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WECA Political Update September 16, 2021

Thursday, September 16, 2021

Newsom Survives Recall Governor Newsom rather convincingly beat back the recall attempt. I don’t have much to add to what has been in the media, but I would point out it is only 265 days until the June primary! Nearly 64 percent of voters have rejected the recall, based on results from 9.1 million ballots counted statewide so far. That's a slight drop from initial tallies that were closer to a 2-to-1 ratio, but still a massive gap. Of course, all the numbers will change as more ballots get counted.
The biggest shocker here was fourth-place finisher Brandon Ross, a Democrat listed as "Physician/Attorney" on the ballot. Ross had 5.6 percent, outpacing Republicans John Cox (4.4 percent) and Kevin Kiley (3.2 percent). And Ross didn't even have a live bear or $7 million in TV ads.
Mayor Dyer Vetoes 5-Year Union Labor Deal for Fresno City Construction Projects The San Joaquin Valley Sun reports, “In his second-ever veto, Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer rejected a measure adopted by six members of the Fresno City Council to institute union-prioritization for the City’s seven-figure construction projects. In a statement on Monday afternoon, Dyer rejected the five-year citywide Project Labor Agreement (PLA), a pre-construction agreement mandating union labor for most public works projects exceeding $1 million, as being “not inclusive,” failing to boost local hiring or “broaden the City’s labor pool. As a dues-paying member of public sector unions for the past 41 years, I do recognize that a Project Labor Agreement, if done correctly, can be beneficial,” Mayor Dyer said. “I would support the PLA if it could be modified to prioritize local hiring and local businesses.” The Dyer administration pushed back heavily on the proposed citywide Project Labor Agreement during debate before the Fresno City Council recently. Dyer doubled down in a statement on Monday, noting that union membership in the construction sits at 13 percent nationally. “This two-tiered system is discriminatory toward a large majority of Fresno’s construction workers and does not fit Mayor Dyer’s One Fresno vision of inclusivity,” his administration said in a statement. While the agreement would allow non-union contractors to bid on city work, it would subject them to paying union-mandated benefits that its workers on the project may not realize. “[T]he result being non-union contractors paying double for health and retirement benefits,” the Dyer administration said. Dyer administration officials also disputed the benefits touted by union representatives regarding better wages and benefits. Fresno’s history has only undertaken two project-specific PLAs with unions: the current City Hall building, completed in 1992, and Fresno-Yosemite International Airport’s parking garage, currently under construction. The city banned PLAs from 2000 to 2014. “(This PLA) lacks any measurement tools to see if it has met its goals,” city administration noted. Six members of the Fresno City Council backed the five-year citywide PLA measure. Fresno City Council member Garry Bredefeld was the lone dissenting vote on the agreement. In his veto statement, Dyer said he wanted exemptions for local contractors who are headquartered in Fresno’s city limits, have all employees on City of Fresno jobs reside within Fresno, provide health care coverage and 401(k) or other retirement benefits to those on the project, and dedicate 20 percent of workers assigned to the project be trade apprentices living within the City of Fresno. Dyer’s veto was overridden by a 6-1 vote of the City Council members.

Legislative Session Ends The first year of the 2021-2022 legislative session has concluded. However, Governor Newsom has already approved several bills.

AB 137 (Budget) Authorizes the Department of General Services to use the progressive design-build procurement process for up to three public works projects (with the usual SBCTC language) CHAPTERED

AB 143 (Budget) Authorizes the Judicial Council to use a design-build procurement process in contracting and procuring public works projects and would authorize the Judicial Council to award contracts using either the best value or low bid selection method for all projects (with the usual SBCTC language) CHAPTERED

AB 246 (Quirk) Adds illegal dumping to the list of violations that constitute a cause for disciplinary action against a contractor by the CSLB. CHAPTERED

AB 271 (Rivas) Permits the Santa Clara Valley Water District to award contracts on a best value basis for any work of the Anderson Dam project. The bill would require the contractor to comply with the State's STWF mandates unless the district has a PLA. CHAPTERED

AB 569 (Grayson) Increases the maximum civil penalty amounts that can be assessed against licensed contractors for violations of the Contractors State License Law consistent with changes in the Consumer Price Index. Authorizes the Contractors State License Board to issue a Letter of Admonishment instead of a citation for multiple violations at a time. CHAPTERED

SB 7 (Atkins) Reenacts the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 and expands the Act’s eligibility to include smaller housing projects until January 1, 2026. The bill would exempt PLA projects from skilled and trained workforce mandates, the requirement to submit certified payroll records and prohibit the State Labor Commissioner from enforcing the labor code. Requires prevailing wages and apprentices on private projects authorized by the bill. CHAPTERED

SB 51 (Durazo) Makes changes to the Roberti Act (the Act) to encourage the sale of homes owned by Caltrans, located within the State Route (SR) 710 corridor in the El Sereno neighborhood of the City of Los Angeles (Los Angeles), for low- and moderate-income rental housing. Exempts PLA projects from CPRs and STWF. Requires prevailing wages and apprentices on private projects authorized by the bill. CHAPTERED

SB 144 (Portantino) Makes changes to the Film and TV Tax Credit administered by the California Film Commission (CFC), housed within the Governor’s Office of Business and Development (GO-Biz). Requires that the operation and maintenance of the soundstage must be performed by a workforce paid at least the prevailing rate that is either directly or through a payroll company employed by the soundstage owner or lessee; or a skilled and trained workforce, as defined in the Public Contract Code Chapter 2.9 (beginning with section 2600), if a third-party vendor provides services. CHAPTERED

SB 657 (Ochoa Bogh) Allows employers, in any instance the employer is required to physically post information, to additionally distribute that information to employees by email with the document or documents attached. Further, this bill clarifies that email distribution or relevant documents under the proposed statute does not alter the employer’s physical obligation to display the required posting. CHAPTERED

Two Of Arizona’s Native Fish Are Being Considered for Downlisting from endangered to threatened under the Endangered Species Act. But here's why they may always need human help.

Reconciliation and the PROAct In addition to the tax increases in the $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, on Sept. 10, the House Education and Labor Committee marked up and approved its $761 billion portions of the bill on a party-line vote. It contains provisions like policies included in the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PROAct):

·        $5 million for the implementation of electronic voting in union elections.
·        Financial penalties on employers for unfair labor practices.
·        Personal liability for company directors and officers for unfair labor practices.
·        Prohibitions against employers from permanently replacing strikers, locking out workers, captive audience meetings, and arbitration agreements.

ABC has a website that allows contractors to contact their members of Congress here.

The Peter G. Peterson Foundation has produced an analysis of the reconciliation process and the plan to pay for the “infrastructure” package.

Time for Reconciliation All House Dem committee chairs have successfully met Speaker Pelosi's deadline to finish their sections by Sept. 15, clearing the way for leadership-level negotiations on the most challenging aspects of the bill: Medicare expansion, Medicaid spending, SALT, and drug pricing.

Arbitration Agreements A federal appeals court Wednesday simultaneously revived and gutted a 2019 California law banning employers from requiring arbitration agreements in job contracts, ruling that its enforcement mechanisms run afoul of federal law. The court allowed the ban to take effect but limited the state's power to enforce it, rendering the law largely symbolic. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in a split decision that federal law does not prevent California officials from banning forced arbitration under AB 51. But the panel struck down a provision of AB 51 that would have penalized employers that retaliate against workers who decline to sign such agreements. The court ruled that civil penalties subjecting employers to up to six months of jail time or a $1,000 fine, as outlined in the measure, are prohibited under federal law. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, National Retail Federation, and other business groups filed a lawsuit in 2019 arguing that the bill was in direct conflict with the Federal Arbitration Act, allowing employers and workers to settle disputes outside of court.

NLRB Chief Counsel Seeks New Penalties for Labor Law Violations With a newly minted Democratic majority on the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), the General Counsel of the NLRB, who directs the enforcement of federal labor law, has ordered her staff to seek broad remedies—many of which would be unprecedented—for workers subjected to unfair practices, including reimbursement for “consequential damages” such as health care expenses, credit card late fees, or loss of a home or car as a result of being unlawfully terminated. Story

The Popularity of our POTUS: President Joe Biden’s average approval rating (46 percent) is in Ford territory and could be headed into Trump territory if he doesn’t turn it around. Here’s where every modern president rated at this point, according to FiveThirtyEight.

G.W. Bush: 82.6%
Kennedy: 76.1%
Truman: 75%
Eisenhower: 74.4%
Johnson: 74%
G.H.W. Bush: 69.5%
Nixon: 62.3%
Reagan: 60.1%
Carter: 54.3%
Obama: 53.4%
Clinton: 48.3%
Biden: 46%
Ford: 46%
Trump: 38.8%

Air Resources Board Invites CSLB Licensees to Attend Workgroup on Proposed Amendment for Off-Road Diesel Vehicles The California Air Resources Board (CARB) will host a public workgroup to discuss possible amendments to the In-Use Off-Road Diesel-Fueled Fleets Regulation (Off-Road Regulation) to include additional requirements for contractors and public works projects that use, hire, or own off-road diesel vehicles that are subject to the Off-Road Regulation.

The purpose of these potential amendments is:

1) To achieve long-term vehicle emissions reductions needed to meet federal and State air quality goals and requirements, and
2) To promote more effective compliance with the existing Off-Road Regulation.
During CARB’s public workgroup, the concept will be discussed, and CSLB licensees who may be affected by the proposed amendments can provide input.

Virtual Public Workgroup

Tuesday, September 21, 2021
2:30 – 4:30 p.m.

Register here.

More information about the workgroup is available here.

Accessible Parking the California Commission on Disability Access (CCDA) wants to change accessible parking in California. They have developed a survey for contractors and construction managers to “help” access the changes.
It should only take 5-10 minutes to complete but is due COB 9/21/21.
On the topic of accessible parking in private works construction, buildings open to the public, the survey asks which areas of Chapter 11B of the CA Building Code (public accessibility) would be most helpful for CCDA to focus on in developing toolkits/resources for business owners/operators, ADA local government, and building industry professionals. The survey expects A-Gen Eng., B-Gen Building, C-8 Concrete, C-10 Electrical [EV charging in parking lots], C-12 Earth/Pave, C-23 Orn. Metal, C-27 Landscaping, C-32-Parking and Highway, C-45 Signs, or any other contractor license classification who may be able to weigh in.
Access the full link here.