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Friday, March 27, 2020   Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19

Show the Industry and the State How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During the COVID-19 Situation:

Send us pictures of your safe-practice jobsites for social media and industry communications

Dear WECA Members,
     We know how seriously you're taking the directives to keep your employees safe as they continue with essential work as specified by California Executive Order N-33-20 in response to the COVID-19 situation.
     If you'd like a refresher on best practices as WECA has compiled them, as well as more information about interpretations of California Executive Order N-33-20, please click here.
      We'd like to take the lead in showing that our member contractors are doing it right. Please send us pictures of your job sites that show off how you are keeping your employees safe. We'd like to put together a resource similar to this example from ABC Empire State.             


      WECA Member Contractors are known for their quality, safety, and unmatched skill. Let's take the lead and inspire contractors across the State to stay as safe as we do. Please send your job site photos to communications@goweca.com. We will compile and reshare the photos we collect from you.
Sincerely,
         The WECA Team
Continued Call for Donations of Personal Protective Equipment

WECA continues to hear of medical entities across California desperate for Personal Protective Equipment. If you are in possession of PPE of use to California's front-line healthcare workers, which you don't need at this time for your own employees and job sites, please consider donating it.

Entities in need include:

HealthRight360
www.healthright360.org (for monetary donations to COVID-19 emergency fund)

PPE Materials Donation Contact: Nawad Thompson
Email:  nthompson@healthright360.org
Phone: 619-822-9355
UC Davis Health
Donating PPE in person or by mail

Sharp HealthCare San Diego

How to Donate 

UC San Diego Health

How to Donate

University of California San Francisco Health

How to Donate

GetUsPPE connects those who have PPE with those who need PPE nationwide.

https://getusppe.org/
#GetUsPPE

DonatePPE.org is a repository of Bay Area hospitals and their protocol for accepting donations.

This is a brief list which we hope helps point you towards an entity near you. Wherever you are located in California, you are sure to find a hospital, medical facility, or medical service provider grateful for your donation.
Contractor Resources

This compilation of resources for contractors was shared with us by our educational partner Associated Building and Contractors-NorCal.
Supplemental Health and Safety Plan to Address Novel Coronavirus COVID-19 (customizable template)
Supplemental Toolbox Talks COVID-19
Coronavirus Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 in Construction Workplace
COVID-19 Safety Meeting Outlines
* COVID-19 Toolbox Talks for Subs 
Fact Sheet for Pandemics
Marek Brother Toolbox Talk
COVID-19 Action Plan
Pandemic Preparedness - Coronavirus
Coronavirus - Workplace, School and Home Guidance
COVID-19 Tool Cleaning Protocols
COVID-19 Print Resources
COVID-19 Fact Sheet
United States Department of Labor: COVID-19
CDC COVID-19 Risk Assessment Flowchart
United States Department of Labor: COVID
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Join us Mar. 31 for "Navigating COVID-19 Issues in the Workplace: a Cook Brown, LLP Webinar"


Join Cook Brown Partner Carrie Bushman as she discusses:
  • Safe practices and social distancing at work;
  • Compliance with new federal paid sick leave and family medical leave requirements (HR 6201);
  • Best practices for employee layoffs;
  • CA WARN Act requirements for mass layoffs.
Register today to join us online on March 31, from 9 to 10 a.m., for this informative webinar.

This webinar is free for WECA member contractors, industry partners, and their employees. All others are $75/registration.

Register now
 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors

On March 4, Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a State of Emergency to exist in California as a result of the threat of COVID-19. On March 19, he issued Executive Order N-33-20 that directed - with specific exceptions - "all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence."

The order excepted activities "needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors." These 16 critical infrastructure sectors are:
  • Chemical Sector
  • Commercial Facilities Sector
  • Communications Sector
  • Critical Manufacturing Sector
  • Dams Sector
  • Defense Industrial Base Sector
  • Emergency Services Sector
  • Energy Sector
  • Financial Services Sector
  • Food and Agriculture Sector
  • Government Facilities Sector
  • Healthcare and Public Health Sector
  • Information Technology Sector
  • Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector
  • Transportation Systems Sector
  • Water and Wastewater Systems Sector
Read more here. 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Check Out Our Advisory Page for the Latest on WECA's Response to COVID-19

During this time, it's important that we're all on the same page and staying up-to-date on all things COVID-19 -- particularly in regards to how the situation affects your WECA membership experience and your employees' educational experiences. 

We've created a COVID-19 Advisory page outlining WECA's response to the California Stay-at-Home mandate, and how we're working to ensure that the mandate disrupts your membership experience and your employees' educational experiences as little as possible. 

We encourage you to check out our COVID-19 Advisory page and regularly tune in for the latest news and updates regarding WECA's response to COVID-19 and the California Stay-at-Home mandate, and we also recommend that you encourage your employees to regularly check the Advisory page, as well. 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Help Inform Coronavirus Policy in the Workplace with the U.S. Department of Labor

The U.S. Department of Labor will be hosting a national online dialogue to provide employers and employees with an innovative opportunity to offer their perspective as the Department develops compliance assistance materials and outreach strategies related to the implementation of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). 

The ideas and comments gathered from this dialogue will inform compliance assistance guidance, resources, and tools, as well as outreach approaches, that assist employers and employees in understanding their responsibilities and rights under the FFCRA. 

The U.S. Department of Labor will need your input by March 29, 2020. Anybody who is interested can click here to participate from March 23 through March 29, 2020 or can join a Twitter chat hosted by @ePolicyWorks on March 25, 2020 at 2 p.m. using the hashtag #EPWChat.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained

Content Courtesy of: CalChamber calchamber
 

Are you wondering how federal paid leaves work during the COVID-19 crisis? Learn more from CalChamber's website or their podcast.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency

SACRAMENTO -- The Contractors State License Board (CSLB) encourages licensed contractors to help hospitals and other healthcare providers experiencing a shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the COVID-19 emergency. Contractors may have supplies of certain items for construction jobs that are in greater demand as doctors, nurses, and medical staff face this unprecedented health crisis.

All donations should be of new equipment in its original packaging.

See below for specific information about how best to donate. Please do not drop-off donations directly at hospital emergency departments.

Consider donations of the following new items in original packaging:
  • N95 masks
  • Powered, air-purifying respirator (PAPR) hoods
  • Surgical masks
  • Procedure masks
  • Isolation gowns
  • Paper masks (with ties or elastic)
  • Paper protective gowns
  • Protective glasses/goggles
  • Industrial face shields (e.g., industrial paint shields)
  • Painters smocks (impermeable)
To donate to hospitals and health systems:
  • Call non-emergency hospital phone numbers to find out how to donate to your local hospital
  • Contact your local health department
  • Call your fire department's non-emergency phone number
  • Contact your local American Red Cross chapter 
CSLB thanks licensed contractors for doing their part during the COVID-19 health emergency by donating.

Although CSLB offices and test centers are currently closed to the public, we're working hard to remain accessible while continuing to provide our essential services. Learn more about the effects of the health emergency on CSLB services and how best to get in touch with us at: https://cslb.ca.gov/About_us/COVID-19.aspx 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Behind-the Scenes: Our Rapid Conversion to Online Apprenticeship During the COVID-19 Crisis

For our apprenticeship classes which began the week of March 16th, we had a rapid and timely conversion to online delivery for Week 2, starting this past Monday the 23rd! Luckily, WECA has been working for some time, at the direction of our Apprenticeship Training Trust Board of Trustees, to increase our use of technology in the classroom and increase the flexibility of our curriculum. This foresight paid off this month as we were ready to go to take already-running classes online. We're going to work out a few of the finer details over the next few weeks, and then resume running apprenticeship classes as scheduled--but entirely online--the week of April 13th. You and your apprentices can get up-to-date details on scheduling for affected classes on our COVID-19 Advisory Page

Meanwhile, here are a couple of fun selfies from our Apprenticeship Instructors Keith Smart and Neil Pesarillo and their respective classes this week. We appreciate their efforts as the first instructors to teach those online apprenticeship classes this week!
 
 
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here


Courtesy of Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

Our Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP has provided this editable employee permission slip for essential work under California Executive Order N-33-20. You can download and customize it here:

Employee Permission Slip (Editable)
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   WECA at the Forefront of Online Electrical Education Since 2007


At this time when so many educational institutions in California, including WECA, are transitioning to online-only education for the foreseeable future, we wanted to take this moment to reassure you that your employees can continue their education with WECA without interruption. WECA's been at the forefront of providing electrical education online since 2007. We have many years of experience with this, and whether you have apprentices attending a newly-online class for the first time, or you have electrician trainee or journeyman education students who have been taking our GetWired! or online self-paced classes from home all along, please know that we are committed to providing them with an excellent platform for online learning, and have the experience to back up that promise.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Information Regarding WECA Insurance for Member Contractors

Member Contractors - Please review the following information and reminders regarding insurance benefits for your WECA Commercial Apprentices:
  • Commercial apprentices are able to bank up to 520 hours in their hour bank, which allows them coverage for up to 4 months
  • Commercial apprentices have access to review their hour bank balance when they log into their secured apprentice dashboard on www.goweca.com
  • Keep in mind that 130 hours banked are equal to one month of insurance coverage
  • Once the hours in your commercial  apprentice's hour bank become less than 130, they will be notified by WECA and will be offered COBRA from our third party administrator, Infinisource. They may elect COBRA for medical, dental,  and vision insurance for themselves and their dependents
  • Please contact Cindy Cormier, WECA's Insurance Administrator, at ccormier@goweca.com or via phone at (916) 453-0112 ext. 117, for specific information or questions regarding WECA insurance
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Learn More About COVID-19 State and Federal Updates at ThinkHR Webinar, March 31st at 11 AM

An invitation from:
 

WECA Member Contractors: ThinkHR access is included with your membership. Opt-in through our website by logging in to your secured member dashboard.

From ThinkHR:

When: March 31, 2020 from 11 a.m. PT to 2 p.m. ET

Last week, over 30,000 people registered for ThinkHR's COVID-19 webinar. During the live event, we collected over 2,000 questions and have distilled those down into a 26 question COVID-19 FAQ for employers.

Join us on March 31st for our next webinar as we explore some of these common questions and discuss the latest state and federal updates on COVID-19.

Can't make the live event? Please register and we'll send you a recording and the slides.

Register now
Read more >>


Thursday, March 26, 2020   Calling all Certified Electricians -- Seeking Part-Time Instructors for Online Evening Classes

Make a Difference in Your Industry.

Teaching Others Online is a Rewarding Opportunity.


Experienced, certified electricians (including the recently retired!) who:
  • Are natural leaders and teachers
  • Enjoy learning more about the field all the time
  • Enjoy sharing knowledge about all things electrical with a new generation of prospective electricians
  • Want to earn more money in the evening, without having to leave home
We'd be excited to have you join our team and help us in developing the workforce for our industry! 
Contractors: If you have an employee you think would be perfect for this, please share this post with them! They'll keep their skills and Code knowledge sharp, and you'll reap the benefits.
Part-time instructors for our GetWired! programs teach weeknights online. (And once WECA can resume delivering Saturday labs in-person, there are options to teach Saturday labs at our training facilities as well.)

View the job posting to learn more and apply today.
Considering Membership in WECA? Download a brochure to learn more, and contact us anytime: (877) 444-9322

WECA Membership Brochure for Contractors

WECA Membership Brochure for Industry Partners
Read more >>


Monday, March 23, 2020   WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors

On March 4, Governor Gavin Newsom proclaimed a State of Emergency to exist in California as a result of the threat of COVID-19. On March 19, he issued Executive Order N-33-20 that directed – with specific exceptions – “all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence.”

The order excepted activities “needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.” These 16 critical infrastructure sectors are:
  • Chemical Sector
  • Commercial Facilities Sector
  • Communications Sector
  • Critical Manufacturing Sector
  • Dams Sector
  • Defense Industrial Base Sector
  • Emergency Services Sector
  • Energy Sector
  • Financial Services Sector
  • Food and Agriculture Sector
  • Government Facilities Sector
  • Healthcare and Public Health Sector
  • Information Technology Sector
  • Nuclear Reactors, Materials, and Waste Sector
  • Transportation Systems Sector
  • Water and Wastewater Systems Sector
The Memorandum on Identification of Essential Critical Infrastructure Workers During Covid-19 Response issued by CISA on March 19, makes clear that construction is an important component of these sectors. I would point out that the memorandum does include the following disclaimer: this list is advisory in nature. It is not, nor should it be considered to be, a federal directive or standard in and of itself.

Additionally, while not part of N-33-20, the State’s COVID-19 website includes “construction, including housing construction.” as specifically exempt industries from the “stay-at-home” order. I would point out that inasmuch as this language is not in N-33-20, it could be changed as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves and the State reacts (it has already changed once since the release of N-33-20).

For instance, the State COVID website earlier said “Depending on the conditions in their area, local officials may enforce stricter public health orders. But they may not loosen the state’s order.” It now just says “This is a state-wide order.” This suggests the ongoing, internal debate whether more restrictive local requirements supersede the State’s order. This is important as some localities have set more stringent local standards than the State’s.

In addition to guidance from the State of California and the federal government, the Associated General Contractors Association of America and JD Supra also provided clarification on the construction industry's essential role during theCOVID-19 crisis.

Finally, employers have a general obligation, even if exempt from “stay-at-home” orders, to follow best practices to protect their employees and their families. The OSHA/DHS has developed a guidance for preparation of workplace, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has compiled resources for large and small business alike on effective ways to combat the coronavirus.

WECA also suggests members consider the following guidance. Contractors and jobsite safety personnel should take specific steps to increase hygiene on the jobsite, such as:
  1. Adding sanitary facilities (toilet and hand washing stations with soap and hand sanitizer provided). Workers should both wash their hands with soap for twenty seconds and use hand sanitizer often. The CDC has guidelines on handwashing.
  2. Clean jobsites including disinfecting handrails, doorknobs, equipment and tools on a regular basis.
  3. Instead of having group safety meetings, and to keep the suggested social distance, hold smaller individual safety meetings at the jobsite maintaining social distancing guidelines.
  4. Keep separation of at least 6 feet on the job and always during rest and break periods and lunches; there should be no group gatherings and limit the number of persons in a single occupied space (such as elevators).
  5. Workers should bring a lunch from home and stay away from congested lunch trucks and coffee shops. Go directly from work to home and vice versa and minimize contact with the general public.
  6. Workers should wear and utilize all safety equipment available on the jobsite.
Social distancing is essential by having smaller construction crews and, if possible, staggering shifts.

If these guidelines cannot be met or a project is in tight quarters, or in contact with the general public, consideration should be given to shutting the construction project down until safer conditions exist. Likewise, if you or your workers note other contractors are not following safe procedures, you will need to consider removing your crew.

Some reminders to share with your team:
  1. If you are sick, stay home and don’t show up to work.
  2. Don’t shake hands when greeting others.
  3. Stay six feet away from others.
  4. Avoid sick people.
  5. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth.
  6. Clean your hands often by washing them with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, this is the most effective way to kill germs; using a hand sanitizer that contains not less than 70% alcohol in the interim.
You may also want to consider some policies or discussions about the theft or hoarding of construction job site bathroom, hygiene, and sanitation materials. These items are hard to find in retail shops, they are in short supply for the contractors, and must be used to keep the construction sites safe and clean.

Something else for your consideration:
  • If an employee is confirmed to have coronavirus or similar disease, the employer shall notify all employees who were believed to be in contact with this individual and take actions consistent with appropriate protocols to prevent the further spread of the disease.
  • We have heard that Cal-OSHA has cautioned that any incidence of illness associated with COVID-19 and workplace exposure could be incorporated in the employers’ experience modification.
  • Employers may want to ask their employment law attorney for language to incorporate in messaging with employees that showing up to work under the emergency order construction exemption is “voluntary” to reduce potential future claims that you forced employment during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Read more >>


Tuesday, March 17, 2020   WECEF's "Claws for a Cause" Crab Feed Has Been Postponed Until June 26, 2020

WECEF Claws for a Cause Crab Feed!
WHEN
Friday, June 26, 2020
Time: 5 PM to 8 PM

WHERE
WECA Headquarters - 
3695 Bleckely St. Rancho Cordova, CA 95655

Dear WECA Members,

The health and well-being of our members, employees, and friends is important to us. Due to the most recent advice of limiting gatherings to more than 50 people, we are postponing our annual WECEF "Claws for a Cause" Crab Feed until June 26, 2020.

Please be so kind as to notify your guests of this change.

And, we hope that you will be able to commit to your June attendance at the same level, but if not, please let us know as soon as possible. To confirm your attendance, or to share questions and concerns, please contact Leanne Sipes at (916) 453-0112 ext. 129. 

Thank you,

The WECA Team
wecef
Read more >>


Monday, March 16, 2020   Changes to GetWired Onsite Labs, Trainee and Journeyman Class Scheduling in Response to COVID-19

The health and safety of our Electrician Trainee, Journeyman Continuing Education, and General students is a top concern at WECA, and we have been closely watching news and recommendations from the CDC and state and local authorities. We are taking measures to ensure that WECA continues to serve its students with a minimum of disruption, while also prioritizing health and safety.
    Please review the information below for changes to upcoming onsite lab scheduling and in-person classroom courses, in response to the growing spread of COVID-19 in California.
    The good news for Trainees and Journeymen enrolled in our programs is that most of our class delivery is already online. Online classes will continue to be delivered as scheduled with no interruption, including all evening GetWired classes. Alternate arrangements are offered for onsite lab days; please read below for details specific to your course.
    WECA will be postponing or rescheduling most in-person classroom courses (such as Two Day Exam Prep) scheduled for the remainder of March and April, 2020.
For those students enrolled in the Basic Motor Controls (BMC) Part 2 class in Rancho Cordova which has its final class day scheduled for Saturday March 21st: 
  • WECA will deliver the final day of this class at our Rancho Cordova location as scheduled . 
  • WECA staff and instructors are following all recommended precautions to keep our facilities clean and sanitized. Students are asked to join us in stringent application of best practices for avoiding the spread of COVID-19.
  • Students who would prefer to transfer into a later instance of BMC 2 may do so at no additional charge. Please contact WECA to arrange your transfer.

 
For those students currently enrolled in GetWired 301, with a lab day scheduled for Saturday April 3rd. 
  • Your lab, an introduction to commercial blueprint reading, will be conducted entirely online.
  • Your lab date and times remain identical.
  • WECA will ship you your tablet, loaded with blueprints, in advance of your lab date.
  • WECA will send you confirmation of your login instructions for your remote lab.
For those students currently enrolled in GetWired 102, with a lab day scheduled for Saturday April 25th. 
  • We are working on a plan to deliver your lab experience online.
  • Your lab date and times will remain identical.
  • WECA will send you confirmation of your login instructions for your remote lab and other details shortly.
For those students enrolled in Two Day Exam Prep on April 18th in Rancho Cordova or Riverside. 
  • WECA is cancelling these class instances.
  • You may transfer into an upcoming Two Day Exam Prep instance with no transfer fees.
  • You may also transfer into an upcoming GetWIred 404 Exam prep instance with no transfer fees and at no additional cost. (GetWired 404 is entirely online and delves even more deeply into preparation for the State certification exam).
  • You may request a full refund.
For those students enrolled in Basic Motor Controls Part 1 in Rancho Cordova, beginning April 25th, or Basic Motor Controls Part 2 in San Diego, beginning April 18th:
  • WECA is cancelling these class instances.
  • You may transfer into an upcoming Basic Motor Controls instance with no transfer fees.
  • You may request a full refund.

        The situation around COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and WECA's class delivery plans are subject to further modifications based upon subsequent advice from authorities. We're glad to be able to deliver our regularly-scheduled online classes without interruption. Please follow WECA's communications closely for further updates, as we will do our best to rapidly communicate any further changes to you. Thank you for your patience and solidarity as we all work together to minimize the impact of COVID-19 on our community.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 12, 2020   These Boots Are Made for Working -- Content Courtesy of WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

By: Lisa V. Ryan of Cook Brown, LLP

Court Rules California Employers Must Pay for Employee Work Boots

According to a recent unpublished appellate court decision, California employers must pay for employee safety equipment, including steel-toed shoes. In UPS Ground Freight Inc. v. California Occupational Safety and Health Appeals Board (Cal. Ct. App., Feb. 6, 2020, No. B296657), UPS had challenged a Cal-OSHA ruling that it was required to pay for its employees' protective footwear. But the court upheld the Administrative law decision finding the employer had violated California Code of Regulations, title 8, section 3385, subdivision (a) by failing to pay for its employees' required protective footwear.

Background on Providing Protective Gear

The decision stemmed from a 2016 Cal/OSHA citation after an inspection found workers were wearing safety shoes that were not "provided" by the employer. It was undisputed that employers have a duty to require "appropriate foot protection" per Labor Code §3385. But the issue relates to an employer's duty to purchase footwear. UPS conceded that it required employees to wear steel-toed safety shoes to work at its facility. However, like many employers, it took the position that it did not have to pay for the footwear because there was no applicable law requiring such.

California Labor Code section 6401 simply requires employers to "furnish and use safety devices and safeguards ... reasonably adequate to render such employment and place of employment safe and healthful." Similarly, another state law states that employers must not fail to "provide and use safety devices and safeguards reasonably adequate to render the employment and place of employment safe." (See Cal. Labor Code §6403.) The court held that the clear purpose of these laws is to "make the employer responsible for (1) ensuring that all safety devices and safeguards meet the standards of title 8 and (2) maintaining those devices and safeguards."

But many California employers had relied on a federal regulation that expressly exempts footwear from the requirement that employers purchase required safety gear. [See 29 C.F.R. § 1910.132 (h)(2), providing the employer is not required to pay for non-specialty safety-toe protective footwear (including steel-toe shoes or steel-toe boots).]

Relying on a 1979 California Supreme Court ruling, holding that the employer had to pay for work gloves for its employees, Cal/OSHA took a contrary position stating that the federal regulation was not applicable to California employers. That case, Bendix Forest Products Corp. v. Division of Occupational Safety and Health, held that employers were required to purchase mittens for their logging employees to protect their hands.

On appeal, the court also cited to a 2011 Cal/OSHA decision, which based on the Bendix ruling held employers responsible for paying for all employee safety gear. "Where an employer requires an employee to wear safety shoes, they are 'reasonably necessary to protect the life, safety, and health of employees', and must be furnished or provided by the employer at employer's expense." (See Newman Flange & Fitting Company, Cal/OSHA App. 07-2581, Decision After Reconsideration (Oct. 5, 2011).)

Unfortunately, the court failed to acknowledge the practical distinction between providing work gloves versus providing footwear to all employees. The ruling further acknowledged that an "employee might, for example, desire a higher level of protection or find a different brand of equipment more comfortable. An employee's decision to pay for his or her own personal protective equipment does not relieve the employer of its responsibility to pay for that equipment."

What Should Employers Do?

While the decision is not currently published, this is a clear adoption of Cal-OSHA's enforcement position requiring California employers to pay for any safety gear, to include steel-toed boots, required to protect employees from hazards they're exposed to at work.

In order to "furnish or provide" such footwear at the employer's expense, employers should provide all employees work boots upon hire. But recognizing the unique nature of each employee's foot size and preference, many employers choose to provide employees a stipend to pay for the reasonable costs associated with purchasing required boots. Other employers, citing the costs and transient nature of its workforce, simply purchase a variety of work boot sizes and provide the employees access to such each workday. Clearly there is no "one size fits all" when it comes to employers' obligation to furnish required protective footwear.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 12, 2020   Register for Apr. 15 Cook Brown, LLP Prevailing Wage Webinar with Carrie Bushman, Attorney at Law


Join Cook Brown Partner Carrie Bushman as she discusses:
  • Recently enacted statutory provisions regarding new penalties for non-compliance with skilled and trained workforce requirements;
  • The small project exemption for contractor registration and submission of eCPRs;
  • How to read and interpret prevailing wage determinations, including scopes of work, travel and subsistence provisions, and shift differential provisions;
  • Taking credit for fringe benefit contributions;
  • Public works contractor registration requirements;
  • Apprenticeship compliance; and,
  • Record keeping requirements, including eCPR.
Register today to join us online on April 15, from 8:30-12pm, for this informative webinar. 

This webinar is free for WECA member contractors, industry partners, and their employees. All others are $75/registration.

Want a handy Prevailing Wage reference in the meantime? Purchase WECA's updated ePublication, "Blueprint to California's Prevailing Wage: A Contractors Guide Second Edition". Now available for Amazon Kindle, and as an interactive PDF.

This webinar is free for WECA Member Contractors and their employees. All others $75.

Register now

Not yet a member of WECA? See our membership benefits and services.
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Thursday, March 12, 2020   In Memoriam: WECA Honors and Remembers L. Frank Vellutini, Jr. of Royal Electric Company


WECA honors and remembers L. Frank Vellutini, Jr., who passed away on February 28th.
Frank was the Chairman of the Board of Royal Electric Company, which was founded by his father and has been a member of the Western Electrical Contractors Association since 1971. 

Frank was a distinguished member of our Board of Directors from 1992 - 2016 and served as Vice President and President from 1993 - 1994. Frank was responsible for helping the association to overcome numerous challenges and was a major contributor to its advancement, year after year. In 2016, the association presented him with an award in honor of his longstanding commitment to the organization and his guidance in its growth and evolution. 
His daughter Dina Kimble, now President and CEO, Partner of Royal Electric Company, carries on his tradition as a presently-serving member of WECA's Board of Directors.  


All of us at WECA will be pleased to carry on his values and continue to build on the work he put into making WECA what it is today. 
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Thursday, March 12, 2020   Register for NLCAA 3/19 Webinar: "What Contractors Need to Know About Title 24 & Acceptance Testing"


Please join WECA and the National Lighting Contractors Association of America (NLCAA) for an informative webinar -- hosted by Michael Scalzo, Executive Director of the NLCAA, and co-hosted by WECA -- on what contractors need to know about Title 24 and Acceptance Testing. Webinar topics will include:
  • What is Title 24, Part 6? What is Acceptance Testing?
    • The California Energy Code contains energy conservation standards applicable to all residential and non-residential buildings throughout California.
  • What parts do we need to be concerned with? It depends:
    • Scope of project
      • New Construction
      • Alterations/Additions/Repairs (Retrofit)
  • Is your design compliant? What can I do to ensure my project will pass the Acceptance Testing Process?
    • How do you know?
    • What could happen if I don't worry about this?
Register today to join us online on March 19 from 9 to 10 a.m., for this informative webinar.

Get all these questions answered -- and more! -- at this webinar, which is complimentary for WECA members and their employees! Registration for members of the public is $15.

Register now
 
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Thursday, March 12, 2020   Your Next Great Employee May Be Waiting for an Introduction to You -- Find Them with WECA's SRS

WECA's Student Referral Service 
 

Our job referral service helps job seekers find work, and helps Member Contractors meet their staffing needs. 

What is this Service?
free job referral service that introduces our current ET, Journeymen, and WECA Graduate job seekers to Member Contractors in order to help meet their staffing needs. It's included with your membership!
 
Who does this benefit?
Everyone! WECA Member Contractors are referred qualified, WECA-trained applicants to help meet their staffing needs. And WECA Electrician Trainees, Journeymen Continuing Education Students, and Graduates get valuable job referrals. 
 
How does this differ from the WECA Job Board?
WECA's Electrical and Low Voltage Industry Job Board is a self-service portal where members and electrical and low voltage employment job-seekers submit and review resumes and job postings online.
 
This service provides additional customer service by having WECA staff supply you with hands-on referrals. In other words, we take some of the hard work off your plate. 
 
The Student Referral Service refers more experienced employees to you, and you hire them directly.
 
To receive referrals from WECA's Student Referral Service, please contact Ana Lopez, WECA ET/CE Program Manager, at alopez@goweca.com or 1-877-444-9322.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 12, 2020   Can an Owner Preemptively Avoid a Mechanics Lien? Content Courtesy of Porter Law Group, Inc.

By: William L. Porter, Esq. of Porter Law Group, Inc.

Valid Process?  Unconstitutional?  Invitation for Legislative Change?

Various sections of the California Civil Code, beginning with section 8000, protect the right of contractors, subcontractors and suppliers in the construction industry to obtain payment for work performed and materials supplied to construction projects. Under these statutes, unpaid claimants are entitled to use mechanics liens, stop payment notices and other methods to protect their right to payment. Mechanics liens allow unpaid claimants to sell the property where the work was performed in order to obtain payment. Stop payment notices force the owner or the bank to set money aside to pay unpaid claimants. Article XIV of our California Constitution even elevates the mechanics lien remedy to a "constitutional right". The system generally works well, and claimants are paid.

As someone who practices and teaches construction law, I have noticed a seldom used statutory tool that seems to provide a mechanism for property owners under certain circumstances to prevent subcontractors and suppliers from imposing enforceable mechanics lien on property where work was performed. Under California Civil Code section 8520, it appears that all that an owner of property need do to avoid a mechanics lien on its property is to give a proper notice (per Civil Code section 8100 et seq.) to a person who has a mechanics lien right (a subcontractor or supplier) that the owner is invoking Civil Code section 8520 and that if the claimant is unpaid for work performed or materials supplied to the owner's property that the claimant must either provide the owner with a stop payment notice or forfeit the right to a mechanics lien on the owner's property. This would allow an owner to avoid a mechanics lien on its property if the claimant failed to send a stop payment notice to the owner.

Providing the "notice" under Civil Code section 8100 appears to be easy. It can be sent by "registered or certified mail or by express mail or by overnight delivery by an express service carrier". It can even be by "hand delivery". As far as the notice itself, it would seem that it can be very simple and easily performed under the process described below, which can be implemented within the office of any owner or developer.

The process begins with the "preliminary notice" described in California Civil Code section 8200 et seq. By law, subcontractors and suppliers are required to serve the owner with a "preliminary notice" if they wish to later record an enforceable mechanics lien on a property. The service of a preliminary notice is thus a key prerequisite to a subcontractor or supplier mechanics lien. To protect itself from a mechanics lien on its property, all it seems the owner has to do when it receives a preliminary notice from a subcontractor or supplier is to turn around and immediately send a notice to the same subcontractor or supplier (by registered or certified mail or by express mail or by overnight delivery by an express service carrier or by hand delivery) stating something like the following:

NOTICE Of OWNER INVOKING CALIFORNIA CIVIL CODE SECTION 8520
Owner (_____________) of the property located at _______________ (Property") and as to which you have provided Owner with a preliminary notice pursuant to California Civil Code section 8200 et seq., hereby invokes its right under California Civil Code section 8520 to require that you give the Owner a stop payment notice if you are to any extent unpaid for work performed or materials supplied to the Property. Pursuant to Civil Code 8520 (b), if you are unpaid and fail to give the Owner a stop payment notice, as hereby demanded, you forfeit your right to a mechanics lien under Civil Code 8400, et seq.
_____________ __________________________________
Date
___________________________, Owner

By sending the notice, the Owner forces the claimant to serve a stop payment notice on the owner so that the owner has a legal right to withhold money from its contractor. If the claimant fails to serve the stop payment notice, the claimant gives up the right to a mechanics lien and generally has no right to any claim at all against the owner. The claimant has no contract claim against the owner because the claimant did not contract directly with the owner. The claimant has no stop payment notice claim against the owner because it did not serve a stop payment notice as the owner requested. The claimant has no enforceable mechanics lien claim against the owner because it was served with the 8520 notice and failed to serve a stop payment notice. The owner is thus well protected from any subcontractor claim against it.

I am unsure why owners have not, heretofore, regularly invoked this section and sent a notice such as this. The statute has been around since 1971 (former Civil Code 3158) and the process is simple. Perhaps it is because owners have no strong lobby to advise them to use statutes such as this, like Associated General Contractors might do for direct contractors or the American Subcontractors Association might do for subcontractors. Perhaps it is because the American Institute of Architects, which typically represents the interests of Owners in contracting matters, has not ventured into the market of state-by-state construction documents and considered this California statute. I cannot be sure. For 30 years as a practicing and teaching construction attorney, I have never seen the section invoked by an owner, until now. Finally, in recent weeks, I have seen this section invoked by an owner. Whether it is the beginning of a trend, I cannot be sure.

Certain Questions arise. First, I question whether the statute is even constitutional. After all, doesn't a Constitutional mandate to preserve the right to a mechanics lien prevail over a statute that purports to degrade or defeat the same right? Thus far, no court has ventured to answer the question as it concerns this statute. Perhaps the legislature can step in to rescind Civil Code section 8520 and protect the constitutional right to a mechanics lien. On the other side of the equation though, the interests of the owners are also entitled to consideration. How are owners, who are quite willing to set aside money for claimants under a stop payment notice, to protect their properties from mechanics liens? After all, if owners are willing to set aside funds for a claimant and even invite a stop payment notice as per Civil Code section 8520, why should owners then also be burdened with a mechanics lien and the prospect of their property being sold out from under them? What is the best public policy? Whose interest should prevail? These are good questions for debate. Let the debate begin. I will be interested to see how it turns out.
Read more >>


Thursday, March 12, 2020   Important Coronavirus Preparation & Prevention Information from U.S. Chamber of Commerce & Cal/OSHA

The health and safety of our Member Contractors and their employees is of utmost importance. We've included important information regarding coronavirus -- guidelines, educational materials, and programs -- from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Cal/OSHA below to help our Member Contractors and their employees navigate, prevent, and prepare for coronavirus.

U.S. Chamber of Commerce: Guidance for Employers to Plan and Respond to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

 U.S. Chamber of Commerce: (COVID-19) Workplace Tips for Employees

Cal/OSHA Notice: Guidance Posted on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus

Cal/OSHA Interim Guidelines for General Industry on 2019 Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19)
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Thursday, March 12, 2020   Employer Registrations Open for the Skilled Trades Job Fair on Saturday, April 18th

Hosted by North State Building Industry Association and WECA Industry Partner ConstructionHappens.com jobs
 

Learn more and register
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Thursday, March 12, 2020   The Latest in the World of California Construction: Read CSLB's Spring 2020 Newsletter Here

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Thursday, February 27, 2020   The 2020 Labor Law Book is Here!


Selected California Laws Affecting Electrical and Low Voltage Contractors - 2020 Edition

WECA Member Contractors: watch your mailboxes, because your complimentary copy will arrive soon! 

The 2020 edition of WECA's "Selected California Laws Affecting Electrical and Low Voltage Contractors" is here. It's an important reference guide -- for members, the industry, and the general public -- to the latest new and amended laws that could affect your business.

Not a Member Contractor with WECA yet? No worries -- you can purchase the 2020 edition of "Selected California Laws Affecting Electrical and Low Voltage Contractors" in our Amazon store.

Want to become a WECA Member Contractor? Learn more about our membership services and benefits. 
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Thursday, February 27, 2020   GetWired! Instructor Spotlight: Bill Garr


At WECA, we pride ourselves on providing a comprehensive electrical industry education - thanks in no small part to our talented, knowledgeable, and passionate instructors. And we think that Bill Garr - third-generation electrician, Santa Rosa native, and one of our many talented GetWired! instructors - perfectly embodies these sentiments.

"I was highly interested in teaching for a long time due to the fact that WECA has the facilities and resources to reach out to the industry and instruct with great teachers, coupled with how awe-inspiring working with raw energy and construction truly is."

Garr states that as a teacher, he loves that he "gets to interact with and show my passion and excitement for electrical theory, construction and science; reach multiple people at any given time online and in the labs, and that having the classes taught online coupled with the availability of the hands-on labs makes it [our curriculum] available for everyone on a personal basis."

That, and Garr simply just loves "teaching electrical theory and code, which leads to helping people be better at what they do. My goal is to educate and inspire electricians, so that we leave and build a better place for all."

It is, after all, in his blood.

"My grandfather and father were both electricians," said Garr. "I first attended community college for general education credits toward an AA, and then I was a caretaker to my grandparents [along] with my father for a few years. After that, I joined WECA, took all the required Electrician Trainee (ET) courses, and received my Electrician Trainee program certificate through WECA."

And it shows - Garr lists two crucial traits for electricians: curious and always learning - in his personal philosophy. But he also espouses the importance of being humble, respectful, honest, adventurous, and thankful for all opportunities.

When not educating and inspiring the next generation of California's merit shop electricians, Garr partakes in an impressive repertoire of hobbies like practicing instinctual traditional archery, fly fishing, playing computer games, enjoying the outdoors with his dog, and working out at the gym.

Thank you, Bill, for being part of the WECA family and for continuing your family's proud tradition of working in the electrical industry, as well as WECA's proud tradition of counting alumni among its most dedicated instructors. We are thrilled to have a talented and well-rounded individual such as yourself on our team!
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Thursday, February 27, 2020   Action Alert: No on Prop 13 on the March 2020 Ballot


Dear WECA Members,

The California Legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom placed Prop 13 on the March ballot last year to sell bonds for school construction. But because of the influence of the State Building and Construction Trades Council, and the acquiescence of developers and other business groups, it includes a provision that gives priority to school districts with a Project Labor Agreement (PLA).

As the San Jose Mercury News said recently -- when it encouraged a "NO" vote on Prop 13 -- "Four years ago, when California voters last approved state school construction bonds, we objected to the measure, Proposition 51, because it continued developer subsidy. Proposition 13 on the March 3 ballot makes it worse. Voters should reject it. Prop. 13 would drive up the cost of school construction by giving priority for state funding to projects that include union labor agreements [PLAs]. State law for public projects, including school construction, already requires paying prevailing wages for the area. This would further push up the cost by discouraging non-union contractors from bidding on the work."

WECA encourages you to share this information with employees, family, friends, and business associates. If Prop 13 passes with this PLA language, WECA believes it will be incorporated into every ballot measure and funding legislation approved by the California Legislature.

You can read the San Jose Mercury News article here and a similar article in the Orange County Register here.

Have questions or want more information? Contact Richard Markuson at richard@pacificadvocacygroup.com
Read more >>


Thursday, February 27, 2020   Register for Mar. 19 Webinar "What Contractors Need to Know About Title 24 & Acceptance Testing"


Please join WECA and the National Lighting Contractors Association of America (NLCAA) for an informative webinar -- hosted by Michael Scalzo, Executive Director of the NLCAA, and co-hosted by WECA -- on what contractors need to know about Title 24 and Acceptance Testing. Webinar topics will include:
  • What is Title 24, Part 6? What is Acceptance Testing?
    • The California Energy Code contains energy conservation standards applicable to all residential and non-residential buildings throughout California.
  • What parts do we need to be concerned with? It depends:
    • Scope of project
      • New Construction
      • Alterations/Additions/Repairs (Retrofit)
  • Is your design compliant? What can I do to ensure my project will pass the Acceptance Testing Process?
    • How do you know?
    • What could happen if I don't worry about this?
Register today to join us online on March 19 from 9 to 10 a.m., for this informative webinar.
Get all these questions answered -- and more! -- at this webinar, which is complimentary for WECA members and their employees! Registration for members of the public is $15.

Register now

Not yet a member of WECA? Learn more about our membership services and benefits.
 
Read more >>


Thursday, February 13, 2020   Important Information on Prop 13 for the March 2020 Ballot

Dear WECA Members,

The California Legislature and Governor Gavin Newsom placed Prop 13 on the March ballot last year to sell bonds for school construction. But because of the influence of the State Building and Construction Trades Council, and the acquiescence of developers and other business groups, it includes a provision that gives priority to school districts with a Project Labor Agreement (PLA). 

As the San Jose Mercury News said recently -- when it encouraged a "NO" vote on Prop 13 -- "Four years ago, when California voters last approved state school construction bonds, we objected to the measure, Proposition 51, because it continued the developer subsidy. Proposition 13 on the March 3 ballot makes it worse. Voters should reject it. Prop. 13 would drive up the cost of school construction by giving priority for state funding to projects that include union labor agreements [PLAs]. State law for public projects, including school construction, already requires paying prevailing wages for the area. This would further push up the cost by discouraging non-union contractors from bidding on the work."

WECA encourages you to share this information with employees, family, friends, and business associates. If Prop 13 passes with this PLA language, WECA believes it will be incorporated into every ballot measure and funding legislation approved by the California Legislature.

You can read the San Jose Mercury News article here and a similar article in the Orange County Register here. 

Have questions or want more information? Contact Richard Markuson at richard@pacificadvocacygroup.com.
Read more >>


Thursday, February 13, 2020   Join Us for Mar. 19 Webinar: "What Contractors Need to Know About Title 24 and Acceptance Testing"


Please join WECA and the National Lighting Contractors Association of America (NLCAA) for an informative webinar -- hosted by Michael Scalzo, Executive Director of the NLCAA, and co-hosted by WECA -- on what contractors need to know about Title 24 and Acceptance Testing. Webinar topics will include:
  • What is Title 24, Part 6? What is Acceptance Testing?
    • The California Energy Code contains energy conservation standards applicable to all residential and non-residential buildings throughout California.
  • What parts do we need to be concerned with? It depends:
    • Scope of project
      • New Construction
      • Alterations/Additions/Repairs (Retrofit)
  • Is your design compliant? What can I do to ensure my project will pass the Acceptance Testing Process?
    • How do you know?
    • What could happen if I don't worry about this?
Register today to join us online on March 19 from 9 to 10 a.m., for this informative webinar.
Get all these questions answered -- and more! -- at this webinar, which is complimentary for WECA members and their employees! Registration for members of the public is $15. 

Register now!

Not yet a member of WECA? Learn more about our membership services and benefits.
Read more >>


Thursday, February 13, 2020   Enlightening Young Minds at Merced College and Victory High School (Rocklin)

WECA's recruitment and outreach season has officially started! On Wednesday, January 29th, our Apprenticeship Recruiter Diane Trotter visited Merced College in Merced to share information about WECA's Apprenticeship programs with students enrolled in their Career Technical Education (CTE) program. 

And on Thursday, January 30th, Diane ventured a bit closer to WECA's Rancho Cordova headquarters and visited the students at Victory High School in Rocklin, where she spread the good news about WECA at a career fair there. 

Check out the snaps from her visits below!
 

Merced College students listen intently as Diane gives her presentation on WECA's Apprenticeship programs.
 

Diane's ready to inform Victory High School students of their electrical career options!
Read more >>


Thursday, February 13, 2020   Poway Unified School District Trustee TJ Zane Guest of Honor at WECA's San Diego Training Facility

 

WECA's San Diego training facility had a special visitor on Monday - Poway School Board Member TJ Zane! TJ (center right) stopped by to learn more about apprenticeship, workforce development, and the electrical industry - and to share a few laughs with (from left to right) instructor Neil Pesarillo, Membership Director Bob Bartlett, and instructor Talon Pobuda.

As part of WECA's enhanced public affairs program, local public officials will be visiting WECA facilities in San Diego, Riverside and Rancho Cordova to learn more about what we do. Our goal is to conduct 30-40 visits in 2020 and we will be contacting WECA members to participate in these visits. 

If you are interested in participating in this program -- or know a public official or business leader who might enjoy visiting WECA -- contact Richard Markuson at richard@pacificadvocacygroup.com.
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Thursday, February 13, 2020   Congratulations to the 2020 WECEF Scholarship Winners!

wecef

Please join us in congratulating the 2020 WECEF Scholarship winners!

WECEF was gratified to receive untold numbers of scholarship applications, and ultimately awarded 38 scholarships -- totaling $14,125 -- to eight Electrician Trainees and 30 apprentices.

"In all the years we have reviewed applicants' essays, these were some of the best and seemed heartfelt and genuine," said Terry Seabury, Executive Director and CEO of WECA. "They are certainly well-deserved appreciation and comments for our instructors and how they are helping people's lives and careers. There is no doubt in my mind that we are making a difference and are the best!"

From all of us at WECA, congratulations to all the winners. Your awards are well-deserved, and we cannot wait to see all that you accomplish with a WECA education!

Click here to view the full list of the 2020 WECEF Scholarship winners.
Read more >>


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