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Thursday, June 20, 2024   WECA Political Update June 20, 2024

PAGA Deal California’s crowded November ballot will have one fewer question after business and employee groups resolved a dispute over a law workers commonly use to sue their employers. Newsom’s office announced Tuesday's agreement to rework the Private Attorneys General Act or PAGA, which lets workers sue employers on the state’s behalf. The California Chamber of Commerce has argued that the law leads to frivolous and expensive lawsuits, while the California Labor Federation counters that it’s an important tool for maintaining respect for workers’ rights. The agreement makes changes intended to reduce the number and scope of suits brought under the law, gives employers more chances to fix problems outside court, and caps some penalties. At the same time, it increases penalties for the worst offenders and awards a greater share of the payout to wronged employees — 35 percent of the total instead of 25 percent. The deal comes after weeks of behind-the-scenes conversations involving Newsom’s team and Democratic lawmakers. They are expected to pass legislation codifying the deal before next week’s deadline to remove qualified measures from the ballot.
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Biden Rule Weaponizes IRS to Steer Clean Energy Construction Projects to Union Donors Associated Builders and Contractors issued a statement regarding the Internal Revenue Service’s final rule released for public inspection on June 18, which requires private developers to follow onerous project labor agreement, prevailing wage and apprenticeship policies when building clean energy projects funded by more than $270 billion in tax credits via the ABC-opposed Inflation Reduction Act. According to the final rule, developers must certify that their contractors pay all construction workers prevailing wages and benefits determined by the U.S. Department of Labor following the federal Davis-Bacon Act. Developers must also ensure that contractors utilize apprentices enrolled in government-registered apprenticeship programs for 15% of all construction labor hours performed on a project, among other requirements. Project developers that satisfy these new provisions are eligible for a 500% increase in various clean energy construction project tax credits compared to baseline tax credits offered to developers under prior regulations widely used by industry. In addition, developers that require contractors to execute PLAs with labor unions are immune from new monetary penalties if the developer and its contractors fail to meet cumbersome prevailing wage and apprenticeship rules. Story
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Workplace Safety Reshuffle The Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board bucked the Newsom administration in March, criticizing how it handled long-delayed indoor heat rules. Now, the administration is pushing back. Four months ago, the Board was expected to approve the rules for employers to protect workers from extreme indoor heat. The night before the meeting, the Newsom administration withdrew its support, citing cost concerns. Two board members who were among the most outspoken critics of the administration’s move have been reshuffled. Chairperson Dave Thomas has been demoted (replaced by antitrust attorney Joseph Alioto). Laura Stock has been removed, which she said she learned in a phone call last Friday. Stock has served on the board since 2012 and is a researcher and director of the UC Berkeley Labor and Occupational Health Program. In March, she called the administration’s action “completely outrageous.”
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Pension Bailout In its third pension bailout, the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corporation (PBGC) announced recently that it had approved $10.6 million in taxpayer funds for the Arizona Bricklayers' Pension Trust Fund. The fund, based in Phoenix, Arizona, covers 666 participants in the construction industry and was expected to run out of money in 2041. Thursday's announcement follows two other recent bailout announcements by the PBGC. The PBGC announced it approved approximately $545.6 million in special financial assistance (SFA) to the CWA/ITU Negotiated Pension Plan (CWA/ITU Plan), based in Mount Laurel, New Jersey. The plan, which covers 24,288 participants in the printing industry, was projected to become insolvent and run out of money in 2029. The PBGC also announced Tuesday that it approved special financial assistance for another failing Teamsters pension plan. The Teamsters Local 102 Plan, based in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, and covering 508 transportation industry participants, will receive approximately $12.4 million. "As of June 13, 2024, PBGC has announced approval of about $54.6 billion in SFA to plans that cover about 818,000 workers, retirees, and beneficiaries," the PBGC noted. "Special financial assistance for financially troubled multiemployer plans is financed by general taxpayer monies." Just this week, the PBGC announced it would be providing $568.6 million in taxpayer money to only three underfunded union pension plans. Go here for prior posts about the PBGC's taxpayer-funded pension bailouts.
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EEOC Releases Anti-Harassment Guide for Contractors The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission released a guide to help construction leaders prevent and address harassment on the job. “Promising Practices for Preventing Harassment in the Construction Industry” is part of the EEOC’s ongoing focus to address bias within the building sector. More
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Lawmaker Spent $75K In Campaign Cash On 49ers, Giants, Warriors Tix Assemblyman Matt Haney had one hell of a weekend in late January. The state assemblymember and avid sports fan partied Saturday evening at Cavana, a beautiful rooftop bar in Mission Bay specializing in Colombian cuisine and fruity cocktails. Haney dropped a few hundred bucks on food and drinks and watched LeBron James and Steph Curry duel it out at Chase Center in a double-overtime thriller. The next morning, Haney got $158 of booze at Tenderloin Liquor and headed down to Santa Clara to watch the San Francisco 49ers battle the Detroit Lions for a trip to the Super Bowl. He pregamed at a tailgate party outside of Levi’s Stadium, smoking a stogie as he took a picture with Supervisor Shamann Walton. Story
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Labor Board May Impose Union on Mercedes Workers Despite Employee Vote against UAW On May 17, workers at the Mercedes Benz plant in Vance, Alabama, voted against joining the United Auto Workers, with 56% of the voters choosing not to unionize and 90% voter turnout. Despite this decisive vote, the UAW may still be forced on the Mercedes workers. Story
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Legislature Wraps Session, Closes Budget Gap, Continues ACA The second regular session of the Arizona 56th Legislature ended on Saturday night, finally adjourning sine die. Here’s the session and the business community’s perspective on the last six months. Story
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Mistake No. 4 of the Top 10 Horrible, No-Good Mistakes Construction Lawyers Make: Not Knowing When to Fold ‘Em The following is mistake No. 4 of the top 10 mistakes lawyers make in construction disputes. Story
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A Battle Looms Over Fair Funding for School Construction In the coming days, Gov. Gavin Newsom is expected to confirm his commitment to place a state school construction bond on the November ballot. He hasn’t committed to anything yet, but he must decide in the next ten days whether to reform a method of sharing state-matching money that has long favored property-rich districts over their property-poor neighbors. Story
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Thirty seats are up for grabs in the Arizona Senate in 2024. Here's what to know about the incumbents and who's running ahead of the July 30 primary.
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Utah Climate Skeptic Lee Closes in On Top Senate Energy Role Politico reports that “Congressional Republicans who have sought to soften their party’s opposition to climate change action in recent years may be poised to elevate one of their most outspoken skeptics to lead a prominent Senate panel. Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) has been a fierce conservative and perennial thorn in the side of leadership of both parties since arriving in the Senate in 2011. And despite some prominent GOP members’ efforts to craft a Republican-style policy on climate change, Lee looks likely to lead the party on the powerful Energy and Natural Resources Committee — and wield the gavel if Republicans win control of the chamber in November’s election.”
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Legislation

AB 107 (Gabriel) Budget bill was approved by the Legislature on 6/15. Included two “pork barrel” projects with PLAs. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 1957 (Wilson - D) Authorizes any county of the state to use the “best value” method for construction projects over $1 million and job order contracts up to $3 million until January 1, 2030. Devoid of State Building and Construction Trades Council language. Approved by Legislature on 6/13 WECA Position: Support

AB 1976 (Haney - D) Requires, on or before July 1, 2027, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board to draft and adopt a rulemaking proposal to revise a standard on first aid materials to require all workplace first aid materials to include naloxone hydrochloride or another opioid antagonist, as specified, to reverse opioid overdose with instructions for using the opioid antagonist. Passed by Senate Labor on 6/12. WECA Position: Oppose Unless Amended

AB 2135 (Schiavo - D) Extends the statute of limitations on complaints submitted to the Labor Commissioner from 18 to 24 months. Allows the Labor Commissioner to continue ongoing investigations beyond the statute of limitation for good cause. Prohibits an open investigation from being closed solely due to the statute of limitations being reached. Passed by Senate Labor on 6/12. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2179 (Davies - R) Requires a school district, county office of education, or charter school to, at the beginning of the first semester or quarter of each school year, provide information on local apprenticeship programs to pupils in grades 11 and 12. Passed by Legislature on 6/13. WECA Position: Support

AB 2182 (Haney - D) Allows the prevailing wage applicable to a public works project to be adjusted when an updated wage rate is determined by the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) director, recasts the method for annualizing benefit computations, and repeals any previously issued determinations. Passed by Senate Labor on 6/12. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2499 (Schiavo - D) Entitles an employee with a family member who is a victim of crime to job-protected leave to attend to the family member’s needs and ensure their safety. Additionally, it permits both the employee victim and the employee who has a family member who is a victim to use sick leave for time off to obtain victim services. AB 2499 creates new, uncapped leave for scenarios already covered under existing law. And it applies to small businesses with just five employees. Passed by Senate Judiciary on 6/18. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2696 (Rendon - D) Authorizes a joint labor-management cooperation committee (JLMCC), as specified, to bring an action in court against a direct contractor or subcontractor at any tier for any unpaid wage, fringe or other benefit payment or contribution, penalties or liquidated damages, and interest owed to a wage claimant by the direct contractor for the performance of private work. This proposed expansion of Section 218.8 is unnecessary from an enforcement perspective. Employees of general contractors know the identity of their direct employer. They can file wage claims with the Labor Commissioner, mechanics liens on the property, stop notices with the funding entity, civil lawsuits for non-payment of wages, and claims against payment bonds. AB 2696 encourages needless lawsuits that serve no legitimate enforcement purpose. Passed by Senate Labor on 6/19. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2705 (Ortega - D) Provides that, for a violation of public works law, the statute of limitations (SOL) for the Labor Commissioner (LC) to sue a bonding company shall be the same as the 18-month SOL for the LC to issue a civil wage and penalty assessment to the contractor or subcontractor on that project or both. Passed by Senate Labor on 6/12. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 3265 (Bryan - D) Establishes procedures for an environmental leadership media campus in the County of Los Angeles. The project must pay prevailing wages unless covered by a PLA.  Passed by Senate EQ on 6/19. WECA Position: Oppose

SB 739 (Ashby - D) If the City of Elk Grove council approves, this new bill would expand this authorization to the City to use CMaR. It requires using a Skilled and Trained Workforce unless covered by a PLA. Passed by Assembly Local Gov on 6/5. WECA Position: Oppose Unless Amended

SB 984 (Wahab - D) Requires the courts and CSU to identify and select at least three major construction projects by January 1, 2027, governed by a project labor agreement (PLA). DTSC was removed after they reported that "utilizing a PLA for a project increased the cost of the cleanup by approximately 25 percent." Passed by Assembly Labor on 6/19. WECA Position: Oppose

SB 1022 (Skinner - D) Significantly expands existing statute limitations for any complaint brought by the Civil Rights Department or its “authorized representative” to ten years. It also gives a court discretion to extend that statute of limitations even further if it is “reasonable” to do so. Passed by Assembly Judiciary on 6/11. WECA Position: Oppose

SB 1162 (Cortese - D) Expands existing law, which requires contractors and bidders on public projects to use a skilled and trained workforce, by also requiring them to report the date of birth of each worker every month. Passed by Assembly Labor on 6/19. WECA Position: Support If Amended

SB 1321 (Wahab - D) Changes standards on ETP grants. A coalition of opponents states, “This bill poses a significant threat to the vital interests of manufacturers and small, diverse businesses throughout California. SB 1321 proposes fundamental changes to the Employment Training Panel (ETP) that would render the very businesses that fund the program ineligible to participate. Such a change would undermine the essence of the ETP, jeopardizing the development and sustainability of California's workforce." Passed by Assembly Labor on 6/19. WECA Position: Oppose

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Thursday, June 13, 2024   Recap: WECA Attends 2024 State Workforce Summit in Arizona














 

WECA recently attended the 2024 State Workforce Summit in Flagstaff, Arizona. We joined over 200 workforce and economic development professionals as they celebrated their victories in the field and worked through opportunities presented to continue to improve workforce and economic development in Arizona.

WECA was also delighted to be joined by Solei Donahue, a first-year Commercial Electrical apprentice with WECA Arizona founding Member Contractor Corbins. Solei, who is a Native American woman from the Gila River Indian community located in the Arizona town of Sacaton, recently joined the WECA Arizona Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship Program through WECA and Corbins' partnership with Grand Canyon University's pre-apprenticeship program, which is funded by local workforce funds allowing young men and women to gain a solid footing in the electrical trade. Below is an excerpt of the inspiring speech she gave during the first day of the event.

"Skoug-sialik...or in English, good morning. I joined Corbins through a fifteen-week internship program at Grand Canyon University. For me, this opportunity came spontaneously while we were meeting with a counselor for my brother. Joy, the woman who opened so many doors for me, was just making small talk when she asked what my plans were after graduating high school. Like most kids freshly out of high school, I had no idea. I just told her I'll try different internships and see what I really like. She then went on to tell me about the Center of Workforce's internship, and told me how I could become an apprentice electrician by the end of the year.

I decided it would be good to have experience on my resume, and it would be useful for the future. But I knew once the second semester had started, that this was something I was interested in doing for the rest of my life.

Not only did the internship encourage me to pursue the career of an electrician, it gave me the confidence to keep pushing myself to stand for all the women in the workforce, including young women in my community out there who think joining a trade is scary.

Not only has this internship provided me with a successful career path, it has also aided me as a young girl in becoming a mature adult who is succeeding at life, in general. This program has given me all of the tools and will continue to help me on my journey to becoming a future successful journeywoman.

Ma'sapo...thank you again for this amazing opportunity!"

The 2024 State Workforce Summit for Arizona was amazing, and we look forward to the opportunities and learning that next year's event will bring! As Heath Anderson, WECA Arizona's Outreach and Workforce Development Specialist, opines, apprenticeship has moved back to center stage in workforce development as many look for quality upskilling methods for developing talent. WECA looks forward to continuing to educate the workforce and economic development communities in Arizona and beyond on the amazing benefits of WECA's electrical apprenticeship programs.

Read more >>


Thursday, June 13, 2024   All Parties Working with Apprentices Need to Participate in Anti-Harassment Training

Utilize the U.S. Department of Labor's Interactive, Web-Based, Self-Directed Equal Employment Opportunities (EEO) Trainings for Your Employees

WECA currently provides anti-harassment training to every WECA apprentice as part of their apprenticeship. However, it is also required for you, the employer, to ensure that all parties working with apprentices have participated in anti-harassment training.

Per Equal Employment Opportunity (EEO) regulations, 29 CFR 30.3(b)(4), this training must be provided to all individuals including: apprentices, apprentice supervisors, forepersons, journey workers, instructors, and other employees regularly working alongside apprentices, including management and administrative personnel.

If you have not already educated your workers in anti-harassment training, we strongly encourage you, our members, to utilize and make available to all employees the U.S. Department of Labor's interactive, web-based, self-directed EEO training.

It's easy -- just have your employees read and utilize the resources linked below:

Promoting an Anti-Harassment Environment

Unlawful Harassment in Apprenticeship

WECA's EEO Pledge

Prevent Harassment | Apprenticeship.gov

These resources are always available to you on WECA's website under "Member Forms and Resources" in the "Approved to Train" section, and on your member dashboard after login.

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Thursday, June 13, 2024   The Latest in the WECA Low Volt Apprenticeship Data Room Build-Out Chronicles: Plexiglass Wall and D

Behind the scenes of the continued buildout of the updated Low Voltage Apprenticeship data room at WECA's California HQ: Low Voltage instructors John Arias and Randy Rivera hard at work putting up the room's walls -- including Plexiglass for a see-through wall feature! For this phase, John and Randy installed drywall for the solid walls, and Plexiglass for the see-through walls. The Plexiglass feature will enable other apprentices and passers-by to observe the work of apprentices actively in the lab.

If you missed our initial installment of the WECA data room chronicles, the new data rooms being built at WECA's California HQ in Sacramento plus our Training Center in San Diego will allow our Low Voltage apprentices to expand upon their telecommunications and fiber optic installation and maintenance skills in a lab environment. These skills are increasingly important in today's world as companies continue to store massive amounts of data in secured spaces.



















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Thursday, June 13, 2024   Read: Arizona law allows contractors to lock in favorable hearing decision before ROC input

Read: Arizona law allows contractors to lock in favorable hearing decision before ROC can modify/reject it

Content Courtesy of Electric Times

Alan M. Petrillo

Electric Times

An Arizona law that went into effect in September 2022 gives new protections to licensed contractors and other business and professional licensees in state agency licensing decisions.

Jamie Hanson, a partner at the construction and business litigation law firm of Lang Thal King & Hanson, said the amended A.R.S. squiggle 41-1092.08 gives a contractor 10 days to accept an administrative law judge's provision decision before the Registrar of Contractors (ROC) has a chance to modify it or reject it. If the administrative law judge's written decision is favorable, the contractor can accept it, making the decision final, which means the ROC cannot change it.

Hanson pointed out that the 10-day window applies "in any appealable agency action or contested case involving a licensing decision." The new provision applies to state agencies and their licensees in general, as well as the ROC and licensed contractors.

If the contractor does not accept the administrative law judge's decision, the ROC can still do what it has always been able to do: accept the decision, modify it, or even reject it, Hanson added. However, under the 2022 amendments, if the ROC intends to modify or reject the provisional decision, that is, by imposing a penalty or punishment, the ROC must first have a conference with the contractor.

If the ROC seeks to deviate from the administrative law judge's recommendation, the ROC runs the risk of an adverse attorney-fee award. Under amendments to A.R.S. squiggle 12-348(A)(2), that statute now provides, "A licensee that prevails in an appeal of an agency's final decision following a conference pursuant to section 41-1092.08 subsection I is entitled to recover reasonable attorney fees and costs incurred during all stages of the proceeding." Thus, a state agency that wants to change the administrative law judge's recommended decision must weigh that potential liability for its own attorney fees and those of the license holder.

Hanson said the new law is good news for contractors, because it gives them more control over the hearing process that affects their license.

Many contractors deal with homeowner complaints about workmanship, he pointed out, and an adverse decision can lead to suspension of the contractor's license. Under the amended A.R.S. squiggle 41-1092.08, a decision to suspend a contractor's license after a homeowner's workmanship complaint is a "licensing decision" that falls under the protection of the 2022 law.

If a contractor successfully defends its license at the administrative hearing, the administrative law judge's decision will recommend that the complaint be dismissed, with no discipline against the contractor's license. Thanks to the 2022 law, the contractor has the right to accept that favorable decision, without the risk of the ROC overturning it. Hanson added, "That was a real risk before the law was passed; if it disagreed with the administrative law judge's decision, the ROC would sometimes convert a dismissal into a suspension."

If the administrative law judge's decision recommends only a "slap on the wrist" decision (a one-day suspension, for example), the ROC cannot increase that discipline unless the ROC meets with the contractor in advance, Hanson said."If the ROC persists in increasing the discipline, then the ROC could be liable for attorney fees if that decision is ultimately overturned in Superior Court," he noted.

Apart from this development in the law being generally more favorable to contractors, it also helps contractors in any negotiations with homeowners during the complaint process, Hanson said.

"The new law is a healthy reminder that the homeowner is not in total control of the complaint process, and there are protections in place to preserve the contractor's right to hold a license," he said. "However, it is always wise for a contractor to talk with an attorney to strategize about what a case requires and how it is to be approached," Hanson added. 

 

Read more >>


Thursday, June 13, 2024   California Employers Must Have Workplace Violence Prevention Plan in Place by July 1

Create or Update Your Workplace Violence Prevention Plan; Content Courtesy of WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP


 

Content courtesy of: WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

Virtually all California employers must have a workplace violence prevention plan in place by July 1, 2024. 

The Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

Cal/OSHA's model plan offers a starting point for creating a compliant plan. In addition to a model workplace violence prevention plan, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has also published a general fact sheet to help employer’s create and implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP) that meets the requirements imposed by Labor Code section 6401.9. 

Read the rest of the article here.

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Thursday, June 13, 2024   CA DIR's Modernized Public Works Website Services Going Live

Content Courtesy of CA DIR


 

As previously announced in our Public Works Modernization Project Case for Change, the California Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) Public Works team is preparing for the release of its modernized Public Works website services this summer.

This initiative is a major step forward in integrating our services into a comprehensive, user-friendly platform that will replace the following systems/website services: 

  • Project Registration (PWC-100) 
  • Public Works Contractor Registration (PWCR) 
  • Certified Payroll Reporting (eCPR) 

Updates to prevailing wage determination search are scheduled for later in the year.

Key Impacts

The new platform will significantly enhance the functionality and user experience for both contractors and awarding bodies: 

Awarding Bodies will benefit from: 

  • A simplified registration process for public works projects. 
  • The ability to update existing registered projects. 
  • A centralized dashboard to view all their public works projects. 
  • Inviting their entire team to join their awarding body account. 

Contractors will be able to: 

  • Add subcontractors to their public works projects. 
  • View all their public works projects in a centralized dashboard. 
  • Submit and edit eCPRs directly from their project dashboard. 
  • Save employees and duplicate previous eCPR submissions to minimize redundant data entry. 
  • Submit a single eCPR record for multiple weeks of non-performance. 
  • Invite their entire team to join their contractor account.

Key Changes

This summer, the new platform will go-live with the legacy platforms (PWC-100, PWCR,

eCPR) retiring.

Awarding body users will need to: 

  • Create a new user account (logins from the current applications will not work). 
  • Find their awarding body via a search. 
  • Request to link their user account with their awarding body. 
  • Approve requests from contractors to be added to projects for eCPR submissions. 

Contractor users will need to: 

  • Create a new user account (logins from the current applications will not work). 
  • Create a new account for their contractor, inputting their PWCR number to ensure their registration status is maintained. 
  • Request to join projects to submit eCPRs (if not already added by awarding body). 
  • Prime contractors can also request to add subcontractors to projects. 

Register for Training 

To ensure you are well-prepared to utilize the new system, DIR Public Works is hosting upcoming training webinars: 

We will provide an in-depth walkthrough of the new platform’s features and

functionalities. Attendance is highly recommended to ensure smooth adaption to the modernized system. To sign up, please follow the links below. 

Register for Awarding Bodies on Tuesday, June 18th from 1 - 3 PM here

Register for Contractors on Thursday, June 20th from 10 AM - noon here

We are dedicated to supporting you through this transition with comprehensive training and resources. Stay tuned for further updates, including additional training materials and support documents. 

To assist with the transition and ongoing usage of the new platform, Public Works will release a new Support Center web page that will include: 

  • How-to user guides. 
  • Recorded webinars and walkthroughs. 
  • Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Thank you for your continued cooperation and support as we advance towards a more

streamlined and efficient future with the DIR Public Works Modernization Project. 

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Thursday, June 13, 2024   Team Building is the Name of the Game: WECA Staff Convene in Sacramento on May 30th

With six WECA training facilities across three states as of 2024, it's pretty rare that we get all of the WECA full-time employees together in one room -- but we got pretty close on a team-building day in Sacramento on May 30th!

It was fantastic to see everyone, share stories and ideas, and give our geographically-disparate team the chance to get some quality face time together!

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Thursday, June 13, 2024   Register Now for a SURGE Compliance Portal Workshop

Content Courtesy of California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)


 

Content Courtesy of CPUC

The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Solar-Utilities Reporting, Guidance, and Education (SURGE) initiative is hosting two (2) workshops to help contractors navigate the SURGE Compliance Portal on June 18th and June 25th during the lunch hour (12:00-1:00 pm) via Microsoft Teams.

Please see the attached event flyer for additional details.  

Per AB 2143 and PUC 769.2, contractors must submit copies of their certified payroll records to CPUC via the SURGE Compliance Portal. The July 1st deadline is approaching quickly for contractors to submit copies of their January 1st through May 31st certified payroll records.

This workshop is designed for contractors who need technical assistance navigating the SURGE Compliance Portal. The workshop will go in depth on each of the steps required by SURGE including Contractor Registration, Project Registration, and Certified Payroll Submission. This workshop will provide valuable information on the SURGE payroll records submission process, a necessary step for solar contractors in complying with AB 2143/PUC 769.2.

Click Here to Register for the June 18th Workshop  

Click Here to Register for the June 25th Workshop 

Please note that you only need to attend one workshop session, as both will cover the same information.

Please visit the website at www.cpucsurge.org for more information and resources for contractors.  

If you need any additional information for this workshop, please feel free to send us an email at outreach@cpucsurge.org.  

Read more >>


Thursday, June 13, 2024   Save the Date for the 2024 WECA Northern and Southern California Graduation Ceremonies

WECA's 2024 Commencement Ceremonies for our Northern and Southern California graduating Apprenticeship and Electrician Trainee Program Classes of 2024 will be held on the above dates! Watch your inboxes for more details as these events draw closer. We look forward to celebrating the hard work and accomplishments of our graduates with you!

WECA Member Contractors--watch your inboxes for more sponsorship details to come!

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Thursday, June 6, 2024   WECA Political Update June 6, 2024

Workplace Violence Prevention Program Requirements in California: As most California employers know, a new workplace violence law (SB 553) requires all CA employers to develop and implement written Workplace Violence Prevention Plans and training by July 1, 2024. The new requirements will be enforced by Cal/OSHA. You can view a two-part webinar series from attorneys from the Seyfarth Workplace Safety team that guides employers through what is new and how to prepare. Link
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Legislation

Friday, May 24th was the deadline to move bills from their house of origin. This marks the halfway point of the session. The measures that advanced will now go through the legislative process in the second house. It should be noted that some of these proposals could be further amended/changed or even stall. Policy committee hearings will ramp up starting this week and through June, as the Legislature will take a month-long summer recess in July. The sprint to the finish line will begin upon their return to Sacramento. The respective Appropriations committees face a fiscal deadline of August 16th to meet and report legislation to the Senate and Assembly floors. Starting on August 19th, lawmakers will hold lengthy floor sessions to debate and pass measures to the Governor’s desk. As a reminder, the deadline for each house to act on bills is August 31st, at which time the Legislature will adjourn for the year. September 30th is the last day for the Governor to sign or veto bills passed.

AB 1957 (Wilson - D) This bill authorizes any county of the state to use the “best value” method for construction projects in excess of $1 million and job order contracts up to $3 million until January 1, 2030. Location: 5/29/2024-S. APPR. WECA Position: Support

AB 1976 (Haney - D) Requires, on or before July 1, 2027, the Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board ("Board") to draft and adopt a rulemaking proposal to revise a standard on first aid materials to require all workplace first aid materials to include naloxone hydrochloride or another opioid antagonist, as specified, to reverse opioid overdose with instructions for using the opioid antagonist. Location: 5/23/2024-S. RLS. WECA Position: Oppose Unless Amended

AB 2135 (Schiavo - D) AB 2135 will: 1) Extend the statute of limitations on complaints submitted to the Labor Commissioner from 18 to 24 months. 2) Allows the Labor Commissioner to continue ongoing investigations beyond the statute of limitation for good cause. 3) Prohibits an open investigation from being closed solely due to the Statute of Limitations being reached. Location: 5/23/2024-S. RLS. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2179 (Davies - R) It would require a school district, county office of education, or charter school to, at the beginning of the first semester or quarter of each school year, provide information on local apprenticeship programs to pupils in grades 11 and 12 as provided. Location: 5/29/2024-S. APPR. WECA Position: Support

AB 2182 (Haney - D) This bill, among other provisions, allows the prevailing wage applicable to a public works project to be adjusted when an updated wage rate is determined by the Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) director, recasts the method for annualizing benefit computations, and repeals any previously issued determinations. Location: 5/29/2024-S. L., P.E. & R. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2235 (Lowenthal - D) Would authorize the City of Long Beach to procure contracts relating to the terminal development project at the Port of Long Beach, known as Pier Wind, and to utilize any alternative project delivery method, including progressive design-build, for any contract related to that project. The bill would require the city to prepare and issue solicitation documents to procure and award any contract. For purposes of these provisions, the bill would authorize the city to perform various duties regarding the procurement and administration of these contracts, including amending or entering into new contracts. Requires a skilled and trained workforce to perform all project work unless a PLA exists. The State Building and Construction Trades Council of California opposes, "As we work collaboratively with policymakers such as Assembly Member Lowenthal and others who want to build up and fortify the ports for the burgeoning offshore wind industry, and find solutions to fund those projects, we want to ensure that bills do not conflate jurisdictional disputes between unions with the important work that needs to be funded and completed at ports such as Long Beach. Unfortunately, AB 2235 does that." Location: 5/24/2024-S. RLS. WECA Position: Oppose Unless Amended

AB 2288 (Kalra - D) This bill invites more PAGA litigation by authorizing a court to award injunctive or declaratory relief and penalties. This bill is moving in the wrong direction. Now is the time to fix PAGA, not expand it. Location: 5/22/2024-S. L., P.E. & R. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2499 (Schiavo - D) Entitles an employee who has a family member who is a victim of crime to job-protected leave to attend to the family member’s needs and ensure their safety. Additionally, it permits both the employee victim and the employee who has a family member who is a victim to use sick leave for time off to obtain victim services. AB 2499 is creating new, uncapped leave for scenarios already covered under existing law. And it applies to small businesses with just five employees. Location: 5/24/2024-S. RLS. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2622 (Carrillo, Juan - D) This bill revises the contractor licensing exemption to allow a person without a contractor’s license to perform minor construction work if the total cost of the project is less than $1,000 (rather than $500) if the following conditions are met: a) The work or operation does not require a building permit. b) The work or operation does not include the following trades or crafts: C-16 fire protection, C-22 asbestos abatement, or C-57 well drilling. c) The person performing the work or operation does not do the following: i) Make structural changes to load-bearing portions of an existing structure, including, but not limited to, footings, foundations, load-bearing walls, partitions, and roof structures. ii) Install, replace, substantially alter, or extend electrical, mechanical, or plumbing systems or their parts or the mechanisms or devices that are part of those systems. Location: 5/23/2024-S. RLS. WECA Position: Support if Amended

AB 2696 (Rendon - D) Authorizes a joint labor-management cooperation committee (JLMCC), as specified, to bring an action in court against a direct contractor or subcontractor at any tier for any unpaid wage, fringe or other benefit payment or contribution, penalties or liquidated damages, and interest owed to a wage claimant by the direct contractor for the performance of private work. This proposed expansion of Section 218.8 is unnecessary from an enforcement perspective. Employees of general contractors know the identity of their direct employer. They can file wage claims with the Labor Commissioner, mechanics liens on the property, stop notices with the funding entity, civil lawsuits for non-payment of wages, and claims against payment bonds. AB 2696 encourages needless lawsuits that serve no legitimate enforcement purpose. Location: 5/23/2024-S. RLS. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2705 (Ortega - D) This union-supported bill provides that, for a violation of public works law, the statute of limitations (SOL) for the Labor Commissioner (LC) to sue a bonding company shall be the same as the 18-month SOL for the LC to issue a civil wage and penalty assessment to the contractor or subcontractor on that project or both. Location: 5/29/2024-S. L., P.E. & R. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 2738 (Rivas, Luz - D) This bill clarifies that the training certification requirements of entertainment events employees may be alternatively enforced by a public prosecutor and adds a public events venue or a contracting entity to the entities that may be assessed a penalty for violating these requirements. Location: 5/23/2024-S. RLS. WECA Position: Oppose

AB 3093 (Ward - D) Creates two new income categories, Acutely Low Income (ALI) and Extremely Low Income (ELI), in the Regional Housing Needs Determination (RHND), Regional Housing Needs Allocation (RHNA), and Housing Element Law. Includes usual SBCTC language Location: 5/29/2024-S. HOUSING WECA Position: Oppose Unless Amended

AB 3265 (Bryan - D) This bill establishes procedures for an environmental leadership media campus, in the County of Los Angeles. The project must pay prevailing wages unless covered by a PLA. Location: 5/22/2024-S. E.Q. WECA Position: Oppose

SB 312 (Wiener - D) The bill would prohibit a public university that has exempted a university housing development project from being eligible to exempt a subsequent university housing development project until the public university has obtained LEED Platinum certification for each building within the prior exempted university housing development project. Existing law requires these projects to use a Skilled and Trained Workforce unless a PLA exists. Location: 5/13/2024-A. NAT. RES. WECA Position: Support if Amended

SB 393 (Glazer - D) This bill requires a CEQA plaintiff to disclose any contributions he or she has received of $1,000 or more to help fund the legal action. It also prevents a CEQA action from being filed against a housing project that was included as part of a larger plan or project already approved under CEQA. Location: 6/3/2024-A. NAT. RES. WECA Position: Support

SB 739 (Ashby - D) If the City of Elk Grove council approves, this new bill would expand this authorization to the City to use CMaR. It requires using a Skilled and Trained Workforce unless covered by a PLA. Location: 5/28/2024-A. L. GOV. WECA Position: Oppose Unless Amended

SB 984 (Wahab - D) SB 984 requires the courts and CSU to identify and select at least three major construction projects by January 1, 2027, that must be governed by a project labor agreement (PLA). DTSC was removed after they reported that "utilizing a PLA for a project increased the cost of the cleanup by approximately 25 percent." Location: 6/3/2024-A. L. & E. WECA Position: Oppose

SB 1022 (Skinner - D) SB 1022 significantly expands existing statutes of limitations for any complaint brought by the Civil Rights Department or its “authorized representative” to ten years. It also gives a court discretion to extend that statute of limitations back even further if it determines that it is “reasonable” to do so. Location: 5/28/2024-A. JUD. WECA Position: Oppose

SB 1116 (Portantino - D) This bill authorizes workers in a trade dispute to collect unemployment insurance (UI) benefits after a two-week wait period while on strike. Location: 6/3/2024-A. INS. WECA Position: Oppose

SB 1162 (Cortese - D) This bill expands existing law, which requires contractors and bidders on public projects to use a skilled and trained workforce, by also requiring them to report the date of birth of each worker every month Location: 6/3/2024-A. L. & E. WECA Position: Support if Amended

SB 1243 (Dodd - D) This bill changes the length of certain campaign contribution windows, increases the size of the maximum contribution amount, and adjusts certain definitions and deadlines in the Levine Act. Location: 5/28/2024-A. ELECTIONS WECA Position: Support

SB 1321 (Wahab - D) This bill, sponsored by the California Labor Federation and the Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers, changes standards on ETP funds by prioritizing high-quality training programs, requiring plans for targeted recruitment and hiring plans, and increasing transparency and data submission to support accountability of public funding. A coalition of opponents states, “This bill poses a significant threat to the vital interests of manufacturers and small, diverse businesses throughout the state of California. SB 1321 proposes fundamental changes to the Employment Training Panel (ETP) that would render the very businesses that fund the program ineligible to participate. Such a change would undermine the essence of the ETP, jeopardizing the development and sustainability of California's workforce." Location: 5/28/2024-A. L. & E. WECA Position: Oppose
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Rare Win for California Employers In Naranjo v. Spectrum Security Services, the case’s second appearance before the California Supreme Court in two years, the Court confirmed that an employer does not incur civil penalties for failing to report unpaid wages or any other required information on a wage statement if the employer reasonably believed that it was providing a complete, accurate wage statement. Naranjo is a rare win for employers in the California Supreme Court. When facing a class action, employers often face significant liability due to stacking derivative claims, such as Labor Code sections 203 and 226 claims. This ruling reduces the risk of some liability employers may face. Nevertheless, the Supreme Court clarified that the “knowing and intentional” standard applies only to whether employers are subject to monetary penalties for violating Labor Code section 226. Accordingly, if an employee successfully brings an action for injunctive relief to ensure compliance with Labor Code section 226, a plaintiff could still recover costs and attorneys’ fees. MoreMore, and More.
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Half of Assembly Signs Letter Urging Rejection of Governor’s Proposals to Suspend NOL Deduction and Limit Tax Credits A bipartisan group of 40 state Assembly members – half of the house’s membership – signed a May 22 letter asking leadership to reject Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposal to suspend the net operating loss deduction and limit tax credits for research and development. The letter by Assembly Member Cottie Petrie-Norris, a Democrat from Irvine, was signed by 32 of the Assembly’s 62 Democrats – including Assembly Member Jacqui Irwin, who chairs the Assembly Revenue and Taxation Committee – and eight of the house’s 18 Republicans. If the lawmakers remain opposed, the governor’s proposed NOL suspension and tax credit limitation would fall far short of the 54 votes needed to clear the Assembly. CalTax is leading a coalition opposing the tax increases, noting that the tax increases would harm the economy, lead to job losses, and have long-term negative impacts on the economy and tax revenue. The lawmakers’ letter, addressed to Assembly Speaker Robert Rivas and Assembly Member Jesse Gabriel, who chairs the Assembly Budget Committee, states in part: “California has been the birthplace for the breakthroughs and innovations that have shaped the modern world and have, consequently, built California into the world’s fifth largest economy. We strongly urge you to preserve the R&D tax credits and NOL deductions that will help fuel innovation, create great jobs, and deliver continued economic growth and prosperity for the Golden State.” [CalTax]
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Sinema Urges Business Leaders to Prioritize Arizona’s Best Interests At the recent Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry’s annual Update from Capitol Hill luncheon, Arizona Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I) urged business leaders to overcome partisan divides and advocate for common sense legislation that puts Arizona first. Sinema called on the business community to engage in the legislative process and avoid extreme political rhetoric. More



Supervisor Karen Speigel WECA proudly supports Riverside County Supervisor Karen Speigel, shown here with WECA Southern California Government Affairs Representative Dave Everett at her May 23, 2024, re-election event. Unlike its neighbors to the north and south, Riverside County embraces fair and open competition when it has a public works construction project. This not only saves taxpayers millions of dollars, but it also allows the 98% of black and Latino contractors (who choose to work in a non-union environment) to participate and bid on those jobs. Supervisor Spiegel has been an elected public servant since 1996, serving in several positions in the City of Corona, including City Treasurer and Council Member, and serving four times as Mayor. First elected in 2018 and sworn into office for her second term on January 10, 2023, Supervisor Karen Speigel will likely be the only Republican Riverside County Supervisor after this year when Republican Supervisor Kevin Jeffries retires. Democrat former Assemblyman Jose Medina (who passed a Project Labor Agreement on construction at Riverside Community College District in 2010) is running to replace supervisor Jeffries. He faces Democrat State Senator and retired General Richard Roth this November. Regardless of the outcome, WECA’s government affairs team will continue to make sure our members’ voices are heard in Riverside County, which is the geographic size of Massachusetts, and has a population larger than New Jersey.



Republican Labor Board Nominee Brings Quiet Power to Major Cases President Joe Biden’s nominee for a Republican spot on the National Labor Relations Board, Joshua Ditelberg, may be the most prominent labor attorney you’ve never heard of. A partner at Seyfarth Shaw LLP in Chicago, he’s spent the last three decades quietly shaping some of the most consequential issues in the field—from joint employment and corporate restructuring to race-related protests in professional football—all while going out of his way to eschew personal recognition, those who know him say. Story

Read more >>


Thursday, May 30, 2024   Three WECA Member Contractors Make SBJ's Top Private Companies in Sacramento Area List



Please join WECA in congratulating Royal ElectricRex Moore Group, and North State Electrical Contractors for making the Sacramento Business Journal's annual Top Private Companies in Sacramento area list!
Read more >>


Thursday, May 30, 2024   New Apprenticeship Instructor Spotlight: Bob Boling


 

While attending a technical college, Bob Boling held his instructors there in such esteem that he knew he wanted to become an electrical instructor himself someday.

Two decades later, Bob is now WECA’s newest Electrical Apprenticeship instructor! Bob comes to WECA with seventeen years of experience as a journeyperson electrician, having worked in the residential electrical, commercial electrical, light industrial, solar, and general maintenance sectors and for two years as an instructor at another educational institution.

As an instructor, Bob enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with students, while also continually “striving to improve my own knowledge.”

“I am a naturally hard worker and I always strive to do my best and improve,” says Bob. “I intend to do that by using the resources available to me. In this case, I am looking forward to gaining as much knowledge as I can from the other instructors, as that is probably one of the best resources I have available to me.”

Bob’s philosophy is that while most learning takes place in the classroom, lab, and on the jobsite, students should also be open to learning whenever the opportunity arises.

“I would advise WECA Apprentices to learn as much as they can in the classroom and in the field and encourage them to learn why they are doing what they are doing. There may not always be time on the job to get deep into why things are done in a specific way, but Apprentices can always do additional research or talk to other electricians or instructors to gain that knowledge,” says Bob.

Bob also has a rich personal life outside of teaching. He has been married to his wife, Johanna, for 21 years, and together they have a 20-year-old son, Ari. They also share two dogs: Rocky (a two-year-old Mini American Bulldog mix) and Bandit (an older mutt). When not spending time with his family or dogs, Bob enjoys working on the house and playing music—specifically the bass guitar, drums, and learning piano.

We’re excited to welcome you to the WECA family, Bob! Your dedication to teamwork and leveling up your knowledge is inspirational and will continue to reinforce the rock-solid bond the WECA instructional team already shares. 

Read more >>


Thursday, May 30, 2024   The Good Life at WECA: Third Year, Second Semester Apprentices Master Motor Control Fundamentals











Read more >>


Thursday, May 30, 2024   GetWired 301: Self-Paced Electrical Work for Commercial Construction from the Ground Up, Part 1

Introducing the Next Self-Paced Online Option for Our GetWired Electrician Trainee Program Series:

GetWired 301: Self-Paced Electrical Work for Commercial Construction from the Ground Up, Part 1

Electrician Trainees Can Take It on Their Own Time, at Their Own Pace!?


 

WECA is excited to announce another way your employees enrolled in WECA's Electrician Trainee Certificate Program can take GetWired 301, the ninth class in WECA's Path to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate!

We've long offered GetWired 301 as an instructor-led online course. And we still do!

But for students who would prefer to take this course at their own pace, on their own time, we're now offering a fully self-paced online option, just like we've been offering for earlier courses in the GetWired series! Students who might prefer this format include:

  • Students with job, childcare, or other obligations preventing them from taking the instructor-led scheduled courses in the evenings
  • Students who would benefit from being able to review the material at a slower pace, such as students for whom English is a second language
  • Students who just prefer to work on the coursework at times and places when it works best for them
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WECA's new GetWired 301 Self-Paced Option is an entirely online, self-paced alternative version of our GetWired 301 course, which takes students through construction of a commercial building from underground work through construction and finish work. Students will use genuine construction plans (digital blueprints on a mobile tablet) and related documents to learn how to coordinate documents, work with other trades, and identify ways to save money through careful planning.

Course topics include:

  • How to read construction plans (blueprints)
  • Coordinating construction documents:
  • Identifying and planning for electrical work on construction plan sheet types
  • Underground utilities locator and coordinating with local utility companies
  • Parallel conductors, sizing secondary conductors and conduits and sizing grounding electrode conductors
  • Working clearances, services and meter types
  • Exterior Lighting
  • Scheduling Labor and materials

A 2020 NEC book, a set of digital blueprints and a digital student resource booklet are required for this course. The digital blueprints and the student resource booklet, pre-loaded on a complimentary mobile tablet, are included in the cost of the tuition. 

  • Total class hours available: 40.5
  • Standard Tuition Fee: $399

Know an Electrician Trainee this would work for?

Encourage them to enroll in GetWired 301 Self-Paced Online today!

Think they'd prefer being able to interact with an instructor and learn along with other students?

Encourage them to enroll in an upcoming instance of the original GetWired 301 here!

Read more >>


Wednesday, May 29, 2024   GetWired 301: Self-Paced Electrical Work for Commercial Construction from the Ground Up, Part 1

Introducing the Next Self-Paced Online Option for Our GetWired Electrician Trainee Program Series:

GetWired 301: Self-Paced Electrical Work for Commercial Construction from the Ground Up, Part 1

Take It on Your Own Time, at Your Own Pace


 

WECA is excited to announce another way students can take GetWired 301, the ninth class in WECA's Path to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate!

We've long offered GetWired 301 as an instructor-led online course. And we still do!

But for students who would prefer to take this course at their own pace, on their own time, we're now offering a fully self-paced online option, just like we've been offering for earlier courses in the GetWired series! Students who might prefer this format include:

  • Students with job, childcare, or other obligations preventing them from taking the instructor-led scheduled courses in the evenings
  • Students who would benefit from being able to review the material at a slower pace, such as students for whom English is a second language
  • Students who just prefer to work on the coursework at times and places when it works best for them
-----------------------------------------------------------------

WECA's new GetWired 301 Self-Paced Option is an entirely online, self-paced alternative version of our GetWired 301 course, which takes students through construction of a commercial building from underground work through construction and finish work. Students will use genuine construction plans (digital blueprints on a mobile tablet) and related documents to learn how to coordinate documents, work with other trades, and identify ways to save money through careful planning.

Course topics include:

  • How to read construction plans (blueprints)
  • Coordinating construction documents:
  • Identifying and planning for electrical work on construction plan sheet types
  • Underground utilities locator and coordinating with local utility companies
  • Parallel conductors, sizing secondary conductors and conduits and sizing grounding electrode conductors
  • Working clearances, services and meter types
  • Exterior Lighting
  • Scheduling Labor and materials

A 2020 NEC book, a set of digital blueprints and a digital student resource booklet are required for this course. The digital blueprints and the student resource booklet, pre-loaded on a complimentary mobile tablet, are included in the cost of the tuition. 

  • Total class hours available: 40.5
  • Standard Tuition Fee: $399

If all of this sounds like it would work for you,

enroll in GetWired 301 Self-Paced Online today!

Think you'd prefer being able to interact with an instructor and learn along with other students?

Enroll in an upcoming instance of the original GetWired 301 here!

Read more >>


Wednesday, May 29, 2024   Watch: WECA Explains Combination Circuit Basics

Watch this easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructional video that WECA created for our students, showing how to solve Combination Circuits.

Concepts covered in the video include Combination Circuit basics, Series Circuit rules, the Reciprocal Formula, Parallel Circuit rules, and two examples of Combination Circuits.

Read more >>


Wednesday, May 29, 2024   Electrician Trainees: Don't Miss Out on the 2024 WECEF Scholarship Opportunity

Application Deadline is June 15th; Apply Soon for Consideration


 

For students enrolled in WECA's Electrician Trainee program:

Application Deadline:

June 15, 2024

The Western Electrical Contractors Education Foundation (WECEF) is pleased to offer a scholarship opportunity for students enrolled in WECA’s Electrician Trainee (ET) Program. These scholarships help support students in continuing their education with WECA.

ELIGIBILITY REQUIREMENTS TO PARTICIPATE:

  • Active WECA Electrician Trainee at time of application
  • COMPLETION of at least one WECA ET course within the GetWired 100-300 series, with a passing grade of at least 80%, during the six months prior to April 1, 2024 (between October 1, 2023 - March 31, 2024)
  • Accurate completion of the online scholarship application and answers to questions, by the deadline of June 15, 2024. Incomplete applications, or late applications, will not be considered.
  • Not currently a registered Apprentice
  • Not a General Student or Journeyman student. This is only for active Electrician Trainees.
  • Has not already been a recipient of a WECEF scholarship within the last two years (during or since the 2022 award cycle)
  • Within the past two years, may not have received a notification of any violation of any WECA student conduct standards as outlined in our ET student handbook

AWARDS:

Depending on the quality and quantity of the applications, up to ten (10) recipients will be awarded. This year, the WECEF Board of Directors has decided to award a monetary amount plus a credit toward future courses.

  • Each monetary award will be between $500-$1,000, PLUS tuition to cover two future classes in WECA's Electrician Trainee Program Certificate path--namely the GetWired series and Basic Motor Controls 1 and 2.
  • Tuition awards towards courses cannot be converted to cash or transferred to another person.
  • Tuition award cannot be used towards a class already purchased
  • Tuition can be used for only two future WECA courses; and both courses must be started before December 31, 2024
  • Award towards tuition expires after December 31, 2024 and cannot be renewed.

The WECEF Board of Directors will review applications from eligible candidates. All applicants will be notified of the committee’s final decision within one month from application deadline, by mail and/or email.

Submissions must be fully completed by the June 15, 2024 at 11:59 PM deadline for consideration.

Please login to WECA eCampus to access and complete your scholarship application.

Sincerely,

The WECEF Board of Directors

Read more >>


Wednesday, May 29, 2024   The Good Life at WECA: 3-2 Commercial Apprentices Master Motor Control Fundamentals











Read more >>


Wednesday, May 29, 2024   Apprentices: This June, Use SmartDollar to Learn How to Buy a Home with Confidence

Content Courtesy of SmartDollar


 

Content courtesy of SmartDollar

SmartDollar has a new course: How to Buy a Home You Can Actually Afford by George Kamel. In this course, you will learn how to buy a house the Ramsey way.

In this course, Dave Ramsey and George Kamel will discuss topics like how to look for a home, finding the right real estate agent, exploring mortgage options, and breaking down the steps needed to purchase a home.

Log in to your dashboard to get started!

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Not yet signed up for SmartDollar? No worries -- getting started is easy! Learn how below.

SmartDollar is a financial wellness benefit for WECA apprentices. We announced our partnership with the Dave Ramsey-founded online financial wellness platform in January, 2021 to provide our apprentices with a sound foundation in personal finance management. This benefit is available to all WECA apprentices free of charge. Not yet signed up for SmartDollar? No worries -- scroll to the bottom of this article for instructions!

What is SmartDollar? SmartDollar is a step-by-step approach to handling money with the number-one authority in personal finance, Dave Ramsey. More than 4.5 million people have started on Dave's plan and taken control of their money, and you can too! SmartDollar will equip you to get out of debt, on a budget, and on your way to a strong financial foundation.

The average person pays off $9,405 of debt and saves $6,127 in the first twelve months, and you can too!

"This program is powerful yet simple to understand. The Baby Steps make understanding how to win with money easy! Dave's lessons are fun, informative, and incredibly encouraging. It really doesn't feel like I'm taking a financial course. It's more like learning finances from a good friend...or a financially savvy stand-up comedian! The online tools are fantastic as well, and I love being able to 'ASK DAVE' any question and do my budget online. Love it all!" - Recent participant

With SmartDollar, you'll learn how to...

  • Jump-start your money
  • Knock out debt
  • Secure your dream home
  • Retire in style
  • Demystify your credit score

How does SmartDollar work? With so many ways to engage in SmartDollar activities and content, SmartDollar Points have been designed to encourage users to establish true behavior change. (Check out the graph below for a quick rundown). The greater the importance and required time of each activity, the greater the amount of points that can be earned. For example, each Core Lesson video completed is worth 250 points. Completing a shorter Deep Dive video is worth 50 points. Tracking a transaction in EveryDollar is only worth 20 points, but users are encouraged to track all their financial transactions with no points limitations. These example activities are key for building the confidence you need to reach your financial goals.







 

Taking advantage of your free financial wellness benefit, SmartDollar, is easy!

To set up your account after accessing your dashboard, click either of the links shown as highlighted in the screenshot to the right of this paragraph. You'll be taken to a page with a SmartDollar enrollment link, where you will be able to set up immediate access to this important benefit.

Ready to get started?

Login to your GOWECA dashboard

Read more >>


Tuesday, May 28, 2024   New Apprenticeship Instructor Spotlight: Bob Boling


 

While attending Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Bob Boling held his instructors there in such esteem that he knew he wanted to become an electrical instructor himself someday.

Two decades later, Bob is now WECA’s newest Electrical Apprenticeship instructor! Bob comes to WECA with seventeen years of experience as a journeyperson electrician, having worked in the residential electrical, commercial electrical, light industrial, solar, and general maintenance sectors and for two years as an instructor at another educational institution.

As an instructor, Bob enjoys sharing his knowledge and experience with students, while also continually “striving to improve my own knowledge.”

“I am a naturally hard worker and I always strive to do my best and improve,” says Bob. “I intend to do that by using the resources available to me. In this case, I am looking forward to gaining as much knowledge as I can from the other instructors, as that is probably one of the best resources I have available to me.”

Bob’s philosophy is that while most learning takes place in the classroom, lab, and on the jobsite, students should also be open to learning whenever the opportunity arises.

“I would advise WECA Apprentices to learn as much as they can in the classroom and in the field and encourage them to learn why they are doing what they are doing. There may not always be time on the job to get deep into why things are done in a specific way, but Apprentices can always do additional research or talk to other electricians or instructors to gain that knowledge,” says Bob.

Bob also has a rich personal life outside of teaching. He has been married to his wife, Johanna, for 21 years, and together they have a 20-year-old son, Ari. They also share two dogs: Rocky (a two-year-old Mini American Bulldog mix) and Bandit (an older mutt). When not spending time with his family or dogs, Bob enjoys working on the house and playing music—specifically the bass guitar, drums, and learning piano.

We’re excited to welcome you to the WECA family, Bob! Your dedication to teamwork and leveling up your knowledge is inspirational and will continue to reinforce the rock-solid bond the WECA instructional team already shares. 

Read more >>


Thursday, May 23, 2024   WECA Political Update May 23, 2024

Legislature It was another big deadline week in California’s Legislature: To keep bills alive for this session, legislators have until tomorrow to get them through the house where they were introduced.

The week started with 553 measures in the Assembly and 365 in the Senate. Already, the Assembly has passed 304 bills and the Senate 129.

Both chambers held floor sessions every day this week to vote on bills.

PLA's Cost Doesn’t Deter Senate The State Senate approved SB 984 (Wahab) on a 28-10-2 vote. It requires the courts and CSU to identify and select at least three major construction projects by January 1, 2027, that must be governed by a project labor agreement (PLA). DTSC was removed after they reported that “utilizing a PLA for a [DTSC] project increased the cost of the cleanup by approximately 25 percent.”

UI for Strikers Once Again The Senate passed SB 1116 (Portantino) on a 22-12-6 vote to give striking workers unemployment insurance. Governor Newsom vetoed the same bill last year. California is largely in historic debt (approx. $20 billion) due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting statewide shutdown. As a result, California employers are already paying increased UI taxes pursuant to federal law and are likely to face ongoing tax increases until approximately 2034.

Trouble for ETP Grants (Wahab) The Senate passed SB 1321 (Wahab) to change the criteria for Employment Training Grants. A coalition of opponents states, “This bill poses a significant threat to the vital interests of manufacturers and small, diverse businesses throughout California. SB 1321 proposes fundamental changes to the Employment Training Panel (ETP) that would render the very businesses that fund the program ineligible to participate. Such a change would undermine the essence of the ETP, jeopardizing the development and sustainability of California's workforce." The vote was 30-9-1.

Longer Exposure for Employers and Longer Wait for Workers The Assembly passed AB 2135 that will: 1) Extend the statute of limitations on complaints submitted to the Labor Commissioner from 18 to 24 months. 2) Allows the Labor Commissioner to continue ongoing investigations for up to 18 months beyond the statute of limitation for good cause. 3) Prohibits an open investigation from being closed solely due to the Statute of Limitations being reached. The vote was 56-4-20.

More Work for Handy-Persons The Assembly passed AB 2622 (Carrillo) 57-0-23 to raise the floor for a contractor license to $1,000 from $500. The handyperson would be prohibited from installing, replacing, substantially altering, or extending electrical, mechanical, or plumbing systems or their parts or the mechanisms or devices that are part of those systems.

Ever-Changing PW Rates The Assembly passed AB 2182 (Haney) 65-5-10, which, among other provisions, allows the prevailing wage applicable to a public works project to be adjusted whenever an updated wage rate is determined by DIR! It recasts the method for annualizing benefit computations and repeals any previously issued determinations. If the governor signs the bill, contractors must consider a contract clause to hold the contractor harmless for wage changes mid-contract.
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Solar Plunge: California experienced its worst first quarter for rooftop solar installations in more than a decade, according to a federal report, continuing a steady decline since the state cut reimbursement rates for excess solar power generated on homes, reports Politico. A new report from the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds that rooftop solar installations fell off after California implemented its net metering reforms last spring. The state averaged roughly 8,000 installations per month in the first quarter of 2024, the lowest of any month since May 2020. The report looks at a year of data since the California Public Utilities Commission made sweeping changes to the state’s net metering rules, instituting a system known as the net billing tariff. That rate design sharply cut the amount solar owners could get for excess solar sent back to the grid. But it made the rates variable and based on time, so customers would be paid more for sending back power when the grid was most stressed in the early evening.
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I’m Not Leaving California Democratic Rep. Katie Porter “introduced a bill this week that would force presidents and vice presidents to disclose their tax filings for the two years before entering the White House, for the years while in office, and for two years afterward. It would also compel them, along with close family members such as children, siblings, and in-laws, to disclose payments from foreign entities and large gifts and loans from family members.” But “other Democrats raised objections to the proposal as word of it circulated, seeing it as unfairly equating the business conflicts of the Trumps and Bidens.” The White House said it opposed the bill. Meanwhile, another group of Democrats introduced a proposal requiring congressional approval to allow a president to receive payments from a foreign government. Sigh, #yesterdayslettuce.
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Hard Bargaining or Unlawful Bargaining: What A Difference A Board Member Makes The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently held that an employer’s proposal and adherence to proposals could be deemed unlawful bad-faith bargaining. District Hospital Partners, 375 NLRB No. 55 (5/8/2024). The case is significant in two regards. First, the same case had been before the NLRB in 2021 before a Republican majority board, which voted 2-1 to overturn the administrative law judge’s (ALJ) decision and found no unlawful practices. Later, that decision was vacated based on a possible conflict of interest by one of the majority members. Upon reopening the matter, a new panel, this time having a majority of Democratic appointees, voted 2-1 to affirm the ALJ’s decision and to order significant relief. Second, the NLRB indicated that the employer’s maintenance of three proposals was sufficient to justify a finding of bad faith bargaining. This runs counter to a long history in which the board rarely relied on the content of an employer’s non-final proposals in finding bad-faith bargaining. More
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NLRB Judge Finds Amazon CEO’s Comments About Unions Unlawful A San Francisco administrative law judge (ALJ) for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) recently found Amazon CEO Andy Jassy’s comments about unions to be unlawful. Whether that ruling will be upheld on appeal is questionable. Employers should be free to articulate and lead their company’s workplace culture. The ruling is an “extreme infringement” not just on the First Amendment but also on Section 8(c) of the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA), which gives management representatives broad leeway to state opinions about how they prefer to work with employees, said Phil Wilson, president and attorney with LRI Consulting Services in Broken Arrow, Okla. That section states that expressing any views, arguments, or opinions should not constitute an unfair labor practice if such expression contains no threat of reprisal or force and no promise of benefit. Wilson said no reasonable person could view Jassy’s comments about unionization as threatening or coercive, calling Jassy’s remarks “well within the bounds found to be lawful” by courts. He predicted that even if the NLRB affirms the board ALJ’s decision, which Amazon announced it would appeal, an appeals court later will rule in Amazon’s favor. Story
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Julie Su Squeezed by Congress over California’s Lost Covid Billions Please excuse acting Secretary of Labor Julie Su for feeling these are her bespoke End Times. Reared in California’s progressive microclimate—where identity politics and powerful government unions are a Patriot missile defense shield against charges of incompetence and corruption—Su is unaccustomed to tough questions. That was fine in Sacramento, where Su served as Governor Gavin Newsom’s Secretary of Labor. Now, in Washington, D.C., other than “Tell us how you start your day,” tough questions are just about the only questions Su gets. Congressional Republicans want to know how the hell she lost about $33 billion to criminals, inmates, and international crime gangs while stiffing the federal government on a $20 billion loan to backstop soaring unemployment benefits during COVID-19. Story
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Kari Lake Releases Ad Focused on Immigration 2022 Arizona GOP nominee Kari Lake's (R) campaign released a new ad in her bid for Arizona Senate titled “Big Differences.” The ad features Arizonans discussing President Biden's and Rep. Ruben Gallego's (D-AZ 03) border policies. In the ad, Lake promises to finish the wall and "stop the invasion." The border and immigration have consistently been successful messaging points for Republicans across the country. It is a winning subject in Arizona, where immigration and the border are not abstract concepts. Meanwhile, abortion is a successful messaging point for Democrats—a topic on which Lake has recently struggled to stay consistent. Ad
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Gov. Hobbs Signs Bill to Expand Small Home Construction Arizona Gov. Katie Hobbs signed two bills related to affordable housing on May 21: one that would allow for the construction of casitas, or tiny homes, in residential backyards and another to encourage the development of duplexes, triplexes, and townhomes.
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House Education and the Workforce Committee Hearing Exposing Union Tactics On May 22, The House Education and the Workforce Committee held a hearing entitled, “Big Labor Lies: Exposing Union Tactics to Undermine Fair Elections.” Witnesses for the majority included Bill Messenger, VP and Legal Director of the National Right to Work Legal Defense Foundation; Michael Alcorn, Crew Member at Trader Joe’s; and Stephen Delie, Director of Labor Policy at the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. The minority witness was Lynn Rhinehart, Senior Fellow at the Economic Policy Institute. The hearing was livestreamed at 10:15 AM ET and is available here.
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Mercedes-Benz Votes Against Unionization

On May 17, workers at the Mercedes-Benz plant in Vance, Alabama, voted 2,642 to 2,045 against United Auto Workers (UAW) representation. About 93% of eligible workers participated in the vote, and 56% of the votes were cast against representation. In response to the loss, UAW President Shawn Fain said, “This is a David and Goliath fight. Sometimes Goliath wins a battle. But David wins the war.” Given Fain’s position on Gaza, this statement may have been a poor choice. The outcome may slow the UAW’s Southern campaign and highlight the importance of—but it certainly demonstrates the effectiveness—of secret ballot elections.
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These Shoes are Made for Walking The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and a coalition of business groups are filing a lawsuit in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Texas, Waco Division against the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s Worker Walkaround Representative Designation Process final rule. Read the news release announcing the lawsuit. Effective May 31, the final rule will allow employees to choose a third-party representative, such as an outside union representative or community organizer, to accompany an OSHA safety inspector during site inspections, regardless of whether the workplace is unionized or not.

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Thursday, May 16, 2024   WECA Member Contractor Spotlight: Lightworks





Lightworks CEO and Owner Troy Dunnington

For Lightworks founders Troy Dunnington and Todd Walling, lighting, construction, and design are a shared passion.

Troy and Todd initially met in 1999 while both working for a design center in San Diego. Troy—then the owner of Lightz On—worked as an electrical subcontractor for the company, while Todd worked as the company’s Lighting Specialist. While collaborating on projects together, Troy and Todd experienced firsthand the “fragmented nature” of subcontractor services in the market—most notably how multiple subcontractors handled electrical, low voltage, lighting control, landscaping, telecommunications, security, and motorized window treatments during a project, separately, without communicating with each other.

Troy and Todd decided to address these pain points by founding a company that offered a more cohesive approach—Lightworks. Troy began implementing his passion for audio-video and lighting control into his projects, while Todd contributed expertise in lighting specification and design software, to offer unified systems to their clientele. Altogether, Lightworks stands out from its competitors by offering seven different disciplines—electrical, lighting design, lighting control, audio visual, security, surveillance, shades, drapes, and smart power—under one roof.

“We offer expertise in smart power electrical, lighting design, lighting fixtures, lighting control, shades, audio-visual, and security, and pride ourselves on being a comprehensive design-build firm,” says Lightworks. “We have established partnerships with prominent Southern California builders, architects, and designers, positioning ourselves as trusted design and consultation allies. We have also fostered numerous alliances with top technology partners, and garnered accolades such as induction into the Lutron Hall of Fame, Savant Ambassadorship, HTA certification, and the Lutron Black Diamond dealership.”

Lightworks is projected to achieve more success and demand in Southern California over the coming years, as the need for smart power, home automation, and more increases.

“With the adoption of smart power, battery storage, and linking power to your smart home, this will revolutionize homeowners’ ability to give visibility into their energy usage, while also giving them the ability to determine what course of energy can be used throughout the day—like pulling from the grid, pulling from batteries, or recharging from the sun or the generator in the event of power outages,” says Lightworks.

Additionally, Lightworks says that “Our thirst as humans to be connected means that technology becomes a bigger part of everyone’s lives both at home and at work. With more people working from home and more electric vehicles, there is more demand for electrical and technology being packed into houses.”

Thank you, Lightworks, for being a WECA Member Contractor and training your employees with us! We’re thrilled to be helping you develop a qualified, educated workforce to deliver the increased demand for smart power, battery storage, smart homes, and more in Southern California. 

 




 
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Thursday, May 16, 2024   WECA AZ Outreach and Workforce Development Specialist Heath Anderson Featured in Electric Times

WECA Arizona Outreach and Workforce Development Specialist Heath Anderson Featured in Electric Times Article on 'Attracting Women to the Trades,' along with mention of WECA Industry Partner ToolWatch

Content Courtesy of Electric Times

Alan M. Petrillo, Electric Times

Heath Anderson, Outreach and Workforce Development Specialist for the Western Electrical Contractors Association (WECA), has a finely tuned antenna aimed at getting more young people into the electrical trades, and recently had an opportunity to address the Phoenix chapter of the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) on the subject of increasing the number of women getting into the construction trades.

Anderson said the invitation to speak to NAWIC was the result of a chance encounter with Samantha Miller, Construction Operations and EHS Platform Account Executive for ToolWatch. He said that ToolWatch also shares WECA's passion for encouraging more women to join the electrical trade, and to that end, Miller invited Anderson to be a guest speaker at some ToolWatch events, including an episode of ToolWatch’s Women in Innovation podcast last December, and at the NAWIC Phoenix chapter meeting this March.

“The audience were great hosts and provided great discussion,” Anderson said of the NAWIC Phoenix chapter meeting. “The members appreciated the efforts that have gone into the marketing materials aimed at helping women see the benefits of a career as an electrician.”

Anderson added that this year is the 95th anniversary of his organization.

“I told the group that WECA has a federally approved apprenticeship program, and that it maintains ambassador status at federal Department of Labor under its apprenticeship program division,” he said. “I mentioned to the group that WECA has dedicated open houses during the national Women in Construction Week, and that as an organization, we have quarterly female apprentice roundups where Arizona, Utah and California women apprentices can come together to discuss issues important in being successful in the construction industry.”

Anderson said that WECA’s outreach is designed to allow women to have a great opportunity in the electrical trade. “We have worked closely with the Fresh Start Foundation for Women, which focuses on women in general in the trades; have a federal Department of Labor grant to assist women in non-traditional occupations; and work with the nonprofit group, Arouet, that’s dedicated to helping women who have been incarcerated to get the tools they need for success in the construction field.”

He pointed out that “Many of our electrical contractor members are very second chance friendly; they have a good many folks who have had major issues in their lives, and gave them a chance to succeed in their companies. Those were good things for the NAWIC chapter to hear, and gave them ideas where they can also be helping the cause.”

Anderson said WECA also recently had good interaction in beginning to work with Girls Can Build, stated Tiffany Sharp of Sharp Construction, whose group provides knowledge and mentoring for young women considering work in the electrical field. He noted that Sharp will begin a new mentoring process in August.

“A very important thing we talked about at the NAWIC meeting is that it is of upmost importance that women are shown that where they will go to work is where there are people like themselves,” Anderson said. “Women in construction should be very visible so they can serve as role models.”

One of the barriers in the construction industry is the relationship with film, television and the media, Anderson said.

“I challenged the NAWIC Phoenix chapter to be a voice to tell the broadcasting world that there are no positive role models of construction workers in broadcasts, women or men, living a good life,” he said.

“They should be showcasing the quality of life by the people who build, and give young women and parents a lesson on how women can be successful in the construction industry as a whole.”

Read more >>


Thursday, May 16, 2024   Have You Considered WECA's Project Engineer to Project Manager (PE to PM) Program Lately?

Develop Your Non-Electrician Construction Employees in Electrical Fundamentals


 

Our contractors asked, and WECA delivered.

Essential training for non-electrician construction professionals:

The WECA Project Engineer to Project Manager

(PE to PM) Program
 

Providing training in electrical concepts, code, and best practices for non-electrician construction professionals, WECA's PE to PM Program was designed and developed in close consultation with our contractors. It's designed to give construction professionals--including Project Engineers who have a background in construction but little or no electrician-specific training--the electrical fundamentals and crucial concepts they need to talk the talk and walk the walk on your projects. 

The PE to PM Training Path is made up of five online courses which should be taken in the following order:

1. Practical Electrical Theory is an online, self-paced introduction to electrical theory, laws, and circuits. Course topics include:

  • Atomic Theory
  • Ohm’s Law
  • Series Circuits
  • Parallel Circuits

Learn more and enroll here.

2. Subject Indexing and Code is an online, self-paced course in which students will learn how to effectively navigate and answer code-related questions in the National Electrical Code (NEC 2017) book and complete the calculations needed for electrical installations. Course topics include:

  • NEC Subject Indexing
  • Conductor Sizing and Protection
  • Raceway, Box Fill, and Conduit Fill Calculations
  • Service Sizing, Clearances, and Terminations
  • Wiring Methods, Special Equipment and Occupancies
  • Grounding and Bonding
  • Motors
  • General Equipment, Lighting and Panelboards

Learn more and enroll here.

3. Electrical Wiring Methods and Installations is an online, self-paced introduction to the most used wiring methods with emphasis on proper installation and correctly applying electrical code. Course topics include:

  • Installation basics
  • National electrical code
  • Workmanship standards
  • Identification of methods

Learn more and enroll here.

4. Job Costs and Estimating Basics is an online hybrid (a scheduled instructor-led introduction and otherwise self-paced) course which introduces estimating job costs, material and labor for electrical installations. Course topics include:

  • Material estimations
  • Labor estimations
  • Voltage drop as applied to installation
  • Total job cost analysis

Learn more and enroll here.

5. Commercial Electrical Blueprint Reading is an online, scheduled, instructor-led course (with a self-paced online option launching very soon!) in which students learn how to coordinate cut sheets, submittals, the NEC and more with digital blueprints to plan electrical installation for commercial construction from the ground up. 

Learn more and enroll here.
 

FAQs

Q: Is this for Project Engineers only?

A: Nope! Any construction industry professional (for instance, General Contractors, Construction Managers, Solar Installers, etc.) who requires a grounding in electrical concepts, the National Electric Code, and best practices on the electrical job site can benefit from this program. 

Q: Is the PE to PM Program appropriate for Electrician Trainees?

A: No--Electrican Trainees should take the WECA Path to the Electrician Trainee Program Certificate, including the whole GetWired! series, in order to make sure they are getting the thorough electrical education and amount of education hours needed to qualify for the State of CA electrician certification exam.

Q: Does the WECA discount structure for Member Contractors and their employees apply to the PE to PM program?

A: Yes, discounts on these classes are available to WECA Member Contractors and their employees as a WECA membership benefit. Members: Please log in to your secured member dashboard to access and download the PE to PM discount rate sheet, or call our office for more information. Member employees: Please speak to your contractor about accessing a discount.

Q: How long does it take to complete the program?

A: The program is modularized and was designed to accommodate individual choice in the intensity and speed of completion. Motivated students might complete it in as little as 6 months. A student who would like to integrate the concepts more slowly, or who is combining this program with other on-the-job training, might prefer to enroll in only one course per quarter, taking approximately 18 months to complete the program.

Q: Will the timing of the classes interfere with job duties?

A: The program has been designed for busy working professionals and should not interfere with full-time job duties. All of the courses are fully online. Three of the courses are entirely self-paced. One of the courses has one instructor-led class, which is held online in the evening, and then the remainder are self-paced. The final course is scheduled, online, instructor-led, but classes occur on weeknight evenings and one Saturday.

Q: I'm a construction professional who has had some electrical training already. Can I skip a class? 

A: WECA recommends the full program, taken in the order outlined above. However, if you've had previous electrical training (for instance, by taking some WECA GetWired! classes), we recommend you review the course outlines closely, and then enroll in whatever is most appropriate for you. Call WECA and talk to one of our client services specialists if you're not sure what to take.

Q: Does WECA provide a certificate of completion at the end of this program?

A: Yes, a student who successfully completes all five courses in the PE to PM Program Path with be granted a certificate of completion from WECA. (Credit towards the certificate for alternative courses previously taken at WECA will be considered on a case-by-case basis.)

Q: How much does this cost?

A: Individual courses in the path range from $99 - $389 each, and WECA member discounts apply to each of them. Total program tuition costs are under $1,000, even without member discounts applied. One of the two required textbooks may be rented for additional savings. (See the WECA booklist on each course's web catalog page for details. Some textbooks can be rented.) 

Enroll your employees (and be sure to utilize WECA's member training discounts) today!

 

Read more >>


Thursday, May 16, 2024   Snaps from the WECA Camera Roll

California and Utah Commercial Electrical Apprentices in the Labs

Fifth year, second semester Commercial Electrical Apprentices in the lab with instructor Jimmie Slemp at WECA's California headquarters in Rancho Cordova










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Fifth year, second semester Commercial Electrical apprentices in instructor Lakeal Morris' lab at WECA's California headquarters in Rancho Cordova









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Fourth year, second semester Commercial Electrical apprentices in the lab with instructor Talon Pobuda at WECA's Utah headquarters in Woods Cross, UT.









 
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Thursday, May 16, 2024   Electrician Trainees Who Want to Get Started Right Away Can Start Taking GetWired 101 Self-Paced


 

Member Contractors: The next round of instructor-led GetWired 101 classes, the first in the path to the WECA Electrician Trainee Program Certificate, start up in July.

Have trainees who want to get started sooner?

GetWired 101 Self-Paced is an entirely online, self-paced version of our instructor-led GetWired 101 course which introduces fundamental electrical laws and theory and explains how the National Electrical Code (NEC governs the installations of electrical wiring and equipment. Core competencies include:

  • Refresher on basic math skills applied to electrical calculations
  • General information on electrical installations
  • Introduction to hand and power tools used in the field
  • Electrical symbols and receptacle outlets
  • Atomic structure
  • Electrical quantities and Ohm's Law
  • Static electricity and magnetism
  • Resistors
  • Conductors
  • Voltage drop and neutral sizing for services
  • Wiring methods
  • Switch control of lighting circuits, receptacle installation, bonding, and induction heating

Total class hours available: 40
Standard tuition fee: $319

Encourage them to enroll in GetWired 101 Self-Paced here!

Read more >>


Thursday, May 16, 2024   Do You Handle Permit Applications for Single-Family Alterations?

Access 2022 Energy Code Checklist Videos for Permit Technicians, Courtesy of California Energy Commission

Content Courtesy of: California Energy Commission

Energy Code Ace has checklists designed specifically for Permit Technicians that summarize California’s Energy Code requirements for common residential alterations. These videos are designed to increase knowledge intake and evaluation of low-rise single-family residential permit applications for compliance with the 2022 Energy Code. The videos were developed by Energy Code Ace with funding by the California utility customers and administered by Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), San Diego Gas & Electric Company (SDG&E®), and Southern California Edison Company (SCE) under the auspices of the California Public Utilities Commission. The videos links will open in the Energy Code Ace YouTube webpage. Watch this short two-video playlist and learn how to use these no-cost resources to guide intake of your projects.

The California Energy Commission (CEC) coordinates with utility partners and stakeholder organizations to offer opportunities aimed at enhancing the skills and awareness of persons working with the Energy Code and other CEC efficiency programs. Training and links to the Energy Code and compliance software are available at the CEC's Online Resource Center webpage and at utility training centers throughout the state.


 
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Thursday, May 9, 2024   WECA Political Update May 9, 2024

Unions Want All ETP Money This should come as no shock to any reader, or virtually anyone from the Western Spiral Arm of the Milky Way Galaxy, that unions desire to leave nothing on the table. A great example is the constant downward floor for PLAs, which are often touted as beneficial for large, complex projects like the Hoover Dam, but now are imposed with thresholds of only $250,000.

Witness what’s going on with the Employment Training Panel (ETP).

The ETP was established approximately 30 years ago to work directly with employers to upskill employees. ETP allocates funding to qualified businesses through an employment training tax of .1% of wages, collected by EDD from businesses, as well as alternative funding intended to support policy initiatives and public sector employers (such as funding from the California Energy Commission under its Clean Transportation Program to provide training in alternative fuels and vehicle technologies). In 2019-20, ETP also administered five pilot programs using alternative funding, including the Clean Transportation Program. Annual employer contributions to the fund are about $250 million.

ETP is governed by eight panel members: Three members are appointed by the Governor. Two are appointed by the Speaker of the Assembly. Two are appointed by the Senate President Pro Tempore. The Director of the Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz), or his/her designee, serves as ex-officio, voting member. Here are the current members.

Douglas R. Tracy is a Business Manager with SMART (International Association of Sheet Metal, Air, Rail and Transportation Workers), a union that combines sheet metal workers and transportation workers. Senate Appointee.

Gretchen Newsom is, according to her ETP profile, a “community leader and advocate of working families.” But she is also Political Coordinator for the Ninth District of the IBEW. IBEW’s Ninth District represents workers in California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Alaska, Hawaii, and northern Idaho, as well as in Guam and Saipan. Assembly Appointee.

Chris Dombrowski is the Chief Deputy Director of Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development (GO-Biz) and serves as Ex-Officio.

Madison Hull is the Director of Service, District Council 16 International Union of Painters & Allied Trades, is a member of Tradeswomen Inc. and has served as Business Representative, Glaziers LU718 San Francisco, and Communications & Political Director. Senate Appointee.

Rick Smiles is President of Laborers’ Local 89, a position which he still holds today along with proudly serving as a field representative for the Southern California District Council of Laborers. Governor Appointee.

Michael Hill has been Senior Director of Talent and Organization Development at Applied Materials since 2015. He was Director of Learning and Development at Lam Research from 2008 to 2013 and at Spansion from 2005 to 2008. Governor Appointee.

Rebecca Bettencourt Senior Manager of Workforce Development and Corporate Education at E. & J. Gallo Winery since 2011. She was Manager of Training and Call Quality for the California Telephone Access Program at Communication Service for the Deaf from 2009 to 2011. She was Regional Training and Development Manager for Gate Gourmet from 2008 to 2009 and Training, Development and Operational Skills Training Manager for Hilton Hotels from 2000 to 2008. She is Chairperson of ETP and a Governor Appointee.

Jennifer Fothergill is on the Northern California Chapter NECA staff and will be working closely with the Alameda Division members, as well as doing the Business Development/Government Relations for Alameda County. Governor Appointee.

The ETP also funds training for unemployed workers and provides additional incentives to assist small businesses and employers in high unemployment areas of the state and targets employers that are threatened by out-of-state competition or that compete in the global economy and provides funds to offset the cost of training. The ETP requires contractors to notify employee representatives of their desire to participate in a contract. Contractors must send a notice of intent to their respective employee representatives explaining the proposed training program and provide the representatives with an opportunity to participate in development of the ETP contract. In addition, the union(s) must send a union support letter to ETP granting their support for the proposed training program and verify that they were able to participate in the development process. Both the notice of intent and union support letter must be submitted along with the complete ETP application.

The ETP is performance-based and requires employers to provide proof of completed employee training hours, as well as proof that upskilled employees have earned specified wages for specified periods before the employers can be reimbursed. Contract terms last a maximum of two years, and all training must be delivered within 21 months or less. Since its inception, ETP has reimbursed employers over $1 billion for training workers in more than 80,000 businesses.

The ETP is also required to annually update a three-year strategic plan that addresses the demand for trained workers by industry, type of training, and size of employer. Based on the update, ETP identifies priority industry sectors and authorizes related projects to receive 20 percent more funding than standard reimbursement rates and identifies strategies to meet the needs of small businesses, including, but not limited to, those small businesses with 100 or fewer employees.

But, back to the money. Governor Newsom has proposed using $100 million of employer contribution to ETP to pay part of the interest the State owes the Feds for the UI loans made to California to cover the billions the State wasted during COVID by sending UI payments to prisoners and out-of-state scammers. Employers are responsible for the principal, but the interest owed is an obligation of the State’s general fund. So, Newsom, being the clever guy he is, figured out a way to saddle employers with both the principal AND interest.

Cue the California Labor Federation Western States Council of Sheet Metal Workers, who have co-sponsored SB 1321 by State Senator Aisha Wahab. You may recall Wahab is also the author of SB 984, which mandates the use of PLAs on State construction.

SB 1321 directs ETP to give funding priority to projects that:

·        Develop workers with skills necessary to work with new technologies or methods;

·        Develop high road jobs for workers, with demonstrated wage progression;

·        Meet the standards established by DAS for high quality training programs;

·        Provide support for training needs and gaps, or existing programs, and not replace, parallel, supplant, compete with, or duplicate existing apprenticeship programs that are registered with DAS and serve workers in a region.

·        Promote hiring, training, and advancement of disadvantaged, marginalized, and underrepresented workers. This may include participation in an apprenticeship program that is approved by DAS and subject to the State of California Plan for Equal Opportunity in Apprenticeship, or by using other strategies and partnerships to achieve equity goals.

It also updates minimum standards for ETP proposal consideration to include:

·        The amount of fringe benefits to be paid to trainees;

·        Proof of workers’ compensation insurance; and

·        A plan to recruit, hire, and advance workers from disadvantaged, marginalized, or underrepresented communities, including through participation in an apprenticeship program approved by the Division of Apprenticeship Standards and subject to the State of California Plan for Equal Opportunity in Apprenticeship or other strategies and partnerships.

Does any of that cause readers to suspect that construction unions want more ETP money? It has caused a diverse group of business groups to worry they may lose much of the training money they receive.

WECA-ATC has obtained grants for several years, which have been used to enhance apprenticeship curricula and training and is part of a broad business coalition pushing back. But several WECA members have also been ETP recipients. WECA encourages any WECA member who has received ETP funding in the past to reach out to their State Senator to express their concern. Contact WECA Government Relations staff for help with messaging.
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California Pay Data Reporting Compliance Deadline California’s pay data reporting deadline was May 8, 2024. Any employer with 100 or more employees, with at least one worker in California, was required to comply with the state’s updated reporting requirements. How and if employers use, supply, or otherwise hire contractors will separately affect how those employers are covered under this law. In other words, this may apply to a wide variety of employers, regardless of their location. Story
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Fired Up About a Labor Leader’s Comments As she stood before a crowd of county employees, Brigette Browning, leader of the San Diego and Imperial Counties Labor Council, made several remarks about San Diego County Chair Nora Vargas. “I want to talk about our chair, the chingona, who says she’s here for workers, but she’s making backroom deals with [Jim] Desmond and [Joel] Anderson, that doesn’t seem like someone that’s supporting workers to me,” Browning said. Labor leaders are upset that their pick for the county’s next chief administration officer, Cindy Chavez, didn’t get an interview for the job. She had been offered the job last year, but the county rescinded the offer after former County Supervisor Nathan Fletcher announced his abrupt resignation. They held a rally outside the county building last week, and that’s when Browning made her comments. She started a chant using a term in Spanish that’s slang for several things, but that in that context could translate to “you have to be kidding me.” La Prensa San Diego reported that she went on to use another slang, and mockingly refer to Nora as a chingona. That’s a term used to describe a strong and independent Latina woman. Now, Latino community and nonprofit leaders are demanding an apology. They felt that Browning’s use of the word was to belittle and discriminate against Nora. And one group is asking for her to resign. [VOSD]
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Hobbs Signs Historic Water Rights Agreement with Colorado River Indian Tribes First People along the Colorado River now have rights to their own water. It’s a historic agreement and a big win for the Colorado River Indian Tribes and their community. The agreement gives tribes the right to lease, exchange, store, or conserve their portion of Colorado River Water. The new legislation was signed by Arizona Governor Katie Hobbs, Secretary of the Interior Deb Haaland, and CRIT tribal chair Amelia Flores. WECA’s Bob Bartlett applauded the historic agreement. More
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Cowboy Hovde Arizona residents may have seen a peculiar face on their airwaves recently: Eric Hovde, a GOP Senate candidate running for office in … Wisconsin. The Senate hopeful remains CEO and chair of Sunwest Bank. And despite carpetbagger allegations, Sunwest ads starring Hovde are continuing to air out west in Arizona as recently as this month, per analytics reviewed by Inside Congress. In one, Hovde is wearing a cowboy hat and riding a horse outside an Old-West-style saloon as patrons raise a ruckus over their bank services (words can’t really do this justice, so please watch for yourself). While it’s not unusual for non-incumbent political candidates to continue working while running for office, it’s a tricky line for Hovde. He’s already faced massive backlash from Democrats who argue he primarily lived in California prior to running for office. Ads starring Hovde continuing to run in another state—out west, no less—contribute more fodder to Democrats’ case. Sunwest has locations in Arizona, California, Florida, Idaho, and Utah, as per its website. [Politico]
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It Pays to Be Green Many of the leaders of major environmental and conservation groups take home lucrative annual compensation packages, according to tax documents nonprofits must release publicly. The heads of influential groups, including the World Wildlife Fund, Environmental Defense Fund, and Nature Conservancy, are among the top-paid leaders in the environmental movement, according to an E&E News analysis of 29 groups’ most recent tax filings.

1. Carter Roberts, President and CEO of the World Wildlife Fund Roberts, who has led the massive international conservation group since 2005, remains one of the world’s top-paid environmental leaders. According to the World Wildlife Fund’s tax records, his base pay in 2022 was $904,841, and his total reported compensation that year was $1,204,775.

2. Fred Krupp, president, Environmental Defense Fund The group's records show that Krupp, EDF’s leader for nearly four decades, took home base pay of $669,771 in 2021. Krupp’s total compensation that year was $922,022.

3. Jennifer Morris, CEO of the Nature Conservancy Morris started as the conservation group’s CEO in May 2020. According to the tax filing, she earned $732,138 in base pay during her first full year on the job in 2021, for a total compensation of $758,013.

4. Elizabeth Gray, CEO of the National Audubon Society Gray was promoted in November 2021 to the group’s permanent CEO. Her base pay that year was $462,069; her total compensation was $705,458. The tax filing says her pay that year included a contractual retention and sign-on bonus. She also received a discretionary bonus of $46,514 approved by the board of directors. (Gray’s predecessor, David Yarnold, left in May 2021. His total compensation that year was $1,276,173, including severance and other benefits.)

5. Mitchell Bernard, Interim President, Natural Resources Defense Council

NRDC’s then-Executive Director Bernard stepped in to lead the group in early 2021 when Gina McCarthy left her post as president and CEO to join the Biden White House. Bernard held the role through August of that year and is now NRDC’s chief counsel. His base pay in 2021 was $479,498, the records show. His total compensation that year was $705,195.

6. Janis Searles Jones, CEO, Ocean Conservancy

Jones has led the ocean conservation group since 2017. Her base compensation in 2022 was $440,860, the latest filing shows. Her total compensation that year was $692,836.

7. Jamie Rappaport Clark, President and CEO, Defenders of Wildlife

Clark, who has led her conservation group since 2011, said she plans to step down this year. In 2022, Clark’s base pay was $531,907, according to the group’s most recent tax filing. Her total compensation was $616,137.

8. Andrew Sharpless, CEO, Oceana

Sharpless has served as the international conservation group’s president since 2003, and recently announced plans to retire. His base pay in 2022 was $499,936, and his total compensation that year was $546,078. Jim Simon, Oceana’s longtime president, will take over as the organization’s CEO on July 1.

9. Adam Putnam, CEO, Ducks Unlimited

The former Florida Republican congressman has led the conservation group since 2019. His base pay was $339,805 in 2021, and his total compensation that year was $538,303.

10. Abbie Dillen, president, Earthjustice

Dillen took over as the green group’s leader in 2018. She earned base pay of $473,920 in 2021, and a total compensation package of $536,931.

11. Theresa Pierno, president and CEO, National Parks Conservation Association

Pierno has been with the conservation group since 2004 and took the helm in 2015. Her base pay in 2021 was $417,327, and her total compensation was $536,031, the tax filing shows.

13. Diane Regas, president and CEO, Trust for Public Land

Regas, who joined the conservation group in 2018, earned base pay of $499,283 in 2021, the tax records show. Her total compensation that year: $526,879.

14. Santiago Gowland, CEO, Rainforest Alliance

Gowland joined the global conservation nonprofit as CEO in May 2021. During his first full year on the job, his base pay in 2022 was $430,794. His total compensation that year was $502,967.

15. Christopher Wood, president and CEO, Trout Unlimited

Wood has led the fisheries conservation organization since 2010. His base pay in 2021 was $361,632, and his total compensation that year was $441,847, according to the organization’s most recent 990.

16. Jamie Williams, president, the Wilderness Society

Williams took the helm of the conservation group in 2012 and announced that he plans to step down later this year. Williams’ base pay in 2021 was $395,476, and his total compensation that year was $415,400.

17. Collin O’Mara, president, National Wildlife Federation

O’Mara, who’s running to be governor of Delaware, took over as president of his conservation group in 2014. His base pay in 2021 was $302,096, and his total compensation that year was $385,173, according to the most recent tax record.

18. Kieran Suckling, president, Center for Biological Diversity

Suckling, who co-founded his environmental group in 1989, earned $332,979 in base pay in 2022, the tax filings show. His total compensation that year was $384,131, according to the most recent 990. Suckling’s pay that year included a one-time buyout of unused sabbatical that was available to staff, according to the group.

19. Ken Cook, president, Environmental Working Group

Cook, president and co-founder of the environmental group, earned base pay in 2022 of $312,714. His total compensation that year: $357,378.

20. Gene Karpinski, president, League of Conservation Voters

Karpinski earned $201,923 in base pay in 2022 and $221,244 in total compensation, from LCV. He earned additional pay as president of the League of Conservation Voters Education Fund, an affiliate of LCV: $$108,728 in base pay and $119,131 in total compensation. His total compensation from the two groups: $340,375.

21. Ebony Twilley Martin, co-executive director, Greenpeace USA

Twilley Martin was appointed as Greenpeace USA’s co-executive director in September 2021. Twilley Martin is now the group’s sole executive director. In 2022, her base pay was $147,165 from Greenpeace Inc. and her compensation was $165,384 from that group. Martin also received pay that year from Greenpeace Fund of $147,168, with total compensation of $165,348. Her total combined compensation from the groups: $330,732.

22. Annie Marie Leonard, co-executive director, Greenpeace USA

Leonard served as co-executive director at Greenpeace USA from 2014 until 2023. She earned base pay of $147,035 in 2022 from Greenpeace Inc. and total compensation from that group of $164,413. Leonard’s base pay from Greenpeace Fund was $147,035, and her total compensation was $164,413. Leonard’s total combined compensation that year was $328,826.

23. Whit Fosburgh, president and CEO, Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership

Fosburgh led the conservation group for 13 years until he resigned late last year. His base pay in 2022 was $237,115, and his total compensation that year was $315,829, according to the organization’s most recent 990.

24. Manish Bapna, CEO, World Resources Institute

Bapna, who joined NRDC as president and CEO in August 2021, spent part of that year as interim president and CEO at World Resources Institute. His base compensation that year was $257,607, and his total compensation that year was $290,466, WRI’s tax records show.

25. Johanna Chao Kreilick, president, Union of Concerned Scientists

Kreilick joined UCS in May 2021. Her base pay for the remainder of that calendar year was $265,284, and her total compensation was $278,357, the records show. Kreilick resigned earlier this year and was replaced by acting President Kim Waddell.

26. May Boeve, executive director, 350.org

Boeve, who has spent 13 years as 350.org’s executive director, announced last week that she’s stepping down and that the organization is looking for a new leader to take over later this year. Boeve’s base pay in 2021 was $151,422, and her total compensation that year was $178,205, according to the group’s most recent 990.

27. Erich Pica, president, Friends of the Earth

Pica has led his environmental organization since 2009. His base pay in 2021 was $168,750. His total compensation that year: $177,744, according to the organization’s most recent 990.

28. Wendy Wendlandt, president, Environment America

Wendlandt, whose group is part of the Public Interest Network, received $126,073 in salary in 2021 and total compensation of $136,870 from the network, according to the latest tax filings.

29. Dan Chu, interim executive director, Sierra Club

Chu, the executive director of the Sierra Club Foundation, stepped in as Sierra Club’s interim executive director when Michael Brune left the post in 2021. Chu was acting executive director until September 3, 2022, according to the group’s tax filing. His base pay from Sierra Club was $86,435 in 2022, the tax filing shows, and his total compensation that year was $90,919.

30. Varshini Prakash, executive director, Sunrise Movement

Prakash—who stepped down last year as the Sunrise Movement’s executive director—was replaced by Aru Shiney-Ajay. In 2022, Prakash’s base pay from the Sunrise Movement was $24,779, and her total compensation from that group was $27,013. Additionally, Prakash’s base pay was $57,817 from the affiliated Sunrise Movement Education Fund, and her total compensation from that group was $63,030. Prakash’s combined compensation from those two groups in 2022 was $90,043.
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Dreyers Ice Cream Employees Reject Unionization In two separate National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) elections, nearly 2,000 miles apart, employees of Dreyers Ice Cream, Inc. have rejected unionization by the United Steelworkers and the Teamsters, respectively.

Last week, more than 60 percent of nearly 400 employees employed by Dreyers Ice Cream in Fort Wayne, Indiana voted to reject representation by the United Steelworkers. Story
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Utah Republicans Choose At Utah’s nominating convention—where attendees tend to lean very conservative—the assembled Republicans voted to back challengers to Gov. Spencer Cox (Rep. Phil Lyman) and Reps. Blake Moore (Paul Miller received 54.9% of the vote over Moore’s 45.1%) and Celeste Maloy (Colby Jenkins), The Salt Lake Tribune’s Bryan Schott and Emily Anderson Stern report. The incumbents will all still appear on the primary ballot, and Cox is still favored to win once voting is opened to the whole state. But Maloy came very close to missing the ballot entirely, and she could face a stiff challenge from Colby Jenkins. The convention also tapped Trent Staggs for Senate (Romney’s seat, sob). Staggs is endorsed by Trump, Tuberville, Kari Lake, Charlie Kirk, Matt Gaetz, Vivek Ramaswamy, and a laundry list of “other assorted folk.” Trump posted, “Trent Staggs is 100% MAGA, and is running to fill The Mitt Romney, a Total Loser, Seat as the next Senator from the Great State of Utah!”
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Gavin Goes to the Vatican — Gov. Gavin Newsom will be spreading the gospel of climate resilience mid-May at the Vatican Climate Summit, along with Massachusetts Gov. Maura Healey, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo and other local leaders from around the world.

The summit will be the first Vatican climate meeting to bring together experts, policymakers and scientists along with subnational political leaders and communities experiencing the worst effects of climate change, according to Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego and a council member of Pope Francis’ Pontifical Academy of Science, who is co-organizing the summit.

“California is an obvious choice [to present] in that California is a leader in both research, in climate actions cutting down emissions and adapting, because we have lost a lot of our forest to fires, floods, droughts, etc.,” said Ramanathan.

Newsom’s office confirmed that the governor, a Catholic, is scheduled to meet with the pope. The governor has sought to expand California’s climate work with international partners in recent months; his office said this will be an opportunity to reach a whole population he otherwise wouldn’t have.

--------------------------------------------

Correction to April 25, 2024 newsletter: We regret that we misidentified Richard Markuson's title in a photo caption. Richard Markuson now serves WECA in the role of Lobbyist. Rex Hime is WECA's Government Relations Director. We apologize for any confusion.

Read more >>


Thursday, May 2, 2024   Here's What WECA Outreach Was Up to on the Workforce Development Front in April

The beginning of April was a whirlwind for WECA's outreach and workforce development teams!

First, WECA visited Twelve Bridges High School in Lincoln with WECA Board Member and Member Contractor Ian Vander Linden and his company, KS Telecom.

Top: Ian Vander Linden talks to two attendees.

Bottom: WECA's setup at Twelve Bridges' event.



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Then, WECA had a busy day at Sheldon High School in Elk Grove, joined by WECA Lead Instructor and Lab Manager Jimmie SlempWorkforce Development Specialist Jeanette Santos, and WECA Member Contractors Royal Electric Company and Capitol Valley Electric. There, Jimmie and Jeanette assisted Workforce Development Manager Diane Trotter in educating attendees about WECA's Apprenticeship programs and how to start their Apprenticeship journeys.



Jeanette and Jimmie are all smiles for the camera!



Jimmie talks with an interested attendee.



Jeanette encourages an attendee as he plays a game to win some WECA swag.



We were excited to have WECA Member Contractor Royal Electric Company at the event with us!



It was also great to see Capitol Valley Electric at the event, too!



Jimmie using our portable outreach electrical lab wall to explain concepts to interested attendees.

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And then, on Saturday, April 13, WECA attended North State Building Industry Foundation's Skilled Trades Job Fair in Sacramento. Commercial Electrical instructors Lakeal Morris and James Hall were also on hand to provide great demonstrations for attendees interested in pursuing careers in the electrical industry.



Lakeal shares a moment with an attendee.



Lakeal and Diane in their elements as they converse with attendees.



James shares some career insights.



James gives an electrical demonstration.

Read more >>


Thursday, May 2, 2024   Meet New WECA Apprenticeship Instructor Erwin Marquez

At WECA, we pride ourselves on the fact that many of our instructors have professional backgrounds in myriad facets of the electrical industry. That includes Erwin Marquez, our new Apprenticeship instructor at WECA’s San Diego training facility.

Before joining the WECA team, Erwin—a native of the Philippines—received a B.S. degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering and worked in the electric vehicle, renewable energy, power supply, and semiconductor industries.

His new role at WECA, however, has proven to be exceptionally rewarding. 

“It’s rewarding because you’re helping your students every step of the way and teaching them how to be successful in their careers. My goal is to serve as a role model for students by demonstrating passion, perseverance, and a commitment to lifelong learning in their own career pursuits. I want to lead by example and show students what it means to be successful in their chosen field,” says Erwin.

For Erwin, leading by example means weaving sage advice into his teaching and committing to leveling up at his job and in his understanding of the electrical industry.

“Discover your passion by exposing yourself to a variety of subjects and career paths. Find what you love and enjoy doing, because once you have landed that career, you will feel like you’re never working for the rest of your life,” says Erwin. “And remember these three words—integrity, intelligence, and energy. If you don’t have the first, the other two will bring you down.”

Additionally, Erwin says “I want to always improve at my job and enjoy learning new things, gaining new skills, and becoming more proficient in tasks that I already know. My favorite thing about the electrical industry is the problem-solving and investigating how things like an electrical circuit failed. I enjoy root cause analysis, because it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”

Outside of work, Erwin enjoys playing sports (especially table tennis!), watching movies, and walking outdoors—particularly with his family.

“I’m blessed with two beautiful angels and a wonderful wife,” says Erwin. “They are my inspiration and motivation in life.”

Thank you for joining the WECA team, Erwin! We’re excited to see how your fascinating background, wisdom, and passion for and knowledge of multiple aspects of the electrical industry help propel the continued success of WECA’s Low Voltage Apprenticeship program in San Diego!


 
Read more >>


Thursday, May 2, 2024   DOL Offering Online Wage Seminars in May; Aug. on Prevailing Wage Reqs for Federally-Funded Projects

Content Courtesy of U.S. Department of Labor


 

WASHINGTON – The Department of Labor today announced its Wage and Hour Division will offer contracting agencies, contractors, unions, workers and other stakeholders opportunities in May or August to attend an online seminar on meeting federal requirements for paying prevailing wages on federally funded construction and service contracts.

Part of the continuing effort by the division to increase awareness and improve compliance, the day-long seminars will offer sessions on the labor standards protections in the Davis-Bacon Act and the Service Contract Act, including how the department sets and administers prevailing wages and other topics. Participants can choose from several sessions to get the information they need. 

“Prevailing wage laws empower workers by ensuring that federally funded construction and service jobs are good jobs with fair wages and benefits,” said Wage and Hour Administrator Jessica Looman. “The Biden-Harris administration’s historic investments in our nation’s infrastructure means a significant increase in the number of federal and federally funded projects, and the Wage and Hour Division is committed to ensuring stakeholders understand the labor standards protections critical to these investments.”

Seminars will be held online on May 15 and Aug. 29 from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT. The seminars are free to attend but registration is required. Additional information and links to the online seminars will be sent to registered participants. Sign up to receive event updates. 

Learn more about the requirements for federal contractors.

Read more >>


Thursday, May 2, 2024   Turning Conversation into Action: Mental Health in Construction Webinar on May 21 at 9 A.M. PT

Hosted by Procore and The B1M as Part of Their Get Construction Talking Initiative


 

What: Turning Conversation into Action: Mental Health in Construction Webinar

When: May 21 at 9 A.M. Pacific Time

Where: Virtual

Content Courtesy of Procore

Among men in the US, UK and Australia, construction has one of the highest suicide rates of any sector. As awareness of the mental health crisis has increased, so have expectations for employers to take action.

That's why Procore and The B1M have joined forces to launch Get Construction Talking, an initiative aimed at raising awareness and reducing the stigma around mental health in construction. Register for the webinar to support this critical initiative and you'll hear perspectives from leaders like:

  • Fred Mills, Founder, The B1M
  • Alison Mirams, Former CEO, Roberts Co.
  • Brian Murray, CEO, Ryan Companies

Hear how executives and construction leaders from around the world are taking action and what you can learn from their experience.

Register now

Can't attend live? Register anyway--we'll send a recording of the webinar straight to your inbox.

Read more >>


Thursday, May 2, 2024   Do You Employ WECA Electrician Trainees?

Let Them Know the 2024 WECEF Scholarship Round for Electrician Trainees is Now Open!



wecef
 

If you have employees on the path to a WECA Electrician Trainee Program Certificate, they can follow the link below, review the eligibility requirements, and apply for this scholarship which can result in money for books, tools, and tuition fees, plus sponsored enrollment in upcoming courses. The application deadline is June 15, 2024.

Learn more

Read more >>


Monday, April 29, 2024   Meet New WECA Apprenticeship Instructor Erwin Marquez


 

At WECA, we pride ourselves on the fact that many of our instructors have professional backgrounds in myriad facets of the electrical industry. That includes Erwin Marquez, our new Apprenticeship instructor at WECA’s San Diego training facility.

Before joining the WECA team, Erwin—a native of the Philippines—received a B.S. degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering and worked in the electric vehicle, renewable energy, power supply, and semiconductor industries.

His new role at WECA, however, has proven to be exceptionally rewarding. 

“It’s rewarding because you’re helping your students every step of the way and teaching them how to be successful in their careers. My goal is to serve as a role model for students by demonstrating passion, perseverance, and a commitment to lifelong learning in their own career pursuits. I want to lead by example and show students what it means to be successful in their chosen field,” says Erwin.

For Erwin, leading by example means weaving sage advice into his teaching and committing to leveling up at his job and in his understanding of the electrical industry.

“Discover your passion by exposing yourself to a variety of subjects and career paths. Find what you love and enjoy doing, because once you have landed that career, you will feel like you’re never working for the rest of your life,” says Erwin. “And remember these three words—integrity, intelligence, and energy. If you don’t have the first, the other two will bring you down.”

Additionally, Erwin says “I want to always improve at my job and enjoy learning new things, gaining new skills, and becoming more proficient in tasks that I already know. My favorite thing about the electrical industry is the problem-solving and investigating how things like an electrical circuit failed. I enjoy root cause analysis, because it’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”

Outside of work, Erwin enjoys playing sports (especially table tennis!), watching movies, and walking outdoors—particularly with his family.

“I’m blessed with two beautiful angels and a wonderful wife,” says Erwin. “They are my inspiration and motivation in life.”

Thank you for joining the WECA team, Erwin! We’re excited to see how your fascinating background, wisdom, and passion for and knowledge of multiple aspects of the electrical industry help propel the continued success of WECA’s Low Voltage Apprenticeship program in San Diego!

Read more >>


Monday, April 29, 2024   The Last Instructor-Led GetWired 101 Class for the Spring Session Starts on May 1

Get Started or Encourage Someone You Know to Start Their WECA Electrician Trainee Program Journey THIS WEEK

Are you already a WECA Apprentice, Electrician Trainee, Journeyperson Continuing Education student, or General Student? Please forward this to someone you'd like to see get started on the journey to becoming a certified electrician!



GetWired 101: Fundamentals of Electrical Theory and Introduction to the National Electrical Code

Start your Electrician Trainee Program Certificate journey with GetWired 101: Fundamentals of Electrical Theory and Introduction to the National Electrical Code.


GetWired 101 is the first course in the path to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate with WECA. This certificate fulfills the educational qualification requirements to take the California General or Residential Certification Exam and is an alternate educational path to apprenticeship.

GetWired 101 is an entirely online course which introduces fundamental electrical laws and theory and explains how the National Electrical Code (NEC) governs the installations of electrical wiring and equipment. Core competencies include:
  • Refresher on basic math skills applied to electrical calculations
  • General information on electrical installations
  • Introduction to hand and power tools used in the field
  • Electrical symbols and receptacle outlets
  • Atomic structure
  • Electrical quantities and Ohm's Law
  • Static electricity and magnetism
  • Resistors
  • Conductors
  • Voltage drop and neutral sizing for services
  • Wiring methods
  • Switch control of lighting circuits, receptacle installation, bonding, and induction heating
Safety best practices are covered along with tips on study skills. In this course, math equations are applied to the safe and sound wiring and load choices for electrical installations, troubleshooting and maintenance. Theories are discussed and applied to on-the-job situations and tasks.

Total class hours available: 40
Standard tuition fee: $319

Maximum convenience. Take GetWired 101 the way that works best for your life:

Want to take the course while guided by an instructor, learning alongside other students?

The next course instance starts the evening of May 1!

We've waived the late fees for you:

Enroll in the next instructor-led GetWired 101 here!

 

Prefer to take this class on your own time, at your own pace? 

Enroll in GetWired 101 Self-Paced here!

 

 




 
Read more >>


Monday, April 29, 2024   Just Dropped: WECA's Improved 32-Hour Voice Data Video Exam Preparation and Code Refresher Course

See What's New Below


 

In addition to all of the existing course topics and benefits this popular course has been providing students studying for the California VDV Technician exam (or electricians or low volt techs just looking to refresh their Voice Data Video knowledge for continuing education hours), our improved "Voice Data Video Exam Preparation and Code Refresher" course now additionally offers:

  • Expanded audio and CCTV modules
  • An updated set of study notes for the BISCI manual
  • Four new supplementary practice tests with a focus on BICSI, audio, intrusion, and CCTV
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This self-paced online course is for students who want to study for the California Voice Data Video Technician certification exam, or refresh their VDV knowledge for Continuing Education, at their own pace. Informative presentations help guide students through developing proficiency in the preparation for and execution of the Voice Data Video certification exam. It is meant for individuals who are 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.

Learning how to effectively subject index exam questions will help students to:

  • Effectively find the answers to any exam question
  • Improve exam-taking speed
  • Gain a greater understanding of their field

Course Lessons Include:

  • Subject indexing in the NFPA 70
  • Review of several key NFPA 70 articles, including 720-725, 800, 810, 820, 830, and 840
  • Ohm's Law Review
  • Kirchhoff's Law Review
  • Basic metering
  • Copper connectors
  • Cables, pathways, and equipment
  • Foundations of signal transmission
  • Networking fundamentals
  • Fiber optic theory and installation
  • Telephone basics
  • Audio theory and installation
  • CCTV systems and installation
  • Fire-stopping basics
  • Intrusion detection and access control
  • Safety-maintenance and repair
  • Useful symbols - low voltage and electrical

Total class hours available: 32
Standard tuition fee: $279

Ready to Enroll

Read more >>


Monday, April 29, 2024   First Year, Second Semester Low Voltage Apprentices Test Virtual Reality Confined Spaces Training












 

First year, second semester WECA Low Voltage apprentices recently piloted virtual reality Confined Spaces training from developer PaleBlue.

In this virtual and immersive safety training, they practiced entering a space with limited entry and egress, prepared for accessing a confined space, and then tried out two roles: an entrant and an attendant.

Our instructors and apprentices gave the training two thumbs up. WECA is now rolling it out to all of our Low Voltage apprentices in their first year and second semester of their Apprenticeship program with us, and this VR training will be coming soon to our Commercial and Residential Electrical Apprenticeship programs, too!

Read more >>


Monday, April 29, 2024   WECA Summer Session Available Online for Enrollment for Electrician Trainees; Continuing Ed Students

Want to Keep Going in Your Electrician Trainee Certificate Journey Sooner? See May Course Instances Below


 

Announcement for WECA Electrician Trainees and Journey Worker Continuing Education Students: Our Summer 2024 (Jul - Sep) course catalog is now available on our website, and GetWired instructor-led classes always fill quickly. Be sure to enroll ASAP to get your spot!

View the Electrician Trainee course catalog

Jump to the Continuing Education course catalog

You can also enroll over the phone at (877) 444-9322, in person at our Rancho Cordova training facility, or by email at info@goweca.com.

Want to keep going in your Electrician Trainee Certificate journey right now? Check out some options below for instructor-led GetWired classes with onsite labs starting in early May!

(Prefer online labs or self-paced? Just visit the main course catalog links above; we have those GetWired format options for you to choose from, as well.)

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GetWired 102: Introduction to the Basic Installation of Lighting Fixtures and Branch Circuits is the second course in the path to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate with WECA.

This 42-hour course expands on the theories and applications taught in our 101 courses. Core competencies include: GFCI and AFCI, series circuits, parallel circuits, and more.

Total class hours: 42
Standard tuition fee: $319

Next instructor-led classes start May 2! We've waived the late enrollment fee for you!

Enroll in the next Instructor-Led with ONSITE IN-PERSON LAB GetWired 102 here!

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GetWired 103: Continuation of Lighting Branch Circuits & Introduction to Special Purpose Outlets is the third course in the path to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate with WECA.

This 42-hour course focuses on installing lighting branch-circuits in dwelling units while exploring NEC requirements for safe installations and standard industry practices. Core competencies include: conduction in liquid and gases, batteries and other sources of electricity, inrush current, voltage drop, use of Ohm's Law in calculating basic measurements, and more.

Total class hours: 42
Standard tuition fee: $319

Next instructor-led classes start May 1! We've waived the late enrollment fee for you!

Enroll in the next Instructor-Led with ONSITE IN-PERSON LAB GetWired 103 here!

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GetWired 104: Special Systems & Single-Phase Transformer Theory in Residential Electrical Applications is the fourth course in the path to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate with WECA.

This 42-hour course expands your area of expertise into a variety of special applications. Core competencies include: single-phase transformers, special purpose outlets for electric heating and air conditioning, gas and oil central heating systems, and more.

Total class hours: 42
Standard tuition fee: $319

Next instructor-led classes start May 2! We've waived the late enrollment fee for you!

Enroll in the next Instructor-Led with ONSITE IN-PERSON LAB GetWired 104 here!

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GetWired 201: Introduction to Alternating Current, Branch Circuits, and Feeder/Service Calculations is the fifth course in the path to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate with WECA.

This 36-hour course is designed for students who have completed the 100 series successfully, or for experienced electricians who want to refresh their knowledge of electrical theory and expand their skills. You will gain practice in making a variety of calculations for: branch circuit loads for single and multi-family dwellings, service entrance conductors using optional methods, peak to peak voltage, and more.

Total class hours: 36
Standard tuition fee: $339

Next instructor-led class starts May 6! We've waived the late enrollment fee for you!

Enroll in the next Instructor-Led GetWired 201 with onsite lab here!

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GetWired 202: Three-Phase Electrical Systems, Conductors and Overcurrent Protection, Grounding, Wiring Methods, Basic Trigonometry and Vectors is the sixth course in the path to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate with WECA.

This 36-hour course expands on the concepts and skills built in the 201 courses. Topics covered include: conductors and overcurrent protection, types of three-phase transformers, three-phase transformer calculations and connections, grounding, wiring methods, basic trigonometry and vectors, and sizing branch circuits (which will occur during a hands-on lab).

Total class hours: 36
Standard tuition fee: $389

The next instructor-led class with an onsite lab starts on May 7. Don't miss out--enroll today! We've waived the late enrollment fees for you.

Enroll in GetWired 202 Instructor-Led with Onsite Lab

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GetWired 203: Raceway Systems, Switchboards and Panelboards, DC Motors, Three-Phase Alternators and Motors is the seventh course in the path to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate with WECA.

This 39-hour course expands on skills built in the 202 course. Topics covered include: wiring materials (including raceway systems and cable assemblies, and switchboards and panelboards), DC motors, three-phase alternators and motors, equipment for general use, and a hands-on lab on lighting automation.

Total class hours: 39
Standard tuition fee: $389

The next instructor-led class with an onsite lab starts on May 6.

Don't miss out--enroll today!

We've waived the late enrollment fees for you.

Enroll in GetWired 203 Instructor-Led with Onsite Lab

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GetWired 204: Transformers, Special Locations and Single-Phase Motors is the eighth course in the path to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate with WECA.

This 39-hour course builds on your existing skills to gain knowledge on topics such as transformers, special and hazardous locations, healthcare facilities, commercial garages, motor fuel dispensing facilities, single-phase motors, generators, AC and refrigeration, fire alarms, series-parallel circuits, and complete a hands-on lab on basic lighting control.

Total class hours: 39
Standard tuition fee: $389

The next instructor-led course starts on May 7. Plus--late enrollment fees have been waived! Don't wait--secure your spot today!

Enroll in GetWired 204 Instructor-Led with Onsite Lab

 

 

 

 

 

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Monday, April 29, 2024   Apprentices: Take Control of Your Money and Boost Your Mental Health This May with SmartDollar

Content Courtesy of SmartDollar


 

May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and we want to make sure you have the tools you need to be well. One the best ways you can improve your mental health is to take control of your money. SmartDollar has two helpful resources to show you how to get started.

In Dr. John Delony’s Anxiety and Your Money course, you’ll find six quick lessons that’ll teach you how to tackle debt, create healthy spending habits, and talk about finances with your family. Watch the course here.

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Not yet signed up for SmartDollar? No worries -- getting started is easy! Learn how below.

SmartDollar is a financial wellness benefit for WECA apprentices. We announced our partnership with the Dave Ramsey-founded online financial wellness platform in January, 2021 to provide our apprentices with a sound foundation in personal finance management. This benefit is available to all WECA apprentices free of charge. Not yet signed up for SmartDollar? No worries -- scroll to the bottom of this article for instructions!

What is SmartDollar? SmartDollar is a step-by-step approach to handling money with the number-one authority in personal finance, Dave Ramsey. More than 4.5 million people have started on Dave's plan and taken control of their money, and you can too! SmartDollar will equip you to get out of debt, on a budget, and on your way to a strong financial foundation.

The average person pays off $9,405 of debt and saves $6,127 in the first twelve months, and you can too!

"This program is powerful yet simple to understand. The Baby Steps make understanding how to win with money easy! Dave's lessons are fun, informative, and incredibly encouraging. It really doesn't feel like I'm taking a financial course. It's more like learning finances from a good friend...or a financially savvy stand-up comedian! The online tools are fantastic as well, and I love being able to 'ASK DAVE' any question and do my budget online. Love it all!" - Recent participant

With SmartDollar, you'll learn how to...

  • Jump-start your money
  • Knock out debt
  • Secure your dream home
  • Retire in style
  • Demystify your credit score

How does SmartDollar work? With so many ways to engage in SmartDollar activities and content, SmartDollar Points have been designed to encourage users to establish true behavior change. (Check out the graph below for a quick rundown). The greater the importance and required time of each activity, the greater the amount of points that can be earned. For example, each Core Lesson video completed is worth 250 points. Completing a shorter Deep Dive video is worth 50 points. Tracking a transaction in EveryDollar is only worth 20 points, but users are encouraged to track all their financial transactions with no points limitations. These example activities are key for building the confidence you need to reach your financial goals.







 

Taking advantage of your free financial wellness benefit, SmartDollar, is easy!

To set up your account after accessing your dashboard, click either of the links shown as highlighted in the screenshot to the right of this paragraph. You'll be taken to a page with a SmartDollar enrollment link, where you will be able to set up immediate access to this important benefit.

Ready to get started?

Login to your GOWECA dashboard

Read more >>


Thursday, April 25, 2024   WECA Political Update April 25, 2024



Left to right: Richard Markuson (Lobbyist); Ian Vander Linden (KS Telecom CEO and WECA Board Member), and KS Telecom employees attend recent Senate Governmental Organization Committee and Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee hearings in Sacramento.
 

Let’s Study PLAs Democrats and quisling Republican Senator Scott Wilk joined Senator Aisha Wahab on her quest to impose PLA mandates on all state construction above $35 million. In back-to-back hearings in the Senate Governmental Organization Committee and Labor, Public Employment and Retirement Committee, Wilk joined his Democrat colleagues in advancing Wahab’s SB 984. Wilk’s own noteworthy legislation to help reduce overcrowding at animal shelters across the state by expanding access to low and no-cost spay and neuter services passed out of the Senate Business, Professions, and Economic Development Committee this week.

What was interesting about the hearing was the participation of new PLA opponents. WECA was joined by the Associated Builders and Contractors Northern California Chapter, Associated Builders and Contractors of California, Associated General Contractors of California, Associated General Contractors-San Diego Chapter, Associated Roofing Contractors, Burr Plumbing and Pumping Inc., California Chamber of Commerce, California Highway Construction Group, Inc., Carter/Kelly Incorporated, Casey Construction, Inc., Construction Employers' Association, Diede Construction, Inc., Don Celillo Electric, Electrical & Automation Solutions, LLC, Electrical Services Company, Haggerty Construction, Housing Contractors of California, Imp Electrical & Automation Solutions, LLC, J.I. Garcia Construction, Inc., Modesto Executive Electric, Inc., Robert Colburn Electric, Inc., Stephens Construction, Inc., and W.E. Lyons Construction.

More significantly, the Carpenters Union opposed SB 984. Danny Curtin, the director for the California Conference of Carpenters since 2001, was one of two lead witnesses in the Labor hearing. He noted that PLAs conflicted with their master labor agreements and lacked contractor participation in negotiating terms and conditions. Unfortunately, this didn’t dissuade any of the committee from voting to send the bill along to a hearing in Senate Appropriations and eventually to the floor.

WECA member KS Telecom showed up for the merit shop community in opposition. KS Telecom’s CEO (and WECA Board Member) Ian Vander Linden shared opposition to the bill with some apprentices and employees. While the morning started with a smile, being the only contractor with employees in the room and the bill getting out of committee was frustrating. Ian shared, “This devastating bill should have had a substantial number of merit shop contractors and their employees filling this room, with more overflowing. Getting involved in defending our businesses and employees politically may seem unnerving, but it is beyond necessary.” Thank you to the KS Telecom team for your leadership.
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California’s New Workplace Violence Prevention Plan and Training Requirements Take Effect on July 1, 2024; How to Get Ready Employers must implement a comprehensive workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP) and provide employee training on the WVPP by July 1, 2024. The WVPP requirement (under California Labor Code Section 6401.9), augments the existing obligation for California employers to create and maintain an injury and illness prevention plan and is intended to combat incidents of workplace violence, which is the second leading cause of fatal occupational injuries in the United States, according to OSHA. The new compliance requirements are described, along with steps employers can take to get ready. Story
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“Walkaround” Rules Coming On May 31st, Fed-OSHA’s rules regarding employee representation during OSHA inspections will go into effect for most of the country. The so-called “walkaround” rule will ultimately come to California. Fed-OSHA says a regulatory change is to ensure “necessary information about worksite conditions and hazards.”

One attorney representing employers calls it a “thank you” to labor unions. But, he says, that’s not what worries him. Eric Conn of Conn Maciel Carey opines that whether Fed-OSHA intends it to apply to purely safety and health issues, the unintended consequences could be troublesome.

The regulatory change clarifies that a representative could be either an employee of the employer or a third party and that a third-party representative may “have a variety of skills, knowledge, or experience that could aid the OSHA inspection.” However, representatives have not been limited to those with such skills.

Currently, OSHA rules state that during a physical inspection of a workplace, representatives of both the employer and employees shall have the opportunity to accompany the compliance safety and health officer on the walk-through. However, under the rule, the employee representative must be an employee, with an exception for a third party when the inspector deems it necessary. Examples are supposed to include safety engineers and industrial hygienists.

However, in 2017, a federal district court ruled that such third parties are not consistent with the regulation, 29 CFR 1903(8)(c). At the same time, the court said that OSHA’s interpretation that third parties could be third-party employee representatives was “persuasive and valid.”

OSHA says the revision retains the CSHO’s authority to determine whether such an individual is “reasonably necessary,” and they can deny the right of accompaniment to individuals “whose conduct interferes with a fair and orderly inspection.”

Helen Cleary, director of the Phylmar Regulatory Roundtable OSH Forum, says the organization has expressed concern that “allowing any person authorized by an employee to accompany the walkaround would have unintended security and safety implications. We believe the new language expands the scope, and walkaround inspections will be impacted in new ways.”

Others argue that an outsider gaining knowledge could compromise not only physical security but also the security of intellectual property, proprietary processes, and legal rights.

Will this be a big deal for California? “I think potentially yes, but perhaps not for the reasons people think,” Conn tells Cal-OSHA Reporter. The unintended consequences, he says, are twofold. “The one that has me up at night is the plaintiff’s attorney or expert,” Conn says. “You could very easily imagine a situation where there’s a serious incident, even a fatality, and family members reach out to a coworker who recommends an attorney.”

“They would seem to meet the criteria that OSHA has set up be an acceptable representative. Now you would have plaintiff’s attorneys and experts foregoing the rules of civil procedure and getting access to workplaces, witnesses, and records, and the accident site, and physical evidence, [with] access to information they would never get under the rules of procedure.”

“The other scenario is a disgruntled former employee who submits a complaint, legitimate or not, then reaches out to current employees to convince them to suggest him or her to represent them in the walkaround. The person could be trying to cause trouble,” Conn suggests, “steal proprietary information, convince former coworkers to lie, or even commit an act of [sabotage or] violence. Those are the kinds of things I am very concerned about,” Conn says.

The Department of Industrial Relations tells Cal-OSHA Reporter that the Division of Occupational Safety and Health intends to adopt the federal rule, although it does not have a timeline for adoption. “It will not be submitted” for a Horcher (verbatim) adoption, DIR says. “We can say that our proposal will be at least as effective as the federal rule.”

The fact that the state adoption will not be done under the Horcher process suggests there could be advisory talks with the regulated community. DIR says, “Cal/OSHA is currently reviewing and will make a determination on how to move forward.”

Conn urges DOSH to limit the state regulation to “individuals with a technical credential,” such as an IH or safety engineer.

He also predicts that “there will be challenges” to the federal regulation in court. “There are some serious defects with this rule.” He says it contradicts the National Labor Relations Act, which defines how elected representatives in a workplace are chosen. “It’s by majority vote,” Conn says.

“The real core issue here is property owners’ rights to exclude unwelcome third parties from their workplace. OSHA has a right to come in when they’ve made a proper showing under the Fourth Amendment,” but the regulatory change could “force us to accept these unwelcome visitors.” [Cal-OSHA Reporter]
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I hope you’re sitting down; Biden Scores Major Union Backing as Its Leaders Attack Trump Joe Biden landed a significant union endorsement from North America’s Building Trades Unions, whose leaders say the president has his infrastructure bill largely to thank for it. In making one of their earliest-ever presidential endorsements, NABTU leaders are kickstarting an eight-figure organizing program to try to deliver their 250,000 members in the battlegrounds of Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin for Biden. The Teamsters, whose endorsement is being pursued by both Biden and Donald Trump, are members of NABTU but abstained from Tuesday’s board vote, according to people briefed on the proceedings. They will endorse after the Republican and Democratic conventions. Story
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How Biden’s Apprenticeship Push Could Affect Builders President Joe Biden’s recent executive action to bolster registered apprenticeships as a pathway to high-paying jobs—including union jobs—has many implications for contractors that perform federally funded work. The March executive action—which is not legislation—directs federal agencies to reduce barriers and create pathways into federal employment through registered apprenticeships and expands the use of registered apprenticeships through grants and contracts. It also re-establishes within the federal government labor-management forums tools used by union members and management to jointly improve their workplaces. In addition, the Department of Labor is considering a rule change that would revise regulations for registered apprenticeships by updating worker protections and better-establishing pipelines to registered apprenticeship programs. Although the Biden administration’s efforts could spell good news for a labor-strapped industry like construction, both fans and critics of these moves also see them as a push to support unions, a key part of Biden’s platform. Story
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High-Priced Work Construction is underway for expensive “affordable” housing in San Diego. Voice of San Diego reported that the estimated cost per unit for the Cuatro development in City Heights is $842,000! Story
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Have you ever been stopped by law enforcement and asked, “Do you know how fast you were driving?” Under amendments adopted this week, a bill to physically limit passenger vehicles from speeding would now only require a passive warning system. Sen. Scott Wiener's SB 961, introduced in January, would have mandated "speed limiters" on new passenger cars, trucks, and buses starting in 2027 that restricted them from going more than 10 miles per hour over the speed limit. The San Francisco Democrat amended it ahead of its first hearing Tuesday to require just visual and audio signals that alert drivers when they've exceeded the speed threshold. The mandate would only apply to half of new vehicles starting in 2029 and all new vehicles by 2032. "We heard feedback from colleagues that people were not comfortable with an active physical barrier to going above a certain speed," Wiener said in the hearing. "People might need to go at a higher speed. We listened, we heard, worked with the committee, and changed it." The bill passed the Senate Transportation Committee 8-4 along party lines. [Politico]
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Arizona Legislature Returns to Capitol with Big To-do List With regular committee hearings now wrapped up for the legislative session, the state Legislature returned to the Capitol under a one-day-a-week schedule. The House and Senate will conduct floor sessions to determine the fate of bills that have made their way through the committee process in both chambers, deciding whether to send them to the governor to be signed or vetoed. Story
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DOL Announces New FLSA Overtime Salary Threshold On Tuesday, April 23, the U.S. Department of Labor announced a rule to significantly increase the salary level needed to qualify for the FLSA's overtime exemptions applicable to executive, administrative and professional employees to $844 per week ($43,888 annualized). The rule will also increase the total compensation needed to qualify for exemption under the test for highly compensated employees to $132,964 per year. These figures will be effective on July 1, 2024 but will increase again, effective January 1, 2025. On that date, the rule will increase the salary basis threshold to $1,128 per week ($58,656 annualized), and the threshold for exemption for highly compensated employees to $151,164 per year. Under the rule, these salary levels will be subject to automatic increases every three years. While legal challenges to the new rule are expected, employers should not wait for those challenges to be resolved before assessing the rule's impact on their operations and considering potential changes. In this webinar, we will review the new rule, discuss the expected legal challenges and provide recommendations for employers who may be impacted. [Littler]
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Maybe Losing an Election Isn't So Bad Some readers may recall Mike Allen. Mike was a member of the Santa Rosa Planning Commission and District Director for then-State Senator Pat Wiggins. Allen was elected to succeed Noreen Evans as the representative of the 7th Assembly district, winning 63.8% of the vote in the general election. He served as Assistant Majority Floor Leader. The statewide redistricting in 2011 significantly changed the 7th District, and the redrawn district excluded Allen's residence. Allen moved to San Rafael in Marin County to run for election in the open 10th Assembly district in 2012 but lost to San Rafael City Councilman Marc Levine. Marc, an affable liberal Democrat, served 10 years in the Assembly before running unsuccessfully in the June 2021 Democratic Statewide Primary for California Insurance Commissioner, gaining just 18% of the votes and losing to the incumbent Ricardo Lara with 35.9% of the votes. Lara went on to win reelection in the November 8, 2022 General Election against Republican Candidate Robert Howell (who?).

But what happened to Mike? Former Speaker John Perez appointed him to the Unemployment Insurance Appeals Board in 2013. Governor Gavin Newsom just reappointed Mike to an additional term. The UIAB salary is $181,156. A state Legislator? $128,215 (plus per-diem of $214 per day).

The Board is a popular purgatory for former legislators; three of the current four members are Legislators with no apparent interest in doing anything other than feeding on your tax dollars.
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Win for Property Owners The U.S. Supreme Court unanimously agreed with Pacific Legal Foundation (PLF) client George Sheetz that the government couldn’t force property owners to pay exorbitant development fees as a condition for approving building permits. This win is PLF’s 18th out of the 20 cases they’ve litigated at the Supreme Court and their tenth since 2018. El Dorado County, where George built his home, passed a law requiring homebuilders to pay thousands of dollars in “traffic impact fees” if they wanted a building permit. George, who just wanted to install a manufactured home on his property, was stuck with a $23,420 bill. George sued the county, with the help of former PLF attorney Paul Beard. PLF joined Paul as co-counsel to litigate George’s case at the Supreme Court. They argued legislatures aren’t exempt from Supreme Court precedent protecting property rights—and in the decision, the Court agreed. “Nothing in constitutional text, history, or precedent supports exempting legislatures from ordinary takings rules,” Justice Amy Coney Barrett writes in the decision. “The Constitution’s text does not limit the Takings Clause to a particular branch of government.” This victory protects all property owners across the country. To get a sense of George’s spirit, check out his Fox News interview from January.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Thursday, April 18, 2024   WECA 95th Birthday Celebration and Gratitude



WECA celebrated its 95th birthday on Tuesday, April 9th! We're thrilled to celebrate 95 years of serving our member contractors and industry partners, educating the finest electricians and low voltage technicians in the Western United States, and advocating for the merit shop industry in California, Arizona, and Utah. Thank you for being part of our legacy, and we look forward to the next 95 years of excellence with all of you.
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Thursday, April 18, 2024   WECA Member Makes SBJ's List of Top Solar Contractors in the Sacramento Area



We would like to congratulate WECA Member Contractor Barnum & Celillo Electric Inc. for being named to the Sacramento Business Journal's Top Solar Contractors in the Sacramento Area list! Congratulations, Barnum & Celillo!
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Thursday, April 18, 2024   1st Year, 2nd Semester Low Voltage Apprentices Test Out Virtual Reality Confined Spaces Training












First year, second semester WECA Low Voltage apprentices recently piloted virtual reality Confined Spaces training from developer PaleBlue.

In this virtual and immersive safety training, they practiced entering a space with limited entry and egress, prepared for accessing a confined space, and then tried out two roles: an entrant and an attendant.

Our instructors and apprentices gave the training two thumbs up. WECA is now rolling it out to all of our Low Voltage apprentices in their first year and second semester of their Apprenticeship program with us, and this VR training will be coming soon to our Commercial and Residential Electrical Apprenticeship programs, too!

Read more >>


Thursday, April 18, 2024   Support the WECA Utah Class of 2024 by Sponsoring Their Upcoming Graduation Event in June


 

Dear WECA Member Contractors, Industry Partners, and Supporters,

WECA is proud to announce the Utah Graduating Class of 2024!

Our Commercial Electrical Apprentices in the Class of 2024 have successfully completed their education with WECA.

Help us honor their achievement with your sponsorship of their graduation event on:

Saturday, June 22, 2024 from 4:00 to 7:30 PM

DoubleTree by Hilton Salt Lake City Airport

5151 West Wiley Post Way

Salt Lake City, UT 84116

Help us make their graduation memorable--your sponsorship can allow you and members of your team to attend the graduation event, which is especially meaningful for grads if you're their contractor. Plus, you can meet WECA instructors and staff, other member contractors, and electrical industry supporters as well. Sponsorship packages at different levels may include tickets to attend the graduation, ads in the graduation program, recognition of your sponsorship during the ceremony, mention of your support on our website, in our newsletters, and over social media.   

Please consider the sponsorship opportunities at the link below, and thank you for your support of electrical training, apprenticeship, and workforce development for Utah!

Sincerely,

The WECA Graduation Team

Reserve your sponsorship package

Read more >>


Thursday, April 18, 2024   Please Give Your Team a Heads-Up: WECA Summer Session (Jul - Sep 2024) Now Available for Enrollment



Our Summer 2024 (Jul - Sep) course catalog is now available on our website for your electrician trainees in our certificate program, and journey worker continuing education students who need 32 hours this year. GetWired instructor-led classes can fill quickly. Be sure to encourage your employees to secure their spot!

View the Electrician Trainee course catalog

Jump to the Journey Worker continuing education course catalog

They can also enroll over the phone at (877) 444-9322, in person at our Rancho Cordova training facility, or by email at info@goweca.com.



Read more >>


Thursday, April 18, 2024   Court Decision Answers the Question: When Are Employees On-the-Clock?

Content Courtesy of WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP


 

Content courtesy of: WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

Court Decision Answers the Question: When Are Employees On-the Clock?

In Huerta v. CSI Electrical Contractors, a decision focusing on the construction industry, the California Supreme Court recently provided specific guidance on whether time spent waiting for a vehicle inspection is compensable. The Court also provided guidance on the factors which must be considered when determining whether time spent driving to a remote site after such inspection should be paid as compensable travel time, as well as whether thirty-minute meal breaks should be paid if workers remain on site while on break. While the decision is expressly limited to on-site construction (Wage Order 16), the principles articulated by the Court apply to every California worksite. Accordingly, the Opinion offers helpful insights to all workplaces where employees undergo entrance or exit routines before or after work.

The issues came before the Supreme Court – not through the normal appellate procedures – but by means of a specific request from the federal Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for guidance on California law. In requesting this assistance, the Ninth Circuit noted the issues “have significant public policy implications for California workers and employers” and no current California case addresses them specifically.

Mandatory Vehicle Stop

In resolving the first issue, the Supreme Court closely examined the circumstances at the site where plaintiff, George Huerta, was employed. Specifically, it noted that workers were required to pass through a security gate before entering the project’s perimeter. The security gate was located several miles from the perimeter. To pass through the security gate, workers had to show a badge and, when asked, allow a guard to peer into their vehicles. The inspection process could take up to a minute or more per vehicle. Based upon these facts, the Supreme Court concluded that when an employee spends time on an employer’s premises awaiting and undergoing an employer-mandated entrance or exit security procedure, such as a vehicle inspection, such time shall be compensated.

In resolving the second issue, the Supreme Court was required to consider whether the mandatory vehicle stop amounted to an initial work location, comparable to a requirement to check in at a shop prior to heading out to the worksite. The Court recognized that when employees are required to “check in” at a certain location, all time after the check-in should be paid. The Court concluded that the circumstances of a vehicle inspection, however, do not equate to a check-in unless it is required for reasons other than accessing the worksite. The Court expressly held that if the employee was required to pick up supplies, receive work orders, or otherwise perform any work at or during the inspection process, the time spent driving would be compensable.

The Court further clarified that the Employer’s imposition of certain restrictions when driving from the vehicle inspection site to the parking lot did not transform commute time to compensable work time. Although those restrictions – speed limits, bans on passing, smoking and the use of earpods – arguably benefitted the employer, the Court considered them common sense safety rules that did not convert the travel to work time.

Meal Break Rules

The third issue was complicated by the applicability of two collective bargaining agreements governing the project. Under Wage Order 16, meal break rules under the Labor Code do not apply when a collective bargaining agreement governs the worker and addresses meal periods, hours worked, and provides wages thirty percent higher than minimum wage. The Court held that although specific meal break rules under the Labor Code were inapplicable due to the collective bargaining agreements, the employer was still bound to pay employees for time spent on a meal break when and if the employee was restricted to the premises. The Court held that the employer and applicable union could negotiate for an on-site break, but such break would have to be paid.

Takeaways

For non-construction employers, the most important takeaways in the case are two-fold. First, it is a reminder that any time – even less than a minute – spent prior to or after work on activities that benefit an employer are likely to be compensable, even if such activities can be done from the comfort of the employee’s vehicle. Second, notwithstanding the obligation to pay for time spent during a vehicle stop and inspection, the time spent after the inspection to the actual worksite is probably not compensable. Moreover, employers can impose safety restrictions on access roads without concern that such safety measures will transform commute time to paid time.

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Thursday, April 11, 2024   WECA Political Update April 11, 2024

Prop 1 – Taxpayer Rip-off?

WECA opposed Proposition 1 on the March ballot, noting that the $6.38 billion general obligation bond followed $9.2 billion in relief payments—known as the Middle Class Tax Refund (MCTR)—to qualifying recipients. The MCTR was timed to coincide with Governor Gavin Newsom’s 2022 re-election campaign – even though he was running against a token Republican opponent, State Senator Brian Dahle from Bieber. Dahle received 40.8% of the November vote, considerably higher than the 24% Republican registration, suggesting many DTS and possibly registered Democrats were tired of Newsom.

Prop. 1 promises to fund behavioral health treatment, residential facilities, and supportive housing for veterans and individuals at risk of or experiencing homelessness with behavioral health challenges. These are laudable goals but also proverbial “drop in the bucket.” In early 2023, over 181,000 Californians were counted as experiencing homelessness. These funds are estimated to create only 4,350 housing units, with 2,350 set aside for veterans and 6,800 mental health and substance use treatment places for approximately 11,150 new behavioral health and supportive housing units statewide.

Prop. 1 will also shift dollars from counties to the state (from about 5% of total Mental Health Services Act (MHSA) funding to about 10%). This would result in about $140 million annually redirected to the state budget. However, this amount could be higher depending on the total revenue collected from the tax.

The MHSA restructuring will result in significantly less funding for core services, which could lead to counties:

·      Canceling contracts with community-based organizations. 

·      Closing programs that are currently serving Californians.

·      Reducing county staffing.

But back to the MCTR. Rather than have the state’s own financial system issue checks to taxpayers to facilitate these payments, the state hired Money Network Financial, LLC. This out-of-state vendor provides financial services. Under the agreement, Money Network produced and distributed debit cards and provided cardholders with customer service and fraud prevention services. Although MCTR issued payments relatively quickly, according to a recent audit, the provisions of the state’s agreement with Money Network created “certain difficulties related to the administration of the payments.”

The audit noted several critical deficiencies.

·      FTB did not ensure that Money Network consistently provided the required level of customer service to cardholders. Although Money Network received more than 29 million calls—the vast majority of which were handled by its automated system—Money Network did not answer nearly 900,000 of the roughly two million phone calls from callers seeking to speak with an agent about the MCTR program or issues with their debit cards. Weaknesses in FTB’s agreement with Money Network made holding Money Network accountable for its lack of customer service difficult.

·      Although Money Network reported a fraud rate to FTB of less than 1% of the amount distributed through debit cards, the state cannot determine the precise level of fraud in the MCTR program because Money Network did not answer a substantial portion of cardholder calls and has not specifically tracked fraud in the program.

·      Because the agreement’s payment structure bundles most services into a single per-card rate, FTB paid to Money Network nearly 90% of the agreement’s total cost in the first 15 months of the 49-month agreement period. This front-loaded payment structure does not fully safeguard the best interests of the state. In addition, the agreement with Money Network does not include provisions that would allow FTB to assess agreed-upon liquidated damages if Money Network does not comply with agreement terms—provisions found in other state agreements for similar services.

Finally, many debit card recipients have yet to activate their cards. According to information that Money Network provided to FTB, more than one million debit cards worth approximately $611 million in payments had not yet been activated by their recipients as of January 2024.

Time will tell if Prop. 1 will improve homelessness or mental health services. Still, if the history of the MCTR or Governor Newsom’s secretive $1-billion mask deal with Chinese automaker BYD is any bellwether, I am not expecting great results. 

Close Races

In CD-16 (San Mateo), former mayor Sam Licardo won the top slot for the November run-off. Assembly Member Evan Low and Supervisor (and former Assembly Member, former State Senator) Joe Simitian tied for number 2 and 3.

But here’s where, as Politico put it, “In a race that just keeps getting weirder, a Silicon Valley voter who called for a recount in [this] tied House primary election once worked for [Licardo]. The filing says it was made on behalf of candidate Evan Low, who, until this week, was heading to a three-way race in November. But Low vehemently opposes the recount, and the request came from a former staffer for ex-San Jose Mayor Sam Licardo, who advanced to the November general election weeks ago after finishing in first place. Voter Jonathan Padilla agreed to pay more than $300,000 for the recount. He worked for Licardo’s 2014 mayoral campaign and as a policy director for the City of San Jose in 2015 and 2016 while Licardo was mayor. He also donated $1,000 to Licardo’s campaign in December. A spokesperson for Licardo’s campaign denies working with Padilla or funding the recount. Low’s campaign isn’t convinced. ‘There’s zero doubt that Sam Licardo orchestrated this recount and Padilla’s declaration that the recount is on our campaign's behalf is simply disingenuous. Clearly, Sam Licardo doesn’t think he can win a three-way race because he’s showing he will do anything to avoid one,’ spokesperson Whitney Larsen told Politico recently on behalf of Low, bemoaning the ‘expensive and time-consuming’ recount.

A poll funded by the Licardo campaign shows Licardo still has a modest lead: 26%, followed by Low, 2%, Simitian, 20%, and 24% undecided.

In CD-45 (Fountain Valley), Michelle Steel (R) is in first place and will face Derek Tran in this D+5.2 district. Steel defeated Democrat Jay Chen by under 5% in 2022, and the DCCC placed CD-45 on its 2024 target list.

In AD-2, Republican Michael Greer came out on top with 27% of the vote. But in this D+28 district consisting of the counties of Trinity, Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino and portions of Sonoma, he will have a tough election against second-place finisher Santa Rosa Council Member Chris Rogers.

In AD-6 (Sacramento), Democrat Maggy Krell will face Republican Nikki Ellis in this D+30 Assembly seat.

In AD-58 (San Bernardino and Riverside Counties), Democrat Clarissa Cervantes came in second to Republican Leticia Castillo in this D+18 district, meaning this race was decided in March.

In AD-75, former Republican San Diego Council Member Carl DeMaio received 42.9% of the vote and will face another Republican, Andrew Hayes. The result caused a bit of turmoil in San Diego. Story

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ABC Chapter Sues over Biden’s PLA Rule

ABC and its Florida First Coast chapter filed suit to stop the Biden administration’s scheme to mandate PLAs on construction contracts procured by federal agencies. ABC’s complaint asserts that President Joe Biden lacks the legal and constitutional authority to impose a new federal regulation, injuring the economy and efficiency in federal contracting and illegally steering construction contracts to certain unionized contractors, which employ roughly 10% of the U.S. construction workforce. Story

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California Supreme Court Clarifies the Scope of “Hours Worked” Under California Law

On March 25, 2024, the California Supreme Court issued a highly anticipated decision in Huerta v. CSI Electrical Contractors, Inc. The court responded to the request from the Ninth Circuit to answer three questions about Wage Order No. 16 and clarify the scope of the term “hours worked.” Although the case discusses the “hours worked” standard in the context of the construction industry, the decision is likely to impact every industry, especially businesses that require employees to go through security checks at the beginning and end of the workday and businesses that confine employees to specific areas of company property during meal breaks. More

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California Isn’t Coming for Your AC (Yet)

The California Energy Commission stopped short recently of pushing homeowners to install heat pumps to replace worn-out central air conditioners. The reason? Cost. “It was a difficult case to make, in terms of both the additional costs up front and then also potentially causing real energy costs overall to increase for some customers,” Commissioner Andrew McAllister told reporters. It was a blow for heat pumps, which are supposed to proliferate to 6 million in California by 2030 with support from federal tax incentives of up to $2,000 and additional state incentives.

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New Sacramento Parking Garage at SMF

Sacramento-based Otto Construction was awarded the $229 million Design/Build contract. This will be the firm’s second parking garage project at SMF as they also constructed the Terminal A garage in 2004. Otto said at the award they were comfortable with building under a PLA—which was mandated by a 3-2 vote by the Board of Supervisors earlier this year.

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California Legislature Sends Gavin Newsom Budget Deal to Slash Deficit 

Legislation that will reduce California’s budget deficit by $17.3 billion through spending cuts, deferrals, and other measures is headed for Gov. Gavin Newsom’s desk. The state Assembly and Senate approved Assembly Bill 106 along party lines today, advancing part of a deal negotiated by Newsom and Democratic legislative leaders over the past few weeks. The governor is expected to sign the legislation. Assembly Budget Chair Jesse Gabriel said the package was a first step and that the Legislature has the right to revisit the cuts and delays depending on future revenue figures.

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Celebrating 13 Years of Serving Military-Connected Job Seekers 

March officially marked 13 years of Hiring Our Heroes! They have been dedicated to driving positive change for transitioning service members, veterans, military spouses, and caregivers for over a decade. Here's to another 13 years of empowering the nation’s heroes and making a lasting difference together! Information

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Solar to Supreme Court

Politico writes the dispute over the value of rooftop solar is going to the California Supreme Court, which agreed Wednesday to hear a challenge from environmental groups to a 2022 California Public Utilities Commission decision.

The court agreed to hear the Center for Biological Diversity and two other groups' appeal of a lower appellate court's December ruling that upheld the CPUC's decision to slash rooftop solar reimbursements in its net energy metering program by about 75%. The development is a victory for the solar industry, and some environmental groups are pushing on multiple fronts for California to make small-scale solar power a central part of its transition to clean energy and utility-scale renewables. CBD senior attorney Roger Lin called it a "ray of hope" for the rooftop solar industry, which layoffs and bankruptcies have buffeted.

When the CPUC reduced the reimbursements, commissioners said the higher payments of the past had served their purpose of growing a mature rooftop market in the state. Since the programs are subsidized by people without panels (to the tune of $6.5 billion per year, according to a recent analysis), it was time to reduce them, commissioners said.

In their lawsuit, the CBD, Environmental Working Group, and the Protect Our Communities Foundation said that the CPUC had failed to fully account for rooftop solar’s social benefits, hadn't sufficiently promoted renewable energy, and had overlooked disadvantaged communities.

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Biden: ‘Union labor and American steel’ will rebuild Key Bridge

Standing in front of the crumbled wreckage of the Francis Scott Key Bridge, President Joe Biden re-upped his commitment to the federal government funding the span’s replacement, saying he would “move heaven and earth” to rebuild it quickly. During a windswept afternoon on the banks of the Patapsco River, the president said the top priority remains opening the channel for port traffic and emphasized the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ goal to clear a path for commercial vessels by the end of May. Biden said the new bridge would be built “with union labor and American steel,” as he stood on the grounds of the Maryland Transportation Authority Police headquarters, about a half mile east of the span. Story

Read more >>


Friday, April 5, 2024   WECA San Diego Elected Officials Visits; Discussion of Workforce Needs and Industry Challenges in CA

WECA CEO Don Black Discusses Regional Workforce Development Needs and Construction Industry Challenges with San Diego Elected Officials and Staff; Gives Tours of Our San Diego Training Center
 

A dispatch from Dave Everett, WECA's new Southern California Government Relations Representative:

WECA’s staff works hard to protect the rights of merit shop business owners and their employees throughout the West. Part of that work is showing our elected officials and their staff members first-hand the great work WECA is doing in workforce development at our San Diego Training Center.

To that end, WECA CEO Don Black was recently in San Diego and had a chance to sit down with some of our local elected officials here in San Diego County and discuss the workforce development needs of the region as well as some of the challenges facing the construction industry in California.

After a breakfast event with San Diego Supervisor candidate and former San Diego Mayor Kevin Faulconer, WECA's CEO met with with California State Assembly candidate and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio and staff from Assemblymember Chris Ward's office and gave them a brief tour of our WECA facilities in San Diego. It was a good opportunity to highlight the many ways WECA’s apprentices learn in the classroom and to see the hands-on, competency-based labs they undertake. The day concluded with an opportunity to talk with State Senate Minority Leader Brian Jones, State Senator Catherine Blakespear and Vista Mayor John Franklin as they celebrated the AGC National Convention hosted here in San Diego and Thomas L Brown becoming AGC of America Board President in 2024.

WECA members embrace the idea that political action is not simply prudent, but essential to preserving and enhancing their ability to pursue business opportunities in the public and private marketplace.







Above, WECA CEO Don Black gave California State Assembly candidate and former San Diego City Councilman Carl DeMaio a tour of WECA's San Diego electrical apprenticeship and training center and discussed WECA's workforce development efforts

Below, Don and Jeff Van de Moere, WECA's Membership Manager for California and Utah, met with Assemblymember Chris Ward's staff at our San Diego facility and highlighted for them the many ways our electrical and low voltage apprentices and students learn in our classroom and labs.





Read more >>


Friday, April 5, 2024   New Industry Partner Spotlight: DeWalt


 

Like many of WECA’s industry partners, our newest one, DeWalt, is time-tested. Since founder Raymond DeWalt invented the radial arm saw in the 1920s and “ushered in a new era of jobsite productivity,” DeWalt has provided the construction industry with safe, high quality, durable, and innovative tools and power tools.

Currently, DeWalt offers more than 1,000 products that focus on the professional end user. These products include power tools, hand tools, accessories, storage, anchors, and fasteners. These tools are stand-alone products but also include systems such as cordless platforms, Perform and Protect, Tool Connect, and more. DeWalt also offers trade solutions such as software and online safety training courses.

Additionally, DeWalt also offers product lines and solutions built specifically for the electrical industry. DeWalt’s software offerings designed for electrical workflows include MSUITE, HangerWorks PRO, and TOOL CONNECT Site Manager. Meanwhile, DeWalt offers tools made for fabricating and installing, as well as tools aimed toward stripping, crimping, and maintenance. Lastly, DeWalt offers myriad anchors and fasteners that work well with comprehensive electrical workflows. 

“WECA Member Contractors would benefit from using DeWalt’s products, systems, and solutions because DeWalt is leading the way in the era of modern construction sites and constantly developing new technology, products, and software to improve efficiencies,” says Justin Miller, DeWalt’s San Diego-based Trade Specialist.

To that end, DeWalt has partnered with WECA because “WECA is where apprentices learn and grow, and DeWalt wants to be involved. We feel it’s important for apprentices to have the opportunity to have experience with DeWalt tools,” according to Miller.

WECA Member Contractors interested in procuring products, systems, and solutions from DeWalt can reach out to the following contacts:

·        Justin Miller (Trade Specialist, San Diego)

o  Phone: (951) 216-5958

o  Email: justin.miller@sbdinc.com

·        Nate Longabach (Trade Specialist, San Diego)

o  Phone: (949) 351-5154

o  Email: nate.longabach@sbdinc.com

·        Erick Cornejo (Account Manager, San Diego)

o  Phone: (562) 377-6195

o  Email: erick.cornejo@sbdinc.com

Thank you, DeWalt, for being a WECA Industry Partner! Together, we look forward to continuing WECA’s tradition of innovation and excellence in the West. 

Read more >>


Friday, April 5, 2024   When Is Entering and Leaving a Jobsite Compensable Work Time?

Guidance from Dennis Cook, Partner at Cook Brown, LLP

A WECA Industry Partner


 

When Is Entering and Leaving a Jobsite Compensable Work Time?

Guidance from Dennis Cook, Partner at Cook Brown, LLP

The question of when an employee’s compensable workday begins seems simple enough; it’s when an employee starts work, right? However, since California law says that “hours worked” includes all time when an employee is under the control of an employer or is suffered or permitted to work, the workday has been stretched to include time that historically may not have been treated as paid time.

The California Supreme Court reviewed another example of this recently in the case of Huerta v. CSI Electrical Contractors where the court analyzed three issues under Wage Order No. 16 applicable to onsite construction. One of these issues involved whether workers employed by an electrical contractor on a solar project who entered the jobsite in personal vehicles and waited at a security gate for a security guard to scan identification badges and inspect vehicles is compensable hours worked.  

The Court held that this time may be compensable “employer-mandated travel” under Section 5(A) of Wage Order No. 16 which says “All employer-mandated travel that occurs after the first location where the employee's presence is required by the employer shall be compensated at the employee's regular rate of pay or, if applicable, the premium rate … .” The Court said that an employee's presence is “required by the employer” within the meaning of Section 5(A) when it is for an employment-related reason and not for the practical necessity of reaching the worksite. 

In addition to time required for access and inspection at a security gate, other examples of compensable worktime at the beginning of the workday would include:

·        picking up tools or equipment at the shop before going to the jobsite;

·        coming to the shop or yard and loading material; and

·        having employees meet at the shop or other location to receive orders or directives.

General contractors usually control access to jobsites and subcontractors should be mindful of these rules. Generally, merely entering through a jobsite gate and travelling from the gate to a parking lot is not compensable worktime, but the court in the CSI case suggests that relevant factors to determine whether this time could be converted to compensable work time are:

·        the purpose served by the employee’s presence at the gate;

·        the activities that occur at the gate; and

·        how much time is spent there. 

The extent of travel restrictions on the jobsite will also be examined, but the court noted that rules designed to ensure safe, lawful, and orderly conduct while travelling are appropriate and do not impose a level of control causing the travel time to be compensable.

The court also reviewed the jobsite exiting process and imposed a stricter standard determining that an employee’s time spent on an employer’s premises awaiting and undergoing an employer-mandated exit procedure, including a visual inspection of the employee’s personal vehicle, is compensable work hours under Section 2(J) of Wage Order No. 16. While the court recognized that merely stopping at a gate in a parking garage probably is not compensable work time, it noted in this instance that “when an employee spends time on his employer's premises awaiting and undergoing an exit security procedure that includes a vehicle inspection causing delay and that is mandated by the employer for its own benefit, the employee—even when in his personal vehicle—is subject to the employer's control, and the time is compensable”. As noted, a good rule-of-thumb is to review the GC’s jobsite access procedures to determine the level of control related to the exiting procedure. Flashing a badge to exit is probably insufficient to require the time to be compensated, but if this is accompanied by a visual inspection, the time spent exiting may be converted to compensable work time.

Read more >>


Friday, April 5, 2024   Davis-Bacon and Related Act Prevailing Wage Resource Book

Content Courtesy of U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division


 

Content courtesy of: U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division

On April 1, 2024, the U.S. Department of Labor, Wage and Hour Division (WHD) updated the Prevailing Wage Resource Book (PWRB). In light of the recent publication of the final rule, Updating the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts Regulations, which took effect on October 23, 2023, WHD conducted a comprehensive review of the PWRB to simplify the language, restructure the format in a more intuitive manner, and provide additional guidance and examples where stakeholders routinely requested clarification.

Contractors, contracting agencies, enforcement staff, unions, associations, and workers have long relied upon the PWRB to gain a better understanding of the labor standards on certain federal and federally funded contracts including those involving the Davis-Bacon and Related Acts (DBRA), the Service Contract Act (SCA), the Walsh-Healey Public Contracts Act (PCA), the Contract Work Hours and Safety Standards Act (CWHSSA), the Copeland "Anti-Kickback" Act, and Executive Orders impacting federal contracts.

The updated PWRB discusses WHD’s policies in a way that is more easily accessible to all stakeholders and provides them with a better understanding of the labor standards that apply to many federal and federally funded contracts. 

For more information on the labor standards on certain federal and federally funded contracts, please visit our Government Contracts Compliance Assistance webpage.

Read more >>


Friday, April 5, 2024   Workplace Violence Prevention Planning

Content Courtesy of WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP


 

Content courtesy of: WECA Industry Partner Cook Brown, LLP

Virtually all California employers must have a workplace violence prevention plan in place by July 1, 2024. 

The Workplace Violence Prevention Plan

Cal/OSHA's model plan offers a starting point for creating a compliant plan. In addition to a model workplace violence prevention plan, California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) has also published a general fact sheet to help employer’s create and implement a Workplace Violence Prevention Plan (WVPP) that meets the requirements imposed by Labor Code section 6401.9. 

Read the rest of the plan here.

Read more >>


Friday, April 5, 2024   Guidance on Compliance AB 2143/PUC 769.2 Reqs, Incl. Prevailing Wage and Certified Payroll Reporting

Get Guidance on Navigating Compliance Requirements Under AB 2143/PUC 769.2, Including Prevailing Wages and Certified Payroll Reporting?

Content Courtesy of the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC)

Join us on Tuesday, April 30, 2024 at 1:00 PM for an informative webinar for the Solar-Utilities Reporting, Guidance, and Education (SURGE) initiative directed by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC). SURGE is the official platform for AB 2143 reporting and contractor support. This webinar is designed to provide solar contractors with essential guidance on navigating compliance requirements under AB 2143/PUC 769.2 which includes prevailing wages and certified payroll reporting.

For more information about SURGE, please visit our website. Additionally, if you have any questions about the event, please feel free to email events@cpucsurge.org.

Read more >>


Friday, April 5, 2024   NAWIC Phoenix Chapter Had WECA at March Meeting

National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Phoenix Chapter Had Heath Anderson, WECA Arizona's Outreach and Workforce Development Specialist, As Guest Speaker at March Meeting




 

Last week, the National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) Phoenix Chapter invited Heath Anderson, WECA Arizona's Outreach and Workforce Development Specialist, to be a guest speaker at their chapter's March meeting.

The invitation spurred from WECA's chance encounter with Samantha Miller, Construction Operations and EHS Platform Account Executive for WECA Industry Partner ToolWatch, at the fall 2023 GC Expo. After learning more about WECA, ToolWatch became a WECA Industry Partner.

ToolWatch also shares WECA's passion for encouraging more women to join the electrical trade. To that end, Miller invited Heath to be a guest speaker at some ToolWatch events, on an episode of ToolWatch's Women in Innovation podcast in December, and at the NAWIC Phoenix Chapter meeting in March.

"The audience were great hosts and provided great discussion," Heath says of the NAWIC Phoenix Chapter meeting. "The members appreciated the efforts that have gone into the marketing materials aimed at helping women see the benefits of a career as an electrician."

Thank you, NAWIC and ToolWatch, for inviting Heath to be a guest speaker at the Phoenix Chapter's March meeting. Every chance we get to educate the industry on how to encourage women to pursue careers in the electrical trades is very gratifying.

Read more >>


Friday, April 5, 2024   Don't Miss Out: There's Still a Chance to Join WECA and Cook Brown, LLP for Part Two of Our Webinar

Part 2 (Skilled and Trained Workforce) on Apr. 10

Registrations Are Complimentary for WECA Members as a Member Benefit


 

Join Cook Brown Partner Carrie Bushman for Part 2 of our two-part webinar series on April 10. Part 2 will focus on Skilled and Trained Workforce, where Carrie will discuss:

  • Recognizing to which types of projects Skilled and Trained Workforce requirements apply
  • Understanding apprentice graduation requirements
  • Compliance and enforcement

Register today to join us online on April 10, from 8:30 to 9:30 AM, for Part 2 of this informative webinar series.

This webinar is free for WECA Member Contractors and their employees. All others are $95/registration.

Register for the April 10 webinar here!

Read more >>


Thursday, March 28, 2024   WECA Political Update March 28, 2024


 

Election Analysis Based on Unofficial Results. Results will be certified by April 12, 2024

Prop 1 Won by a Thread

It is passing by just 27,218 votes out of over 7.3 million cast. But the fallout is interesting. While Gavin Newsom called the win “huge,” two Orange County cities – Newport Beach and Huntington Beach – have severed ties with the California League of Cities over the League's support of Prop 1. Proposition 1 allows for a by right, streamlined approval process for developments funded by the bond. Developments that fall under the category of behavioral health treatment residential settings and drug addiction treatment facilities are included. If projects meet criteria and receive funding through the bond, cities can apply objective design standards to these projects. Still, they will otherwise be limited in slowing down or stopping a project from being constructed.

You can see the Secretary of State election reporting here.

Close Races

In CD-16 (San Mateo), former mayor Sam Licardo holds the top slot for the November run-off. Assembly Member Evan Low and Supervisor (and former Assembly Member, former State Senator) Joe Simitian are dueling for number two. As of March 26, only two votes separate the two in what will be a D-on-D race later this year. Both sides have said they’d expect a re-count. This is a D+37 district, so Licardo is probably disappointed that two Republicans were on the March ballot, splitting the R vote.

In CD-45 (Fountain Valley), Michelle Steel (R) is in first place, and two Democrats are fighting to run against her in November. About 200 votes separate Kim Bernice Nguyen-Penaloza and Derek Tran in this D+5.2 district. Steel defeated Democrat Jay Chen by under 5% in 2022, and the DCCC placed CD45 on its 2024 target list.

In AD-2, Republican Michael Greer came out on top with 27% of the vote. But in this D+28 district consisting of Trinity, Del Norte, Humboldt, and Mendocino counties and portions of Sonoma County, he doesn’t stand a chance against likely second-place finisher, Santa Rosa Councilmember Chris Rogers.

In AD-6 (Sacramento), Maggy Krell will defeat the likely second-place finisher in this D+30 Assembly seat being vacated by Kevin McCarty, who, for some reason, wants to return to the Sacramento City Council he left to run for Assembly in 2014. McCarty came in second in his race for mayor and will face novice politician Dr. Flojaune Cofer. Flo promises to “solve our homelessness and housing crisis, make our streets safer, and create thousands of quality jobs while protecting our climate.” That may be tough in a city facing a $60 million deficit in a strong economy.

In AD-8 (Fresno), two Republicans, former Representative George Radanovich and David Tangipa, will face off in November. The big question is where the Democrats who supported Caleb Helsel will go. Will they stay home?

In AD-58 (San Bernardino and Riverside Counties), which Democrat will face Republican Leticia Castillo in November? About 200 votes separate Ronaldo Fierro and Clarissa Cervantes in this D+18 district. Cervantes is the Riverside Council sister of incumbent Sabrina Cervantes, who decided to move up to the “bigs,” thus giving her sister a shot at moving to Sacramento. Sis may have hurt her chance with two DUIs, but maybe voters in the district are willing to forgive and forget – kind of like Dave Min in CD-47. Ok, Dave only has one DUI.

In AD-75, former Republican San Diego Councilmember (there were Republicans on the San Diego City Council?) Carl DeMaio ended up with 43% of the vote and will face either Republican Andrew Hayes or Democrat Kevin Juza. Only 600 votes separate those two in the R+11 district. Hayes had a lock on the seat until DeMaio entered the race.

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2024 OFCCP Certification Cycle Announced

In 2022, the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs (OFCCP) began requiring that federal contractors and subcontractors subject to the affirmative action requirements of Executive Order 11246 annually certify that they are meeting their requirement to develop and maintain annual affirmative plans (AAPs). On March 25, 2024, OFCCP announced its third annual certification cycle. Beginning on April 1, 2024, OFCCP will accept certifications by federal contractors and subcontractors that they have developed and maintained compliant affirmative action programs for each establishment. Learn more

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California Releases Workplace Violence Prevention Guidance

California’s Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) recently published guidance to assist employers in complying with Senate Bill 553 ahead of the law’s employer compliance date of July 1, 2024. SB 553 requires virtually all employers to develop, implement, and maintain an “effective” written workplace violence prevention plan (WVPP), train employees, and create and maintain extensive records regarding workplace violence.

The guidance includes a model WVPP for general industry (non-healthcare settings), and fact sheets for employers and employees. Employers must customize the model WVPP for their specific workforce. Under the law, only certain healthcare facilities, employees teleworking from locations of their choice and not under the control of their employers, and places of employment with fewer than ten employees and not accessible to the public are exempt from the law’s requirements. Although Cal/OSHA is not required to adopt workplace violence standards until December 31, 2026, it may begin enforcing the law on July 1, 2024. Thus, employers must now take steps to draft, implement, and train employees on their WVPPs. Story

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National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction scheduled for May

  • OSHA is gearing up for its 11th annual National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction, scheduled for May 6-10, 2024.
  • OSHA describes its Safety Stand-Down as a voluntary event for employers to talk directly to employees about safety.
  • The National Safety Stand-Down to Prevent Falls in Construction focuses on fall hazards and was created to reinforce the importance of fall prevention.
  • To help employers prepare for this year’s event, OSHA has developed a page that answers frequently asked questions about how to conduct a Safety Stand-Down, who can participate, how to receive a certificate of participation, and other information.

Read more

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NorCal Lost its Only BOI Investigator

Cal/OSHA's Bureau of Investigations (BOI) will have no personnel in Northern California following the resignation of Julio Alfaro, a senior investigator who was the lone BOI representative in the north state. Alfaro accepted a position outside of state government effective immediately. BOI, mandated by the California Labor Code, is responsible for criminal investigations involving workplace fatalities and serious injuries. It also refers cases to local prosecuting authorities. Alfaro's resignation follows last year’s resignation of Chris Kuhns, a 14-year veteran who left, he says, after being denied an opportunity to become a compliance safety and health officer at the Division of Occupational Safety and Health.

The BOI's vacancy rate is now 85%, with one investigator left for the entire State of California. The Bureau has no investigators in Northern California, one in Southern California, and a supervisor based in the South. The resignation adds to the Department of Industrial Relations staff shortage. DIR is actively recruiting and interviewing to fill its open positions. [Cal-OSHA Reporter]

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The Fletcher Lawsuit Mess

Grecia Figueroa’s lawsuit against former San Diego supervisor Nathan Fletcher keeps hitting snags. Figueroa is now parting ways with a second attorney in the case. She also failed to appear at a hearing Wednesday “where Fletcher’s lawyers were set to demand access to Figueroa’s phone and the phone of a witness, a friend of Figueroa’s,” as Voice of San Diego’s Scott Lewis reports. Figueroa is suing Fletcher and the Metropolitan Transit System, her former employer, for what she alleges were sexual harassment and assault by Fletcher. Fletcher, as part of his role as supervisor, was serving as chair of the MTS board at that time. Fletcher has reportedly reunited with his wife, Labor Fed CEO Lorena Gonzalez. More

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Despite Opposition, Phoenix Passes New Heat Regulations

Several construction firms say they already meet the new heat requirements established by the city of Phoenix, while others say the new requirements raise questions that could negatively impact schedules and budgets.

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Dave Everett (left), WECA's new Southern California Government Relations Representative, is shown giving a tour of WECA's Riverside Electrical Apprenticeship and Training Center to San Bernardino City Councilman Damon Alexander (center) last Fall.

New Face at WECA

WECA is happy to announce an official addition to our Government Relations team! Dave Everett was hired earlier this month to serve as our Southern California Government Relations Representative. Dave has been working closely with our Government Relations team in a related capacity for the past few years, and will now focus on our San Diego and Riverside facilities while advocating for the merit shop philosophy and your ability as a WECA member to work in the greater area.

Dave’s hiring aligns directly with the Board’s Government Relations plan. By entrenching ourselves in the regions surrounding our campuses, we can more effectively impact grassroots and grass tops activities.

Dave’s background includes serving as a Political Consultant for Southern California Congress, Assembly, and County Supervisor candidates, the Government Affairs Director for the Associated Builders and Contractors Southern California Chapter (ABC SoCal), Executive Director for the Republican Party of Orange County, and District Director for former California State Assemblyman Van Tran. In each position, Dave worked closely with many top elected officials, organizations, and media outlets throughout Southern California.

Starting his political career by getting his political science degree from the University of California, Riverside, Dave then worked for Congressman Ken Calvert on Capitol Hill as a Congressional Liaison. The time in D.C. allowed him to learn a lot about the legislative process and even the opportunity to help pass several bills on the House floor. After returning to Southern California, Everett worked for Assemblyman Todd Spitzer, O’Reilly Public Relations, and served as Executive Director of the Riverside County GOP before taking the position with Assemblyman Tran in early 2006.

Dave’s passions are free enterprise, investing in infrastructure, reducing overburdensome regulations on California’s job creators, and anything involving the Los Angeles Angels baseball team or Los Angeles Lakers. He is happily married to his high school sweetheart Nicole and resides in Costa Mesa, California, with their two daughters, Hailey and Summer.

Welcome, Dave!

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Baskin-Robbins Opening New Fresno Location

Thirty-one people can win free ice cream for a year if they win a Baskin-Robbins contest at their new Fresno location. It’s all happening at the Saturday grand opening of the newest Baskin-Robbins at 8959 N. Cedar Ave., near Shepherd Avenue in the same shopping center as Vons. The event runs from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. I think we know where Rex Hime will be on Saturday morning. Read more here

Read more >>


Wednesday, March 27, 2024   Celebrating the WECA Utah Apprenticeship Class of 2024: Save the Date (June 22nd) for Graduation!

WECA Utah apprentice graduates: Save the date! WECA's 2024 Commencement Ceremonies for our Utah Graduating Apprenticeship Class of 2024 will be held on June 22nd!

Grads: Please watch your inboxes for ticketing details as this event draws closer.

We look forward to celebrating the hard work and accomplishments of our first-ever graduating Utah class!

Read more >>


Wednesday, March 27, 2024   WECA's Open House in Celebration of Women in Construction Week 2024 a Success


 

WECA held its annual Women in Construction Week open house on Thursday, March 7 at its California headquarters and training facility in Rancho Cordova, CA.

The event drew numerous women interested in exploring career opportunities in the electrical and low voltage industries.

Diane Trotter, WECA's Workforce Development Supervisor, hosted the open house.

During the open house, Diane hosted a presentation and Q&A session for attendees before showing them around WECA's state-of-the-art labs and classrooms. During the presentation and Q&A portion of the open house, Diane was joined by Autumn Jackson, WECA Commercial and Low Voltage Apprenticeship graduate and current foreperson for Vanden Bos Electric, Amanda Young, a second-year Low Voltage apprentice, and Hershel Baser, an Apprenticeship Consultant for the Department of Industrial Relations' Division of Apprenticeship Standards.

Autumn spoke about her current role at Vanden Bos Electric and shared what she gained from her apprenticeships at WECA, while Amanda discussed her current apprenticeship experience, stating that she enjoys learning things in class that she doesn't get to learn in the field because it makes her a more well-rounded apprentice.

For the lab and classroom tour portion of the open house, Diane was joined by Jimmie Slemp, Lead Instructor and Lab Manager, and LaKeal Morris, Commercial Electrical Apprenticeship instructor. Jimmie and LaKeal performed and assisted attendees with hands-on lab demonstrations.

Thank you to everyone who attended and participated in the Women in Construction Week 2024 open house! We were thrilled to educate more women on the merits of electrical and low voltage apprenticeships and careers in California, and can't wait to see them become WECA apprentices or electrician trainees in our certificate program soon!

Read more >>


Wednesday, March 27, 2024   Coming Soon: New Data Center Labs for Low Voltage Apprenticeship in Sacramento and San Diego

Stay Tuned for More Progress Pics









Caught in the act--of a new build-out for our Low Voltage apprenticeship labs in Sacramento and San Diego! Here's instructor John Arias getting a helping hand from CEO Don Black in carrying some building materials for our new-and-improved "Data Center" labs.

Our Low Voltage apprentices currently practice installing structured cabling systems for telecommunications and data transfer; the expanded lab spaces we're building will allow them to expand on those skills with more practice preparing and inspecting the copper and fiber optic components commonly found in equipment and telecomm spaces. Data Centers are a solution for companies that need to store massive amounts of data in secured spaces. Stay tuned for further build pics as we bring this new lab space to life in both locations!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024   Commercial Apprentices: New Info About Health Benefits Plan Now Available in Your Dashboard

Commercial Electrical apprentices: We've just uploaded new information about your Acupuncture and Chiropractic Health Benefits Plan coverage. Login to your secure apprentice dashboard at GOWECA.COM and go to "Commercial Apprentice Benefits" to view your new coverage document.
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Wednesday, March 27, 2024   Advanced Electrician Trainees and Journeyperson Students: Spots Open in April 10 GetWired 303 Course

Advanced Electrician Trainees and Journeyperson Continuing Ed Students:

By Popular Demand, We've Opened More Seats in the GetWired 303: Blueprint Reading Part 3, Planning Commercial Electrical Installations for New Construction Course Starting April 10th

Get Yours Before They're Gone

GetWired 303: Blueprint Reading Part 3: Planning Commercial Electrical Installations for New Construction is the eleventh course in the path to an Electrician Trainee Program Certificate with WECA.

Build on the skills you learned in GetWired 301 and 302 by getting “hands on” experience planning commercial electrical installations. Identify needed resources, job specifications, applicable codes, and information from the owner/architect, and AHJ and coordinate them all with specific blueprints. This course includes three projects you'll work on independently, with guidance from an instructor, including:

  • Assignment 1 - Job pre-planning
  • Assignment 2 - Preliminary electrical room layout
  • Assignment 3 - Plan conflict-free electrical installations

This course is not for beginners. Students enrolled in GetWired 303 should:

  • Have basic blueprint reading experience (including A, C, L, M, P, and E sheets)
  • Have experience using construction documents and electrical specifications (equipment cut-sheets, submittals, electrical contracts, RFI, change orders, and more)
  • Have a good understanding of electrical theory
  • Have considerable experience using the National Electrical Code
 
  • Total class hours available: 32
  • Standard tuition fee: $349

The next class starts on Apr. 10. Don't miss out--enroll today!

Enroll in GetWired 303!

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024   Electrician Trainees: Spring Session Starts Soon; Check Out April GetWired 202, 203, and 204 Classes


 

GetWired 202 Three-Phase Electrical Systems, Conductors and Overcurrent Protection, Grounding, Wiring Methods, Basic Trigonometry and Vectors

Starts: April 8

GetWired 202 expands on the concepts and skills built in the 201 courses. Topics covered include: conductors and overcurrent protection; types of three-phase transformers; three-phase transformer calculations and connections; grounding; wiring methods, basic trigonometry and vectors, and sizing branch circuits (hands-on lab).

Total class hours available: 36

Standard tuition fee: $389

Click here to enroll in GetWired 202 Instructor-Led with Onsite Lab

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GetWired 203 Raceway Systems, Switchboards and Panelboards, DC Motors, Three-Phase Alternators and Motors

Starts: April 9

GetWired 203 expands on skills built in the 202 courses. Topics covered include: wiring materials; raceway systems and cable assemblies; switchboards and panelboards; DC motors; three-phase alternators and generators; equipment for general use, and lighting automation (hands-on lab).

Total class hours available: 39

Standard tuition fee: $389

Click here to enroll in GetWired 203 Instructor-Led with Onsite Lab

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GetWired 204 Transformers, Special Locations and Single-Phase Motors

Starts: April 8

GetWired 204 expands on skills taught in the 203 courses. Topics covered include: transformers; special locations; hazardous locations; healthcare facilities; places of assembly; commercial garages and motor fuel dispensing facilities; motors, generators, A/C and refrigeration and fire pumps; series-parallel circuits; basic lighting control (hands-on lab), and single-phase motors.

Total class hours available: 39

Standard tuition fee: $389

Click here to enroll in GetWired 204 Instructor-Led with Onsite Lab

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024   Apprentices: Take Advantage of Your SmartDollar Benefit During Financial Literacy Month in April

Content Courtesy of SmartDollar



Week 1: Budgeting



Week 2: Paying off Debt



Week 3: Saving



Week 4: Retirement

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Not yet signed up for SmartDollar? No worries -- getting started is easy! Learn how below.

SmartDollar is a financial wellness benefit for WECA apprentices. We announced our partnership with the Dave Ramsey-founded online financial wellness platform in January, 2021 to provide our apprentices with a sound foundation in personal finance management. This benefit is available to all WECA apprentices free of charge. Not yet signed up for SmartDollar? No worries -- scroll to the bottom of this article for instructions!

What is SmartDollar? SmartDollar is a step-by-step approach to handling money with the number-one authority in personal finance, Dave Ramsey. More than 4.5 million people have started on Dave's plan and taken control of their money, and you can too! SmartDollar will equip you to get out of debt, on a budget, and on your way to a strong financial foundation.

The average person pays off $9,405 of debt and saves $6,127 in the first twelve months, and you can too!

"This program is powerful yet simple to understand. The Baby Steps make understanding how to win with money easy! Dave's lessons are fun, informative, and incredibly encouraging. It really doesn't feel like I'm taking a financial course. It's more like learning finances from a good friend...or a financially savvy stand-up comedian! The online tools are fantastic as well, and I love being able to 'ASK DAVE' any question and do my budget online. Love it all!" - Recent participant

With SmartDollar, you'll learn how to...

  • Jump-start your money
  • Knock out debt
  • Secure your dream home
  • Retire in style
  • Demystify your credit score

How does SmartDollar work? With so many ways to engage in SmartDollar activities and content, SmartDollar Points have been designed to encourage users to establish true behavior change. (Check out the graph below for a quick rundown). The greater the importance and required time of each activity, the greater the amount of points that can be earned. For example, each Core Lesson video completed is worth 250 points. Completing a shorter Deep Dive video is worth 50 points. Tracking a transaction in EveryDollar is only worth 20 points, but users are encouraged to track all their financial transactions with no points limitations. These example activities are key for building the confidence you need to reach your financial goals.





Taking advantage of your free financial wellness benefit, SmartDollar, is easy!

To set up your account after accessing your dashboard, click either of the links shown as highlighted in the screenshot to the right of this paragraph. You'll be taken to a page with a SmartDollar enrollment link, where you will be able to set up immediate access to this important benefit.

Ready to get started?

Login to your GOWECA dashboard

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Wednesday, March 27, 2024   Upcoming Opportunities to Participate in Panels and Forums

Women Apprentices and Electrician Trainees: Join WECA's Virtual Women in Electrical Trades Forum

All Apprentices: Make Your Voice Heard at WECA's Virtual Apprentice Advisory Panels
 

WECA's Virtual Women in Electrical Trades Forum

When: Thursday, April 4 from 4 to 5 p.m.

Where: Zoom

How to RSVP: Email Diane Trotter at dtrotter@goweca.com
 

When: Thursday, July 11 from 4 to 5 p.m.

Where: Zoom

How to RSVP: Email Diane Trotter at dtrotter@goweca.com

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WECA's Virtual Apprentice Advisory Panels
 

When: Thursday, May 2 from 4 to 5 p.m.

Where: Zoom

How to RSVP: Email Jeanette Santos at jsantos@goweca.com
 

When: Thursday, August 1 from 4 to 5 p.m.

Where: Zoom

How to RSVP: Email Jeanette Santos at jsantos@goweca.com

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