Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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WECA Political Update February 18, 2021

Thursday, February 18, 2021



BizFed's Third Annual Sacramento Week: An Invitation from Richard Markuson to our Central Valley-based Member Contractors:

Want to make the collective voices of WECA Member Contractors in California's Central Valley heard? Now's your chance--join Richard Markuson of WECA Government Affairs for what BizFed has termed "a powerful tradiiton of BizFed and its members advocating at the Capitol." BizFed is hosting a "series of brief yet powerful subject matter forums along with legislator access sessions, and media insights."

It's not an event you want to miss! The event includes:

  • Access to the 4-day event
  • 5 issue forums with ranking legislators
  • Small group meetings with key legislators
  • And a closing reception
But, there's a caveat. WECA has only two tickets (a $250 value) available, so Richard can only bring two WECA Member Contractors with him, and we're extending this opportunity to our Central Valley-based members only. So if you'd like to see the interests of California's Central Valley merit shop contractors acknowledged in Sacramento, now's your chance to make a difference.

If you'd like to attend this virtual event with and make your voice heard, email Richard at rmarkuson@goweca.com as soon as possible to claim your spot!

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Joint Merit Shop Legislative Conference

An invitation to all WECA Member Contractors from Richard Markuson: Take this opportunity to register to make your voice heard on behalf of your company and the merit shop industry and join Richard, virtually at the Capitol, for this online event on March 17 & 18, 2021.

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Biden Calls Union Reps 'Real Friends,' Seeks Their Infrastructure Input President Joe Biden on Wednesday met with union leaders to get input on his forthcoming infrastructure plan, while nominating a new head of the National Labor Relations Board and rolling back a Trump-era apprenticeship program. Among those present were several heads of construction-related unions including Richard Trumka, the president of the AFL-CIO; Sean McGarvey, president of North America’s Building Trades Unions; and Lonnie R. Stephenson, the international president of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, who served on Biden’s transition advisory board. Story

State COVID Website Only a year into the pandemic, the California Labor & Workforce Development Agency launched SaferAtWork.covid19.ca.gov, a website for California employers to "find up-to-date state and local county COVID-19 guidance by business industry.' The agency says employers answer questions on "business type, location and current COVID-19 practices to generate a tailored road map of relevant information, links to resources and more." It also says "the portal is for educational purposes and will not be used for state enforcement activities."

State’s Progress on Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV) Goals: Q4 2020 Results According to the latest new vehicle data from California New Car Dealers Association, total new light vehicle registrations in 2020 were down 22% for the year as a result of the economic shutdowns, but total sales exceeded those during the Great Recession in each of the years between 2008 and 2012. This sales performance reflects the different effects coming from the state’s shutdown actions, with many higher wage jobs unaffected due to telecommuting. As a consequence, local government sales tax revenues from these sales were less affected than previously feared. Under Executive Order N-79-20, the governor mandated all new vehicles offered for sale in the state to be ZEVs by 2035 for light duty cars and trucks, and by 2045 for heavy and medium duty vehicles. In spite of the substantial but as-yet unknown costs and other effects of this action, the state agencies are now moving ahead to implement this order using the blanket authorities given to them by the legislature under the climate change program. Story



Fracking Ban From Politico: “[Governor] Newsom asked lawmakers back in September to send him a bill banning fracking. They did on Wednesday, … and the governor wanted nothing to do with it. Sens. Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) and Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara), introduced SB467, that would ban new hydraulic fracturing permits; Newsom declined to comment on the bill. He deflected a question on his position by saying he hadn’t read the bill and couldn’t weigh in. At a press conference at a farmworker vaccination site in the Coachella Valley, a reporter asked him whether he supported the bill, a question he avoided entirely. ‘God bless, forgive me, I’m really honored to be here,’ Newsom said — a response underscoring that a fracking fight presents politically hazardous terrain for the governor. The move signals that Newsom is trying to walk a political tightrope as the threat of a recall election looms on the horizon. If he supports the bill, he risks creating ammunition for conservatives working to recall him, as well as angering labor unions representing oil and gas workers. If he doesn’t support the bill, he risks alienating environmental groups — some of whom have already threatened legal action over his approval of fracking permits. Democratic strategist Steven Maviglio: ‘He’s had a frosty relationship with the environmental community, the environmental justice community in particular. Campaign promises sometimes catch up with you.’ The State Building and Construction Trade Council of California were quick to react; ‘In a frenzied effort to ingratiate themselves to extremist coastal elite political agendas, Senators Wiener and Limón are risking the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of blue-collar families and a doubling of the cost to get to work and school, all without a benefit to the environment,’ Building Trades President Robbie Hunter said in a statement.”

California Dramatically Expands Leave Rights under the Family Rights Act The California Family Rights Act (CFRA) provides most employees in California with the right to take up to 12 weeks of leave from work to care for themselves or their family members with a serious health condition or to bond with a new child. Effective January 1, 2021, recent legislation (Senate Bill 1383) dramatically expands the CFRA in several major respects. Until December 31, 2020, the CFRA applied only to private employers of 50 or more employees. As of January 1, 2021, the CFRA applies to private employers of 5 or more employees. Because of this expansion, California has repealed its New Parent Leave Act, which had provided similar coverage to employers with 20 to 49 employees. Story

California Supreme Court Clarifies Dynamex’s “ABC” Test, Concluding that Independent Contractor Status Applies Retroactively The California Supreme Court recently issued a decision clarifying that the ABC test for determining independent contractor status does indeed apply retroactively. Story

Scabby Gets a Lifeline The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) often found the use of the inflatable rat to be lawful under labor law over the years, but former NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb sought to put an end to them last fall. Robb, however, was unceremoniously terminated by President Biden on his inauguration day. The new, acting General Counsel Peter Sung Ohr apparently has a different view of these eye sores. According to a new report from Bloomberg Law: “The National Labor Relations Board’s acting general counsel is seeking to end Trump-era complaints over unions’ use of Scabby the Rat, a large inflatable balloon often present at labor protests. General Counsel Peter Ohr’s office has asked the board to send at least two complaints issued by Ohr’s predecessor, Peter Robb, back to the regional directors with which they were originally filed, so they can be dropped. Robb aggressively prosecuted unions for deploying the rodent in demonstrations against someone other than their direct employer, arguing it’s unlawful secondary picketing not protected by the First Amendment. ‘Such pursuit is a waste of valuable Agency resources and not in the public interest,’ Ohr’s office wrote in the two motions.” Story