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Thursday, July 09, 2020   WECA Political Update July 9, 2020

How to Manage and Respond to Suspected and Confirmed Cases of COVID-19 on the Jobsite The AGC has developed a situation flow chart designed for contractors with suspected and confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the job-site. WECA advises members to discuss their COVID-19 response strategies with their insurance companies and legal counsel on what other steps should be taken. View the workflow chart here.

Yolo Issues Emergency Regulation on COVID-19 Compliance Yolo County just issued the following order with fines up to $10k for not abiding by local and state health orders:
https://www.yolocounty.org/Home/ShowDocument?id=65086
More here:
https://www.yolocounty.org/Home/Components/News/News/12038/26
 
Santa Clara County issued an updated Shelter in Place order. In addition to the order, the County issued industry specific mandatory directives which will become effective on July 13th, 2020. The Directive applies to all construction projects, but restrictions vary by the size of the project. Here is the full directive as well as a summary of what the directive entails.

Legislature sets July 27 return date The Legislature will return on July 27, leadership announced on Thursday. It will mark a two-week delay spurred by a coronavirus resurgence that has infected two Assembly members. President Pro Tem Toni Atkins and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon announced the July 27 return date, citing in a joint statement the imperative to "minimize potential COVID-19 exposure and transmission in the California State Capitol." This further narrows the already-tightened window for passing bills ahead of the end of the legislative session on August 31. Leadership already had delayed a planned July 13 return from recess as coronavirus cases and hospitalizations have spiked around the state. Assembly members Autumn Burke (D-Marina del Rey) and Tom Lackey (R-Palmdale) both tested positive in recent days. When lawmakers return they'll have just five weeks to pass about 1,000 bills out of committees and then off the respective floors of their houses — an attenuated session that could constrain opportunities to shape policy. [Politico]
 
NLRB Specifies Recommended Protocols for Manual Elections During COVID-19 After months of permitting almost exclusively mail ballot elections due to concerns surrounding the spread of COVID-19, the National Labor Relations Board released “suggested” protocols on July 6, 2020 for holding manual elections. These protocols will facilitate a return to in-person secret ballot voting, which is generally considered far superior to mail ballot voting both in terms of maximizing employee participation and in terms of ensuring employee free choice. Given the seriousness of the COVID-19 pandemic, the protocols are understandably stringent, and will require significant effort on the part of employers that wish to take advantage of them. Nevertheless, the protocols represent a welcome development for employers that wish to ensure free and fair representation elections. Learn More
 
Webinar on California’s Flat Sum Bonus Overtime Rules One area of California labor law that can be troubling is California's overtime requirements for flat sum bonuses. While California's Labor Commissioner has long found that a different overtime calculation must be used for certain “flat sum" bonuses, many employers failed to comply with this position. But when the California Supreme Court adopted this view in its Alvarado v. Dart Container Corp. decision in March 2018, there was no longer a place to hide. Yet, many employers still do not fully understand the difference between a flat sum bonus and a production bonus or the significant impact on the overtime calculation if they get this wrong. Littler is offering a complimentary presentation, that will focus solely on addressing this unique quirk in California law, including a detailed overview of what qualifies as a flat sum bonus, samples of the overtime calculation applicable to flat sum bonuses, and options for changing the parameters of certain compensation to remove the payment from flat sum bonus consideration. The event is on July 22 at 11:00 am Register

Budget. Newsom and the Legislature reached a final resolution on how to balance the budget with a variety of accounting tricks and expectation of the receipt of federal bailout money. Here’s a two-minute video recap from Cal-Matters on the budget.

November ballot The Secretary of State released the ballot measure that will be on the November ballot:
  • Proposition 14: Authorizes $5.5 billion in state general obligation bonds to fund grants from the California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 15: “Split roll” change to untether commercial property taxes from Proposition 13 protection from annual increases. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 16: Repeals Proposition 209 of 1996 (also known as the California Civil Rights Initiative or CCRI). (ACA 5 Webber)
  • Proposition 17: Constitutional amendment allowing felony parolees to vote. (ACA 6 McCarthy)
  • Proposition 18: Constitutional amendment allowing 17-year-olds to vote in primaries and special elections if they are 18 for the general election. (ACA4 Mullin)
  • Proposition 19: Constitutional amendment allowing elderly and disabled Californians, and wildfire victims, to retain lower property tax rates when they change properties. (ACA 11 Mullin)
  • Proposition 20: Rolls back sentencing and parole reforms enacted via Propositions 47 and 57. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 21: Removes statewide constraint on local governments enacting rent control. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 22: Allows gig tech companies like Uber and DoorDash to continue classifying their drivers/delivery people as independent contractors. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 23: Authorizes new regulation of kidney dialysis clinics, including staffing requirements. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 24: Expands California’s online consumer privacy law. (Initiative)
  • Proposition 25: Referendum to overturn California’s prohibition on cash bail. (Initiative)
There was an exciting political drama associated with ACA 11 (Prop 19). The California Association of Realtors qualified an initiative altering property taxation and then agreed to withdraw it to make way for a compromise constitutional amendment — but the group wrote Secretary of State Alex Padilla’s office that it would only pull its prior measure on the condition that the Legislature passed ACA 11.

After an official in Padilla’s office acceded to that request, Assembly Speaker Rendon wrote to Padilla’s office that it had no authority to do so — and Rendon argued that the first measure had to remain on the ballot. Padilla sided with CAR over Rendon by removing a measure previously passed by the Realtors despite Rendon asserting he could not do so. Since then – at least two bills have been amended to outlaw the practice of “contingent withdrawal.”
And proving the adage that politics make strange bedfellows – a bill that exempts solar farms from the split-roll ballot initiative (Prop 15) won’t be heard until the Assembly returns from their well-deserved summer vacation in mid-July, with sources pointing to behind-the-scenes drama driving the delay.

AB 105 (Ting D-San Francisco) was “gut and amended” last week as an agreement between the solar industry and Prop 15 backers on how solar farms would be treated were voters to approve the initiative this fall. Despite being packaged with budget trailer bills, AB 105 didn’t advance as the Legislature moved fiscal measures to Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. [As an aside – Assembly Member Ting is in a bit of a personal mess; see article]

Solar energy advocates warn they will reconsider supporting the marquee split-roll proposal if the “solar fix” bill isn’t passed quickly. Legislative sources that AB 105 stayed in the Legislature because the measure deals with policy issues, rather than fiscal ones and lawmakers generally wanted to keep the two separate. However, the measure became collateral in an unrelated dispute over the natural resources trailer bill, AB 92. The sources said Scott Wetch, a longtime labor lobbyist, threatened to kill the solar-related AB 105 if the resources bill, AB 92, kept language that reinforced the state’s permitting authority over energy projects that also require federal approval. One of those is the contested Eagle Mountain hydropower venture that would be built outside Joshua Tree National Park. The threat by Wetch didn’t end up affecting the resources trailer bill, however. The Assembly on Friday passed AB 92 with the permitting language still included, sending it to Newsom for his expected signature. AB 105, the solar fix to the split-roll initiative, was referred Friday to the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee, which hasn’t set a hearing on the bill. It will eventually have to clear the full Assembly before going to Newsom. The chamber returns from recess on July 13. An insider said solar farms would be harder to finance if AB 105 isn’t eventually passed, which in turn could make the solar industry change its position on supporting split-roll because the initiative’s current provisions would apply a tax hike to existing solar farms — which are already excluded from 1978’s Proposition 13 that split-roll backers want to reform. Solar advocates and split-roll supporters have previously agreed to exempt existing solar farms from the initiative’s tax hike.

On to measures moving:

AB 5 Fix

AB 1850 (Gonzalez D-San Diego) exempts from the “ABC test” for employment status certain occupations such as musicians, insurance inspectors and competition judges, appraisers, and certain master teachers. This bill also revises the freelancer exemption and recasts the exemption for referral agencies. Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3)

Apprenticeship
 
SB 795 (Beall D-San Jose) allocates $2 billion to several existing housing, homelessness, and pre-apprenticeship programs, as well as creating two new infrastructure financing programs at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz). Gives $8 million to union-sponsored construction pre-apprenticeship programs. Approved by Senate (Y:29 N:10 A:1)
 
Business Issues
 
AB 2471 (Maienschein RD-San Diego) provides senior citizens an additional two days to review, evaluate, and possibly rescind specific contracts (including home improvement contracts) that are associated with increased risk of unfair business practices. Approved by Assembly (Y:78 N:0 A:1)

AB 3254 (Limón D-Santa Barbara) requires that people who will be cosigning certain contracts, negotiated primarily in the Spanish, Chinese, Tagalog, Vietnamese, or Korean languages, receive translated copies of those contracts to review before they sign. Approved by Assembly (Y:75 N:0 A:4)

SB 939 (Wiener D-San Francisco) would have established, for all commercial tenants, a temporary moratorium on evictions for the duration of the COVID-19 related state of emergency, and a yearlong period in which to make up rental payments missed during that state of emergency. Died in Senate Appropriations Committee

CEQA
 
AB 3279 (Friedman D-Glendale) revises CEQA litigation procedures by (a) reducing the deadline for a court to commence hearings from one year to 270 days, (b) allowing a lead agency to decide whether a plaintiff prepares the administrative record, and (c) authorizing a court to issue an interlocutory remand. It is opposed by the Sierra Club and State Building and Construction Trades Council but was approved by Assembly (Y:64 N:2 A:13) Amendments are expected in the Senate.

SB 974 (Hurtado D-Sanger) Exempts from CEQA projects that primarily benefit a small disadvantaged community water system by improving the water system’s water quality, water supply, or water supply reliability; by encouraging water conservation; or by providing drinking water service to existing residences within a disadvantaged community where there is evidence of contaminated or depleted drinking water wells. It was larded up with State Building and Construction Trades Council language at the last minute. You can watch the floor presentation here. Senate approved (Y:33 N:6 A:1)

SB 995 (Atkins D-San Diego)Extends for four years the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (AB 900) until 2025. It makes housing projects that meet specific requirements, including specified affordable housing requirements, eligible for certification under the Act. Amended to appease BTs Passed by Senate 32:4:4 Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) who is in a tight race voiced support for CWTAs on the floor – video here. Senator John Moorlach spoke in opposition (Video here).

SB 899 (Wiener D-San Francisco) Provides that housing is a use by right on land owned on or before January 1, 2020, by a religious institution or nonprofit college if the development meets all of a variety of criteria. Passed by Senate 39:0:1 despite BT opposition (and advertising campaign that was pulled), Beall called Wiener out on the floor for not protecting workers (video here).

Labor Law
 
AB 1947 (Kalra D) Doubles, from 6 months to one year, the time in which a person who believes that they have been discharged or otherwise discriminated against to file a complaint with the DLSE. Also, AB 1947 overturns the existing balance by prohibiting an employer from recovering its attorney’s fees, which could create an incentive for more potentially frivolous litigation. Approved by Assembly (Y:46 N:23 A:10) (P)

AB 3075 (Gonzalez D) Allows interference with corporate formation based on arbitrary, unclear, and unfair standards. The bill would also result in chaotic and inconsistent enforcement of wage and hour laws by local jurisdictions by authorizing them to impose their wage payment requirements as long as they are “at least as stringent” as state law requirements. CalChamber “Job Killer.” Approved by Assembly (Y:53 N:19 A:7) (P)

AB 3216 (Kalra D) Provides for unlimited job-protected leave for all employees of employers of any size for family and medical leave due to COVID-19. This new mandate is in addition to numerous COVID-19 leave requirements recently enacted at the federal, state, and local levels. The bill creates additional burdens on California employers at a time they can least afford it. CalChamber “Job Killer.” Approved by Assembly (Y:44 N:17 A:18) (P)

Licensure
 
AB 2210 (Aguiar-Curry D) Allows the CSLB to discipline tree work contractors without serious injury and extends the time from 180 days to 18 months for CSLB to commence an action based upon an OSHA complaint. Sponsored by CSLB Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3) (P)

AB 2232 (Grayson D) Sponsored by CSLB - This bill requires the CSLB to grant retroactive license renewals if certain conditions are met. Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3) (P)

AB 3087 (Brough R-Dana Point) authorizes the CSLB to contract with a public or private organization to administer its licensing examinations and to contract for materials and services related to the exams. Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3)

SB 1189 (McGuire D) authorizes the B-2 Remodeling License, makes home improvement contract laws applicable to disaster rebuilds. CSLB sponsored. Approved by Senate (Y:39 N:0 A:1) (P)

PAGA
 
AB 2570 (Stone, Mark D) This bill will introduce private attorneys into tax enforcement by amending the False Claims Act (a legal tool applied outside the tax world) to also apply to tax statements. In short – PAGA for taxes. In addition to bringing in private attorneys, it will also create conflicts with existing tax law, which, for some reason, the author has simply refused to correct. This bill will lead to frivolous, abusive litigation targeted at successful California businesses, as has occurred with litigation under the Americans with Disabilities Act and California’s Proposition 65. Approved by Assembly (Y:44 N:20 A:15) (P)

Public Works
 
AB 2231 (Kalra D) This bill defines a public subsidy as “de minimis” to pay the prevailing wage in public works projects if the support is both less than $500,000 and less than 2% of the total project cost. For single-family homes, a public subsidy is de minimis if it is less than 2% of the total project cost. This standard will apply for bids advertised or contracts awarded after July 1, 2021. This bill is like AB 520 (Kalra), of the 2019-20 Legislative Session, which was vetoed by Governor Newsom. Approved by Assembly (Y:57 N:15 A:7) (P)

AB 2765 (O’Donnell D) This bill expands the definition of “public works” to include any construction, alteration, demolition, installation or repair work done under private contract on a project for a charter school when that project is paid for, in whole or in part, with the proceeds of conduit revenue bonds issued on or after January 1, 2021. AB 1613 (O’Donnell), of the 2019-20 Legislative Session, proposed language identical to this bill. The Governor vetoed the bill. Approved by Assembly (Y:61 N:15 A:3) (P)

STWF
 
AB 2311 (Low D) Public contracts: skilled and trained workforce requirement: notice. This bill requires a public entity to include in all documents and contracts a notification that a project is subject to the skilled-and-trained workforce requirement, when applicable. Approved by Assembly (Y:76 N:0 A:3) (P)

Taxes/Fees
 
AB 398 (Chu D) COVID-19 Local Government and School Recovery and Relief Act. Previously relating to visual and performing arts, it was gutted and amended May 27 to impose instead a $275-per-employee tax on companies that employ 500 or more workers who perform any part of their job duties within California. Revenue from the tax would go into the newly created COVID-19 Local Government and School Recovery and Relief Fund to be used by local jurisdictions and schools. Vote: Two-Thirds (Tax Increase)

Workforce Development
?
SB 1103 (Hurtado D) SB 1103 would (1) require the California Workforce Development Board (CWDB) to establish and administer a supportive services program to provide grants to consortia that would provide supportive services necessary to enable low-income individuals to participate in High Road Training Partnership programs successfully, and (2) direct CWDB to develop additional High Road Training Partnerships programs to address the displacement of workers, including southern Central Valley farmworkers, and disconnected/at-risk youth. Approved by Senate (Y:32 N:4 A:4) (P)
Last Appeal Denied The Last Appeal statues of Queen Isabella and Christopher Columbus in the Capitol Rotunda was removed last week, to be returned to the donor's descendants (if they want it). Now it will only be a memory of those of us who used to pitch pennies on the last night of session from the second floor, aiming to the Queen's crown. The CHP halted that practice several years ago as the Queen's crown was eroding. More
Read more >>


Thursday, July 02, 2020   An Inside Take on WECA's Online Apprenticeship This Summer

WECA's Apprenticeship program has had a significant ambassador this summer in longtime WECA Apprenticeship instructor Rick Mortensen.

Mortensen, based out of WECA's San Diego facility, came to WECA in 2011 after a successful thirty-plus year career in the electrical field—including a stint as owner of Active Power Electric. Mortensen initially started out as a Get Wired instructor, primarily teaching online, before pivoting over to the historically classroom-based Apprenticeship program.

As of late, he's taken his teaching back online—officially teaching Apprenticeship courses online due to the COVID-19 crisis, and dispensing advice and sharing resources on all things electrical via social media.

“I like to keep my Facebook and LinkedIn pages current [in regards to what I'm currently teaching],” says Mortensen. “When we have an event at WECA, such as adapting our curriculum delivery for online instruction, I will post on those sites. And all the instructors spend time online looking for resources to use in the classroom and to share with each other.”

Mortensen continues, stating that “It [teaching online] is different than teaching in a' brick and mortar' classroom. However, in past years I have benefited from training presented by Dan Bierly [the Get Wired Training Manager] in the Get Wired program. Input from other online and Apprenticeship instructors has been immeasurable to me, and the experience has been very gratifying.”

Despite the inherent challenges of teaching a hands-on profession to students online, Mortensen reports that the instructors are positive about the experience, and meet every couple of weeks to share their online teaching experiences. Additionally, the instruction team is in frequent contact online, posting useful documents, conversing, and sharing information.

“[To teach Apprenticeship online], preparation is key,” says Mortensen. “Review your material with an eye on how to modify your presentation. With distance learning, there is a need to make sure you are keeping the students engaged—ask direct questions, poll the classroom, and use breakout groups for group discussions and projects. And it's great to hear a student say “Hey, we missed break” because everyone was focused on a topic or project.”

Whatever Mortensen—and WECA's instructors as a whole—are doing must be working, because the reviews are in, and they're stellar all around.

“WECA has received many comments about the quality of our instruction, regardless of the platform,” says Mortensen. “I attribute that to two factors. One is that our curriculum is second to none—WECA is always updating, modifying it, and making it better. The second is the instructors—in the expanse that is career training, our instructors are shining lights in an otherwise black void of mediocre presentation. All members of the instructional team are dedicated to being the best, and all of us have been shown how to reach, stretch, and grow in ways that I personally did not know I was capable of.”

And when it comes to the students, Mortensen says that the students have adjusted to learning in an online format as well.

“Some are intent on learning, and others need to be nudged, while a few will try to use the distance learning to their advantage. It is really up to the instructor to set the environment in the virtual classroom as a place of learning, with the respect due in any setting where a group of individuals has gathered with a common goal: to learn. The students have—and should continue to—enjoy the experience,” says Mortensen.

So, how does Mortensen advise that students best prepare for success in a less-traditional classroom environment? He says that students should review reading material in advance, ask questions, have good equipment, and most of all, take their educations seriously.

“Learning is like a bank account,” says Mortensen. “You can only get out of it what you put in!”
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Thursday, July 02, 2020   Get Wired Instructional Team Holds Biannual Train-the-Trainer to Celebrate Successes

The COVID-19 crisis has completely reshaped our world as well as the WECA educational experience. However, WECA's dedicated instructors and advisers have met this challenge head-on and risen above and beyond—as was evident at June 27th's GetWired Advanced Train-the-Trainer Workshop (held via Zoom).

The biannual convening of instructors and the GetWired delivery team recognized WECA's GetWired instructors for their instrumental role in delivering traditionally hands-on lab instruction in an online format since March with as much clarity and as little disruption as possible.

During the three-hour virtual meeting, the team welcomed new instructors, lauded the success of WECA's new Live Online 2-Day Test Prep class, and discussed strategies for how to best conduct online and in-person learning safely moving forward, among other things. The meeting also featured delicious food delivered to participants courtesy of GrubHub—a welcome surprise to all!

Dan Bierly, the Get Wired Training Manager, reported that the meeting was “easy and engaging,” and that “all present were pretty positive and uplifting” despite the unique situations and unprecedented times in which WECA continues to deliver its education.

And Lead Electrician Trainee and Continuing Education instructor Galen Eckert also noted that “Everyone was in good spirits—we had a lot of input and engagement from instructors. Instructors continually brought up questions and provided answers regarding teaching labs online and being prepared for class. It was nice to see instructors talking to each other, offering support, and answering each other's questions.”

All in all, WECA's first-ever fully-virtual Train the Trainer Get Wired meeting was a success! Thank you, all, for dedicating yourselves (and spending your Saturday!) to ensure that WECA's Get Wired students continue to receive the best education possible, even in extraordinary circumstances.
Read more >>


Thursday, July 02, 2020   Learn: Project Management in the Time of Crises, Part 1

A weekly, 4-week, 8-hour, live, video class taught by Kirk Alter of Fast Management, Inc. & Purdue University

July 15-Aug 5

Offered at a discount for WECA Member Contractors through our educational partner IEC-Chesapeake
 
Download flyer: Project Management in the Time of Crises, Part 1

More information and registration

Plus, WECA Member Contractors get a substantial, 25% off discount! Access your discount code by logging into your secure member dashboard on WECA's website here. Scroll to the "Member Benefits and Discounts- Code and Details" section as shown below to access the discount code.
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Thursday, July 02, 2020   A Reminder to our Member Contractors to Stay Vigilant about Construction Safety

Let's continue to show the industry how it's done

As California officials reimpose shutdowns on segments of the economy, contractors need to be ever vigilant, as this news clip from the Bay Area points out. "Santa Clara County public health officials now say a third of the county's 89 workplace-related outbreaks since May 4 have come from construction sites.

The City of San Diego Development Services Department issued a public notice on June 12, 2020 that included updates for the construction industry - click here to read the public notice.
 
The Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan has been revised to reflect recent changes with updates highlighted in yellow. 
http://www.agcsd.org/pdf/ConstructionIndustry_ExposurePrevention_Plan.v2.3noted.pdf

We know how seriously WECA Member Contractors are about prioritizing safety. Let's all continue to show the industry how it's done.

As a reminder--we'd love to see your safe jobsite photos and hear about your successful project completions during this difficult time. Please send us pictures and stories at communications@goweca.com.
Read more >>


Thursday, July 02, 2020   What Does Construction Safety Look Like Post-Pandemic?

Find Out With Construction Dive's Podcasts

Content courtesy of Construction Dive:

The coronavirus has changed how construction professionals view safety. With new jobsite demands like social distancing, health checks and remote work, construction companies must determine how to proceed in their new normal. Construction Dive's podcast, "Safe and Sound," takes a closer look at construction safety and how construction professionals will need to evolve to manage jobs as they come out of the pandemic.

Hear from industry experts in our latest episodes:

Episode 4: What Does Construction Safety Look Like Post Pandemic?

Episode 3: Global Construction Leadership During Coronavirus

Episode 2: Jobsite Safety and Technology During the Pandemic

Episode 1: What North American Companies Can Learn From Global Contractors to Improve Safety Standards Locally
Read more >>


Thursday, July 02, 2020   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
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
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 25, 2020   WECA Political Update June 25, 2020

Face Covering Update On June 18, the California Department of Public Health released updated guidance that requires Californians to wear a face-covering in high-risk settings. The direction mandates the use of cloth face coverings by the general public statewide when outside the home, with limited exceptions. 

Pertaining to work, workers must wear face coverings when they are in the situations listed below:
  • Interacting in-person with any member of the public;
  • Working in any space visited by members of the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present at the time;
  • Working in any space where food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution to others;
  • Working in or walking through common areas, such as hallways, stairways, elevators, and parking facilities;
  • In any room or an enclosed area where other people (except for members of the person’s household or residence) are present when unable to physically distance.
The following individuals are exempt from wearing a face-covering:
  • Persons who are engaged in outdoor work or recreation such as swimming, walking, hiking, bicycling, or running, when alone or with household members, and when they can maintain a distance of at least six feet from others.
At present, this new guidance doesn’t impact the current industry-specific guidance covered in the Construction Industry COVID-19 Exposure Response and Prevention Plan developed by San Diego Construction Associations.

California Bill Update

B-2 Residential Remodeling Contractor SB 1189 (McGuire D- Healdsburg) creates a residential remodeling contracting classification, the B-2 Residential Remodeling Contractor, as a recognized branch of the general building contracting profession. WECA is seeking an amendment to require that electrical work performed by the B-2 be done by a certified electrician. The bill was passed by the Senate and will be considered in the Assembly in July.

CEQA We talked about SB 995 (Atkins D-San Diego) last time. It extends for four years the Jobs and Economic Improvement Through Environmental Leadership Act of 2011 (AB 900) until 2025. It makes housing projects that meet specific requirements, including affordable housing requirements, eligible for certification under the Act. The bill had been opposed by State Building and Construction Trades Council, who testified in support of the bill in committee – now we know why. Atkins agreed to include the BT’s “suitcase of amendments” that include:
  • Similar STWF unless there is a PLA
  • Requires PW payments on any project - even if it is not a PW
  • Requires all contractors and subcontractors to maintain and verify payroll records under Labor code unless there is a PLA
  • It allows payment of less than the PW hourly wage if subject to a CBA
  • Create new penalties for failing to meet STWF ratios of $10,000 per month and $200 per day per employee - which penalties do not apply if a PLA is in place. As you may recall – AB 3018 from 2018 created a penalty of $5,000 for a first offense - not sure why there is a new penalty in 974 - when there is one in existing law.
Another CEQA bill is SB 974 (Hurtado D-Spanger) that exempts from CEQA specific water infrastructure projects for small disadvantaged community water systems that improve the water system’s water quality, water supply, or water reliability. The BTs opposed the bill, and Hurtado made changes on June 18, like SB 995. These will surely make it easier and more affordable to provide clean water for small disadvantaged communities.

Skilled and Trained Workforce AB 2311 (Low D- Campbell) requires a public entity to include in all documents and contracts a notice that a project is subject to the skilled-and-trained workforce requirement. The State Building and Construction Trades Council rejected WECA’s request for indemnity language. The bill is in the Senate Labor Committee.

Family Leave Senators are poised to approve a job-protected family leave proposal backed by Gov. Newsom that was inserted late Tuesday into a gutted policy bill as part of the budget process. SB 1383 (Jackson D – Santa Barbara) would give all employees who are eligible for the state’s Paid Family Leave Program up to 12 weeks over 12 months to care for themselves, a new child, or a seriously ill spouse or domestic partner, sibling, grandparent or grandchild, mirroring Newsom’s January budget proposal. The bill would take effect in January. The California Chamber of Commerce opposes the measure. On Wednesday, the group added SB 1383 to its feared list of “Job Killer” bills, saying it was the wrong time to place new burdens on small businesses struggling to avoid shutting permanently because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

November Election

After hours of debate in which lawmakers repeatedly invoked the imperative to move closer to racial equality and invoked prejudice they had faced in their own lives, the Senate passed ACA 5 (Weber D – San Diego) on a 30-10 vote. If passed by voters, the measure would overturn Proposition 209, the 1996 voter-passed initiative that prohibited race as a factor in admissions policies for universities and government hiring and contracting decisions. Several Chinese American groups oppose reinstating affirmative action, arguing it would discriminate against Asian Americans, who are currently over-represented in both the CSU and UC systems. State Sen. Ling Ling Chang, a Diamond Bar Republican: “The answer to discrimination is not more discrimination.” Voters will have the final say in November. Fifty-five percent voted to pass 209 in 1996. [Politico & CalMatters]

California voters will also decide whether to let parolees vote. ACA 6 (McCarty D-Sacramento) was a priority of the California Legislative Black Caucus and of civil rights groups who said it would restore basic rights to people who have served their debt to society through incarceration. California law currently requires people to finish their parole terms before they can register to vote. The Senate passed the measure on a 28-9 vote that was largely along party lines, with Sen. Scott Wilk (R-Simi Valley) the sole Republican vote in favor. The parole measure is promoted by 31-year-old Esteban Núñez, son of a former Speaker of the California Assembly. He was convicted for his role in the 2008 killing of 22-year-old college student Luis Santos. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2011 reduced Núñez’s sentence from 16 years to seven, a decision that angered Santos’ parents and others who said Núñez’s political connections allowed him to circumvent justice. Núñez now works for a criminal justice nonprofit, advocating for bills like ACA 6 to help give the incarcerated a second chance.

Several other Legislative efforts will probably end up on the ballot. But as Joel Fox points out in Fox&Hounds, “the Democratic majority in the Legislature is at it again, attempting to manipulate election rules to favor a desired outcome with voters. It has happened a number of times in the last decade. The current effort is SB 300 by Senator Tom Umberg (D-Santa Ana) to place all constitutional amendments passed by the Legislature in the coming days on the November ballot where the majority feels they have a higher chance for success. Under current law, any measure that qualified after 131 days before the election would appear in the next election, June 2022 ballot.”
Ask Richard
Richard Markuson
WECA Government Affairs Advocate, Pacific Advocacy Group
Have questions or concerns?

?Ask Richard!
Dear WECA supporter,

It is our pleasure to provide you with this bi-weekly political update from WECA. Please feel free to contact WECA at (877) 444-9322 or info@goweca.com for more details about any of the articles included in this political update.
 
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About WECA

WECA is California's premier independent electrical contractors' association. We provide innovative training and education programs, critical business services, and responsive customer support to surpass the needs of our members and students. We are California state approved, and our top-quality electrical training has found a nationwide audience. For over 90 years, we have been training the next generation of electricians, and advocating for and protecting fair and open competition in the electrical industry.
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Wednesday, June 24, 2020   Even in Difficult Times, Becoming an Electrician or Low Voltage Technician is Still a Safe Bet

2020 has been an unprecedented year for the electrical and construction industries in California due to the COVID-19 emergency, Governor Newsom's Executive Order N-33-20, and confusion stemming from differing information regarding how the industries could—or could not—operate.

However, there are two things that this crisis has shown. The electrical and construction industries are resilient, and electricians, low voltage technicians, and solar technicians are essential and in high demand—and as such, command salaries significantly above or on par with the national average across all occupations, and enjoy excellent benefits.

For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported in May 2019 that the annual mean wage across all occupations in the United States was $53,490 per year. Meanwhile, electricians nationwide can expect to make an average of $60,730 per year, with electricians in California making $65,377 per year on average. As for low voltage technicians--using fire alarm and security installers as an example--the national average is $50,210 per year, with those in California making $52,374 per year.
But that's not the only good news. The Bureau of Labor Statistics also reports that the projected career growth for electricians nationwide from 2018 to 2028 will be 10 percent (faster than average), while the employment of fire alarms and security installers (as an example of low voltage technician growth) is estimated to grow 13 percent from 2014 to 2024—also faster than average.
What's more, the construction industry in California actually added jobs in May, despite the COVID-19 emergency and statewide shutdowns. According to the Associated Press, California's construction industry added 75,000 jobs in May, largely due to “restaurants and other businesses in need of repairs before reopening". Read the rest of the article here. So, while the industry and the economy as a whole are not yet 'out of the woods', so to speak, the statistics offer a glimpse of hope and stability for the future.

Apply for one of WECA's apprenticeship programs or register to start your education with the electrician trainee certificate program (no waiting!)--both are viable educational paths to gaining certification in California.
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 24, 2020   Summer 2020 Updates to Online Courses; Effective Until Sept. 30

Please review the information below for changes to upcoming onsite lab scheduling and in-person classroom courses, in response to COVID-19 in California.

The good news for Electrician Trainees and Journeyperson Continuing Education Students 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. Our entire summer catalog is online and available for enrollment here. Alternate arrangements are offered for onsite lab days; please read below for details specific to your course.

For those students currently enrolled in a GetWired class with a lab date from now through the end of Session 3 (September 30, 2020):
  • Your lab will be conducted entirely online.
  • Your lab date will remain identical. Your lab time may shift from afternoon to morning, or vice versa. Please watch your email for further details.
  • WECA will send you confirmation of your login instructions for your online lab.
For those students interested in Two Day Exam Prep, we are currently offering a Live Online Two Day Exam Prep rather than the classroom version; this course uses the same curriculum as our ongoing popular course, but is held in a live, online, instructor-led format across two Saturdays.
  •  Live Online Two Day Exam Prep, 16 hours (July 18th and 25th; open for enrollment)
  • You may also consider GetWired 404 Exam Prep. (GetWired 404 is 42 hours, entirely online and led by a live instructor, and delves even more deeply into preparation for the State certification exam).
The situation around COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and WECA's delivery plans are subject to further modifications based upon subsequent guidance 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 >>


Wednesday, June 24, 2020   Live Online 2-Day Exam Preparation Lets You Study at Your Own Pace

Seats Going Fast -- Register Today for July!

Many students are eager to prepare to take their certification exam--especially now that many of PSI's testing centers across California have reopened for appointments--and WECA wants to meet that need. In order to do so safely and easily in this era of physical distancing due to COVID-19, WECA has taken its popular 2-Day Exam Prep class online! 

Live Online Two Day Exam Preparation is an online, instructor-led, fast-paced code study course focused on using the Code book in preparation for the State Certification exam. 

In this class, enrollees meet with their instructor and fellow students over Zoom for two subsequent Saturdays. Students enjoy not only excellent, personalized instruction and the opportunity to get questions answered, but also a ton of practice with simulated exam quizzing.

This course is meant to be a refresher course for individuals otherwise ready to take the General or Residential Certification Exam. Much of the class is dedicated to sample testing similar to state exams. It focuses on practical research by the students to find the answers to code questions rather than instruction by lecture. 

The next instance of this online, instructor-led course will run on two subsequent Saturdays, July 18th and 25th. Learn more and secure a seat for yourself or an employee. As always, be sure to take advantage of WECA member discounts for your employees! (Give us a call if you're using a member discount for the first time, to make sure you're maximizing this benefit. Your employees can get a discount even if they're paying for themselves.)

Students who want a more comprehensive exam preparation experience are encouraged to enroll in WECA's GetWired! 404 Test Prep, consisting of 42 instructor-led hours, also all online.
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 24, 2020   Watch: Mike Rowe Delivers an Unsolicited Commencement Speech Delivered at the Height of the Plague

An Unsolicited Commencement Speech Delivered at the Height of the Plague
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 24, 2020   Online VDV and FLS technician certification exam prep courses let you study at your own pace

Fully Code-and-text updated for current exams!
Individuals planning to take California's Voice Data Video (VDV) or Fire Life Safety (FLS) technician certification exams can get prepared with WECA's interactive and self-paced online exam prep courses, 32-Hour VDV Exam Prep and 32-Hour FLS Exam Prep -- both fully Code-updated for the current exam.

Fire Life Safety Exam Preparation (32 Hour Course)(2017 Code Edition)

This self-paced online course is for students who want to study for the California Fire Life Safety Technician certification exam at their own pace. Informative presentations help guide students through the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) as well as the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (NFPA 72). It is meant for individuals almost ready to take the exam. Much of the class is dedicated to sample testing similar to state exams. It focuses on practical research by the students to find the answers to code questions rather than instruction by lecture.
Click here to learn more and enroll!

Voice Data Video Exam Preparation (32 hour course)(2017 Code Edition)

This self-paced online course is for students who want to study for the California Voice Data Video Technician certification exam at their own pace. Informative presentations help guide students through developing proficiency in the preparation for and execution of the VDV certification exam. It is meant for individuals almost ready to take the exam. Much of the class is dedicated to sample testing similar to state exams. It focuses on practical research by the students to find the answers to questions rather than instruction by lecture.
Click here to learn more and enroll!
Read more >>


Thursday, June 18, 2020   Construction Jobs Rebound in May, Recoup Half of Huge April Losses

Content Courtesy of Engineering News-Record

By: Tom Ichniowski

Construction employment bounced back strongly in May from April’s mammoth losses, adding 464,000 jobs during the month, the Bureau of Labor Statistics has reported.

The bureau’s latest monthly employment report, released on June 5, also shows that construction's unemployment rate improved, but still stands at a worrisome 12.7%.

Construction's added jobs contributed to a surprisingly large 2.5 million increase in overall employment in May.

Construction economists viewed the numbers as positive news but cautioned that economic clouds could gather down the road.

The BLS report indicates that construction’s April jobs numbers were even worse than the bureau initially estimated. In its new report, BLS revised the industry’s April job losses downward by 20,000, to 995,000. That reflects the sharp downturn in the economy from the coronavirus.

The jobs added in May recoup 47% of the April losses.

Moreover, construction’s May jobs gains were significant across all industry sectors.

The specialty trade contractors segment led the way, adding 325,300 positions.

To read the rest of the article, click here.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 18, 2020   Is It Safe to Bring Employees Back to Work Following the COVID-19 Crisis?

Content Courtesy of WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

By: Ian B. Sangster


As businesses continue preparing to reopen, many employers share the same concern—what actions can employers take to provide a workplace that is safe from COVID-19?

Because the virus is primarily spread from person to person, preventing people who may be infected from entering the worksite is one of the most effective tools an employer can use to promote the safety and wellbeing of its employees. To that end, the EEOC has confirmed that employers may screen employees who physically enter the workplace by asking if they have COVID-19 or symptoms associated with COVID-19 (e.g., cough, sore throat, fever, chills, and shortness of breath). Employees with COVID-19 or who exhibit symptoms associated with COVID-19 may be excluded from physically entering the workplace because their presence would pose a direct threat to the health and safety of other employees.

Employers in search of more concrete answers also have other tools at their disposal.

Temperature Checks

Under normal circumstances, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) prohibits subjecting employees to medical examinations unless they are job-related and consistent with business necessity. Generally, a medical examination of an employee is job-related and consistent with business necessity when an employer has a reasonable belief, based on objective evidence, that an employee’s ability to perform essential job functions will be impaired by a medical condition. However, given the significant risk of substantial harm posed by the presence of an infected employee to the health and safety of other employees sharing the same workplace, employers may also measure employee’s body temperatures.

To read more, click here.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 18, 2020   Updates to GetWired Lab Scheduling and Trainee/Journeyperson Courses; Effective Until Sept. 30

Please review the information below for changes to upcoming onsite lab scheduling and in-person classroom courses, in response to COVID-19 in California.

The good news for Electrician Trainees and Journeyperson Continuing Education Students 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. Our entire summer catalog is online and available for enrollment here. Alternate arrangements are offered for onsite lab days; please read below for details specific to your course.

For those students currently enrolled in a GetWired class with a lab date from now through the end of Session 3 (September 30, 2020):
  • Your lab will be conducted entirely online.
  • Your lab date will remain identical. Your lab time may shift from afternoon to morning, or vice versa. Please watch your email for further details.
  • WECA will send you confirmation of your login instructions for your online lab.


For those students interested in Two Day Exam Prep, we are currently offering a Live Online Two Day Exam Prep rather than the classroom version; this course uses the same curriculum as our ongoing popular course, but is held in a live, online, instructor-led format across two Saturdays.
  •  Live Online Two Day Exam Prep, 16 hours (July 18th and 25th; open for enrollment)
  • You may also consider GetWired 404 Exam Prep. (GetWired 404 is 42 hours, entirely online and led by a live instructor, and delves even more deeply into preparation for the State certification exam).
The situation around COVID-19 is rapidly evolving and WECA's delivery plans are subject to further modifications based upon subsequent guidance 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, June 18, 2020   Live Online 2-Day Exam Preparation Lets You Study at Your Own Pace

Seats Going Fast -- Our June Class is Full.
?Register Your Employees Today for July!

Many students are eager to prepare to take their certification exam--especially now that many of PSI's testing centers across California have reopened for appointments--and WECA wants to meet that need. In order to do so safely and easily in this era of physical distancing due to COVID-19, WECA has taken its popular 2-Day Exam Prep class online! 

Live Online Two Day Exam Preparation is an online, instructor-led, fast-paced code study course focused on using the Code book in preparation for the State Certification exam. 

In this class, enrollees meet with their instructor and fellow students over Zoom for two subsequent Saturdays. Students enjoy not only excellent, personalized instruction and the opportunity to get questions answered, but also a ton of practice with simulated exam quizzing.

This course is meant to be a refresher course for individuals otherwise ready to take the General or Residential Certification Exam. Much of the class is dedicated to sample testing similar to state exams. It focuses on practical research by the students to find the answers to code questions rather than instruction by lecture. 

The next instance of this online, instructor-led course will run on two subsequent Saturdays, July 18th and 25th. Learn more and secure a seat for yourself or an employee. As always, be sure to take advantage of WECA member discounts for your employees! (Give us a call if you're using a member discount for the first time, to make sure you're maximizing this benefit. Your employees can get a discount even if they're paying for themselves.)

Students who want a more comprehensive exam preparation experience are encouraged to enroll in WECA's GetWired! 404 Test Prep, consisting of 42 instructor-led hours, also all online.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 18, 2020   Online VDV/FLS technician certification exam prep lets you study at your convenience

Fully Code-and-text updated for current exams!
 
Individuals planning to take California's Voice Data Video (VDV) or Fire Life Safety (FLS) technician certification exams can get prepared with WECA's interactive and self-paced online exam prep courses, 32-Hour VDV Exam Prep and 32-Hour FLS Exam Prep -- both fully Code-updated for the current exam.

Fire Life Safety Exam Preparation (32 Hour Course)(2017 Code Edition)

This self-paced online course is for students who want to study for the California Fire Life Safety Technician certification exam at their own pace. Informative presentations help guide students through the National Electrical Code (NFPA 70) as well as the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code (NFPA 72). It is meant for individuals almost ready to take the exam. Much of the class is dedicated to sample testing similar to state exams. It focuses on practical research by the students to find the answers to code questions rather than instruction by lecture.

Click here to learn more and enroll!

Voice Data Video Exam Preparation (32 hour course)(2017 Code Edition)

This self-paced online course is for students who want to study for the California Voice Data Video Technician certification exam at their own pace. Informative presentations help guide students through developing proficiency in the preparation for and execution of the VDV certification exam. It is meant for individuals almost ready to take the exam. Much of the class is dedicated to sample testing similar to state exams. It focuses on practical research by the students to find the answers to questions rather than instruction by lecture.

Click here to learn more and enroll!
Read more >>


Thursday, June 18, 2020   COVID-19 Resources for WECA Member Contractors

Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
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
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 04, 2020   Cultivating Equal Opportunity in Our Economy, and for All



We know that our member contractors share WECA's values of cultivating equal opportunity for all--this being the key tenet of the merit shop philosophy--and condemning injustice in all its forms. We all strive for the possibilities of tomorrow, do our best to remain open and responsive to change, and try to make sure our workplaces function as examples for the greater construction industry in promotion of fairness, equality, diversity, and inclusion.

Like many of us, you were likely shaken by the events of the past week, and may be struggling with how to understand what has happened and move forward from here. How to facilitate discussions in your workplace about difficult issues? How to lead by example? How to make sure all your employees, from diverse backgrounds and walks of life, feel supported?

We've provided a list for you of online resources which may be helpful to you in having conversations and delivering messages of support to your employees at this difficult time, as well as in an ongoing sense as we all work to develop and foster diverse and inclusive workplaces.

Resources:

How to Create a Culture of Inclusion (Webinar Recording) - ThinkHR

(WECA Members: If you haven't already registered for your complimentary ThinkHR account, you can sign up through your secure member dashboard.)

Talking About Race - National Museum of African American History and Culture

National Initiative on Inequality of Opportunity - U.S. Chamber

The article below this one covers the U.S. Chamber of Commerce's recent launch of a National Initiative on Inequality of Opportunity, and a national town hall on June 25th with which you may wish to get involved.

eLesson in Unconscious Bias, Microsoft

Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace - ESSEC Business School, Coursera

Leading With Effective Communication (Inclusive Leadership Training)- edX for Business

Optimizing Diversity on Teams - University of Pennsylvania, Coursera

Understanding Diversity and Inclusion, Purdue University, FutureLearn

Diversity and Inclusion Certificate Program - eCornell

WECA has added a Diversity and Inclusion Resources page to the membership section of our website to provide ongoing availability to this resource list.

If you are already using other resources in your workplace which you think would be helpful for WECA to share with its other member contractors, please share them with us at communications@goweca.com, and we'll review and add them to our resource list.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 04, 2020   U.S. Chamber Launches National Initiative on Inequality of Opportunity


The U.S. Chamber of Commerce today announced a national town hall on June 25th as part of an ongoing initiative to address inequality of opportunity through education, employment, entrepreneurship, and criminal justice reform.

"The senseless death of George Floyd has called renewed attention to the inequality and injustice in America. We stand in solidarity against racism and advocate for diversity, equity, and inclusion in our society and economy," said Suzanne Clark, President of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. "As a nation, we must address this issue with a robust plan of action."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the world's largest organization representing businesses of all sizes across every sector of the economy, will fully leverage its federation of trade associations and state and local chambers by continuing this dialogue in local communities, and across industry sectors. Inspired by its mission to create jobs and grow the economy, the Chamber will announce initiative partners who, in addition to participating in the national town hall, will be hosting their own local and industry dialogues.

A national steering committee on this initiative is in development and initially represents leaders across industries and geographies, including: Glenn Hamer, President and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce and Industry; John Harmon, Founder, President, and CEO of the African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey; Susan Neely, President and CEO of the American Council of Life Insurers; Vincent B. Orange, Sr., President and CEO of the DC Chamber of Commerce; Carlos Phillips, President and CEO of the Greenville (South Carolina) Chamber of Commerce; and Matt Shay, President and CEO of the National Retail Federation.

These steps will build on many of the Chamber's recent efforts including support of the First Step Act, U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation's Talent Pipeline Management Initiative, our partnership with the W.K. Kellogg Foundation on the Business Case for Racial Equity and how best to achieve it, and our collaboration with historically Black colleges and universities and other minority serving institutions. 

The unemployment rate is historically about twice as high for Black Americans as for white Americans. The combined impacts of the pandemic and economic crises have disproportionately hit disadvantaged communities, making this problem worse. The business community must work together on these challenges. 

Clark continued, "The Chamber believes that the moral case for greater diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace is indisputable, and there's overwhelming evidence that greater diversity benefits the American economy, businesses, communities and employees. At the Chamber, we know what a job means to a family and to a community. We will leverage our expertise and relationships to help develop solutions that will enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in our economic system."

Clark concluded, "We call on all business leaders to join us in creating equality in opportunity for all Americans."

Full press release and and contact information here.
 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 04, 2020   Updated Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan

Based on recent guidance changes from the 
California Department of Public Health, Cal OSHA, and the County of San Diego, the Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan on which WECA has partnered has been revised to reflect those changes (highlighted in yellow).

Construction continues to operate during this crisis as an essential industry, and contractors have been effective in implementing safety measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19 while continuing to build critical infrastructure in the region. The Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan is a consolidation of those Best Practices based on direction from health experts and boots-on-the-ground experiences from construction safety professionals.

While each jobsite is different, and contractors will adapt to each situation, this plan provides some uniformity for contractors, workers, and owners all working to protect construction personnel, and the general public. With greater consistency in approach, these safety measures will become more universal and effective.

The rules can change daily, but some form of enhanced safety measures will be in place for the long-haul of the COVID-19 crisis. The Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan will be regularly updated to comply with the latest mandates in San Diego County.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 04, 2020   COVID-19 Resources for Member Contractors

Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
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
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 28, 2020   WECA Political Update: May 28, 2020

Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
_______________________________________
The State Legislature continued to hear bills on a variety of topics.

Here are the results on a couple we are tracking.

AB 1107 (Chu) which would have raised unemployment payments by $600 a week and cost business as much as $40 billion over the next ten years - has been significantly amended and now has nothing to do with raising unemployment insurance costs. So, though the vehicle lives on, the substance is dead. The new text of AB 1107 bill relates to sharing emergency proclamations in various languages.

AB 1947 (Kalra) Doubles, from 6 months to one year, the time in which a person who believes that they have been discharged or otherwise discriminated against to file a complaint with the DLSE. Also, AB 1947 overturns the existing balance by prohibiting an employer from recovering its attorney’s fees, which could create an incentive for more potentially frivolous litigation. The Assembly Labor Committee (chaired by Kalra) approved the bill on a party-line vote. (Oppose)

AB 2185 (Patterson) Requires each board within the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to issue a license to any applicant who is the spouse or partner of an active duty member of the Armed Forces if the applicant is licensed in another state. Hearing in Assembly Business & Professions cancelled. (Support)

AB 3075 (Gonzalez) Requires that articles of incorporation include an attestation that the filer is not affiliated with an employer that has an outstanding judgment issued by the DLSE or a court of law for violation of any wage order or provision of the Labor Code. The bill interferes with corporate formation based on unclear and unfair standards and the bill will result in chaotic and inconsistent enforcement of wage and hour laws by local jurisdictions. The Assembly Banking Committee approved the bill on a party-line vote. (Oppose)

AB 3216 (Kalra) New COVID-19 Employment Leave Mandate. Provides for unlimited job protected leave for all employees of employers of any size for family and medical leave due to COVID-19. This new mandate is in addition to numerous COVID-19 leave requirements recently enacted at the federal, state and local levels, and will further burden California employers at a time they can least afford it. The Assembly Labor Committee (chaired by Kalra) approved the bill on a party-line vote. (Oppose)

AB 3279 (Friedman) Revises California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) litigation procedures by (1) reducing the deadline for a court to commence hearings from one year to 270 days, (2) providing that a lead agency may decide whether a plaintiff prepares the administrative record, and (3) authorizing a court to issue an interlocutory remand. AB 3279 addresses common delays in litigation over CEQA actions to promote swifter and more efficient resolution of lawsuits regarding all projects. Labor (State Building and Construction Trades Council), environmental, and environmental justice advocates, typically aligned with CEQA petitioners oppose. The Assembly Natural Resources Committee approved the bill on a bipartisan vote with two Dems, Muratsuchi and Mark Stone voting NO. (Support)

SB 795 (Beall) SB 795 allocates $10 billion over five years to several existing housing, homelessness, and pre-apprenticeship programs, as well as creating two new infrastructure financing programs at the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (Go-Biz). It allocates $5 million each year for five years to the California Workforce Development Board for distribution to local agencies to participate in, invest in, or partner with new or existing pre-apprenticeship training programs. The $5 million for pre-apprenticeship training programs must be “established pursuant to subdivision (e) of Section 14230 of the Unemployment Insurance Code” that requires that the pre-apprenticeship training in the building and construction trades fund programs and services that follow the Multi-Craft Core Curriculum implemented owned by the State Building trades. So - it would seem that this $5 million a year goes to union pre-apprenticeship programs - more money for unions. Approved by the Senate Housing Committee on a party-line vote. (Oppose unless amended)

SB 1189 (McGuire) this CSLB sponsored bill creates a new residential remodeling license (B-2) that would prohibit a B-2 from “contracting to make structural changes to load bearing portions of an existing structure and from contracting to install, replace, or extend electrical or plumbing systems or their component parts, or the mechanisms or devices that are part of those systems” but would allow them to make “minor alterations to existing electrical or plumbing systems to effectuate the purpose of installing, repairing, or replacing electrical and plumbing fixtures.” WECA opposes this language and is seeking amendments that prohibit the B-2 from doing any electrical work. It was approved by the Senate Business and Professions Committee and now goes to Appropriations. (Oppose unless amended)

Caltrans head says gas tax decline won't be as bad as feared The drop in gas tax revenue for road maintenance and repairs isn't looking as bad as California officials feared at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the head of the state Transportation Department told lawmakers Wednesday. “The projections that we're seeing is the revenue is not going to drop as much as we were originally anticipating,” Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin told lawmakers at his confirmation hearing before the Senate Rules Committee. He said about 25 road projects had been delayed due to the pandemic but that funding isn't an issue. Omishakin said the state is projecting a loss of $1.8 billion over the next five years due to lowered gas tax revenue as people drive less during the pandemic and a statewide stay-at-home order. He said officials had been estimating higher losses based on initial driving declines of about 35 percent on state highways. The University of California, Davis projected earlier this month that revenue fell by $370 million for the first two months of the shutdown. Omishakin said that based on Department of Finance estimates, revenue would fall by about $380 million per year for the next five years. [Politico]

Santa Clara Water takes Steps to Adopt a PLA. At their May 26 meeting the board of the Santa Clara Valley Water District, comprised of seven members, each elected from equally-divided districts of Santa Clara County, voted to proceed with a PLA for district work. Assemblyman Ash Kalra, and Senator Jim Beall both wrote strong letters of support for the PLA. Beall has run in 5 races for public office, winning 5 of them. He has raised a total of $3,840,613 – with almost ½ from “labor.” Kalra has run in 4 races for public office, winning 3 of them. He has raised a total of $2,090,433 – ½ from labor. You can see their letters here.
Read more >>


Wednesday, May 27, 2020   WECA's Popular 2-Day Exam Prep Is Now Available Online. Get Your Seat in June 20th & 27th Class

Zack's teaching the June class. Grab your seat!


Many students are eager to prepare to take their certification exam--especially now that many of PSI's testing centers across California have reopened for appointments--and WECA wants to meet that need. In order to do so safely and easily in this era of physical distancing due to COVID-19, WECA has taken its popular 2-Day Exam Prep class online! 


Live Online Two Day Exam Preparation is an online, instructor-led, fast-paced code study course focused on using the Code book in preparation for the State Certification exam. 
In this class, you'll meet with your instructor and fellow students over Zoom for two subsequent Saturdays. You'll enjoy not only excellent, personalized instruction and the opportunity to get your questions answered, but also a ton of practice with simulated exam quizzing.

This course is meant to be a refresher course for individuals otherwise ready to take the General or Residential Certification Exam. Much of the class is dedicated to sample testing similar to state exams. It focuses on practical research by the students to find the answers to code questions rather than instruction by lecture. 
This instructor-led online course will next run on two subsequent Saturdays, June 20th and 27th. Learn more and secure your seat in the June 20th & 27th Live Online 2-Day Exam Prep here. 

Students who want a more comprehensive exam preparation experience are encouraged to enroll in WECA's GetWired! 404 Test Prep, consisting of 42 instructor-led hours, also all online.

What do those who have taken Two Day Exam Prep with WECA have to say?

Alfredo Franco, Exam Prep Student:

"Hello, I took the exam prep course in October (Riverside facility) and I want to thank you (Rick Labon, WECA Instructor) and WECA for giving me the skills and techniques necessary to pass my state test. The class was great; it covered a lot of things that I encountered on the exam.  I felt well prepared and walked out of the testing center feeling like a champ. This class is definitely a must for those willing to put in the time and dedication to study hard and pass the examination. Thanks WECA!!"

Kyle Walters, WECA Get Wired! and Exam Prep Student:

"Hey Zack (Wallace, WECA Instructor), I took my online classes with you and I took the test prep course with you back in June. I just wanted to let you know that I passed my test on the 1st try with an 87%. Needless to say I was stoked beyond belief. I wanted to let you know that the 2 day prep course helped me out tremendously. It really helped me understand how to find the codes easier & helped me not to panic because that was definitely the hardest test I've ever taken. I do have to say that the test is ridiculously hard, I swear that half the stuff on the test I've never seen or will ever probably have to deal with. With that being said I just wanted to thank you for all your help."

Dennis Farner, Exam Prep Student:
 
"I recently enrolled in the 2 day exam preparation 16 hour course for residential or general electrician exams. My experience was wonderful. The fast paced refresher course delivered a great amount of usable knowledge needed to pass the exam. The class went as scheduled. The instructor was very knowledgeable in the trade and code, a "well-rounded electrician," and a great person to learn from. He was extremely patient and fair towards questions, and was even willing to stay during lunch and after hours to answer any questions. I took the general exam 1 week after taking the class. I passed! I would recommend this course to anybody who is looking to take the exam. The school and instructors genuinely care and want you to succeed! I am very pleased with my decision. Thank you for taking the time to read my testimonial and great luck with your exam!"
 
Read more >>


Wednesday, May 27, 2020   Videos: WECA Appreciates Our Instructors! Teacher Appreciation Week 2020

During Teacher Appreciation Week earlier this May, WECA had endless thanks for its teachers. Missed it the first time around? No worries -- you can watch our appreciation videos for each instructional team below. Remember to thank a teacher in your life today -- and always!
 
WECA Appreciates Our GetWired Instructors! Teacher Appreciation Week 2020.

WECA Appreciates Our GetWired Instructors! Teacher Appreciation Week 2020
 
It's Teacher Appreciation Week 2020, and WECA Appreciates Our Apprenticeship Instructors!

It's Teacher Appreciation Week 2020, and WECA Appreciates Our Apprenticeship Instructors!
Read more >>


Wednesday, May 27, 2020   COVID-19 Testing Portal: Learn Where, When, and How You Can Test for COVID-19

San Diego County has announced free COVID-19 for all essential workers--most definitely including construction. They've provided this Q and A to help answer your questions about testing.

Q and A from San Diego County:

1) How do I sign up for a free COVID19 diagnostic test?

Go to the following website to register at Lhi.care/covidtesting.   There'll be some questions to complete. Also, you will have options to choose the location, date and time that is most convenient for you. Also, phone registration is available for people without internet access.  Call at 888-634-1123 Monday thru Fridays. 

2) Is this a free and confidential test?   

Yes, the result is shared with only the individual taking the test. 

3) How long does it take to do the test?  

Average time is 5-8 minutes which includes the paperwork and nasal swab test. There is no blood work involved. 

4) Is there an option to do a drive up test?
No - it's by appointment for walk ins only.   There is plenty of free parking on the premises.  There is no waiting room and you can wait in your car until the appointment time.

5) Do you need a doctor's order for the test? 

No, a doctor's order is not needed for the state testing sites.

6) How long does it take to get the lab result?  

Approximately 48 hours is the expected test result timeframe.

________________________________________________________________________


Sacramento County health officers on Wednesday [May 6] announced the private drive-through coronavirus testing site at Cal Expo is now accepting all comers for free tests, regardless of whether they have symptoms or not.

The site, operated by the county along with the Verily research company, has been conducting appointment-only tests at the Expo grounds for six weeks for Sacramento County residents age 18 or older.

Previously, the site only accepted people with mild symptoms. Now the site will accept people who are symptom-free.

People who want to take a test at the site still must fill out a form at the Verily website and obtain an appointment time. As of Wednesday afternoon, appointment bookings were two days out at the Sacramento site. That site is open Monday through Friday. Monday appointments can be made after 7 p.m. on the preceding Friday. To read the rest of the Sacramento Bee article, click here.
________________________________________________________________________

If you live outside of San Diego or Sacramento counties, covid19.ca.gov has resources available to help you determine if you are a candidate for COVID-19 testing and if so, where to obtain COVID-19 testing throughout the state of California. 
Read more >>


Wednesday, May 27, 2020   Laid Off & Looking for Work Due to COVID-19? WECA's Student Referral Service & Job Board Can Help!


Have you been laid off -- and are now seeking employment -- due to COVID-19? WECA is here for you with our Student Referral Service and Electrical and Low Voltage Industry Job Board. 

Many WECA Member Contractors are actively hiring, and we'd like to put you in touch with them.

Get referred to WECA Member Contractor through our Student Referral Service. The only requirement for participation is that you be an active electrician trainee or journeyperson continuing education student with WECA, or a graduate of any of our programs.

What is this Service?

A free job referral service that introduces our current Electrician Trainee, Journeyperson, and WECA-grad job seekers to Member Contractors in order to help them meet their staffing needs. 

Who does this benefit?

Everyone! WECA Member Contractors are referred qualified, WECA-trained applicants to help meet their staffing needs. And in turn, WECA student and grad participants get valuable job referrals.

How does this differ from the WECA Job Board?

WECA's current 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.

The Student Referral Service, in contrast, provides additional customer service by having WECA staff supply our members with hands-on referrals. In other words--we take some of the hard work off everyone's plate!

The Student Referral Service refers you to employers, and they hire you directly.
To participate in WECA's Student Referral Service, please contact Ana Lopez, WECA ET/Journeyman Program Manager, at alopez@goweca.com or at (877) 444-9322. 

You can also:

Post your resume to the WECA Job Board, or view open positions posted by our Member Contractors. This Job Board is designed to help connect individuals seeking employment in the electrical and low voltage industry with the contractors who want to hire them. In this case, you and the employer will communicate more traditionally through the job application or resume viewing process, and WECA won't be otherwise involved in the referral.

Our Job Board exists for...

Electricians,
Low Voltage Technicians,
Electrician Trainees and Journeymen,
Industry employees (including office personnel!),
and the Member Contractors who want to hire them. 

 
Search Open Positions Today
 
Read more >>


Wednesday, May 27, 2020   Put Safety First -- Get Your Hours on Theme w/ WECA's Online OSHA 10 & 30 Classes w/ ClickSafety

May is National Electrical Safety Month. Consider getting your trainee or  
continuing education hours in with one of the following self-paced, online learning-based OSHA courses, which WECA offers in partnership with ClickSafety . Successful completion of any of these courses also gains you the relevant OSHA certification card, which can be valuable to both you and your employer. Several variations on OSHA 10 and OSHA 30 below! 
 

California OSHA 10-Hour Construction (10 hour course)

This 10-hour online California OSHA training from WECA partner ClickSafety is an excellent way to receive proper training on important safety and health matters at your work sites. It is specially designed to help keep California workers safe while obtaining their OSHA 10-Hour Card.

Learn more about and enroll in California OSHA 10 Construction today!
 

 OSHA 10 Construction (10 Hour Course)

This 10 hour online OSHA training from WECA partner ClickSafety is an excellent way to receive proper training on important safety and health matters at your work sites. It covers fewer topics than OSHA 30.

 Learn more about and enroll in OSHA 10 Construction today!
 


OSHA 10 Construction Spanish (10 Hour Course)

Este curso de 10 horas del socio de WECA, ClickSafety, es una versión en línea del exitoso programa de OSHA, cubriendo menos temas que el OSHA 30. La capacitación de OSHA en línea es una excelente forma de garantizar que ha recibido la formación adecuada en temas importantes de salud y seguridad en sus sitios de trabajo. 

 Â¡Aprende mas sobre e inscrabete en OSHA 10 Construction Spanish hoy mismo!
 


OSHA 30 Construction (30 Hour Course)

This 30 hour online OSHA training from WECA partner ClickSafety is an  even more comprehensive way to receive proper training on important safety and health matters at your work sites.

Learn more about and enroll in OSHA 30 Construction today!
 
Read more >>


Wednesday, May 27, 2020   WECA's GetWired Labs Are Humming Along Online


Our GetWired! Electrician Training Program is usually blended--meaning online lectures combined with in-person electrical labs. But due to COVID-19, our curriculum developers and instructors have been going the extra mile--and then some--to recreate and deliver those labs as dynamic online activities. We can't tell you how fun it is to watch our teachers and students working together to master these same concepts in new ways! Electrician Trainees can feel confident that WECA's providing the same outstanding electrical education you and they are accustomed to--just a little differently at the moment, while we all work together to stay safe through COVID-19. Get the latest on online lab scheduling for GetWired! and other classes on our COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 21, 2020   WECA Takes Its Popular 2-Day Exam Prep Class Online!

LO2DEPMany students are eager to prepare to take their certification exam--especially now that many of PSI's testing centers across California have reopened for appointments--and WECA wants to meet that need. In order to do so safely and easily in this era of physical distancing due to COVID-19, WECA has taken its popular 2-Day Exam Prep class online! 

Live Online Two Day Exam Preparation is an online, instructor-led, fast-paced code study course focused on using the Code book in preparation for the State Certification exam. 

It is meant to be a refresher course for individuals otherwise ready to take the General or Residential Certification Exam. Much of the class is dedicated to sample testing similar to state exams. It focuses on practical research by the students to find the answers to code questions rather than instruction by lecture. 
This instructor-led online course will next run on two subsequent Saturdays, June 20th and 27th. Learn more and secure your seat for yourself or an employee in the June 20th & 27th Live Online 2-Day Exam Prep here.

Students who want a more comprehensive exam preparation experience are encouraged to enroll in WECA's GetWired! 404 Test Prep, consisting of 42 instructor-led hours, also all online.

 
Read more >>


Thursday, May 21, 2020   Video of New CSLB "Get Licensed to Build" Webcast Now Available on CSLB Website


CSLB recently launched a new online workshop, "Get Licensed to Build." The free informational webcast is for those who want to get their California contractor's license. The information can also be used by licensees looking to add an additional classification to their license.

Video from the workshop, which lasted almost 90 minutes, has been posted to CSLB's YouTube Channel.

Watch the video here.

You can also click on links below that will take you to specific topics covered during the workshop.

Topics Covered in Workshop
  • 3:25 Who Needs a License?
  • 4:43 Why Get a License?
  • 6:49 What You'll Need to Get a License - Minimum Qualifications
  • 9:20 Types of Business Entities
  • 10:20 CSLB License Classifications
  • 12:56 The Application Process
  • 15:21 Fingerprint Requirements - Criminal Background Check
  • 18:15 Demonstrating Work Experience
  • 37:41 The Exam Process
  • 41:45 Your New License
  • 43:26 Question & Answers
Dozens of people attended the first online workshop, which included an extensive Question & Answer section.

CSLB welcomes your feedback on the workshop, along with ideas for future workshops, either for license applicants, or the more than 280,000 licensed contractors in California. Send your comments/ideas to: social@cslb.ca.gov.
 
Read more >>


Thursday, May 21, 2020   CA Dept. of Industrial Relations Issues FAQs & Guidance on COVID-19-Related Workers' Comp Claims

California's Department of Industrial Relations has issued  Frequently Asked Questions to guide compliance with Gov. Newsom's Executive Order on a presumption for COVID-19 related workers' comp claims. 

This initial set of guidance contains 16 points of information but the Department may continue to update the list. Of key interest are questions Number 8 dealing with the use of paid sick leave for these COVID-19 related claims and Number 9 that clarifies the broad scope of the order.  

Cal/OSHA has also updated its guidance on Illness and Injury Prevention Plan (IIPP) and COVID-19 in the workplace. The revision is more expansive than the previous version of general statements and reminders, and it suggests that changes to your IIPP related to COVID-19 are necessary. You can read this article for more information.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 21, 2020   Course Spotlights for National Electrical Safety Month: Online OSHA Safety Courses with ClickSafety



California OSHA 10-Hour Construction (10 hour course)

This 10-hour online California OSHA training from WECA partner ClickSafety is an excellent way to receive proper training on important safety and health matters at your work sites. It is specially designed to help keep California workers safe while obtaining their OSHA 10-Hour Card.

Click here to learn more about and enroll in California OSHA-10 Hour Construction!
 

OSHA 10 Construction (10 Hour Course)

This 10 hour online OSHA training from WECA partner ClickSafety is an excellent way to receive proper training on important safety and health matters at your work sites. It covers fewer topics than OSHA 30.

Click here to learn more about and enroll in OSHA 10 Construction!
 

OSHA 10 Construction Spanish (10 Hour Course)
 
Este curso de 10 horas del socio de WECA, ClickSafety, es una versión en línea del exitoso programa de OSHA, cubriendo menos temas que el OSHA 30. La capacitación de OSHA en línea es una excelente forma de garantizar que ha recibido la formación adecuada en temas importantes de salud y seguridad en sus sitios de trabajo.

Click here to learn more about and enroll in OSHA 10 Construction Spanish!
 

OSHA 30 Construction (30 Hour Course)
 
This 30 hour online OSHA training from WECA partner ClickSafety is an excellent way to receive proper training on important safety and health matters at your work sites.

Click here to learn more about and enroll in OSHA 30 Construction!
 
Read more >>


Thursday, May 21, 2020   WECA's GetWired Labs Are Running Online--And Students Are Actively Engaged


Our GetWired! Electrician Training Program is usually blended--meaning online lectures combined with in-person electrical labs. But due to COVID-19, our curriculum developers and instructors have been going the extra mile--and then some--to recreate and deliver those labs as dynamic online activities. We can't tell you how fun it is to watch our teachers and students working together to master these same concepts in new ways! If you're sponsoring your Electrician Trainees' progression through WECA's GetWired program and Electrician Trainee Program Certificate, you can feel confident that WECA's providing the same outstanding electrical education you and they are accustomed to--just a little differently at the moment, while we all work together to stay safe through COVID-19.

If you're interested in sponsoring your electrician trainees' education at WECA's significantly-discounted member rates--or even just want to make sure they individually take advantage of the discounts they can receive for working for a member--contact us at 1-877-444-9322 to discuss this WECA member benefit.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 21, 2020   Use ThinkHR Learn to Help Your Business Manage the Impact of COVID-19


WECA Member Contractors receive complimentary enrollment and human resources assistance with WECA Partner ThinkHR. Access California human resources forms, documents, tools -- and more! -- online, at your fingertips. 

If you're not yet enrolled, just log in to your WECA website member dashboard  and click "Register for HR Comply from ThinkHR."

WECA is sharing this complimentary content from ThinkHR's recent email release, which contains timely information for businesses as they navigate how to respond to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic in the workplace:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Dear valued WECA member,

In our ongoing efforts to help employers better manage the impact of COVID-19,
we are excited to announce several new online employee courses NOW available in
ThinkHR Learn.

Our new Pandemic Response catalog, curated by our internal experts, includes ten courses ranging in topic and audience. You can view the full catalog here, including course descriptions, duration and intended audience.

Download Pandemic Response catalog

This special Pandemic Response catalog is available now through June 30, 2020.

To start assigning the courses to your employees, please login to Learn, then click on the
new "Pandemic Response" icon.

Look out for more new COVID-19 related tools and resources in the days to come.

Sincerely,

The Think HR Team
Read more >>


Thursday, May 21, 2020   DFEH Releases Online Sexual Harassment & Abusive Conduct Prevention Training Courses

DFEHContent Courtesy of the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) 

On May 21, 2020, the California Department of Fair Employment and Housing (DFEH) released its online training courses for the prevention of sexual harassment and abusive conduct in the workplace. Under California law, all employers with five or more employees must provide the following training to employees every two years:
  • One hour of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to nonsupervisory employees; and
  • Two hours of sexual harassment and abusive conduct prevention training to supervisors and managers.
This training must include practical examples of harassment based on gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation. Additionally, employers must provide employees with a sexual harassment poster or fact sheet and maintain records of all employees' training for at least two years.

All employees must receive training by January 1, 2021. Employers of 50 or more employees have an existing and ongoing obligation to train new supervisory employees within six months of assuming their supervisory position. Beginning January 1, 2021, new supervisory employees in workplaces of five or more employees must be trained within six months of assuming their supervisory position, and new nonsupervisory employees must be trained within six months of hire. Employees must be retrained once every two years.

Read more about the online training courses and FAQs here.
 
Read more >>


Thursday, May 21, 2020   COVID-19 Resources for Member Contractors

Construction Industry COVID-19 Safety Plan
COVID-19 Infection Prevention in Construction
WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
 * Cal/OSHA Guidance on Requirements to Protect Workers from Coronavirus
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
CALPASC HR 6201 Guidance
EDD Coronavirus Resources for WECA Community
Contractors State License Board Encourages Licensees to Donate PPE During COVID-19 Emergency
*  WECA Special Update Helping to Clarify Executive Order N-33-20 for California Electrical Contractors
* COVID-19 Federal Paid Leaves Explained
 * Get Your Editable Essential Work Permission Slips for Yourself and Your Employees Here
Show the Industry How WECA Contractors Lead in Best Practices for Jobsite Safety During COVID-19
WECA Special Update 4-1-20: New Carpooling and Facemask Recommendations; Sonoma County Joins In On New Bay Area Restrictions; New Requirements in Los Angeles for Comprehensive COVID-19 Exposure Control Plan; Two New Guides to CARES Act from the U.S. Chamber 
Coronavirus: Read the Yuba County and Sutter County Stay-at-Home Orders, issued April 7, 2020
*  OSHA's "Guidance on Preparing Workplaces for COVID-19" and Other Resources; Includes Spanish Versions to Help You Reach All Employees

These, and more, plus class scheduling updates for your apprentices and students, are always available on WECA's COVID-19 Advisory Page.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 14, 2020   WECA Political Update: May 14, 2020

Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy
_____________________________________
Senate Returns The State Senate returned to Sacramento this week
and proceeded to commence hearing bills. Here are a couple
we are tracking.

SB 1189 (McGuire) creates a new residential remodeling license (B-2) Sponsored by CSLB, the bill would prohibit a B-2 from “contracting to make structural changes to load bearing portions of an existing structure and from contracting to install, replace, or extend electrical or plumbing systems or their component parts, or the mechanisms or devices that are part of those systems” but would allow them to make “minor alterations to existing electrical or plumbing systems to effectuate the purpose of installing, repairing, or replacing electrical and plumbing fixtures.” WECA opposes this language and is seeking amendments that prohibit the B-2 from doing any electrical work.

AB 2210 (Aguiar-Curry) extends the time from 180 days to 18 months for CSLB to commence an action based upon a Cal-OSHA complaint. (CSLB bill)

AB 1107 (Chu) would, until March 1, 2021, provide that once the temporary federal unemployment increase due to the COVID-19 outbreak has ceased, an individual’s weekly State benefit amount would be increased by $600.

AB 5 modifications. There are still several moving. SB 806 (Grove) will amend the “ABC” test for determining employee versus independent contractor status in order to provide necessary flexibility to the test so that individuals who choose to be independent contractors can continue to work and earn income.

SB 900 (Hill) one of several bills CalChamber supports IF AMENDED to provide a more comprehensive and holistic approach to addressing independent contracting.

AB 3216 (Kalra) New COVID-19 Employment Leave Mandate. Provides for unlimited job protected leave for all employees of employers of any size for family and medical leave due to COVID-19. This new mandate is in addition to numerous COVID-19 leave requirements recently enacted at the federal, state and local levels, and will further burden California employers at a time they can least afford it.

“Mods” urge Newsom to limit business liability, delay rulemaking A group of 17 moderate Assemblymembers have appealed to Gov. Gavin Newsom to mitigate the economic effects of the Covid-19 pandemic with new measures that include limiting liability for businesses that adhere to safety standards and delaying new rulemaking procedures by four months. You can see the letter here. The legislators urged Newsom to sign an executive order that would extend public comment deadlines for 120 days on new regulations not directly connected to the pandemic response. The first signatory listed is Democrat Joaquin Arambula (D-Fresno) who was joined by 15 Democratic colleagues in the Assembly, as well as Chad Mayes of Yucca Valley, a former Assembly Republican leader who became an independent last year. No word from the Governor if he will follow or respond.

San Diego PLA Ban may be challenged: The San Diego City Council Rules committee advanced a measure backed by construction unions to overturn the 2012 Measure A that restricted the use of project labor agreements on city infrastructure projects. Councilman Mark Kersey and Barbara Bry opposed advancing the measure. The City Council will soon vote on whether to put the repeal on the November ballot. WECA is in touch with the merit-shop groups who supported Measure A about an opposition effort.

Pay When Paid Decision. While it has been more than twenty years since the California Supreme Court determined, in Wm. R. Clarke Corp. v. Safeco Ins. Co., that “pay-if-paid” provisions in subcontracts were unenforceable, following a recent decision from the Court of Appeal, Fourth Appellate District, general contractors, or any other contractors that contract directly with owners, should review their subcontracts to confirm that they do not contain potentially unenforceable “pay-when-paid” provisions. Following the California Supreme Court’s Wm. R. Clarke decision, many direct contractors (defined by California Civil Code § 8018 as a contractor with a direct contractual relationship with an owner) revised the payment provisions in their subcontracts from “pay-if-paid” (where payment by the owner is a condition precedent for payments to the subcontractor) to “pay-when-paid” (requiring the contractor to pay the subcontractors within a defined period after payment by the owner). In the recent Crosno Construction Inc. v. Travelers Casualty and Surety Company of America decision, the Fourth District Court of Appeal determined that such “pay-when-paid” provisions may be unenforceable if they run afoul of California’s statutory waiver and release statutes (California Civil Code § 8120 et seq.). More

Executive Order Presumes Employees Who Contract COVID-19 Are Eligible for Workers’ Compensation Benefits On May 6, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order No. N-62-20. The order states that employees will be presumed to have contracted COVID-19 in the course and scope of employment for purposes of workers’ compensation benefits if all of the following conditions are satisfied More

Cal/OSHA Updates COVID-19 Infection Prevention Guidelines for Certain Essential Businesses On May 5, 2020, Cal/OSHA published updated COVID-19 prevention guidelines for specific essential businesses in Agriculture, Child Care, Construction, Grocery Stores and Logistics. With limited exceptions, the guidelines cover a number of general safety topics previously discussed in Cal/OSHA’s prior publications, such as training, cleaning and disinfecting, increasing physical distancing, sanitation practices, and precautions for dealing with a worker who becomes sick with COVID-19, each discussed below. More

California’s 25th Congressional District special election Mike Garcia (R) won the special general election for California's 25th Congressional District after Christy Smith (D) conceded on May 13. At the time Smith conceded, Garcia had 56% of the vote to Smith's 44%. The special election was called to fill the vacancy left by Katie Hill (D), who resigned on November 1, 2019, amid allegations of extramarital relationships with staffers. The remainder of the term will expire on January 3, 2021. Smith and Garcia will run again in a regular general election on November 3 for a full, two-year term. His victory represents the first time in 22 years that California Republicans have captured a congressional seat from Democrats.

Melendez wins state Senate seat Assemblywoman Melissa Melendez (R-Lake Elsinore) claimed an open state Senate seat on Tuesday, besting Democratic education board member Elizabeth Romero. Melendez jumped out to a wide lead on Romero in the first wave of ballots. Her victory puts into play the solidly Republican 67th Assembly district seat Melendez has held since 2013. The result held the line for Senate Republicans, who were defending a vacant seat after former state Sen. Jeff Stone left for a Trump administration post in the Labor Department.
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