state law requirements. CalChamber “Job Killer.” Approved by Assembly (Y:53 N:19 A:7) (P)

AB 3216 (Kalra D) Provides for unlimited job-protected leave for all employees of employers of any size for family and medical leave due to COVID-19. This new mandate is in addition to numerous COVID-19 leave requirements recently enacted at the federal, state, and local levels. The bill creates additional burdens on California employers at a time they can least afford it. CalChamber “Job Killer.” Approved by Assembly (Y:44 N:17 A:18) (P)

Licensure
 
AB 2210 (Aguiar-Curry D) Allows the CSLB to discipline tree work contractors without serious injury and extends the time from 180 days to 18 months for CSLB to commence an action based upon an OSHA complaint. Sponsored by CSLB Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3) (P)

AB 2232 (Grayson D) Sponsored by CSLB - This bill requires the CSLB to grant retroactive license renewals if certain conditions are met. Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3) (P)

AB 3087 (Brough R-Dana Point) authorizes the CSLB to contract with a public or private organization to administer its licensing examinations and to contract for materials and services related to the exams. Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3)

SB 1189 (McGuire D) authorizes the B-2 Remodeling License, makes home improvement contract laws applicable to disaster rebuilds. CSLB sponsored. Approved by Senate (Y:39 N:0 A:1) (P)

PAGA
 
AB 2570 (Stone, Mark D) This bill will introduce private attorneys into tax enforcement by amending the False Claims Act (a legal tool applied outside the tax world) to also apply to tax statements. In short – PAGA for taxes. In addition to bringing in private attorneys, it will also create conflicts with existing tax law, which, for some reason, the author has simply refused to correct. This bill will lead to frivolous, abusive litigation targeted at successful California businesses, as has occurred with litigation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and California’s Proposition 65. Approved by Assembly (Y:44 N:20 A:15) (P)

Public Works
 
AB 2231 (Kalra D) This bill defines a public subsidy as “de minimis” to pay the prevailing wage in public works projects if the support is both less than $500,000 and less than 2% of the total project cost. For single-family homes, a public subsidy is de minimis if it is less than 2% of the total project cost. This standard will apply for bids advertised or contracts awarded after July 1, 2021. This bill is like AB 520 (Kalra), of the 2019-20 Legislative Session, which was vetoed by Governor Newsom. Approved by Assembly (Y:57 N:15 A:7) (P)

AB 2765 (O’Donnell D) This bill expands the definition of “public works” to include any construction, alteration, demolition, installation or repair work done under private contract on a project for a charter school when that project is paid for, in whole or in part, with the proceeds of conduit revenue bonds issued on or after January 1, 2021. AB 1613 (O’Donnell), of the 2019-20 Legislative Session, proposed language identical to this bill. The Governor vetoed the bill. Approved by Assembly (Y:61 N:15 A:3) (P)

STWF
 
AB 2311 (Low D) Public contracts: skilled and trained workforce requirement: notice. This bill requires a public entity to include in all documents and contracts a notification that a project is subject to the skilled-and-trained workforce requirement, when applicable. Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3) (P)

Taxes/Fees
 
AB 398 (Chu D) COVID-19 Local Government and School Recovery and Relief Act. Previously relating to visual and performing arts, it was gutted and amended May 27 to impose instead a $275-per-employee tax on companies that employ 500 or more workers who perform any part of their job duties within California. Revenue from the tax would go into the newly created COVID-19 Local Government and School Recovery and Relief Fund to be used by local jurisdictions and schools. Vote: Two-Thirds (Tax Increase)

Workforce Development
?
SB 1103 (Hurtado D) SB 1103 would (1) require the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) to establish and administer a supportive services program to provide grants to consortia that would provide supportive services necessary to enable low-income individuals to participate in High Road Training Partnership programs successfully, and (2) direct CWDB to develop additional High Road Training Partnerships programs to address the displacement of workers, including southern Central Valley farmworkers, and disconnected/at-risk youth. Approved by Senate (Y:32 N:4 A:4) (P)
Last Appeal Denied The Last Appeal statues of Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus in the Capitol Rotunda was removed last week, to be returned to the donor's descendants (if they want it). Now it will only be a memory of those of us who used to pitch pennies on the last night of session from the second floor, aiming to the Queen's crown. The CHP halted that practice several years ago as the Queen's crown was eroding. More
Read more >>


Thursday, July 02, 2020   An Inside Take on WECA's Online Apprenticeship This Summer

WECA's Apprenticeship program has had a significant ambassador this summer in longtime WECA Apprenticeship instructor Rick Mortensen.

Mortensen, based out of WECA's San Diego facility, came to WECA in 2011 after a successful thirty-plus year career in the electrical field—including a stint as owner of Active Power Electric. Mortensen initially started out as a Get Wired instructor, primarily teaching online, before pivoting over to the historically classroom-based Apprenticeship program.

As of late, he's taken his teaching back online—officially teaching Apprenticeship courses online due to the COVID-19 crisis, and dispensing advice and sharing resources on all things electrical via social media.

“I like to keep my Facebook and LinkedIn pages current [in regards to what I'm currently teaching],” says Mortensen. “When we have an event at WECA, such as adapting our curriculum delivery for online instruction, I will post on those sites. And all the instructors spend time online looking for resources to use in the classroom and to share with each other.”

Mortensen continues, stating that “It [teaching online] is different than teaching in a' brick and mortar' classroom. However, in past years I have benefited from training presented by Dan Bierly [the Get Wired Training Manager] in the Get Wired program. Input from other online and Apprenticeship instructors has been immeasurable to me, and the experience has been very gratifying.”

Despite the inherent challenges of teaching a hands-on profession to students online, Mortensen reports that the instructors are positive about the experience, and meet every couple of weeks to share their online teaching experiences. Additionally, the instruction team is in frequent contact online, posting useful documents, conversing, and sharing information.

“[To teach Apprenticeship online], preparation is key,” says Mortensen. “Review your material with an eye on how to modify your presentation. With distance learning, there is a need to make sure you are keeping the students engaged—ask direct questions, poll the classroom, and use breakout groups for group discussions and projects. And it's great to hear a student say “Hey, we missed break” because everyone was focused on a topic or project.”

Whatever Mortensen—and WECA's instructors as a whole—are doing must be working, because the reviews are in, and they're stellar all around.

“WECA has received many comments about the quality of our instruction, regardless of the platform,” says Mortensen. “I attribute that to two factors. One is that our curriculum is second to none—WECA is always updating, modifying it, and making it better. The second is the instructors—in the expanse that is career training, our instructors are shining lights in an otherwise black void of mediocre presentation. All members of the instructional team are dedicated to being the best, and all of us have been shown how to reach, stretch, and grow in ways that I personally did not know I was capable of.”

And when it comes to the students, Mortensen says that the students have adjusted to learning in an online format as well.

“Some are intent on learning, and others need to be nudged, while a few will try to use the distance learning to their advantage. It is really up to the instructor to set the environment in the virtual classroom as a place of learning, with the respect due in any setting where a group of individuals has gathered with a common goal: to learn. The students have—and should continue to—enjoy the experience,” says Mortensen.

So, how does Mortensen advise that students best prepare for success in a less-traditional classroom environment? He says that students should review reading material in advance, ask questions, have good equipment, and most of all, take their educations seriously.

“Learning is like a bank account,” says Mortensen. “You can only get out of it what you put in!”
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Thursday, July 02, 2020   Get Wired Instructional Team Holds Biannual Train-the-Trainer to Celebrate Successes

The COVID-19 crisis has completely reshaped our world as well as the WECA educational experience. However, WECA's dedicated instructors and advisers have met this challenge head-on and risen above and beyond—as was evident at June 27th's GetWired Advanced Train-the-Trainer Workshop (held via Zoom).

The biannual convening of instructors and the GetWired delivery team recognized WECA's GetWired instructors for their instrumental role in delivering traditionally hands-on lab instruction in an online format since March with as much clarity and as little disruption as possible.

During the three-hour virtual meeting, the team welcomed new instructors, lauded the success of WECA's new Live Online 2-Day Test Prep class, and discussed strategies for how to best conduct online and in-person learning safely moving forward, among other things. The meeting also featured delicious food delivered to participants courtesy of GrubHub—a welcome surprise to all!

Dan Bierly, the Get Wired Training Manager, reported that the meeting was “easy and engaging,” and that “all present were pretty positive and uplifting” despite the unique situations and unprecedented times in which WECA continues to deliver its education.

And Lead Electrician Trainee and Continuing Education instructor Galen Eckert also noted that “Everyone was in good spirits—we had a lot of input and engagement from instructors. Instructors continually brought up questions and provided answers regarding teaching labs online and being prepared for class. It was nice to see instructors talking to each other, offering support, and answering each other's questions.”

All in all, WECA's first-ever fully-virtual Train the Trainer Get Wired meeting was a success! Thank you, all, for dedicating yourselves (and spending your Saturday!) to ensure that WECA's Get Wired students continue to receive the best education possible, even in extraordinary circumstances.
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Thursday, July 02, 2020   Learn: Project Management in the Time of Crises, Part 1

A weekly, 4-week, 8-hour, live, video class taught by Kirk Alter of Fast Management, Inc. & Purdue University

July 15-Aug 5

Offered at a discount for WECA Member Contractors through our educational partner IEC-Chesapeake
 
Download flyer: Project Management in the Time of Crises, Part 1

More information and registration

Plus, WECA Member Contractors get a substantial, 25% off discount! Access your discount code by logging into your secure member dashboard on WECA's website here. Scroll to the "Member Benefits and Discounts- Code and Details" section as shown below to access the discount code.
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Thursday, July 02, 2020   A Reminder to our Member Contractors to Stay Vigilant about Construction Safety

Let's continue to show the industry how it's done

As California officials reimpose shutdowns on segments of the economy, contractors need to be ever vigilant, as this news clip from the Bay Area points out. "Santa Clara County public health officials now say a third of the county's 89 workplace-related outbreaks since May 4 have come from construction sites.

The City of San Diego Development Services Department issued a public notice on June 12, 2020 that included updates for the construction industry - click here to read the public notice.
 
The Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan has been revised to reflect recent changes with updates highlighted in yellow. 
http://www.agcsd.org/pdf/ConstructionIndustry_ExposurePrevention_Plan.v2.3noted.pdf

We know how seriously WECA Member Contractors are about prioritizing safety. Let's all continue to show the industry how it's done.

As a reminder--we'd love to see your safe jobsite photos and hear about your successful project completions during this difficult time. Please send us pictures and stories at communications@goweca.com.
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Thursday, July 02, 2020   What Does Construction Safety Look Like Post-Pandemic?

Find Out With Construction Dive's Podcasts

Content courtesy of Construction Dive:

The coronavirus has changed how construction professionals view safety. With new jobsite demands like social distancing, health checks and remote work, construction companies must determine how to proceed in their new normal. Construction Dive's podcast, "Safe and Sound," takes a closer look at construction safety and how construction professionals will need to evolve to manage jobs as they come out of the pandemic.

Hear from industry experts in our latest episodes:

Episode 4: What Does Construction Safety Look Like Post Pandemic?

Episode 3: Global Construction Leadership During Coronavirus

Episode 2: Jobsite Safety and Technology During the Pandemic

Episode 1: What North American Companies Can Learn From Global Contractors to Improve Safety Standards Locally
Read more >>


Thursday, July 02, 2020   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

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

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


Thursday, June 25, 2020   WECA Political Update June 25, 2020

Face Covering Update On June 18, the California Department of Public Health released updated guidance that requires Californians to wear a face-covering in high-risk settings. The direction mandates the use of cloth face coverings by the general public statewide when outside the home, with limited exceptions. 

Pertaining to work, workers must wear face coverings when they are in the situations listed below:
  • Interacting in-person with any member of the public;
  • Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;
  • Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;
  • Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;
  • In any room or an enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance.
The following individuals are exempt from wearing a face-covering:
  • Persons who are engaged in outdoor work or recreation such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, when alone or with household members, and when they can maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.
At present, this new guidance doesn’t impact the current industry-specific guidance covered in the Construction Industry COVID-19 Exposure Response and Prevention Plan developed by San Diego Construction Associations.

California Bill Update

B-2 Residential Remodeling Contractor SB 1189 (McGuire D- Healdsburg) creates a residential remodeling contracting classification, the B-2 Residential Remodeling Contractor, as a recognized branch of the general building contracting profession. WECA is seeking an amendment to require that electrical work performed by the B-2 be done by a certified electrician. The bill was passed by the Senate and will be considered in the Assembly in July.

CEQA We talked about SB 995 (Atkins D-San Diego) last time. It extends for four years the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (AB 900) until 2025. It makes housing projects that meet specific requirements, including affordable housing requirements, eligible for certification under the Act. The bill had been opposed by State Building and Construction Trades Council, who testified in support of the bill in committee – now we know why. Atkins agreed to include the BT’s “suitcase of amendments” that include:
  • Similar STWF unless there is a PLA
  • Requires PW payments on any project - even if it is not a PW
  • Requires all contractors and subcontractors to maintain and verify payroll records under Labor code unless there is a PLA
  • It allows payment of less than the PW hourly wage if subject to a CBA
  • Create new penalties for failing to meet STWF ratios of $10,000 per month and $200 per day per employee - which penalties do not apply if a PLA is in place. As you may recall – AB 3018 from 2018 created a penalty of $5,000 for a first offense - not sure why there is a new penalty in 974 - when there is one in existing law.
Another CEQA bill is SB 974 (Hurtado D-Spanger) that exempts from CEQA specific water infrastructure projects for small disadvantaged community water systems that improve the water system’s water quality, water supply, or water reliability. The BTs opposed the bill, and Hurtado made changes on June 18, like SB 995. These will surely make it easier and more affordable to provide clean water for small disadvantaged communities.

Skilled and Trained Workforce AB 2311 (Low D- Campbell) requires a public entity to include in all documents and contracts a notice that a project is subject to the skilled-and-trained workforce requirement. The State Building and Construction Trades Council rejected WECA’s request for indemnity language. The bill is in the Senate Labor Committee.

Family Leave Senators are poised to approve a job-protected family leave proposal backed by Gov. Newsom that was inserted late Tuesday into a gutted policy bill as part of the budget process. SB 1383 (Jackson D – Santa Barbara) would give all employees who are eligible for the state’s Paid Family Leave Program up to 12 weeks over 12 months to care for themselves, a new child, or a seriously ill spouse or domestic partner, sibling, grandparent or grandchild, mirroring Newsom’s January budget proposal. The bill would take effect in January. The California Chamber of Commerce opposes the measure. On Wednesday, the group added SB 1383 to its feared list of “Job Killer” bills, saying it was the wrong time to place new burdens on small businesses struggling to avoid shutting permanently because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

November Election

After hours of debate in which lawmakers repeatedly invoked the imperative to move closer to racial equality and invoked prejudice they had faced in their own lives, the Senate passed ACA 5 (Weber D – San Diego) on a 30-10 vote. If passed by voters, the measure would overturn Proposition 209, the 1996 voter-passed initiative that prohibited race as a factor in admissions policies for universities and government hiring and contracting decisions. Several Chinese American groups oppose reinstating affirmative action, arguing it would discriminate against Asian Americans, who are currently over-represented in both the CSU and UC systems. State Sen. Ling Ling Chang, a Diamond Bar Republican: “The answer to discrimination is not more discrimination.” Voters will have the final say in November. Fifty-five percent voted to pass 209 in 1996. [Politico & CalMatters]

California voters will also decide whether to let parolees vote. ACA 6 (McCarty D-Sacramento) was a priority of the California Legislative Black Caucus and of civil rights groups who said it would restore basic rights to people who have served their debt to society through incarceration. California law currently requires people to finish their parole terms before they can register to vote. The Senate passed the measure on a 28-9 vote that was largely along party lines, with Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Simi Valley) the sole Republican vote in favor. The parole measure is promoted by 31-year-old Esteban Núñez, son of a former Speaker of the California Assembly. He was convicted for his role in the 2008 killing of 22-year-old college student Luis Santos. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2011 reduced Núñez’s sentence from 16 years to seven, a decision that angered Santos’ parents and others who said Núñez’s political connections allowed him to circumvent justice. Núñez now works for a criminal justice nonprofit, advocating for bills like ACA 6 to help give the incarcerated a second chance.

Several other Legislative efforts will probably end up on the ballot. But as Joel Fox points out in Fox&Hounds, “the Democratic majority in the Legislature is at it again, attempting to manipulate election rules to favor a desired outcome with voters. It has happened a number of times in the last decade. The current effort is SB 300 by Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) to place all constitutional amendments passed by the Legislature in the coming days on the November ballot where the majority feels they have a higher chance for success. Under current law, any measure that qualified after 131 days before the election would appear in the next election, June 2022 ballot.”
Ask Richard
Richard Markuson
WECA Government Affairs Advocate, Pacific Advocacy Group
Have questions or concerns?

?Ask Richard!
Dear WECA supporter,

It is our pleasure to provide you with this bi-weekly political update from WECA. Please feel free to contact WECA at (877) 444-9322 or info@goweca.com for more details about any of the articles included in this political update.
 
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About WECA

WECA is California's premier independent electrical contractors' association. We provide innovative training and education programs, critical business services, and responsive customer support to surpass the needs of our members and students. We are California state approved, and our top-quality electrical training has found a nationwide audience. For over 90 years, we have been training the next generation of electricians, and advocating for and protecting fair and open competition in the electrical industry.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2020   Even in Difficult Times, Becoming an Electrician or Low Voltage Technician is Still a Safe Bet

2020 has been an unprecedented year for the electrical and construction industries in California due to the COVID-19 emergency, Governor Newsom's Executive Order N-33-20, and confusion stemming from differing information regarding how the industries could—or could not—operate.

However, there are two things that this crisis has shown. The electrical and construction industries are resilient, and electricians, low voltage technicians, and solar technicians are essential and in high demand—and as such, command salaries significantly above or on par with the national average across all occupations, and enjoy excellent benefits.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2019 that the annual mean wage across all occupations in the United States was $53,490 per year. Meanwhile, electricians nationwide can expect to make an average of $60,730 per year, with electricians in California making $65,377 per year on average. As for low voltage technicians--using fire alarm and security installers as an example--the national average is $50,210 per year, with those in California making $52,374 per year.
But that's not the only good news. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the projected career growth for electricians nationwide from 2018 to 2028 will be 10 percent (faster than average), while the employment of fire alarms and security installers (as an example of low voltage technician growth) is estimated to grow 13 percent from 2014 to 2024—also faster than average.
What's more, the construction industry in California actually added jobs in May, despite the COVID-19 emergency and statewide shutdowns. According to the Associated Press, California's construction industry added 75,000 jobs in May, largely due to “restaurants and other businesses in need of repairs before reopening". Read the rest of the article here. So, while the industry and the economy as a whole are not yet 'out of the woods', so to speak, the statistics offer a glimpse of hope and stability for the future.

Apply for one of WECA's apprenticeship programs or register to start your education with the electrician trainee certificate program (no waiting!)--both are viable educational paths to gaining certification in California.
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 24, 2020   Summer 2020 Updates to Online Courses; Effective Until Sept. 30

Please review the information below for changes to upcoming onsite lab scheduling and in-person classroom courses, in response to COVID-19 in California.

The good news for Electrician Trainees and Journeyperson Continuing Education Students enrolled in our programs is that most of our class delivery is already online. Online classes will continue to be delivered as scheduled with no interruption, including all evening GetWired classes. Our entire summer catalog is online and available for enrollment here. Alternate arrangements are offered for onsite lab days; please read below for details specific to your course.

For those students currently enrolled in a GetWired class with a lab date from now through the end of Session 3 (September 30, 2020):
  • Your lab will be conducted entirely online.
  • Your lab date will remain identical. Your lab time may shift from afternoon to morning, or vice versa. Please watch your email for further details.
  • WECA will send you confirmation of your login instructions for your online lab.
For those students interested in Two Day Exam Prep, we are currently offering a Live Online Two Day Exam Prep rather than the classroom version; this course uses the same curriculum as our ongoing popular course, but is held in a live, online, instructor-led format across two Saturdays.
  •  Live Online Two Day Exam Prep, 16 hours (July 18th and 25th; open for enrollment)
  • You may also consider GetWired 404 Exam Prep. (GetWired 404 is 42 hours, entirely online and led by a live instructor, and delves even more deeply into preparation for the State certification exam).
The situation around COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and WECA's delivery plans are subject to further modifications based upon subsequent guidance from authorities. We're glad to be able to deliver our regularly-scheduled online classes without interruption. Please follow WECA's communications closely for further updates, as we will do our best to rapidly communicate any further changes to you. Thank you for your patience and solidarity as we all work together to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our community.
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 24, 2020   Live Online 2-Day Exam Preparation Lets You Study at Your Own Pace

Seats Going Fast -- Register Today for July!

Many students are eager to prepare to take their certification exam--especially now that many of PSI's testing centers across California have reopened for appointments--and WECA wants to meet that need. In order to do so safely and easily in this era of physical distancing due to COVID-19, WECA has taken its popular 2-Day Exam Prep class online! 

Live Online Two Day Exam Preparation is an online, instructor-led, fast-paced code study course focused on using the Code book in preparation for the State Certification exam. 

In this class, enrollees meet with their instructor and fellow students over Zoom for two subsequent Saturdays. Students enjoy not only excellent, personalized instruction and the opportunity to get questions answered, but also a ton of practice with simulated exam quizzing.

This course is meant to be a refresher course for individuals otherwise ready to take the General or Residential Certification 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. 

The next instance of this online, instructor-led course will run on two subsequent Saturdays, July 18th and 25th. Learn more and secure a seat for yourself or an employee. As always, be sure to take advantage of WECA member discounts for your employees! (Give us a call if you're using a member discount for the first time, to make sure you're maximizing this benefit. Your employees can get a discount even if they're paying for themselves.)

Students who want a more comprehensive exam preparation experience are encouraged to enroll in WECA's GetWired! 404 Test Prep, consisting of 42 instructor-led hours, also all online.
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 24, 2020   Watch: Mike Rowe Delivers an Unsolicited Commencement Speech Delivered at the Height of the Plague

An Unsolicited Commencement Speech Delivered at the Height of the Plague
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 24, 2020   Online VDV and FLS technician certification exam prep courses let you study at your own pace

Fully Code-and-text updated for current exams!
Individuals planning to take California's Voice Data Video (VDV) or Fire Life Safety (FLS) technician certification exams can get prepared with WECA's interactive and self-paced online exam prep courses, 32-Hour VDV Exam Prep and 32-Hour FLS Exam Prep -- both fully Code-updated for the current exam.

Fire Life Safety Exam Preparation (32 Hour Course)(2017 Code Edition)

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.
Click here to learn more and enroll!

Voice Data Video Exam Preparation (32 hour course)(2017 Code Edition)

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 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.
Click here to learn more and enroll!
Read more >>


Thursday, June 18, 2020   Construction Jobs Rebound in May, Recoup Half of Huge April Losses

Content Courtesy of Engineering News-Record

By: Tom Ichniowski

Construction employment bounced back strongly in May from April’s mammoth losses, adding 464,000 jobs during the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.

The bureau’s latest monthly employment report, released on June 5, also shows that construction's unemployment rate improved, but still stands at a worrisome 12.7%.

Construction's added jobs contributed to a surprisingly large 2.5 million increase in overall employment in May.

Construction economists viewed the numbers as positive news but cautioned that economic clouds could gather down the road.

The BLS report indicates that construction’s April jobs numbers were even worse than the bureau initially estimated. In its new report, BLS revised the industry’s April job losses downward by 20,000, to 995,000. That reflects the sharp downturn in the economy from the coronavirus.

The jobs added in May recoup 47% of the April losses.

Moreover, construction’s May jobs gains were significant across all industry sectors.

The specialty trade contractors segment led the way, adding 325,300 positions.

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


Thursday, June 18, 2020   Is It Safe to Bring Employees Back to Work Following the COVID-19 Crisis?

Content Courtesy of WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

By: Ian B. Sangster


As businesses continue preparing to reopen, many employers share the same concern—what actions can employers take to provide a workplace that is safe from COVID-19?

Because the virus is primarily spread from person to person, preventing people who may be infected from entering the worksite is one of the most effective tools an employer can use to promote the safety and wellbeing of its employees. To that end, the EEOC has confirmed that employers may screen employees who physically enter the workplace by asking if they have COVID-19 or symptoms associated with COVID-19 (e.g., cough, sore throat, fever, chills, and shortness of breath). Employees with COVID-19 or who exhibit symptoms associated with COVID-19 may be excluded from physically entering the workplace because their presence would pose a direct threat to the health and safety of other employees.

Employers in search of more concrete answers also have other tools at their disposal.

Temperature Checks

Under normal circumstances, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits subjecting employees to medical examinations unless they are job-related and consistent with business necessity. Generally, a medical examination of an employee is job-related and consistent with business necessity when an employer has a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that an employee’s ability to perform essential job functions will be impaired by a medical condition. However, given the significant risk of substantial harm posed by the presence of an infected employee to the health and safety of other employees sharing the same workplace, employers may also measure employee’s body temperatures.

To read more, click here.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 18, 2020   Updates to GetWired Lab Scheduling and Trainee/Journeyperson Courses; Effective Until Sept. 30

Please review the information below for changes to upcoming onsite lab scheduling and in-person classroom courses, in response to COVID-19 in California.

The good news for Electrician Trainees and Journeyperson Continuing Education Students enrolled in our programs is that most of our class delivery is already online. Online classes will continue to be delivered as scheduled with no interruption, including all evening GetWired classes. Our entire summer catalog is online and available for enrollment here. Alternate arrangements are offered for onsite lab days; please read below for details specific to your course.

For those students currently enrolled in a GetWired class with a lab date from now through the end of Session 3 (September 30, 2020):
  • Your lab will be conducted entirely online.
  • Your lab date will remain identical. Your lab time may shift from afternoon to morning, or vice versa. Please watch your email for further details.
  • WECA will send you confirmation of your login instructions for your online lab.


For those students interested in Two Day Exam Prep, we are currently offering a Live Online Two Day Exam Prep rather than the classroom version; this course uses the same curriculum as our ongoing popular course, but is held in a live, online, instructor-led format across two Saturdays.
  •  Live Online Two Day Exam Prep, 16 hours (July 18th and 25th; open for enrollment)
  • You may also consider GetWired 404 Exam Prep. (GetWired 404 is 42 hours, entirely online and led by a live instructor, and delves even more deeply into preparation for the State certification exam).
The situation around COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and WECA's delivery plans are subject to further modifications based upon subsequent guidance from authorities. We're glad to be able to deliver our regularly-scheduled online classes without interruption. Please follow WECA's communications closely for further updates, as we will do our best to rapidly communicate any further changes to you. Thank you for your patience and solidarity as we all work together to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our community.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 18, 2020   Live Online 2-Day Exam Preparation Lets You Study at Your Own Pace

Seats Going Fast -- Our June Class is Full.
?Register Your Employees Today for July!

Many students are eager to prepare to take their certification exam--especially now that many of PSI's testing centers across California have reopened for appointments--and WECA wants to meet that need. In order to do so safely and easily in this era of physical distancing due to COVID-19, WECA has taken its popular 2-Day Exam Prep class online! 

Live Online Two Day Exam Preparation is an online, instructor-led, fast-paced code study course focused on using the Code book in preparation for the State Certification exam. 

In this class, enrollees meet with their instructor and fellow students over Zoom for two subsequent Saturdays. Students enjoy not only excellent, personalized instruction and the opportunity to get questions answered, but also a ton of practice with simulated exam quizzing.

This course is meant to be a refresher course for individuals otherwise ready to take the General or Residential Certification 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. 

The next instance of this online, instructor-led course will run on two subsequent Saturdays, July 18th and 25th. Learn more and secure a seat for yourself or an employee. As always, be sure to take advantage of WECA member discounts for your employees! (Give us a call if you're using a member discount for the first time, to make sure you're maximizing this benefit. Your employees can get a discount even if they're paying for themselves.)

Students who want a more comprehensive exam preparation experience are encouraged to enroll in WECA's GetWired! 404 Test Prep, consisting of 42 instructor-led hours, also all online.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 18, 2020   Online VDV/FLS technician certification exam prep lets you study at your convenience

Fully Code-and-text updated for current exams!
 
Individuals planning to take California's Voice Data Video (VDV) or Fire Life Safety (FLS) technician certification exams can get prepared with WECA's interactive and self-paced online exam prep courses, 32-Hour VDV Exam Prep and 32-Hour FLS Exam Prep -- both fully Code-updated for the current exam.

Fire Life Safety Exam Preparation (32 Hour Course)(2017 Code Edition)

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.

Click here to learn more and enroll!

Voice Data Video Exam Preparation (32 hour course)(2017 Code Edition)

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 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.

Click here to learn more and enroll!
Read more >>


Thursday, June 18, 2020   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

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

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