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WECA Political Update May 12, 2022

Thursday, May 12, 2022

New Gift to Unions? A bill going through the Legislature could help future striking workers avoid losing their employer-sponsored benefits. AB2530 by Assemblymember Jim Wood (D-Santa Rosa), would extend coverage through Covered California to workers who lose employer-sponsored benefits due to a labor dispute. California has already enacted AB237, which prevents public-sector employers from terminating employees’ health insurance during a strike. Wood’s bill, sponsored by the California Labor Federation and other groups, would extend that protection to the private sector. The bill passed the Assembly Health Committee last month and is now in the fiscal committee.

New Assemblymember The State Assembly swore in its newest member — former San Francisco Supervisor Matt Haney. Haney took over the Assembly District 17, which was left vacant by David Chiu when he was appointed to serve as San Francisco city attorney last year. Haney won the seat in a runoff with former San Francisco Supervisor David Campos in April. In order to win the full Assembly term that begins in 2023, Haney has to run again in June in the statewide primary. Campos' name will be on the ballot due to the filing deadline, but Campos has said he does not intend to challenge Haney in June or in November.

Lincoln Property, Meta go big in Arizona LPC Desert West, the Southwest arm of Dallas-based Lincoln Property Co., is planning to build a 2.3 million-square-foot industrial facility adjacent to Luke Air Force Base in Glendale, Arizona, a fast-growing industrial corridor west of Phoenix. The $515 million development, dubbed Luke Field, will include buildings of 1.26 million square feet, 604,000 square feet and 416,000 square feet on 140 acres that Lincoln Property purchased for $53 million. Construction for the project, which will be built in one phase, is expected to start in the fourth quarter and be completed in 2024. Butler Design Group is the architect; a general contractor has not been selected. The development comes as Meta Platforms Inc., parent company of Facebook Inc., also is targeting the Phoenix area for growth. The company on Wednesday said it’s expanding a two-building, $800 million data-center project in Mesa to a five-building effort spanning more than 2.5 million square feet with a price tag north of $1 billion.

Construction Trades Are Only Worried about the Environment if it is a Means to a PLA The “left-of-center” Los Angeles Times noted recently “The efforts to end California’s embrace of freeways face opposition from a powerful group: trade unions. Labor leaders contend that limiting freeway widening overestimates the state’s ability to transition from an automobile-centered culture and does so at the expense of good-paying jobs. “We’re not the organization of ‘no’ when it comes to climate change. We’re the organization of ‘slow,” said Joseph Cruz, executive director of the California State Council of Laborers. “Put a plan together where you make the other transportation opportunities available before you talk about shutting down freeways.” Cruz’s group and other labor organizations are against the most aggressive plan to stymie freeway expansion – Assembly Bill 1778 – written by Assemblymember Cristina Garcia (D-Bell Gardens), which would block freeway widening in areas of the state with high levels of pollution and poverty. Story

Opinion: Chula Vista Needs a Citywide Project Labor Agreement to Prosper So says Zaneta Encarnacion, who is a candidate for mayor of Chula Vista. In a recent opinion she noted “We can do something now to ensure more high-paying local jobs are available right here in Chula Vista: approve a citywide project labor agreement on major public works projects. A project labor agreement would ensure the city is doing its part to help keep our local dollars circulating, benefiting our local workforce and our local businesses — while solving the problems created by our current commuter culture. And it builds pride for one’s community when you get to be part of building it. Parents can point to the projects they had a hand in building while taking their kids to soccer on the weekend.” Chula Vista merit shop contractors should keep that in mind at the next election. Story

Who Will Build California’s Electric Vehicle Charging Stations and Why it Matters In an unbiased article on the IBEW Local 11 funded website Capital & Main (whose mantra is “fact-based reporting, not opinion”), author Jessica Goodheart waxes on about the virtues of the EVITP certification – citing many of the same folk who supported AB 841 by California Assemblyman Phil Ting in 2020 – that requires at least a quarter of certified electricians on publicly funded or authorized projects to have participated in the 18-hour course. She quotes IBEW’s Bernie Kotlier, who said that there is no central repository of code violations, electrocutions, fires or deaths related to installation errors. Still, over the years, there have been scattered press reports of fires that have broken out while cars were charging that have not been battery-related. Read the story here if you can stomach it.

Nancy Pelosi’s Unionization Folly Democrats are trying to organize Congress. That sounds like the opening of a joke, but the punch line might not be what you’d expect. House leadership wants to allow collective bargaining for congressional staff, which would do little to improve work conditions, cause a lot of headaches, and solve little. On Friday, Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced that the House would vote this week on a resolution, introduced in February by Rep. Andy Levin (D - Michigan), which would allow House staffers to bargain collectively. Story