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Thursday, November 07, 2019   Alumni David Moore Competes and Instructor LaKeal Morris Judges at IDEAL National Championships


We've got some exciting news for you all! Our Commercial Apprenticeship Instructor, LaKeal Morris (above left), and 2019 Commercial Apprenticeship graduate--and current Bergelectric electrician--David S. Moore (above right) are representing us on the national stage this weekend at the IDEAL National Championships at Walt Disney World.
 
Morris is on the panel of judges, while Moore is competing for the title of 'best electrician in North America'. 

Morris--who is in his third year of judging this event--says that the event has gotten better each year, stating that "it is cool that a company like Ideal, a known contributor to this trade, could harness the competitive nature of all these electricians to culminate for one weekend at Walt Disney World. We race for lunch,
beer, and even pay checks at the end of the week just to be known as the fastest or even simply
'the best'. It's nice that I get to judge it."


Meanwhile, Moore is representing the state of California at the Championships for the third year in a row. His 2019 time of 0:50:47 seconds was the fastest in the state of California, and we wish him the 
best of luck in replicating--or even beating--his own personal best this weekend. 

We are proud of you both, LaKeal and David! Thank you to both of you for exemplifying what we--as well as our Member Contractors--already know: WECA and its Member Contractors produce California's finest electricians and low voltage technicians!

Want to get in on the action? Stay tuned for updates from LaKeal on our social media channels (links at the bottom of this communication) or download the IDEAL National Championships app in the App Store or on Google Play to stay up-to-date. 
 
Read more >>


Thursday, November 07, 2019   California Apprenticeship Council Spotlights WECA Commercial Apprentice Nelson Caro

Content courtesy of: California Apprenticeship Council and Division of Apprenticeship Standards

From the article: "I am Nelson Caro, a fifth-year WECA commercial Apprentice and veteran of the United States Marine Corps. I served as a sergeant and an intermediate level hydraulics/pneumatic technician for FA-18s and KC-130s. I served two tours in Iraq, one in Iwakuni, Japan, and one in Bahrain and Syria-all before applying for WECA's Commercial Apprenticeship program. 

I've found success in WECA's Apprenticeship program in a few ways. First, you should ask as many questions as possible. The instructors are very knowledgeable and have no issues at all answering your questions. Second, discuss the topics with fellow classmates. Since not everyone learns the same way, it helps to get other points of view to get a better understanding of certain subjects. Last would be the labs. Having labs that show things like conduit bending, or properly connecting motors circuits etc. are very helpful.

To read the rest of the California Apprenticeship Council's Spotlight on Nelson and his story, click here
Read more >>


Thursday, November 07, 2019   Do You Have Prospective Apprentices? WECA's National Apprenticeship Week Open Houses This Weekend

Next week is National Apprenticeship Week (NAW), and in observance of NAW, we're hosting two open houses! The first will take place at our Rancho Cordova HQ on November 11th, and the second will take place at our San Diego training facility on November 12th. This is a great chance for your prospective apprentices to come see what's going on behind the scenes at WECA and decide if this is the right career path for them. Make sure they don't miss out--so have them register at the links below today! 
 

Click here to learn more about and register to attend our NorCal open house at our Sacramento-area headquarters in Rancho Cordova

Click here to learn more about and register to attend our SoCal open house at our San Diego training facility
Read more >>


Thursday, November 07, 2019   WECEF's 2020 Scholarship Opportunity is Available Now--Share with Your Employees!

wecef

The Western Electrical Contractors Education Foundation (WECEF) is pleased to announce it is again offering a scholarship program for students enrolled as an Apprentice, Electrician Trainee, or a Journeyman taking continuing education courses with WECA.

The WECEF Scholarship is intended to assist students whose career pursuits are in the electrical or low voltage fields and to help them in continuing their education with WECA.

Scholarships will be awarded in amounts ranging from $200 to $500 per successful applicant and are to be used for the cost of books, tools, fees, and/or tuition.

Awarded scholarships are at the sole discretion of the WECEF Board of Directors and contingent upon the applicant's ability to meet the eligibility and application requirements noted in the application form.

Apprentices and students can learn more and download the application form at the following link, or contact 877-444-9322 for more information.

Download scholarship application here

Application deadline:
Applications and all required documents must be received by 5:00 PM on January 13, 2020.

Email all materials to lsipes@goweca.com.

OR

Mail to:

WECEF Scholarship Program
3695 Bleckely Street
Mather Commerce Center
Rancho Cordova, CA 95655
 
Read more >>


Thursday, October 24, 2019   2019 Career Tech Expo Recap: the Future (of the Electrical Industry) is Female

On Thursday, October 17th, we--along with Member Contractors Sebastian Corp.and Electrical Power Source--made our annual visit to the Career Tech Expo in Fresno and shared the benefits of a career in construction as an electrician with upwards of 3,000 potential apprentices and their parents!

And Sebastian brought a familiar face from last year's Career Tech Expo--current WECA Low Voltage apprentice and Sebastian employee Alondra Mora! It was wonderful to see Alondra again, and see how far she's come since being a prospective apprentice at this very expo last year! What's more is that Electrical Power Source--pictured below--is also a female-owned electrical contracting company, with President Beatrice Pino at the helm. 

Way to go--thank you, Alondra and Beatrice, for representing women in construction and showing that it's never been a better time to be a female in the construction and electrical industries! 
 
 
 
Read more >>


Thursday, October 24, 2019   Saturdays in the WECA Labs

Fall is here, and our Electrician Trainees and Journeymen are engaging in hands-on learning at WECA's Saturday labs--like Basic Motor Controls 1 (where they gain experience building control circuits for motors, and learn the basics of motor controls), and GetWired! 103 (where they learn to install lighting branch-circuits in residences, while exploring NEC requirements for safe installations and standard industry practices).
 
 
 
 
 
Read more >>


Thursday, October 24, 2019   Recording a Mechanics Lien? Hold Your Horses!

By: Sharice Marootian of Abdulaziz, Grossbart & Rudman

We have all heard of mechanic's liens being invalid when they are recorded after the statutory deadline (generally, 90 days from completion of the work, with certain exceptions). But did you know that your mechanic's lien can also be deemed invalid if it recorded too early? 

That was exactly the outcome in a recent California Court of Appeal case entitled 
Precision Framing Systems, Inc. v. Henry Luzuriaga. In this case, Henry and Deborah Luzuriaga undertook to construct a veterinary hospital. They hired a general contractor and architect. The general contractor then hired Precision Framing Systems, Inc. ("Precision") as the framing subcontractor. Precision contracted with Inland Empire Truss, Inc. ("Inland") for design and fabrication of the trusses. Although Inland contracted solely with Precision and invoiced Precision, it was paid directly by the construction lender.

The chronology of events is important in this case. Therefore, I will bullet point them:
  • July 24, 2013: Precision started work on framing
  • July 29, 2013: Inland delivered the trusses
  • August 2, 2013: Precision began installing the trusses
  • August 7, 2013: City issued a correction notice relating to the trusses 
  • August 14, 2013: Precision notified Inland that the trusses were defective
  • Later in August 2013: Inland carried out repairs to the trusses
  • December 9, 2013: City issued a second correction notice relating to the trusses
  • December 23, 2013:General contractor and Precision's superintendent walked the project
To read more, click here. 
Read more >>


Thursday, October 24, 2019   A Round of Applause for Member Contractors Helix Electric, Inc., Power Design, Inc., & Bergelectric


Please join us in congratulating WECA Member Contractors Helix Electric, Inc.Power Design, Inc., and Bergelectric for being named to Engineering News-Record's Top 50 Firms in Electrical! You make us all proud--keep up the outstanding work!
Read more >>


Thursday, October 24, 2019   Behind the Scenes at WECA: Checking Out the Latest in Curriculum Development and eLearning


Members of WECA's Curriculum Development team (L to R: Tom Thompson-Curriculum Development Manager; Maris Kaplan-Curriculum Project Coordinator; and Sadie Moua-Instructional Designer) are at the CBExchange from C-BEN (Competency-based Education Network) in Palm Desert, CA, this week. WECA's Apprenticeship programs are at the forefront of competency-based education for the trades, but that's no reason to rest on our laurels!
 

Meanwhile, WECA's Curriculum Production and eLearning Specialist, Rebecca Archer, is at the DevLearn 2019 Conference and Expo in Las Vegas this week. We pride ourselves on continually integrating the latest in eLearning technologies into our state-of-the-art labs and top-notch curriculum, but there's always more to see, learn, experience, and integrate when it comes to the rapidly-evolving world of learning technologies! 
Read more >>


Thursday, October 24, 2019   WECEF Announces 2020 Scholarship Opportunity--Share with Your Employees!

wecef

The Western Electrical Contractors Education Foundation (WECEF) is pleased to announce it is again offering a scholarship program for students enrolled as an Apprentice, Electrician Trainee, or a Journeyman taking continuing education courses with WECA.

The WECEF Scholarship is intended to assist students whose career pursuits are in the electrical or low voltage fields and to help them in continuing their education with WECA.

Scholarships will be awarded in amounts ranging from $200 to $500 per successful applicant and are to be used for the cost of books, tools, fees, and/or tuition.

Awarded scholarships are at the sole discretion of the WECEF Board of Directors and contingent upon the applicant's ability to meet the eligibility and application requirements noted in the application form.

Apprentices and students can learn more and download the application form at the following link, or contact 877-444-9322 for more information.

Download scholarship application here


Application deadline:
Applications and all required documents must be received by 5:00 PM on January 13, 2020.

Email all materials to lsipes@goweca.com.

OR

Mail to:

WECEF Scholarship Program
3695 Bleckely Street
Mather Commerce Center
Rancho Cordova, CA 95655
Read more >>


Wednesday, October 23, 2019   WECA's Hiring! Seeking Part-Time Instructors for Nights and Weekends

Keep Your Skills Sharp While Earning Extra Money with the Perfect Side Gig hiring
 

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

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

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

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


Wednesday, October 23, 2019   Saturdays in the WECA Labs

Fall is here, and our Electrician Trainees and Journeymen are engaging in hands-on learning at WECA's Saturday labs--like Basic Motor Controls 1 (where they gain experience building control circuits for motors, and learn the basics of motor controls), and GetWired! 103 (where they learn to install lighting branch-circuits in residences, while exploring NEC requirements for safe installations and standard industry practices). 
 
 
 
 
 
Read more >>


Wednesday, October 23, 2019   The Western Electrical Contractors Education Foundation (WECEF) Announces Scholarship Opportunity!

wecef

The Western Electrical Contractors Education Foundation (WECEF) is pleased to announce it is again offering a scholarship program for students enrolled as an Apprentice, Electrician Trainee, or a Journeyman taking continuing education courses with WECA.

The WECEF Scholarship is intended to assist students whose career pursuits are in the electrical or low voltage fields and to help them in continuing their education with WECA.

Scholarships will be awarded in amounts ranging from $200 to $500 per successful applicant and are to be used for the cost of books, tools, fees, and/or tuition.

Awarded scholarships are at the sole discretion of the WECEF Board of Directors and contingent upon the applicant's ability to meet the eligibility and application requirements noted in the application form.

Apprentices and students can learn more and download the application form at the following link, or contact 877-444-9322 for more information.

Download scholarship application here

Application Deadline: 
Applications and all required documents must be received by 5:00 PM on January 13, 2020. 

Email all materials to lsipes@goweca.com
OR
 
Mail to: 
WECEF Scholarship Program
3695 Bleckeley Street
Mather Commerce Center

Rancho Cordova, CA 95655
Read more >>


Wednesday, October 23, 2019   It's That Time of Year Again--Commercial Apprentice Open Enrollment Underway from Oct. 15 - Nov. 6

WECA's annual open enrollment period for Commercial Apprentices is taking place from October 15 - November 6changes will become effective on December 1

If you are adding a dependent(s) to your group health plans, please return your completed enrollment form to WECA's Sacramento/Rancho Cordova headquarters no later than Nov. 6.

If you are NOT making any changes to your existing coverage, there is nothing for you to do. 

To learn more, please log in with your WECA ID and password to view the 2019-2020 Benefit Summary, and Annual Notices.

If you 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 >>


Wednesday, October 23, 2019   Behind the Scenes at WECA: Checking Out the Latest in Curriculum Development and eLearning

 

Members of WECA's Curriculum Development team (L to R: Tom Thompson-Curriculum Development Manager; Maris Kaplan-Curriculum Project Coordinator; and Sadie Moua-Instructional Designer) are at the CBExchance from C-BEN (Competency-based Education Network) in Palm Desert, CA, this week. WECA's Apprenticeship programs are at the forefront of competency-based education for the trades, but that's no reason to rest on our laurels! 
 
 

Meanwhile, WECA's Curriculum Production and eLearning Specialist, Rebecca Archer, is at the DevLearn 2019 Conference and Expo in Las Vegas this week. We pride ourselves on continually integrating the latest in eLearning technologies into our state-of-the-art labs and top-notch curriculum, but there's always more to see, learn, experience, and integrate when it comes to the rapidly-evolving world of learning technologies! 
Read more >>


Thursday, October 17, 2019   Legislative Year in Review

 

Richard Markuson

With the 2019 California Legislative Session concluded, here is a comparison to the last Session, and an overview of how many bills Governor Newsom signed and vetoed compared with the last two-year session under Governor Brown.
 
Bills introduced in the 2019 Session: 2,625. Of these, 870 bills were signed into law and 172 bills (16.5 percent) were vetoed.
 
Bills introduced in the 2017-18 Session: 4,775. Of these, 1,875 were signed into law and 319 bills (14.5 percent) were vetoed.
 
Thus, in Newsom's first year in office, his veto rate was slightly above Brown's veto rate in his last two years in office (but close to his 16-year average).
 
But the big question is - does California need 870 statutory changes every year? I'll let you be the judge.
 
Now let's look at a few bills Governor Newson signed - and vetoed.
 
He vetoed the one CEQA bill that wasn't part of a union-approved sports arena deal. AB 394 (Obernolte - R) that would have exempted from CEQA "an egress route project specifically recommended by the State Board of Forestry and Fire Protection that improves fire safety of an existing residential subdivision if specified conditions are met." It had no opposition and only one "no" vote in the Assembly, but Newsom said "the CEQA exemption provided in this bill is premature and may result in unintended consequences." Yeah - like people trying to get out of a fire zone when the only road is blocked! Does the fact that Obernolte, in addition to being a Republican, is also a candidate for Congress in 2020 have anything to do with the veto?
 
But he also vetoed AB 520 (Kalra - D) that would have set the threshold of public support for public works application at $500,000. This was a BIG defeat for the State Building and Construction Trades Council. Newsom - who is in a bit of a tiff with the trades - said "While I steadfastly support prevailing wage law, I am concerned that the restrictive nature of this law may have unintended consequences. Further, there is nothing to suggest that the longstanding administrative practice of considering the public subsidy in the context of the project and using two percent as a general threshold is insufficient."
 
In reply, Robbie Hunter said (in part), "National politics provides us a cautionary tale of what happens when the working class is forgotten by candidates who are steeped in the ambitions of unrequited presidential aspirations. California could, and should, do better for workers and their families." The trades have also been running a social media campaign that blames Newsom for recent worker deaths because of a delay in appointments to the OSHA standards board.
 
Several measures that would have changed or expanded Skilled and Trained Workforce died or were delayed in the Legislature.
 
AB 168 (Aguiar-Curry - D) would have amended SB 35 of last year that authorizes a development proponent to submit an application for a multifamily housing development that is subject to a streamlined, ministerial approval process, to include a requirement that the development not be located on a site that is a tribal cultural resource. Existing law requires payment of prevailing wages and apprentice wages even if the project is not a public works and prohibits the DLSE from enforcing the Labor Code if the Project is covered by a PLA. AB 35 also waives CPRs on projects covered by a PLA. (2-year bill)
 
AB 1177 (Frazier - D) would have repealed the Skilled and Trained Workforce provisions in SB 35 from last year - from a Democrat. (2-year bill)
 
AB 1706 (Quirk - D) would have created specified financial incentives for development proponents of residential housing development in the nine-county San Francisco Bay area region. The bill requires payment of prevailing wages and apprentice wages even if the project is not a public works and prohibits the DLSE from enforcing the Labor Code if the Project is covered by a PLA. AB 1706 also waives CPRs on projects covered by a PLA. (2-year bill)
 
SB 4 (McGuire and Beall - D) would have created a streamlined approval process for eligible projects within a half-mile of fixed rail or ferry terminals in cities of 50,000 residents or more in smaller counties and in all urban areas in counties with over a million residents. It also creates a streamlined approval process for duplexes and fourplexes, as specified, in residential areas on vacant, infill parcels. Requires SATWF unless covered by a PLA; exempts contractors under a PLA from completing CPRs. (2-year bill)
 
SB 25 (Caballero and Glazer - D) would grant accelerated CEQA appeals for certain housing projects. Requires SATWF unless covered by a PLA, exempts contractors under a PLA from completing CPRs. (2-year bill)
 
SB 524 (Stern) is sponsored by California State Association of Electrical Workers, California State Pipe Trades Council, Western States Council Sheet Metal Workers, and would require the CPUC to direct energy efficiency program administrators to ensure that work is performed by a skilled and trained workforce for projects receiving at least $50,000 in ratepayer-funded initiatives within a single facility. (2-year bill)
 
But there was a big bill - AB 48 - that will be on the March 2020 ballot. It is a $15 billion school bond that has some developer concessions - so of course the trades got something. School construction projects with PLAs get priority over other projects without PLAs.
 
Next time we'll cover the major bills Newsom signed that will affect employers next year.
Read more >>


Thursday, October 17, 2019   National

California Contagion Spreads - New York is Next: According to POLITICO, "A new labor-backed coalition wants New York State to follow our lead in reclassifying gig-economy independent contractors as employees. The group wants the state to establish a three-part test to determine whether a worker should be compensated as an independent contractor or as an employee eligible for more protections and benefits. 'Tech organizations backed by companies like Uber and Lyft are resisting the effort, arguing that it makes no sense to impose an old fashioned employment model on a new way of doing business,'" they write. "'Instead, they argue for some sort of 'third way,' involving portable benefits and say they hope to work with the Legislature and Gov. Andrew Cuomo to build a system that works in the state.' The issue is expected to be addressed in the next legislative session, which starts in January."
 
Sanders Proposes Boost in Worker Ownership: POLITICO reported on a plan by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) to boost his standing with the Socialists in the United States. "Sanders wants to provide workers with an ownership stake in their businesses," they write. "Under his proposal, employees at large companies would be given 20 percent of the shares. They would also have control of 45 percent of the seats on the board of directors." How it would work: "Companies that meet Sanders' guidelines - ones that are publicly traded or bring in $100 million or more in annual revenue - would be required to give at least 2 percent of their stock to their employees every year, until they reach 20 percent. The plan also would increase the corporate tax from 21 percent to 35 percent (where it stood before Republicans passed their tax overhaul in 2017)."
 
Alaska Cracks Down on Union Dues: The fake New York Times reported that Alaska's new governor, Mike Dunleavy, issued an administrative order that "'proposes to halt payroll deductions for union dues and require state workers to go through a cumbersome, multi-step process to restore that option.' Dunleavy said the plan was intended not to harm unions but to comply with the Supreme Court's ruling last year in Janus v. AFSCME, which barred government unions from collecting mandatory fees from non-union members to cover their share of collective bargaining costs. Under the policy 'state workers will have to declare that they want to opt into the union and sign an acknowledgement that they know they do not have to have such representation. They will then need a second layer of authentication, such as an email exchange, to reaffirm their intentions. And they will have to repeat the opt-in process every year.'"
Read more >>


Thursday, October 10, 2019   A Round of Applause for WECA Member Contractors Helix Electric, Inc. and Mark III Construction

Sacramento Business Journal's 2019 "Best Places to Work" Honorees sbj
 

Please join WECA in congratulating Member Contractors Helix Electric, Inc. and
Mark III Construction for being named among the best places to work in the
Sacramento Business Journal's 2019 Best Places to Work list

We're proud of our Member Contractors for fostering some of the happiest workplaces in town--keep it up, all! 
Read more >>


Thursday, October 10, 2019   Brush Up on Your Mechanics Lien Knowledge--Courtesy of Porter Law Group

Content courtesy of Patrick G. McNamara, Esq., of Porter Law Group (Sacramento, CA): 


When is a Mechanics Lien Premature?

It is well-established law in California that the latest date on which a mechanic's lien may be recorded relates to the date of completion (or cessation) of the project work, or, if a Notice of Completion is recorded, to the date of the recording of that Notice. As to the earliest date a subcontractor or supplier lien may be recorded, Civil Code Section 8414(a) states the lien may be recorded only "after the claimant ceases to provide work." A California Court of Appeals opinion filed in August of this year (Precision Framing Systems, Inc. v Luzuriaga) sheds light (or fog) on when a subcontractor "ceases to provide work." Read the full article here. 
Read more >>


Thursday, October 10, 2019   2019 SoCal Commercial Apprentice Graduate David S. Moore to Compete at IDEAL Nationals in November!


Congratulations are in order for WECA 2019 SoCal Commercial Apprentice Graduate David S. Moore of Bergelectric Corp.--he will be representing the state of California (for the third year in a row, no less!) at the 2019 IDEAL National Championships held from Nov. 7 - 9 at Disney World!

David's time of 0:50:47 seconds was the fastest in the state of California, and we here at WECA wish him good luck as he shows off his electrician chops on the national stage next month. Thank you, David, for exemplifying what we--as well as our Member Contractors--already know: WECA and its Member Contractors produce California's finest electricians and low voltage technicians! 
Read more >>


Thursday, October 10, 2019   Learn How to Navigate Skilled and Trained Workforce Mandates and Exceptions at our Nov. 6 Webinar


Do the sheer volume of Skilled and Trained Workforce mandates and exceptions make you feel as though you're all bound up in red tape?

While we can't eliminate bureaucratic madness, what we can do is help you navigate it by providing you with up-to-date information on current Skilled and Trained Workforce mandates. This webinar will cover the basics of Skilled and Trained Workforce requirements, new interpretations of compliance, and legislative changes effective 2020.

Join Richard Markuson of WECA Government Affairs as he takes you through what he calls "the rabbit hole" of California's ever-evolving Skilled and Trained Workforce mandates for public works construction.

Assistant Director of Apprenticeship Wendy Flanagan will also be on the webinar to describe WECA's 'Accelerated Apprenticeship' option for WECA Member Contractors dealing with Skilled and Trained Workforce mandates.

Register today to join us online on November 6, from 8:30 - 9:30 a.m., for this informative webinar. 

This webinar is free for WECA Member Contractors, Industry Partners, and their employees. All others are $50/registration.

Register now

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


Thursday, October 10, 2019   WECA's Hiring--Seeking Part-Time Instructors for Nights and Weekends

Please Share with Your Journeymen; Help Them Keep Their Skills Sharp While Earning Extra Money with the Perfect Side Gig
 

We bet you have exceptional Journeymen who are natural teachers and leaders, enjoy learning more about their field all the time, and sharing their knowledge about all things electrical with others!

We'd be excited to have them join our team and help us--and future you--in developing the workforce for our industry!

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

This is the side gig that lets your Journeymen earn extra money while keeping their day jobs!

Download this flyer containing the full job description to share with your Journeymen here.

And, view the job posting and application details here to learn more.
 
Read more >>


Thursday, October 10, 2019   Swinging the Pendulum on Construction Careers--Content Courtesy of Construction Dive and NCCER

The unemployment rate in the United States has remained at or below 4% for the last 18 months, hitting the 3.7% mark in August. Yet, more than 5.8 million jobs have been added since January 2017, including the nearly 700,000 in construction alone.

With the average age of craft professionals at 43 and 21.7% over the age of 54, the industry is expecting to see 40% of seasoned workers retire by 2030. Even more alarming is that, in 2018, the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reports that only 1.7% of construction workers were 16-to-19-years old and less than 10% were under 25-years-old.

Where is our future workforce going to come from? The industry is facing a severe skilled worker shortage that is not going to change overnight. Read the full article here. 
Read more >>


Thursday, October 03, 2019   Upcoming CFEC Event

WECA has supported the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction since its founding 21 years ago. On October 15th, the CFEC will be holding their annual event at the Elks Tower in downtown Sacramento from 5 to 7 p.m.

At this event they will discuss:
  • Local PLA threats
  • Statewide PLA update
  • PLA lawsuits underway and coming
  • Recent bills signed by the Governor, and what they mean in the PLA fight
  • Update on the effort to combat unions using CQA to extort owners into "agreeing" to PLAs
If you don't already receive the CFEC emails and would like more information about their fight against PLAs - and public works are part of your business plan - you will want to attend and meet the folks fighting on your behalf. Contact Richard Markuson if you would like to be put on the guest list. 
Read more >>


Thursday, October 03, 2019   Legislative Year in Review

 


Richard Markuson

The Legislative session ended with delay, protests and last-minute deal-making and deal-breaking. This week we will run through some significant measures and where they stand. As a civics reminder, Governor Gavin Newsom has until the morning of October 14 to sign or veto legislation - and there is no "pocket-veto" in California like there is at the Federal level. Newsom must veto a bill - or else it is enacted without his signature - something that hasn't occurred accidentally since the tenure of Governor Pete Wilson!
 
Last time we mentioned Senate Bill 1 by Senate President Pro-Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego). Governor Newsom made good on his promise to veto SB 1 on September 27, writing, "While I disagree about the efficacy and necessity of Senate Bill 1, I look forward to working with the Legislature in our shared fight against the weakening of California's environmental and worker protections." Newsom repeated his earlier comments in his veto message, touting the state's defensive maneuvers against the Trump administration that now total 60-plus lawsuits. "No other state has fought harder to defeat Trump's environmental policies, and that will continue to be the case," he wrote. "While I disagree about the efficacy and necessity of Senate Bill 1, I look forward to working with the Legislature in our shared fight against the weakening of California's environmental and worker protections." You can read his veto here.
 
Newson signed two D/B, best value bills. AB 356 (Santiago - D) authorizes the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) to utilize a best value procurement process as a pilot project until January 1, 2025, for construction projects over $1 million. The bill contains provisions that allow a contractor under a project labor agreement to be presumed to meet the requirements of using a skilled and trained workforce. SB 743 (Hertzberg) would specify that LAUSD, entering into a design-build contract for projects that are subject to project labor agreements, retains the discretion to take specified actions related to the contract.
 
Newsom also signed two bills that will affect operators of medium and heavy-duty vehicles. SB 44 (Skinner - D) requires the Air Resources Board (ARB) to update the State's 2016 mobile source strategy to include a comprehensive strategy for the deployment of medium duty and heavy-duty vehicles in the state for the purpose of bringing the state into compliance with federal ambient air quality standards and reducing motor vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the medium duty and heavy-duty vehicle sector. The bill started out with broad industry opposition - but Skinner amended the bill to make it more palatable. SB 210 (Leyva - D) wasn't quite so popular. Like SB 44SB 210 directs the ARB to work in coordination with multiple state agencies in order to develop and implement a Heavy-Duty Inspection and Maintenance Program for non-gasoline, heavy-duty, on-road trucks. Some are concerned with the impacts this bill will have on trucks licensed as Special Equipment (SE) and trucks complying with the low-use compliance option. SE plated equipment is generally not legally allowed to operate on California roads except for very specific purposes and very short distances. Driving SE plated trucks to facilities to test that their emissions equipment is properly functioning would be in violation of their license and registration. Additionally, low-use trucks are only allowed to be driven 1,000 miles annually to remain in compliance with the Diesel Truck and Bus Rule. For trucks located in rural areas, they may use up to 25 percent of their annual miles driving to the nearest testing facility.
 
Newsom signed SB 610 (Glazer - D) that extends the operation of the CSLB. It requires the CSLB to conduct a study of the contractor bond; and requires the CSLB to charge a fee of $20 to enforce the electrician certification program at renewal. (If you'd like more information about what's going on at CSLB, click here).
 
A number of Labor Code bills are waiting for Newsom to act. Here is a brief summary of several of them:
 
AB 35 (Kalra - D) Requires the California Department of Public Health (DPH) to report high lead level blood tests to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) and mandates certain inspection and reporting requirements by the Cal/OSHA upon receiving the results.
 
AB 171 (Gonzalez - D) Prohibits an employer from discharging, discriminating, or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of sexual harassment and establishes a rebuttable presumption of retaliation based on the employee's status if the employer takes certain action within 90 days of receiving notice or obtaining knowledge of the victim's status.
 
AB 403 (Kalra - D) extends the time that a victim of workplace retaliation has to file a claim with the California Labor Commissioner from six months to two years and authorizes an attorney's fee award to a worker who prevails on a whistleblower claim.
 
AB 589 (Gonzalez - D) Prohibits an employer from and imposes penalties for withholding an employee's immigration-related documents and establishes a Worker's Bill of Rights regarding freedom of movement and payment of wages. Existing California and federal law already prohibit this conduct.
 
AB 673 (Carrillo - D) Provides that penalties for late payment of wages shall be recovered by the Labor Commissioner (LC) as civil penalties, payable to the affected employee, or by the employee as statutory penalties in a hearing pursuant to the LC's authority under the Labor Code. The affected employee may also enforce civil penalties for late payment of wages through the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) but cannot also recover statutory penalties for the same violation.
 
AB 1076 (Ting - D) Requires the Department of Justice (DOJ), as of January 1, 2021, to review its criminal justice databases on a weekly basis, identify persons who are eligible for relief by having either their arrest records or conviction records withheld from disclosure, with specified exceptions, and requires the DOJ to grant that relief to the eligible person without a petition or motion to being filed on the person's behalf. This would deny State licensing authorities of older criminal histories from considering this information when considering an applicant for licensure.
 
SB 530 (Galgiani - D) Provides that construction industry employers that employ workers pursuant to a CBA can satisfy sexual harassment training and education requirements by verifying completion of the training by a state-approved apprenticeship program, labor management training trust, or labor management cooperation committee, and for cases where verification cannot be obtained, by providing it themselves.
 
SB 688 (Monning - D) Expands existing provisions for failure to pay minimum wages to wages or compensation that is due under a contract. Specifically, this bill authorizes the Labor Commissioner to issue a citation to an employer to recover restitution of amounts owed, if, upon inspection or investigation, it is determined that the employer has paid or caused to be paid a wage less than the wage set by contract in excess of the applicable minimum wage.
 
Child Care Workers Can Organize Under New Calif. Law: California on Monday became the 12th state to allow childcare providers to unionize. Newsom signed the legislation, setting the stage for California's biggest union election in decades by giving 40,000 providers the right to collectively bargain with the state." In addition to offering training programs for workers, the new law "allows those who operate subsidized day care programs out of their homes the ability to negotiate over wages, reimbursement rates and other employment issues."
 
California Extends Deadline to Comply with Anti-Harassment Training Requirements. On August 30, 2019, the Governor of California signed SB 778 into law to extend the compliance deadline for anti-harassment training from January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021. On January 1, 2019, a California law, SB 1343, went into effect that made changes to mandatory anti-harassment training. Specifically, SB 1343 required all employers with five or more employees to provide two hours of classroom or other effective interactive anti-harassment training to all supervisory employees and at least one hour of anti-harassment training to all non-supervisory employees by January 1, 2020. SB 1343 stated that training must take place within six months of hire as a supervisor or of an employee's promotion to a supervisor and every two years thereafter. More
Read more >>


Thursday, October 03, 2019   New Study Confirms PLAs Cost More


The Beacon Hill Institute recently completed an extensive statistical analysis of the effects on school construction bids and on construction costs of PLAs in Ohio, Massachusetts, Connecticut and the state of New York.  In the Ohio, Massachusetts and Connecticut studies, our analysis found final construction costs to be significantly higher when a school construction project was executed under a PLA.  In the New York study, we found that final bids for construction projects were higher under a PLA. Get the report
Read more >>


Thursday, October 03, 2019   National

Newly-sworn in Labor Secretary Eugene Scalia on Monday selected the department's deputy solicitor, Rachel Mondl, to be his chief of staff. Mondl, the department's No. 2 legal official, had worked with Scalia at the law firm Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. Mondl also was a staffer for Rep. Virginia Foxx (R - North Carolina) while Foxx chaired the Education and the Workforce Committee. At Scalia's White House swearing-in Monday, President Donald Trump reportedly described the vote to confirm Scalia as a "landslide." The final vote was a party-line vote, 53-44.

Overtime Rule Released: The Labor Department released a final rule that will expand overtime eligibility to 1.3 million additional workers. Under the rule, virtually all workers making less than $35,568 per year must be paid time and a half whenever their workweek exceeds 40 hours. The current salary ceiling has been stuck at $23,660 since 2004. The rule has been applauded by business groups and Republicans as a "reasonable update" and a "workable solution." More
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Thursday, September 26, 2019   Important Prevailing Wage Update for Orange County 2019-1

Correction to Orange 2019-1 Prevailing Wage Determination, effective March 4, 2019

Dear WECA Member Contractors, 

We recently discovered that the 2019-1 Prevailing Wage Determination covering Orange County was incorrect for all apprentice periods. Corrections have been made and posted to WECA's website. Please login to download the corrected version. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and are working to make sure that these errors do not continue to occur.

Sincerely,

The WECA Team
Read more >>


Thursday, September 26, 2019   Join Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP for "From Personnel Policies to PAGA" on Oct. 8

From WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

Bizhaven, Cook Brown, LLP and the Sacramento Business Journal are partnering at Golden 1 Center for an event on October 8th. Cook Brown Partner Brian Bertossa will discuss new legislation and recent California Supreme Court and high profile decisions that are impacting employers in California and leading to continued lawsuits brought by current and former employees.

In this presentation, Brian Bertossa and Anna Towne, Chief Human Resources Officer of Bizhaven, will also discuss best practices in light of the outcome of the most recent case law affecting employers and will provide a brief overview of pending legislation which may lead to more changes in 2020.
Attendees will hear:
  • What can we learn about managing compensable time from the Starbucks and Tillys cases?
  • What do the latest harassment cases tell us about employer liability for third party harassment of employees?
  • How should an employer respond upon receiving a PAGA claim?
  • What is the current status of the enforceability of arbitration agreements in California?
Timeline:
3:00-3:30 PM - Check in
3:30-5:00 PM - Presentation
5:00-7:00 PM - Happy Hour (cash bar/food provided)

Location:
Golden 1 Center
Croft Lounge
Register Here
 
Read more >>


Thursday, September 26, 2019   Back to School--Check Out What WECA Apprentices Are Up To!

It's that time of year again--back to school and hard at work for our WECA apprentices! We're proud of our apprentices for getting back into the swing of things and putting their noses to the grindstone, as always! They help make WECA the premier merit shop trade school that it is. Below, our studious third year commercial electrical apprentices use iPads to learn about commercial blueprint reading. We wish them a fun and successful year ahead! 
 
 
 
 
Read more >>


Thursday, September 26, 2019   GetWired! 101: The Perfect Course for Your Electrician Trainees Getting Started in the Trade

Extra Sessions Added for Fall!  GW
 

Don't let your Electrician Trainees miss out on our autumn GetWired! 101 session! We recently added three additional 101 course sessions to our ever-popular GetWired! course lineup for Fall 2019--and only one of these new course additions remains, so what are you waiting for? 

Our GW101 course--the first in our Basic Electrical 100 series--is perfect for electrician trainees just getting started in the trade and seeking an introduction to the theory of electricity, fundamental electrical laws, and on how the National Electrical Code governs the installation of electrical wiring and equipment.

And remember--WECA Member Contractors get substantial discounts on WECA's Electrician Trainee program courses. Call us at 1-877-444-9322 to get started, or read the next article down for details about getting your member discounts online.
Read more >>


Thursday, September 26, 2019   WECA's Exclusive Member Discounts on Training for your Electrician Trainees and Journeymen

We know an increasing number of you are sponsoring your Electrician Trainees' tuition in our Electrician Trainee (GetWired) Certificate Path program. We think that's great! WECA's Electrician Trainee program is another valid training path towards certification, with many educational similarities to our Apprenticeship program. And many of you are finding that sponsoring your Electrician Trainees' tuition gives you a competitive advantage in the hiring market, and helps you to ensure that your employees stay registered with the State.
 
And now, we've made it even simpler--and more affordable--for you to sponsor your employees. 

It's easy to get your member discounts on ET and Journeyman training at WECA when you enroll your employees through our website. Upon enrollment, members will enjoy automatically-applied discounts.

Questions? Please call us at 1-877-444-9322. We can also assist you with volume enrollments.

Ready to get started with sponsoring your Electrician Trainees in WECA's GetWired! program? Enroll your Electrician Trainees today!
Read more >>


Thursday, September 26, 2019   Do You Have Prospective Apprentices? Have Them Save the Date for November Open Houses!

Registration Links Coming Soon for WECA's NorCal and SoCal Open Houses to Celebrate National Apprenticeship Week in November! NAW
 
Read more >>


Thursday, September 26, 2019   Register Today for our Upcoming Oct. 2 Webinar with Cook Brown, LLP Partner Carrie Bushman


Join Cook Brown Partner Carrie Bushman as she discusses:
  • Recently enacted statutory provisions regarding new penalties for non-compliance with skilled and trained workforce requirements;
  • The small project exemption for contractor registration and submission of eCPRS;
  • How to read and interpret prevailing wage determinations, including scopes of work, travel, and subsistence provisions, and shift differential provisions;
  • Taking credit for fringe benefit contributions;
  • Public works contractor registration requirements;
  • Apprenticeship compliance; and,
  • Record-keeping requirements, including eCPR.
Register today to join us online on October 2, from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m., for this informative webinar.

This webinar is free for WECA Member Contractors, Industry Partners, and their employees. All others are $75/registration.

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

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

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


Thursday, September 26, 2019   Learn How to Navigate Skilled and Trained Workforce Mandates and Exceptions with our Nov. 6 Webinar


Do the sheer volume of Skilled and Trained Workforce mandates and exceptions make you feel as though you're all bound up in red tape?

While we can't eliminate bureaucratic madness, what we can do is help you navigate it by providing you with up-to-date information on current Skilled and Trained Workforce mandates. This webinar will cover the basics of Skilled and Trained Workforce requirements, new interpretations of compliance, and legislative changes effective 2020.

Following the Cook Brown, LLP Webinar with Partner Carrie Bushman on Prevailing Wage and Skilled and Trained Workforce on October 2nd, which we encourage all our members to attend as a precursor to this webinar, join Richard Markuson of WECA Government Affairs as he takes you through what he calls "the rabbit hole" of California's ever-evolving Skilled and Trained Workforce mandates for public works construction.

Assistant Director of Apprenticeship Wendy Flanagan will also be on the webinar to describe WECA's 'Accelerated Apprenticeship' option for WECA Member Contractors dealing with Skilled and Trained Workforce mandates.

Register today to join us online on November 6, from 8:30 - 9:30 a.m., for this informative webinar.

This webinar is free for WECA Member Contractors, Industry Partners, and their employees. All others are $50/registration.

The 2019 edition of WECA's annual business law publication, Selected California Laws Affecting Electrical and Low Voltage Contractors, is now available for purchase.
NOTE: WECA members receive a complimentary copy of this book at each year's updated release, as a member benefit.

Register now

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


Tuesday, September 24, 2019   Back to School--Check Out What WECA Apprentices Are Up To!

It's that time of year again--back to school and hard at work for our WECA apprentices! We're proud of our apprentices for getting back into the swing of things and putting their noses to the grindstone, as always! You help make WECA the premier merit shop trade school that it is. Below, our studious third year commercial electrical apprentices use iPads to learn about commercial blueprint reading. We wish you all a fun and successful year ahead!
  
 
 
 
Read more >>


Tuesday, September 24, 2019   GetWired! 101: The Perfect Course for Electrician Trainees Getting Started in the Trade

Extra Sessions Added for Fall!
 

Electrician Trainees: Don't miss out on GetWired! 101 this autumn session! We recently added three additional 101 course sessions to our ever-popular GetWired! course lineup for Fall 2019--and only one of these new course additions remains, so what are you waiting for? Sign up today! 

Our GW101 course--the first in our Basic Electrical 100 series--is perfect for electrician trainees just getting started in the trade and seeking an introduction to the theory of electricity, fundamental electrical laws, and on how the National Electrical Code governs the installation of electrical wiring and equipment.

Learn more and register for the course here. But hurry--seats are filling fast! 
Read more >>


Tuesday, September 24, 2019   Important Reminders about Supervision Requirements for WECA Apprentices

Please read this brief refresher and overview of Apprentice supervision requirements as they apply to our Apprentices:
  • All Commercial & Residential Apprentices must be supervised by a Certified Electrician or the C10 holder for the Company.
  • All Low Voltage Apprentices must be supervised by a qualified journey-level technician.
  • The supervision requirement for all WECA's Apprenticeship programs is 1 Apprentice to 1 Journey-person.  A Certified Journey-person may supervise 1 Apprentice and 1 Electrician Trainee.
  • The supervising journey-person must lay out the work for the day, ensure the apprentice has proper instruction / training on how to perform the task and that the apprentice is able to perform the task safely
  • The supervision journey-person does not have to stand over the apprentices shoulder but must be on the same job site and available to the apprentice at all times.
  1. If there is no supervising journey-person on the job site with you or if you feel you are not being properly supervised you should contact your company's human resources department and then WECA if the issue is not resolved.
If you have any questions or concerns, please contact Wendy Flanagan, Assistant Director of Apprenticeship, by email at wflanagan@goweca.com
 or by phone at 916-453-0112 extension 145. 
Read more >>


Tuesday, September 24, 2019   WECA's Student Referral Service Can Help Connect You to a Great WECA Member Contractor Today!


Are you currently out of work, as well as a current WECA student, or a WECA grad? Try out our Student Referral Service today! This service is a conduit to introduce our current Electrician Trainees, Journeyman Continuing Education students, and WECA Grads to our Member Contractors. 

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

This is a free, no-obligation service 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. 

Contact Ana Lopez, ET/CE Program Manager, at alopez@goweca.com to sign up for our Student Referral Service.
 
You can also Search Open Positions Today!
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Tuesday, September 24, 2019   A Round of Applause for WECA Alumni and Member Contractor Windell Pascascio, Jr.!

Recipient of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce's 2019 Small Business of the Year Award windell
 

2013 WECA Commercial Apprenticeship graduate and current WECA Member Contractor Windell Pascascio, Jr. of Fresno-based Imperial Electric Service poses with WECA's Assistant Director of Apprenticeship, Wendy Flanagan, at the Central Valley Business Diversity Expo in Fresno on April 12, 2019.

Please join us in congratulating Windell on winning the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce's 2019 Small Business of the Year award! Congratulations, Windell! We love to see alumni and Member Contractors such as you succeed, and eagerly await your future accomplishments. 
Read more >>


Tuesday, September 24, 2019   Registration Links Coming Soon for WECA's NorCal and SoCal Open Houses!

Prospective Apprentice? Save the Date! 

Registration Links Coming Soon for WECA's NorCal and SoCal Open Houses to celebrate National Apprenticeship Week in November! date
 
Read more >>


Tuesday, September 24, 2019   Apprentices--Staying on Top of Your Health Just Got Easier with Anthem's New Sydney App


Frequently asked questions about how to use the new Sydney Mobile App and Digital Enhancements provided by Anthem: 

Q: How is Anthem's digital strategy changing to better support me? 

A: It's using technology-Artificial Intelligence (AI) and data science-to deliver a more powerful web and mobile experience. It also includes Sydney, our new mobile app. Sydney builds on Anthem Anywhere's features and offers a more personal and human touch to the experience. And it'll expand and evolve over time.

Q: When do I get to meet Sydney? 
A: September 1, 2019. 

Q:   Will I have to download the Sydney app? 
A: Yes. Anthem Anywhere leaves app stores on September 1, 2019. If you have Anthem Anywhere on your devices after that, the app will still work-but you'll get in-app alerts to download Sydney. 

Q: Will I have to re-register on the new app? 
A: If you use Anthem Anywhere today, you won't have to re-register. You'll use the same login and password from Anthem Anywhere. If it's your first time using our mobile app, and you've already registered on anthem.com, you can use that login and password with Sydney. 

Q: What can I do with Sydney? 
A: You'll have access to the features you have now in Anthem Anywhere, plus some new ones. Chatbot technology will get you answers to common questions right away. Sydney can also match you up with health-care professionals, and show you what to expect when I comes to costs. 

Q: What are some of the new personalized features? 
A: A new Health Dashboard brings together personalized program recommendations and information about wellbeing. Other features include support for health goals, integration for health-care devices and health trackers, and more.

Q: Will I still have access to the Online Wellness Toolkit? 
A: Yes, and Sydney will also offer these features in its new Health Dashboard. You'll be able to access the Dashboard from your secure web and mobile home screens.
Read more >>


Tuesday, September 24, 2019   It's That Time of Year Again--Commercial Apprentice Open Enrollment Runs from Oct. 15 - Nov. 1

WECA's annual open enrollment period for Commercial Apprentices will take place from October 15 - November 6 for changes to become effective on December 1. If your preferred method of contact is by email prior to October 15, you will receive an email with open enrollment information along with the annual notices that include Medicare Part D and instructions if you are adding a dependent not already enrolled to the group health plans.

For those Commerical Apprentices that have their preferred method of contact by mail, you will receive your open enrollment packet by mail or you may call and request that I email the packet to you.

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

If you 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 >>


Friday, September 20, 2019   Upcoming CFEC Event

WECA has supported the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction since its founding 21 years ago. On October 15th, the CFEC will be holding their annual event at the Elks Tower in downtown Sacramento from 5 to 7 p.m.

At this event they will discuss:
  • Local PLA threats
  • Statewide PLA update
  • PLA lawsuits underway and coming
  • Recent bills signed by the Governor, and what they mean in the PLA fight
  • Update on the effort to combat unions using CQA to extort owners into "agreeing" to PLAs
If you don't already receive the CFEC emails and would like more information about their fight against PLAs - and public works are part of your business plan - you will want to attend and meet the folks fighting on your behalf. Contact Richard Markuson if you would like to be put on the guest list. 
Read more >>


Friday, September 20, 2019   Legislative Year in Review





Richard Markuson

The Legislative session ended with delay, protests and last-minute deal-making and deal-breaking. This week we will run through some significant measures and evaluate where they stand. As a civics reminder, Governor Gavin Newsom has until the morning of October 14 to sign or veto legislation - and there is no "pocket-veto" in California like there is at the Federal level. Newsom must veto a bill - or it is enacted without his signature - something that hasn't occurred accidentally since the tenure of Governor Pete Wilson!
 
Most of you will have read or heard about the anti-vaxxer protests that took place in the Capitol during the last weeks of session. It culminated with one protester throwing what was claimed to be blood onto the floor of the Senate (and a few Senators). After the 5:14 pm assault, some said Newsom should be partially responsible for not tempering the protests after he signed legislation to change the law on medical exemptions. Some even suggested he directed the CHP to be unusually lenient to protestors, who became increasingly aggressive before shutting down the Senate for hours on the last night of the session.
 
But with the Senate floor contaminated - and a crime scene - the Senate reconvened in a committee room and proceeded on the file.
 
And surprising no one, the Legislature passed Assembly Bill 5 (Gonzalez, D-San Diego) which is an attempt to make independent contractors in the gig economy regular employees of the employing business. Democrat Adam Gray was the only member of the Assembly to break ranks, while two Republicans - Jordan Cunningham and Chad Mayes - abstained. In the Senate, it was straight party-line: 29-11.
 
Unlike hundreds of bills passed by the Legislature but still in the administrative enrollment headed to the Governor's desk, AB 5 was fast-tracked. Rather than a large public rally-style bill signing with hundreds of labor supporters, he held a quiet signing ceremony with author Lorena Gonzalez and supporters in his office.
 
You can get a sense of Newsom's agenda in his signing statement. (Signing statements are a relative rarity and are used sometimes to provide clarification, or in this case, articulate the Governor's inner feelings).
 
"A next step is creating pathways for more workers to form a union, collectively bargain to earn more, and have a stronger voice at work -- all while preserving flexibility and innovation."
 
Readers - particularly those who have been signatory - will know how much union membership contributes to "flexibility and innovation."
 
He continued, stating, "In this spirit, I will convene leaders from the Legislature, the labor movement and the business community to support innovation and a more inclusive economy by stepping in where the federal government has fallen short and granting workers excluded from the National Labor Relations Act the right to organize and collectively bargain." I guess he could have done that this year. You can read the Governor's statement here.
 
As Cook Brown Partner Barbara Cotter put it, "Most importantly, it [AB 5] will require a comprehensive review of such relationships. For those businesses that utilize independent contractors on any regular basis to perform tasks which are an integral part of their operations, the law may compel them to transition the workers to employees. For those businesses that only occasionally use independent contractors, they will be required to assess whether the risk of civil and/or criminal penalties warrants such hiring or whether it would be less risky to assign the work at issue to the regular workforce." You can read her full analysis  here.
 
Another VERY high-profile bill was Senate Bill 1 by Senate President Pro-Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego) (gotta love those San Diego legislators). SB 1 was on CalChambers' Job Killer list.
 
SB 1 was drafted to enshrine Obama-era environmental rules - aimed partly at countering an upcoming federal rewrite of California's water-pumping rules - which environmentalists expect to send more water to farms at the expense of endangered fish. But unlike AB 5, Newsom announced early Saturday that he planned to veto the bill.
 
Newsom defended his opposition to the bill by calling it "a solution in search of a problem. No. 1, it's unnecessary, No. 2, it would've set back our ability to advance an effort to get out of this litigious mindset where nobody's getting anything except more and more frustrated."
 
Newsom said Monday that he had made lawmakers "very clear on [his] concerns" about the bill ahead of the vote and that he didn't read anything into their decision to send him the bill anyway.
 
The LA Times' George Skelton said, "In defying Newsom, [Atkins] tried to protect California from Trump - and showed how legislating should work. On Friday, [she] showed us how a healthy, productive legislature works - one that independently pushes its own ideas about public policy and leaves it to the governor to decide whether to sign or veto a bill. Atkins rejected Newsom's request to shelve her landmark anti-Trump environmental protection measure, SB 1. Then she rammed it through both legislative houses within hours."
 
But there is an interesting sidebar to the SB 1 story - one including the State Building and Construction Trades Council. As Debra Kahn from Politico reported, "A wide coalition of labor unions, including the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, California Labor Federation and State Building and Construction Trades Council, is circulating an Assembly floor alert flier that urges "strong support" for the bill. It cites the Trump administration's rollback of limits on workplace exposure to beryllium and the requirement for industry to submit detailed workplace injury reports." 'We have been talking with the environmental organizations about who to visit so they can hear from us,' said Cesar Diaz, legislative and political director for the State Building and Construction Trades Council. 'I'm very hopeful.' He said the unions had supported the bill since it was first proposed by former Senate President Pro Tem Kevin de León, but had been waiting this session to see how the environmental provisions would evolve. 'Now we're able to see clearly what we need to do in terms of working the bill,' he said."
 
So, did the trades take until the last days of session to figure out how to lobby, or were they responding to a call for help from Atkins?
 
I think the trades saw an opportunity to support environmental groups so that the next time a local building trades council wanted to have environmental group support on a greenmail, it would be payback time.
 
Another last minute gut-and-amend (where the contents of a bill change markedly) was AB 48 by Assembly Member O'Donnell and Senator Glazer (and a whole bunch of co-authors who want to take credit). It authorizes $15 billion for the construction and modernization of public preschool, K-12, California Community Colleges (CCC), University of California (UC), and California State University (CSU) facilities to be placed on the March 3, 2020 primary ballot. It includes a variety of concessions to developers. It waives developer fees until January, 1, 2026, for multifamily housing within a ½ mile of a major transit stop to increase access to housing; it provides a 20 percent reduction to multifamily housing project fees in other areas until January 1, 2026; and it suspends Level 3 fees, which doubles the fees paid by developers when state bond funds are exhausted, from January 1, 2021, or whenever existing bond funds are expended, to January 1, 2028. Possibly as a concession to State Building and Construction Trades Council for giving something to developers (or just because), it includes PLA language (I know - you were surprised at that). It gives priority to projects that include a PLA. I can hear the local trades preparing their marketing speech already ... "And if you adopt a PLA, not only will you get local hires, campaign contributions and no strikes, but you also get higher priority over other equally qualified projects!!!"
 
This PLA language (which only WECA opposed) didn't keep Republicans from voting in favor of the bill (which incidentally will cost the state $1 billion a year in principal and interest). The language also allows local school districts to borrow more - further indebting local property owners.
 
Only five Legislators stood with WECA and voted no - Assembly member Jay Obernolte, and State Senators Brian Jones, John Moorlach, Mike Morrell, and Jeff Stone. Senator Moorlach (the former Treasurer of Orange County) spoke eloquently about AB 48 - you can see him here (at hour 4:15). Obernolte, by the way, is giving up his seat in the Assembly to run for Congress. Read more here.
 
There was scant mention of the PLA language in the media - and it wasn't even mentioned in the bill analyses. But Construction Dive did pick up on it (although their depiction of our opposition was a little off), noting that "If voters approve the legislation next year, that's good news for the California contractors that specialize in school construction, but it has also raised questions from some about the role that project labor agreements (PLAs) play in the measure." We have been in touch with the author who does understand our concerns and is trying to get authorization for a follow-up article. But the real question is why did the trades settle for only a preference? It is completely plausible that they could have obtained the Democratic votes necessary with a flat PLA mandate to secure State funds.
 
A bill waiting for Governor Newsom's scrutiny is AB 520 (Kalra, D-San Jose). This is a three-peat of sorts. The State Building and Construction Trades Council have tried for years to set in statute a definition of "de minimis" for the purpose of paying the prevailing wage in public works projects. The trades tried several times during the Brown administration to define de minimis without success. Brown, while a supporter of prevailing wages, thought the current administrative practice worked fine. AB 520 defines a public subsidy as de minimis for the purpose of paying the prevailing wage in private projects if it is both less than $500,000 and less than 2 percent of the total project cost for bids advertised or contracts awarded after July 1, 2020. If the subsidy is for a residential project consisting entirely of single-family dwellings, the subsidy is de minimis so long as it is less than 2 percent of the total project cost. CBIA argued that "California's homebuilders have consistently endeavored to proactively work with the state and its local governments to collectively achieve California's green building and housing goals. Unfortunately, AB 520 will jeopardize those ongoing partnerships in an attempt to solve a purported problem that has not been demonstrated to exist." A few moderate Dems in the Assembly abstained - but it was straight party-line in the Senate. Now, it is up to Newsom.
 
One of IBEW's bills - AB 1028 (Gonzalez) stalled out for some reason. It would have required the California Energy Commission (CEC), to allocate grants to local educational agencies (LEAs) as part of the Proposition 39 (Clean Energy Job Creation Program) to give priority based on the LEA's utilization of apprentices from state-approved apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. At this point, funds have been largely been exhausted and additional funding allocations to schools is halted until additional funding is appropriated for these purposes - which may have caused its demise.
 
Another IBEW bill that stalled was SB 524 (Stern) that would have required that a skilled and trained workforce must perform the work for energy efficiency projects of $50,000 or more in ratepayer-funded incentives within the same building, facility, or complex. The CA Large Energy Consumers Association, CA Food Producers, Agricultural Energy Consumers Association and the Efficiency + Demand Management Council opposed SB 524 and collectively said, "The bill ... requires a skilled and trained workforce for large projects with ratepayer incentives, but it does not allow the PUC program to cover the incremental cost of employing a skilled and trained workforce for energy efficiency projects, making skilled and trained projects less feasible. Fewer projects using a skilled and trained workforce will be funded."
 
Another stalled bill is AB 1066 (Gonzalez). Current law makes an employee ineligible for UI benefits if the employee left work because of a trade dispute and specifies that the employee remains ineligible for the duration of the trade dispute. AB 1066 would have restored eligibility after the first two weeks for an employee who left work because of a trade dispute. The bill failed twice on the floor of the Senate - due in large part to a growing exhaustion with Lorena. Democrats Bob Archuleta, Bill Dodd, and Jerry Hill joined Republicans in voting NO and an additional seven Democrats who couldn't reach the NO button on their desk abstained - causing the bill's demise. (Actually - there is no "No" button in the Senate, which has refused to join the Assembly in electronic voting. Rather, the Senate still calls the roll for every measure.)
 
We'll cover some more bills next time!
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