Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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Thursday, March 21, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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