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WECA Political Update January 18, 2024

Thursday, January 18, 2024

AGC Sues to Stop Biden's PLA Rule on Federal Construction Projects

The Associated General Contractors and its Louisiana chapter filed the lawsuit, saying, “Biden lacks the legal and constitutional authority to impose sweeping labor policies that undermine current labor agreements for union firms and discriminate against open shop contractors.” Story___

A Late Present from Mayor Todd to Building Trades

During his annual San Diego State of the City address, Mayor Todd Gloria announced that a citywide Project Labor Agreement, wholly negotiated behind closed doors, would soon be before the City Council.

California Supreme Court Cases Employers Should Watch in 2024

The California Supreme Court issued several important decisions in 2023 about COVID-19 take-home exposure and arbitrating Private Attorney General Act (PAGA) claims. Employers should continue to be aware of several cases pending before the state’s high court. This story highlights what these cases could mean for California employers.

CEQA 2023 Legislative Update

The 2023 legislative cycle saw another mixed bag of legislation dealing with CEQA “reform,” focusing on streamlining affordable housing development. While many bills died during the process, a few key laws were passed or extended over the past year. This story briefly summarizes those bills and their impact on CEQA.

More Allegations Against Nathan Fletcher

The Voice of San Diego reports, “Nearly a year after Nathan Fletcher resigned from the County Board of Supervisors following allegations of sexual harassment and assault, new accusations against the former rising political star have emerged. CBS 8 reports that in a tort claim, UC San Diego professor Juli Beth Hinds claims that in the days after a former MTS employee filed a lawsuit against Fletcher, a student approached her to report she’d been on the receiving end of “harassing conduct” by Fletcher. For about a decade, Fletcher taught political science at UCSD. Hinds ultimately filed a Title IX complaint reporting Fletcher’s alleged harassment of her student in early April. According to her tort claim, that’s when the trouble started. In the weeks after filing the complaint, Hinds alleges the county retaliated by ending contracts with her outside consulting business. Hinds is seeking about $280,000 to recover what she says are lost wages.”

Disclosure for Thee, but Not for Me

Politico reports, “In what one lawmaker described as a situation like ‘Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown,’ a bill that would require the California governor’s office to reveal diversity data regarding gubernatorial appointees is back on the table after Gov. Gavin Newsom vetoed it for a third time last year. SB 782 is the fourth attempt by Sen. Monique Limón (D-Santa Barbara) to pass the measure, which has been watered down from its original 2021 version in hopes that Newsom would sign a narrower provision. Still, the governor has sent the bill back three times, citing cost, redundancy, and the reliability of self-reported data.”

In response to Newsom’s veto of last year’s bill (SB 702) Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) — a sponsor of the legislation — released a report finding that of Newsom’s 480 appointees to boards, commissions, agencies, and task forces last year, white people filled 52 percent of positions. Black and Latino appointees, the following two highest categories, comprised 28 percent of the combined roles.

Fresno's City Council under new management...

Second-year Councilwoman Annalisa Perea was unanimously elected Council President. Perea, who is the third member of the family to serve at City Hall – both her father and brother sat on the dais at one point – replaced Esmeralda Soria after she reached her term limit in 2022. Now, she'll be tasked with gaveling in the raucous panel and leading budget negotiations with Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer and his administration.

Passage of Expansion of California Noncompetition Ban Requires Employers to Provide Notices to Employees and Former Employees by February 14, 2024

States continue to legislate the enforceability of post-employment restrictive covenants. As such, employers nationwide must be mindful of how state law impacts the drafting and enforcement of agreements restricting what a former employer can do after an employee leaves. Massachusetts employers must ensure they comply with the state's laws in which employees – and now former employees – live and work.

In California, Section 16600 of the Business and Professions Code of California (Section 16600) provides that “Every contract by which anyone is restrained from engaging in a lawful profession, trade, or business of any kind is to that extent void” unless it falls into a narrow statutory exception. Courts have consistently found that Section 16600 acts as a ban on non-competes, and in general, most employers and employees understand that to be the case. However, California has recently expanded its policy pronouncement through two notable laws – one requiring employers, including non-California employers, to act by February 14, 2024. More

AB 51 Has Been Permanently Enjoined for Most Arbitration Agreements Covered by the FAA

Employers who feel undecided about mandatory employee arbitration agreements because of legal uncertainties can now be more confident. Assembly Bill 51 (Gonzalez D – San Diego), which banned mandatory arbitration agreements and imposed criminal liability on employers for using them, has now been permanently enjoined because it conflicted with federal law. Read on for an explanation of where we are, how we got here, and what to expect next. More

Can the CPUC Fast Charge California's Transportation Electrification Goals? It Plans to Try

In recent years, California has seen significant growth in adopting zero-emission vehicles and charging infrastructure. Today, one in four vehicles sold in California is a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV), of which an overwhelming majority are electric vehicles (EVs). The biggest question is: Can California's charging infrastructure supply keep up with the demand? As California continues implementing its transportation electrification policies, the growth of ZEV use and charging infrastructure will require significant grid upgrades. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) recently issued a new Order Instituting Rulemaking (OIR) to ensure that the deployment of charging infrastructure occurs while addressing the collateral effects of such rapid and sizable deployment. More

Electric Disclosure

SB 382 (Becker, D – Menlo Park) will require sellers of single-family residential properties to provide prospective buyers with a notice stating that it may be advisable to obtain an inspection of the home’s electrical systems and a list of the various safety risks and other potential concerns arising from substandard, recalled, or faulty wiring and limited electrical capacity. WECA supports for now; the State Building and Construction Trades Council will probably demand the report be conducted only by a Skilled and Trained Workforce.

U.S. Chamber White Paper on "Whole of Government" Union Support

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a White Paper detailing the various elements of the Biden/Harris administration's advocacy for unions. The report examines how President Biden's "whole of government" approach to using the federal government to promote unionization harms workers, employers, and the economy. Read the report here