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Thursday, June 20, 2019   An Evening to Remember: Congratulations to the Northern California Graduating Class of 2019!

WECA graduations do not mark beginnings, nor ends. Rather, they are exciting milestones on already distinguished journeys.

And WECA's Northern California graduation ceremony - held at WECA's Rancho Cordova headquarters on Saturday, June 8th - was no different. The halls of WECA bustled with graduates and their loved ones and reverberated with love and support.

"I was glad to see so many family and friends at the graduation," said Jimmie Slemp, Lead Instructor and graduation emcee. "Graduating from these programs is not easy, so to have that continued support from your loved ones is important."

WECA's Assistant Director of Apprenticeship, Wendy Flanagan, concurred.
"I love seeing everyone's family and friends here. They are just as much the driving force behind a graduate's success as the graduate themselves," Flanagan said.

The evening began with a lively cocktail hour featuring delicious appetizers from Hannibal's Catering and drinks poured by WECA's Curtis Hicks and Audra Jamieson, and then segued into a heartfelt ceremony emceed by Slemp.
Highlights of the graduation ceremony included:
  • Spotlights on WECA member contractors who were contributing sponsors to the graduation celebration, as well as special guests like Chris Nelson of Bergelectric, Jay Taylor of Vasko Electric, and Nora Carlton from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship
  • An inspiring speech from Windell Pascascio, Jr. - alumni of the WECA Class of 2013, and current WECA member contractor
  • Presentation of awards to the 20 graduating apprentices who completed their entire Apprenticeship while maintaining all of their discipline points
  • Presentation of diplomas by apprenticeship instructors Zach Wallace, Steve Kappes, John Arias, James Hall, and Lakeal Morris
  • Ideal Industries raffle hosted by current Ideal Industries representative and former WECA instructor Ned Johns
One of the focal points of the ceremony - aside from the presentation of awards and diplomas - was Pascascio, Jr.'s rousing speech. Pascascio, Jr. - a Belizean native who has worked in the electrical industry since he was 16 years old - detailed his journey to success and dispensed sage advice in his speech.
"My WECA apprenticeship years were exciting; I worked with Valley Unique Electric through my five years of the program before working with Rex Moore as a project manager for two years," said Pascascio, Jr. "Then I received my C10 license in 2016 and started my own business."
Pascascio, Jr. continued, stating, "Our first WECA apprentice will start their apprenticeship later this year, so I'm proud of that. And I want to take this moment to encourage everyone out there who has plans to eventually own their own electrical contracting business - you can do it."
Then Pascascio, Jr. rounded out his speech by saying, "I remember riding my bicycle with my tools in my backpack doing residential work and now I'm here today [as an electrical contractor], so if I can make it happen, any of you guys can make it happen."
And then the evening ended on a poignant note - provided by none other than emcee Slemp.
"I don't have tears in my eyes - it's just allergies," Slemp joked.
Slemp then added, "But seriously, I will miss some of these guys. This is one of the things I love about my job - being able to train apprentices to become electricians, and then watch them go out and succeed." 



 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 20, 2019   Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors and Donors for Making the NorCal Class of 2019 Graduation Great!

The gracious support we've received from our sponsors means a lot to us - and our graduates, of course!
Our sponsors helped to make our graduates' graduation day memorable, and for that, we cannot thank them enough.
 


Thank you for your continued support of WECA! 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 20, 2019   Northern California Commercial Apprenticeship Program Valedictorian Spotlight: Mark Mendenhall



Being an electrician is in the blood for 2019 Commercial Apprentice Valedictorian Mark Mendenhall.

Though Mendenhall initially wanted to be a firefighter, he cited his dad [Mendenhall Electric owner Carroll Mendenhall] as his inspiration for giving the electrical industry - and WECA - a chance.

"My dad played a big part in encouraging me to go down the path of becoming an electrician," said Mendenhall. "When I started at WECA, I wasn't 100 percent sure I wanted to be an electrician. But the classes kept me interested and I continued to learn new things that I could then apply out in the field."

Although Mendenhall grew up around the
 electrical industry, his WECA education prepared him for an industry career far more than simply being in the field ever could.

"My WECA education helped me learn a lot of code that you don't get to learn in the field, and WECA didn't just cram a bunch of information into my head to help me pass a test - instead it showed me how it actually applies. More importantly, WECA taught me how to better understand electricity and how it works, which then helps me understand what I'm doing and not just doing something because it says to on the prints. WECA has helped prepare me to hopefully take over the company in the future," said Mendenhall.

Mendenhall continued, "I get to put into practice what I have learned, but I still learn new things almost daily from those who have decades of experience and knowledge as electricians."

Mendenhall also encouraged current and future students to "do what you can to learn something new every day, whether it's from the code book or from one of the textbooks. There are going to be some boring or mundane days, but that can't keep you from choosing to learn and progress not only as an electrician, but also as a person."

And - as is typical for new graduates - Mendenhall found himself not only reflecting upon his educational journey, but also anticipating his future in the 
electrical field.

"I couldn't have done this without the support and encouragement from my beautiful wife, Tosha," said Mendenhall. "And now, I plan to learn more of the business side of things at the company [Mendenhall Electric]. I still have a lot to learn about how the business is run."

From all of us here at WECA - congratulations, Mark! We're excited to see what the future brings to the next generation of Mendenhall Electric.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 20, 2019   Come Support the WECA Southern California Graduating Class of 2019!

diploma_grad_cap.jpg

One graduation down, one more to go!

WECA's Southern California graduation is coming around the corner, so don't forget to come support our graduates on Saturday, July 13th at Faulkner Winery in Temecula!

Class of 2019 SoCal Graduation

Saturday, July 13th

5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.


Faulkner Winery

40620 Calle Contento

Temecula, CA 92591

Member contractors, industry partners, and industry supporters: buy your tickets and/or sponsorships here.

As always, thank you for your continued support of electrical and low voltage education, and we look forward to seeing you!  
 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 20, 2019   U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division Announces New Website for Wage Determination Data

Notice courtesy of the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division


The U.S. Department of Labor is excited to announce that this Friday, June 14, 2019, WDOL.gov will be transitioning to https://beta.SAM.govwhich will become the new website for wage determination data.

Features of the new beta.SAM.gov website include:
  • Search-based structure: Users may search for a variety of information including specific Davis-Bacon Act and McNamara-O'Hara Service Contract Act wage determinations.
  • Learning Center with tutorial videos, tools, and other information to familiarize users with the new site.
    • Ability to filter and search for content in the Learning Center. Users will find links to Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) and Code of Federal Regulations citations for specific subjects via a Cross Index page for Contractor Labor Standards.
    • The site features more FAR Supplements and other acquisition regulations than WDOL.gov.
    • A Transition Quick Start Guide will be available soon.
  • Create an account: By creating a beta.SAM.gov account, users may access certain features of the system only available to account holders. For example, users will have the option to:
    • Save previous searches.
    • Start or modify a Collective Bargaining Agreement.
    • "Follow" specific wage determinations and receive email alerts when changes or modifications are published.
      • Users will determine what to follow and the frequency of email alerts.
  • Timeline and history of changes to wage determinations.
Support for the wage determinations in beta.SAM.gov will continue to be provided by the Federal Service Desk.
Employers can find compliance assistance resources from the U.S. Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division at www.dol.gov/WHD/foremployers.htm. 
Additional compliance assistance resources and answers to common questions regarding federal labor laws can be found at www.Employer.gov. 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 20, 2019   Get an Up-Close Look at WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship Program

WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship Program
WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship Program

Are you - or is one of your employees, or someone you know -  interested in fire alarm systems, security systems, intrusion detection systems, CCTV systems, access control systems, audio systems, nurse call systems, and basic electrical systems?
Then a WECA low voltage apprenticeship - culminating in a multi-faceted, fast-paced, and competitive career as a low voltage technician - is a great choice!
Our three-year apprenticeship program prepares low voltage apprentices for successful careers in the industry through applying their learning and knowledge directly to their real-life job duties. 
Apprentices enrolled in our low voltage apprenticeship program also receive the following:
  • classroom and paid on-the-job training
  • fringe benefit packages provided by their contractor (which may include major medical, a 401k, or cash equivalent per the contractor's discretion)
  • hourly wages starting from minimum wage to $22 base per hour and increasing to between $14-$34 per hour by their third year of apprenticeship
Interested? Here's how to start a low voltage apprenticeship journey today:

Apply for apprenticeship here
or call us at 877-444-9322
Read more >>


Thursday, June 20, 2019   Upcoming Event: Workers' Compensation Action Network Town Hall and Summit in Redwood City

Courtesy of Workers' Compensation Action Network
 

Workers' Compensation Action Network Town Hall and Summit

FEATURING

Stephen Wagstaffe
San Mateo County District Attorney

Teena Barton
Senior Fraud Investigator, ICW Group

Friday, July 26, 2019
11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.

Angelica's

863 Main Street
Redwood City, CA 94063

JOIN US FOR LUNCH!
  • Come to a riveting, free Town Hall meeting sponsored by the Workers' Compensation Action Network, and featuring San Mateo County District Attorney Stephen Wagstaffe who will highlight how the county is aggressively pursuing workers' comp fraud prosecutions. 
  • Also presenting is nationally recognized expert in the insurance industry and law enforcement, Teena Barton, who is a Major Case Special Investigator in a workers' comp fraud investigation unit with ICW Group. She will share stories of how injured workers are used for profit and how recruitment firms receive illegal kickbacks for referrals to hospitals, doctors and ancillary medical service providers, essentially "using people like ATMs". She will discuss her own expertise as well as the case of Sean O'Keefe, a convicted workers' compensation attorney serving 13 months in federal prison for his involvement in a $200 million scheme built around recruitment referrals and kickbacks to use injured workers for fraudulent billing.
  • Jerry Azevedo with the Workers' Compensation Action Network (WCAN) will provide an update on the status of the workers' comp system in California and activity in the State Capitol. We will also hear from YOU, business owners, who can share your workers' comp experiences with the District Attorney.
  • WCAN is a broad-based, statewide coalition that has successfully fought for reforms to provide state and local officials more tools to combat workers' compensation fraud to help meet the dual goals of stable costs for employers and higher benefits for injured workers. In recent years, state lawmakers enacted several pieces of legislation designed to improve system efficiency, reduce conflict and legislation, and stem abuses by service providers. These reforms are delivering higher benefits to California workers while stabilizing employer costs. Despite these reforms, California's system remains one of the most costly and litigious in the nation and vulnerable to evolving forms of fraud and abuse.
  • Complimentary lunch will be provided. 
 
  •  Why Crack Down on Workers' Comp Fraud?
  • Fraud hurts both employers and injured workers. It inflates employer costs, clogs the injured workers' compensation court and administrative systems, delays the resolution of claims, diverts limited system resources, and exploits injured workers who do not receive the medical care needed to properly heal from their injuries. 
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 19, 2019   An Evening to Remember: Congratulations to the Northern California Graduating Class of 2019!

2019 Northern California Graduation Highlights
 
WECA graduations do not mark beginnings, nor ends. Rather, they are exciting milestones on already distinguished journeys.

And WECA's Northern California graduation ceremony - held at WECA's Rancho Cordova headquarters on Saturday, June 8th - was no different. The halls of WECA bustled with graduates and their loved ones and reverberated with love and support.
 
"I was glad to see so many family and friends at the graduation," said Jimmie Slemp, Lead Instructor and graduation emcee. "Graduating from these programs is not easy, so to have that continued support from your loved ones is important."

WECA's Assistant Director of Apprenticeship, Wendy Flanagan, concurred.

"I love seeing everyone's family and friends here. They are just as much the driving force behind a graduate's success as the graduate themselves," Flanagan said.

The evening began with a lively cocktail hour featuring delicious appetizers from Hannibal's Catering and drinks poured by WECA's Curtis Hicks and Audra Jamieson, and then segued into a heartfelt ceremony emceed by Slemp.

Highlights of the graduation ceremony included:
  • Spotlights on WECA member contractors who were contributing sponsors to the graduation celebration, as well as special guests like Chris Nelson of Bergelectric, Jay Taylor of Vasko Electric, and Nora Carlton from the U.S. Department of Labor Office of Apprenticeship
  • An inspiring speech from Windell Pascascio, Jr. - alumni of the WECA Class of 2013, and current WECA member contractor
  • Presentation of awards to the 20 graduating apprentices who completed their entire Apprenticeship while maintaining all of their discipline points
  • Presentation of diplomas by apprenticeship instructors Zach Wallace, Steve Kappes, John Arias, James Hall, and Lakeal Morris
  • Ideal Industries raffle hosted by current Ideal Industries representative and former WECA instructor Ned Johns
One of the focal points of the ceremony - aside from the presentation of awards and diplomas - was Pascascio, Jr.'s rousing speech. Pascascio, Jr. - a Belizean native who has worked in the electrical industry since he was 16 years old - detailed his journey to success and dispensed sage advice in his speech.

"My WECA apprenticeship years were exciting; I worked with Valley Unique Electric through my five years of the program before working with Rex Moore as a project manager for two years," said Pascascio, Jr. "Then I received my C10 license in 2016 and started my own business."

Pascascio, Jr. continued, stating, "Our first WECA apprentice will start their apprenticeship later this year, so I'm proud of that. And I want to take this moment to encourage everyone out there who has plans to eventually own their own electrical contracting business - you can do it."

Then Pascascio, Jr. rounded out his speech by saying, "I remember riding my bicycle with my tools in my backpack doing residential work and now I'm here today [as an electrical contractor], so if I can make it happen, any of you guys can make it happen."

And then the evening ended on a poignant note - provided by none other than emcee Slemp.

"I don't have tears in my eyes - it's just allergies," Slemp joked.
 
Slemp then added, "But seriously, I will miss some of these guys. This is one of the things I love about my job - being able to train apprentices to become electricians, and then watch them go out and succeed."
 
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 19, 2019   Thank You to Our Generous Sponsors and Donors for Making the NorCal Class of 2019 Graduation Great!

The gracious support we've received from our sponsors means a lot to us - and our graduates, of course!

Our sponsors helped to make our graduates' graduation day memorable, and for that, we cannot thank them enough.

Thank you for your continued support of WECA! 
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 19, 2019   Get an Up-Close Look at WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship Program

WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship Program
WECA's Low Voltage Apprenticeship Program


Are you interested in fire alarm systems, security systems, intrusion detection systems, CCTV systems, access control systems, audio systems, or basic electrical systems?

Then a WECA low voltage apprenticeship - culminating in a multi-faceted, fast-paced, and competitive career as a low voltage technician - may be right for you!

Our three-year apprenticeship program prepares apprentices for successful careers in the electrical industry through applying their learning and knowledge directly to their real-life job duties. 

Apprentices enrolled in our low voltage apprenticeship program also receive the following:
  • classroom and paid on-the-job training
  • fringe benefit packages provided by their contractor (which may include major medical, a 401k, or cash equivalent per the contractor's discretion)
  • competitive hourly wages increasing through third year of apprenticeship
Interested? Here's how you can start your low voltage apprenticeship journey today:

Apply for apprenticeship here
or call us at 877-444-9322
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 19, 2019   Journeyman Continuing Education Spotlight: Solar Power for Electricians


Solar Power for Electricians (16 hour course)(2014 NEC Edition)

This course establishes the fundamental concepts required for safe, code-compliant installation of photovoltaic systems. Focusing on residential and commercial-scale systems, the course includes array configurations and electrical design characteristics for grid-tied Photovoltaic (PV) systems but also covers equipment essential to understanding all types of PV systems, including systems incorporating back-up energy and energy storage sources. This course addresses PV system installations from the perspective of the 2014 National Electrical Code (NEC), including but not limited to: interconnection requirements and calculations; disconnect requirements; overcurrent protection; and wire sizing and grounding requirements, applicable to all types and sizes of PV installations. This course can be taken as an introductory course or as a gateway for those seeking to advance their knowledge in the solar industry. 

Interested? Learn more and sign up here! 
Read more >>


Wednesday, June 19, 2019   Commercial Apprentice Health Insurance Update: Anthem Blue Cross's Pharmacy Benefits

Notice from our health insurance provider, Anthem Blue Cross

Background

On January 30, Anthem announced that we're accelerating the launch of IngenioRx, our new pharmacy benefits manager (PBM), and we wanted to let you know that your pharmacy benefits will move to IngenioRx on July 1, 2019.

We have spent more than 15 months planning this transition and, based on the results of our rigorous testing, we are confident in our ability to transition with as little disruption as possible.

More importantly, we are excited about the additional value we will be able to deliver to you with this move through things like improved pricing and enhanced member tools.

Our goal is to make this as easy as possible for you. Most of the changes will be behind the scenes so there is very little that you should have to do. And, if there is something you need to do, we'll let you know.

Here is a Client Guide that provides some general information about the move, along with answers to frequently asked questions.

Questions?

If you have questions, please contact your Anthem Account Manager.

Implementation

You should have recently received a letter from Anthem letting you know that your pharmacy benefits will be powered by IngenioRx beginning on July 1, 2019. We're excited about all the opportunities IngenioRx brings, but most of all, we want to make sure you can continue to get your prescriptions without missing a beat.

One of the most important steps you can take to make sure you are ready for the transition is to make sure any pharmacy you use has your most recent Anthem ID card information on file. This will help to ensure that they have the information they need to quickly and accurately process your prescriptions.

Not sure if you are using your most recent card?

Your ID card has an "Issue Date" on the back corner. As long as your issue date is September 2018 or later, you have your most recent card.

What should I do if I don't have my most recent card?

First, you can download a digital copy of your ID card at anthem.com or on the Anthem Anywhere mobile app. You can even use the digital ID card straight from your smartphone at the pharmacy counter.

Second, you can order a new ID card anytime by requesting one online or giving us a call. Just login at anthem.com and click on Request ID card to order a new one. Or call the Member Services number on the back of the ID card you do have. A new ID card will be mailed to your home in about five business days.

Finally, you can also bring a copy of this letter to your pharmacy and share it with your pharmacist. Please ask them to update your record with the information below:

RXBIN: 020099
RXPCN: WG

If you have any questions, please call the Pharmacy Member Services number on your card. 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 13, 2019   Thought

 


Richard Markuson

Update on 2019 Labor and Employment Legislation: What Remains? by Chris Micheli of Aprea and Micheli Now that the house of origin deadline has passed, and we are basically at the mid-point in the California Legislative Session, we can take a look at pending legislation with particular attention to the bills that will continue along the legislative process in the second house. The focus of this article is on pending labor and employment legislation. The following are the major bills of particular interest to the California business community.

AB 5 (Gonzalez) - Independent contractors This bill would codify the decision in the Dynamex case and clarify its application. The bill would provide that the factors of the "ABC" test be applied to determine the status of a worker as an employee or independent contractor for all provisions of the Labor Code and the Unemployment Insurance Code. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 9 (Reyes) - Statute of limitations This bill would extend the statute of limitations period to three years for complaints alleging employment discrimination. The bill would make conforming changes in provisions that grant a person allegedly aggrieved by an unlawful practice who first obtains knowledge of the facts of the alleged unlawful practice after the expiration of the limitations period. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 35 (Kalra) - Blood lead levels This bill would require the State Department of Public Health to consider a report from a laboratory of an employee's blood lead level at or above 20 micrograms per deciliter to be injurious to the health of the employee and to report that case within five business days of receiving the report to the Division of Occupational Safety Health. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 51 (Gonzalez) - Employment arbitration This bill would prohibit a person from requiring any applicant for employment or any employee to waive any right, forum, or procedure for a violation of any provision of the California Fair Employment and Housing Act or other specific statutes governing employment as a condition of employment, continued employment, or the receipt of any employment-related benefit. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 170 (Gonzalez) - Joint employer liability This bill would require a client employer to share with a labor contractor all civil legal responsibility and civil liability for harassment for all workers supplied by that labor contractor. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 171 (Gonzalez) - Retaliation claims The bill would prohibit an employer from discharging or in any manner discriminating or retaliating against an employee because of the employee's status as a victim of sexual harassment, as defined by the California Fair Employment and Housing Act. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 403 (Kalra) - Attorneys' fees in DLSE cases This bill would authorize a court to award attorney's fees to a plaintiff who brings a successful action for a violation of the law. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 418 (Kalra) - Union representative privilege This bill would establish a privilege between a union agent, as defined, and a represented employee or represented former employee to refuse to disclose any confidential communication between the employee or former employee and the union agent made while the union agent was acting in the union agent's representative capacity. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 520 (Kalra) - Prevailing wage This bill would provide that a public subsidy is de minimis if it is both less than $275,000 and less than two percent of the total project cost. The bill would specify that those provisions do not apply to a project that was advertised for bid, or a contract that was awarded before July 1, 2020. Status: Pending in the Senate fiscal committee

AB 547 (Gonzalez) - Janitorial workers This bill would prohibit the division from approving a registration if the employer does not include in their written application the name of any subcontractor or franchise servicing contracts affiliated with a branch location and the number of subcontracted or franchise covered workers servicing each of those contracts, the total number of covered workers working out of a listed branch office, and the address of each work location serviced by a branch office. Status: Pending in the Senate fiscal committee

AB 589 (Gonzalez) - Workers' bill of rights This bill would make it unlawful for an employer to knowingly destroy, conceal, remove, confiscate, or possess any actual or purported passport or other immigration document, or any other actual or purported government identification document of another person in the course of committing, or with the intent to commit, trafficking, peonage, slavery, involuntary servitude, or a coercive labor practice. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 749 (Stone) - No-rehire provisions This bill would prohibit an agreement to settle an employment dispute from containing a provision that prohibits, prevents, or otherwise restricts a settling party that is an aggrieved person, as defined, from working for the employer against which the aggrieved person has filed a claim or any parent company, subsidiary, division, affiliate, or contractor of the employer. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 1066 (Gonzalez) - Unemployment insurance This bill would restore eligibility for unemployment benefits after the first four weeks of a trade dispute for an employee who left work because of the trade dispute. The bill would specify that the one-week waiting period otherwise required for unemployment benefits is not additionally required under these circumstances. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 1360 (Ting) - Food deliveries This bill would define a food delivery platform as a business engaged in the service of online food ordering and delivery from retail food establishments to a consumer, and would require a food delivery platform and food delivery driver to ensure that food is transported during delivery in a manner that meets specified food safety requirements. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 1478 (Carrillo) - Job protected leave This bill would authorize an employee aggrieved to bring a private civil action against the employee's employer and would not require that employee to pursue any other remedy before bringing that action. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

AB 1677 (Weber) - Call centers This bill would establish the Protect Call Center Jobs Act of 2019 to require an employer of customer service employees in a call center, as specified, that intends to relocate from this state to a foreign country to notify the commissioner at least 120 days before the relocation. The bill would require the Labor Commissioner to impose, in the commissioner's discretion, one of two specified penalties, including a civil penalty of up to $10,000, upon an employer that fails to provide this notice. Status: Pending in the Senate policy committee

SB 142 (Wiener) - Lactation accommodation This bill would require an employer to provide a lactation room or location that includes prescribed features and would require an employer to provide access to a sink and refrigerator close to the employee's workspace, as specified. Status: Pending in the Assembly policy committee

SB 171 (Jackson) - Pay data disclosure This bill would require, on or before March 31, 2021, and on or before March 31 each year thereafter, a private employer that has 100 or more employees and who is required to file an annual Employer Information Report under federal law, to submit a pay data report to the Department of Fair Employment and Housing that contains specified wage information. Status: Pending in the Assembly policy committee

SB 218 (Bradford) - Local FEHA enforcement This bill would authorize the legislative body of a local government to enact anti-discrimination laws relating to employment, including establishing remedies and penalties for violations. The bill would authorize local governments to create a local agency to enforce these local anti-discrimination laws. Status: Pending in the Assembly policy committee

SB 707 (Wieckowski) - Arbitration This bill would require the court to impose a monetary sanction on the drafting party who materially breaches an arbitration agreement, and would authorize the court to impose other sanctions, as specified. If the employee or consumer compels arbitration, the bill would require the arbitrator to impose appropriate sanctions on the drafting party, including monetary sanctions, issue sanctions, evidence sanctions, or terminating sanctions. Status: Pending in the Assembly policy committee

The Legislature is scheduled to adjourn on September 13, and Governor Gavin Newsom will have 30 days to act on measures sent to him by that date. We'll check back after final actions take place on these and other measures.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 13, 2019   Legislative Update

WECA Supported Legislation (AB 1736) Ever wonder what happened to that bid? The sponsor of AB 1736 (ASAC) needs contractor input. The bill would expedite notification of bid results. The Senate has asked sponsors some questions, and they need answers by 3 p.m. Monday, June 17. All responses will be aggregated, and you will not be identified. Survey Link
 
Federal Legislative Update
Labor Bills Pass Committee: The House Education and Labor Committee cleared three labor-related bills Tuesday, including a measure aimed at protecting older workers from discrimination on the job and another that seeks to prevent violence against health care workers. The panel also green-lighted legislation to shore up failing multiemployer pension plans. All three bills now head to the floor for a full House vote.
 
Dems Take on Overtime: Four Democrats on Tuesday introduced legislation to reinstate an Obama-era rule that more than doubled the salary level under which virtually all workers qualify for overtime pay and to head off a proposed Trump administration rule that would extend those benefits to millions fewer. The bill - introduced by Reps. Bobby Scott (D-Va.) and Mark Takano (D-Calif.), and Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) - would guarantee overtime eligibility for nearly all workers making less than $51,000. The ceiling currently is $23,660. The Trump administration has proposed raising the overtime salary threshold to $35,308. That would extend overtime benefits to an additional 1.1 million workers; the Democrats' proposal would extend it to more than 4 million.
Read more >>


Thursday, June 13, 2019   What We're Reading, Listening To, and Watching

Housing - Two Takes on Why it is Expensive Los Angeles Times housing reporter Liam Dillon and CALmatters' data reporter Matt Levin chat about the latest developments in California housing policy and interview Dan Dunmoyer of CBIA and Cesar Diaz of State Building and Construction Trades Council. Diaz begins at 48 minutes. Listen
 
Analysts: Infrastructure, modularization, resiliency top industry drivers Approaching the halfway mark of the year, the commercial construction industry is strong, staving off any premature cooling before an impending economic downturn and integrating innovation in relatively slow but steady measures all the time. But what do experts anticipate for the rest of the year and going into next? Two presenters at last week's ENR FutureTech conference in San Francisco offered their takes on where the industry is heading - some that mirror the trends Construction Dive anticipated going into the year and some that represent minor shifts in the market. Story
 
States Sue Over Sprint-T-Mobile Merger: A group of 10 state attorneys general led by New York's Letitia James and California's Xavier Becerra is suing to block the $26 billion merger between T-Mobile and Sprint." Joined by AGs from Colorado, the District of Columbia, Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Nevada, Virginia, and Wisconsin, the AGs argued in a written statement that the deal would kill jobs and harm consumers. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced in May that he planned to approve the deal, but DOJ antitrust officials "aren't satisfied with the T-Mobile-Sprint transaction as structured and have been negotiating with the companies on divesting assets." The merger would reduce the U.S. wireless market to three major players (the others are AT&T and Verizon). The state AGs' objections echo those of 37 House Democrats who sent a letter to federal regulators earlier this year arguing the deal will "destroy jobs and drive down wages." The Communication Workers of America estimates the consolidation will eliminate 30,000 jobs, and researchers at the Economic Policy Institute and the Roosevelt Institute, two left-leaning think tanks, estimate it will lower wireless workers' average weekly earnings by up to 7 percent in affected labor markets.
 
School Money: Los Angeles teachers union officials were banking on Measure EE's parcel tax allaying a fiscal shortfall that drove this year's strike, but EE failing badly last week raises the stakes for a statewide ballot initiative that would lift Prop 13 tax caps on commercial properties. United Teachers Los Angeles just kicked in another $50,000 for the measure and SEIU's long-term care local an additional $50,000. This comes after the California Federation of Teachers and SEIU California pouring on a combined $750,000 since March. Business money is flowing into the "no" side too, with real estate and railroad companies reporting a fresh round of contributions. And Governor Newsom weighed in recently noting that Measure EE going down increases the pressure on split role.
 
New Oregon Gross Receipts Tax Presents Special Challenges for Construction Projects Located in Oregon Oregon has enacted a new gross receipts tax (the "Oregon CAT"), primarily based on the Ohio commercial activity tax ("Ohio CAT"), but with significant differences. The Oregon CAT could prove especially burdensome for the construction industry, particularly for general contractors and design professionals, because a substantial portion of gross revenue received often is dedicated to the payment of subcontractors, suppliers and subconsultants (who each will again pay the Oregon CAT on their Oregon-source gross receipts). Further, the statute does not provide transition relief for contracts entered into before the Oregon CAT could be factored into bids and contract prices. Story
Read more >>


Thursday, June 13, 2019   Labor Law, NLRB, and Recent Court Decisions

SSA "No-Match" Letters In March 2019, the Social Security Administration ("SSA") resumed the practice of sending "No-Match Letters" to those employers who the SSA identified as having at least one name and social security number ("SSN") combination submitted on a wage and tax statement (Form W-2) that did not match its SSA records. In response to that, an employer must respond with any corrections on Form W-2c (a Corrected Wage and Tax Statement) within 60 days of receipt of the no-match letter. Some employers may remember receiving these No-Match Letters in the past, until 2012, when the Obama Administration suspended this practice. Story
 
Cannabis in California In a simpler time, courts that were reviewing medical cannabis laws issued employer-friendly decisions, generally finding no duty to accommodate medical cannabis even when state laws allowed its use for medical purposes. Now, however, the tide is rapidly turning. Where does California employment law currently stand on cannabis? Story
 
NLRA Rights Poster Has Been Updated The U.S. Department of Labor has announced minor "technical" updates to the National Labor Relations Act poster entitled "Notification of Employee Rights under Federal Labor Law." Federal contractors and subcontractors are required to display this poster pursuant to Executive Order 13496.
The DOL has made the following changes to the poster:
  • Updated the phone number for the National Labor Relations Board, which enforces the NLRA. The new number is 1-844-762-NLRB (6572).
  • Updated the contact information that can be used by individuals who have hearing impairments by including a link to the Federal Relay Service.
Contractors should ensure that they are displaying the most up-to-date version of the poster, which may be obtained free of charge here.
 
Profanity and Aggressive Physical Conduct May Be Protected Activity
The National Labor Relations Board found that a union steward's use of profanity and "aggressive physical conduct" in a location visible to employees and customers may be protected by the National Labor Relations Act. In Greyhound Lines, Inc., a chief union steward was terminated for his conduct during a confrontation with a company manager over the manager's alleged mistreatment of a fellow employee. The Board found that the steward was engaged in protected union activity during the confrontation. Under Board law set forth in the 1979 case of Atlantic Steel Co., however, an employee's misconduct may cause the loss of protection under the Act, depending on four factors: (1) the location of the discussion; (2) the subject matter of the discussion; (3) the nature of the employee's outburst; and (4) whether the outburst was, in any way, provoked by the employer's unfair labor practices. Story
 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 13, 2019   Special Event Notice

WECA members with interest in San Joaquin County may want to attend an event next week for Supervisor Tom Patti at Haggerty Construction. WECA is a sponsor, and WECA members can attend for free but are encouraged to consider contributing.

Read more >>


Thursday, June 06, 2019   2019 WECA All-Team Meeting: reinvigorating WECA's culture and strengthening relationships



There is no 'I' in WECA ... or in team.

This much was evident at WECA's annual All-Team Meeting at its Rancho Cordova headquarters on Friday, May 31st. The event - which included WECA employees based in San Diego, Riverside, and Texas - highlighted the employees' impressive display of teamwork, camaraderie, and passion for continuing and improving upon WECA's standards of excellence.

"It was a full day of helping each other determine paths for professional growth, and having fun with teamwork," said Terry Seabury, WECA's Executive Director and CEO. "It is always great to have the entire team together to focus on ourselves and each other."

The day kicked off with rousing remarks from Seabury as well as Don Black, WECA's apprenticeship training director.

"Professional development is a key component of both WECA's success and each employee's growth," said Black. "Don't be afraid to ask the question - what could I do? And focus on professional development that will help you in your daily job and that is
interesting to you." 

Black also implored employees to not be "afraid to think beyond your current job duties. By growing your skills, you create added value and resources to WECA, and invest in what you do to support the organization."

Black then invited employees to share their thoughts on how WECA could improve both internally and externally as an organization. Employees offered thoughtful and proactive suggestions such as focusing on education development, promoting personal and organizational wellness, fostering leadership opportunities for employees, improving WECA's technology offerings, and streamlining the apprenticeship onboarding process.

To implement these ideas, employees then formed groups - one for each of the above suggestions. In these groups, employees participated in an hour-long scavenger hunt of sorts; bouncing around practicable goals and researching and identifying courses and certifications employees could take to meet these goals. After the scavenger hunt, the WECA team re-convened to present their suggested goals and courses for each idea.
Following the scavenger hunt was a raffle replete with unique prizes, such as a basket chock-full of lottery tickets, a s'mores grilling set, tickets to a Sacramento River Cats baseball game, and more. The raffle elicited smiles and cheers, as well as conciliatory groans from those who didn't win their desired prizes.

After lunch came the main attraction of the day: the games.

WECA employees partook in good-natured competition as they split into groups and completed zany activities which required teamwork and effective communication.

The event concluded with the winning team receiving medals, and with the entire WECA team assembling for two group shots - one serious, one humorous - amidst a sea of colorful balloons. It was the perfect note to end on.

Here's to another fun, productive, and fulfilling year of training and serving California's best merit shop contractors and their employees!
Read more >>


Thursday, June 06, 2019   Online solar courses for Electrician Trainees and Journeymen

Have your electrican trainees and journeymen harness the power of the sun this summer with WECA's online solar course offerings!

And for Spanish-speaking electrician trainees and journeymen, WECA offers three online solar course offerings in Spanish.

Learn more about and register your electrician trainees and journeymen for any of our solar course offerings, below. 

Faultless Solar (32-hour course)
 



This course combines two of WECA's popular 16-hour courses, "Faultless" and "Solar Power for Electricians," into one convenient 32-hour package. Learn about how to coordinate information in specific NEC articles, so you can properly select and install the correct electrical circuit components and conductors needed for different load and circuit configurations. Then, build on that knowledge as you learn about the fundamental concepts required for safe, code-compliant installation of residential and commercial-scale Solar Photovoltaic systems. Learn more and register here. 

 FVOL101: Solar Electric Design and Installation (Grid-Direct) Spanish (60-hour course)
 


This is a fundamental course for anyone who wants to start a career in photovoltaic energy (FV) and/or understand the details of electricity generation based on the photoelectric effect. The FV101 course platform will allow you to continue to develop in areas such as: Design, inspection, installation, maintenance, technical sales and technical support; all based on the most rigorous electrical codes and practices recommended by professionals with decades of experience; with WECA education partner Solar Energy International. Learn more and register here. 

 FVOL202: Advanced PV System Design and the NEC (Grid-Direct) Spanish (60-hour course)


Immerse yourself in the advanced details of design and good practices related to photovoltaic (PV) systems in this scheduled, self-paced course from WECA education partner Solar Energy International. With a highly technical approach, this course was designed to support designers, installers, inspectors and engineers who want to understand the intrinsic details of the PV system design, and the requirements for proper installation. The course provides a deep look at the National Electrical Code (NEC® 2014) standards as well as recommended industry practices. Learn more and register here. 

 FVOL203: PV System Fundamentals (Battery-Based) Spanish (40-hour course)
 


This scheduled, self-paced course from WECA education partner Solar Energy International will provide the student with an understanding of the fundamental concepts needed to work safely on battery-based PV systems; These include isolated (or self-contained) PV systems and GRID-connected PV systems with battery backup. We study the purpose, applications and design criteria required for the different components to be selected and integrated as: Charge controllers, batteries, PV array and battery-based inverters (extremely different from the inverters connected to the network). The information in this course will provide you with a theoretical understanding of battery-based PV systems that you can apply to real installations and practical applications. Learn more and register here. 

 PVOL101: Solar Electric Design and Installation (Grid-Direct) (60-hour course)
 


This scheduled self-paced instructor-led course from WECA education partner Solar Energy International is for students who want to learn the fundamentals and gain a solid understanding of various components, system architectures, and applications for PV systems. Successful completion of this course results in State of California Journeyman Continuing Education or Electrician Trainee hours, and also counts as one of the two courses required to qualify students to sit for the NABCEP PV Associate Exam. Learn more and register here. 


 PVOL202: Advanced PV System Design and the NEC (Grid-Direct) (60-hour course) 
 


This scheduled self-paced instructor-led course from WECA education partner Solar Energy International is for students who want to take a deep dive into National Electrical Code 2017 standards as well as other best practices that pertain to designing grid-direct PV systems. Learn more and register here. 


 PVOL203: PV System Fundamentals (Battery-Based) (40-hour course)
 


This scheduled self-paced instructor-led course from WECA education partner Solar Energy International is for students who want to focus on the fundamentals of battery-based PV systems. Components such as batteries, charge controllers, and battery-based inverters are covered in detail, along with safety and maintenance considerations unique to battery-based systems, load analysis, battery bank configuration, and the electrical integration of the system. Learn more and register here. 


 PVOL350: Tools and Techniques for Operations and Maintenance (40-hour course) 
 


This scheduled self-paced instructor-led course from WECA education partner Solar Energy International is an advanced online training targeted towards solar professionals who want to take their technical skills to the next level. This course is geared towards training PV technicians to safely and effectively perform operations and maintenance (O&M) tasks including inspections, commissioning, performance verification, and troubleshooting. Learn more and register here. 


 Solar Power for Electricians (16-hour course)
 


Learn about the fundamental concepts required for safe, code-compliant installation of residential and commercial-scale Photovoltaic systems. Learn more and register here. 



Understanding NEC Requirements for Solar Photovoltaic Systems Home Study Course (16-hour course) 
 


This 16-hour course is based on Mike Holt's "Illustrated Guide to Understanding NEC Requirements for Solar Photovoltaic Systems, based on the 2014 NEC" textbook and DVDs. Learn more and register here. 
Read more >>


Thursday, June 06, 2019   All parties working with apprentices must participate in anti-harassment training



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 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 following resources. Further resources are also available to our member contractors on WECA's website under 'Member Forms and Resources' in the 'Approved to Train' section. 

Anti-Harassment and EEO Resources for Member Contractors and their Employees

View the EEO Training Here

Read the Anti-Harassment Fact Sheet

Read WECA's Equal Opportunity Pledge
Read more >>


Thursday, June 06, 2019   Come support the WECA Graduating Classes of 2019!

diploma_grad_cap.jpg

Graduation is literally just right around the corner - so don't forget to come support our NorCal graduates this Saturday, June 8th at WECA headquarters in Rancho Cordova!

Class of 2019 NorCal Graduation

Saturday, June 8th

4:30 p.m. - 7:30 p.m.


WECA headquarters

3695 Bleckely Street

Rancho Cordova, CA 95655


For member contractors, industry partners, and industry supporters in Southern California, there's still time to buy tickets and/or sponsorships for our SoCalgraduation on Saturday, July 13th at Faulkner Winery in Temecula!


Class of 2019 SoCal Graduation

Saturday, July 13th

5:30 p.m. - 8:30 p.m.


Faulkner Winery

40620 Calle Contento

Temecula, CA 92591



As always, thank you for your continued support electrical and low voltage education, and we look forward to seeing you! 
 
Read more >>


Thursday, May 30, 2019   Thought

 

Richard Markuson

Does "Separation of Powers" Accurately Describe the USA? I apologize in advance to my readers who are Tom Steyer fans, but this guy really is over the top. Steyer, the Democratic activist whose NeedtoImpeach.com organization has amassed more than 8 million signatures in support of impeachment, said that Speaker Nancy Pelosi's recent statements were "honestly, silly.'' What did the Speaker say that veered into "silly?" When Speaker Pelosi reacted to the only public comments by Special Counsel Robert Mueller, "she promised that congressional Democrats will continue their constitutional duty of 'investigating and litigating' to seek 'ironclad' evidence of wrongdoing by President Donald Trump.
 
Steyer was not satisfied and pronounced the Mueller report provided the "ironclad evidence" Pelosi sought. Steyer continued, "We have a President who literally won't speak to Congress, let alone answer their subpoenas or provide any witnesses on anything. The President has said, 'I am not subject to oversight by Congress ... the Constitution be damned." [Editor: I have yet to find a direct quote from President Trump that the Constitution provides 'congressional oversight' of the President and I have asked Mr. Steyer to point to the provision in the Constitution that gives it this power - I'll report next time on his response].
 
Now I will agree with some critics of the growth of "Imperial Presidency"; that was never the intention of the framers of the Constitution. In Federalist 51, James Madison justifies bicameralism in terms of maintaining congressional authority. "It is not possible to give" the judicial and the executive branches "an equal power of self-defense" against the Congress, because that would undermine the republican quality of the government, where "the legislative authority necessarily predominates." Instead, the proper safeguard against legislative abuse is "to divide the legislature into different branches," which will "render them . . . as little connected with each other" as practicable.
 
And Mickey Edwards - a former eight-term member of Congress and chairman of the House Republican Policy Committee - observed in 2017 that his teaching of government at Harvard and Princeton was flawed. "I taught my students a system of government based on the Constitution. I thought I was teaching about current events. Instead, I now realize, I was teaching ancient history," said Edwards. Edwards' take on today's separation of powers is that it is "no longer between the three original, constitutionally created, branches of government ... but between, on the one hand, a branch consisting of the President, his supporters in Congress and their mutual supporters on the federal bench; and on the other hand, a branch made up of the party in opposition to the President, his opponents in Congress and their co-partisans on the bench." (You can read his article here)
 
What Edwards neglected to include in his analysis is the role of voters. You could add to his commentary after the judiciary, "voters who support the President and voters who oppose the President." They are as polarized (and polarizing) as the others. And as Stephan Chapman pointed out in Reason, "Donald Trump exploits this growing political and cultural separation. Extreme, vocal ideologues are gaining ground on both the right and the left. One-third of likely voters, a poll found, think we are on the verge on civil war."
 
But lest I leave you with my usual dour view on political life, Chapman offers Morris Fiorina, a political scientist at Stanford University and the Hoover Institution "who does us the favor of explaining why much of what we worry about is unfounded."
 
Fiorina observes that in the 1950s, 75 percent of Americans were happy to call themselves Democrats or Republicans, but today, only 60 percent identify with either party. Independents now make up a plurality of the public. Self-described moderates outnumber either liberals or conservatives. Fiorina says, "most people are not very conservative or very liberal. But the middle has no home in either party. That's one reason more Americans call themselves independents."
 
Chapman concludes, "The bad news is that our democracy does a poor job of giving the people what they want." The struggle is to decide what America wants, and how to deliver it in a political culture where cooperation and bi-partisanship seems to be non-existent.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 30, 2019   Legislative Update

Assembly Passes Gig Work Bill, Limiting Contractor Status The State Assembly on Wednesday passed AB 5 (Gonzalez) that could send seismic changes across California's employment landscape if passed by the Senate and signed by Governor Newsom. Hundreds of thousands of independent contractors, ranging from Uber and Lyft drivers to manicurists, could become employees under AB 5, which codifies the recent California Supreme Court decision known as Dynamex.
 
Spend that Surplus California's Democratic legislators continued their push to expand health care for poor people, as tracked by CALmatters health reporter Elizabeth Aguilera. The Senate and Assembly approved bills to expand state-funded health care for low-income adult undocumented immigrants. Children already are covered. One bill by Sen. Maria Elena Durazo of Los Angeles would cover undocumented immigrants ages 19-25 and 65 and older. Sen. Richard Pan of Sacramento is carrying Senate Bill 65 to provide state-funded subsidies for middle-income people who don't receive help with the cost of health insurance. To pay for those subsidies, Gov. Gavin Newsom proposed imposing a state-only individual mandate charging people $695 a year if they fail to buy health insurance. Pan is holding his legislation to create an individual state mandate but intends to push to have the mandate included as part of the state budget being negotiated now. If approved as part of the budget, the measure would take effect July 1.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 30, 2019   What We're Reading and Watching

Robots: more than 7K robots to take on construction work by 2025 A growing number of construction companies are incorporating robots to solve labor shortages and reap the benefits of improved speed, efficiency, safety, and profits, according to a new report. More
 
Preparing for California's Next Recession California is enjoying one of the longest growth periods in history and appears well-prepared to endure a mild economic downturn. But a more severe crisis would exhaust current reserves, decrease school funding, and open a significant budget gap for several years. What steps can the state be taking to prepare for and minimize these outcomes? Report
 
9 Signs Your Small Business is About to Get HackedYou can never really tell if your small business is going to be hacked. But the likelihood is high. In fact, according to a 2015 report, 62% of small and medium-sized companies have been hit by a data breach. Even if you take every precaution, you're still at risk. But if you ignore this situation, you're putting yourself and your company in danger of severe disruption, loss of information, and potential liabilities. Are you in trouble? The hackers are looking for weaknesses and, when found, they'll pounce. If you are doing (or not doing) any of these nine things you're definitely more at risk of being hacked. Report
 
Nevada Governor Signs Prevailing Wage, Union Bills Nevada Gov. Steve Sisolak signed several new bills into law this week, including two construction-related regulations - one that raises the prevailing wage for workers on some public construction projects and another that removes restrictions on union-affiliated contractors by public agencies. Story
Read more >>


Thursday, May 30, 2019   Labor Law, NLRB, and Recent Court Decisions

Staff Changes at the NLRB: "The heads of the National Labor Relations Board are planning a restructure of administrative staff at the agency's roughly 26 regional offices, including demoting employees in certain job classifications nationwide," Bloomberg Law's Hassan Kanu reports. "The plan would reclassify almost all NLRB administrative professionals as general 'program support assistants,' and place those employees into the same grade within the government's General Schedule pay system," he writes. NLRB General Counsel Peter Robb and the agency's career staff have been at odds since January 2018, when Robb proposed restructuring the agency to demote regional directors, whom the business lobby considers too pro-union. More from Bloomberg Law here.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 23, 2019   Alumni and WECA Member Contractor Spotlight: Windell Pascascio, Jr. and Imperial Electric Service



WECA Alumni Windell Pascascio, Jr., (left) poses with Assistant Director of Apprenticeship, Wendy Flanagan (right).


When Windell Pascascio, Jr. was growing up in the Central American country of Belize, he originally aspired to be an architect.

But when Pascascio, Jr. was just 16 years old, he started doing residential electrical work and contributing to projects such as a hydroelectric dam on the border of Belize and Guatemala. And when Pascascio, Jr., moved to the United States later, he set his sights upon WECA's apprenticeship program thanks to the program's structure and philosophy.

"I think that WECA's program is hands-down the best program out there for upcoming electricians," said Pascascio, Jr. "Everyone should know about WECA and what it has to offer because it's the best way to start or continue in the electrical trade."

Pascascio, Jr.'s praise for WECA doesn't end there.

"[Instructors] Zach Wallace and Jimmie Slemp both have a desire to make sure you're learning something before leaving their class, and took extra time to stay behind to teach you if you didn't know something or how to do something," said Pascascio, Jr.

After graduating from WECA's apprenticeship program in 2013, Windell was on a roll. He started his own business (Imperial Electric Service, based in Fresno), became a WECA member contractor, and became a member of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce (FMBCC).

"Being part of the FMBCC has been outstanding," said Pascascio, Jr. "They have assisted me from the start, making sure I received all the resources out there that can help my business grow - they have even connected me with a client that has contracted us for over $1 million worth of work this year. And the FMBCC strives to make sure that all cultures and business owners are aware of and educated about the projects and resources out there."

As a business owner, Pascascio, Jr. states that "my greatest joy is being able to accomplish our clients' goals from design to installation. I also strive to provide jobs for those that need someone to give them a chance to learn a trade - especially those that don't realize that they can make a career in the electrical trade."

However, owning a business is not easy.

"Owning my own business has opened my eyes on a whole new level," said Pascascio, Jr. "As a company we have to set our goals to make sure our customers are satisfied and manage each project from start to finish with excellence."

Further, Pascascio, Jr. stresses that "owning your own business isn't an overnight thing - it takes a lot of dedication and hard work. Not only yours, but also your employees' and family's dedication. But don't ever give up, put in the hours every day, and treat your team with respect because a business is not built on the owner - it's built on your employees."

Though Pascascio, Jr. is flying high now, he knows that he would not be where he is now if not for his support group and prior experiences.

"I would like to thank my wife and kids for sticking by my side for all those late nights working," Pascascio, Jr. said. "And I would definitely like to give a shout-out to Rex Moore, because I've only worked for two companies and Rex Moore is a great example of what I would like my company to become in the next five years. I have never seen a company strive to make sure their employees' opinions matter or let them [have input] in making the company better; they have the most outstanding management team that I hope my team will emulate one day."
Read more >>


Thursday, May 23, 2019   Committed to Safety: WECA Apprentices Learn CPR ... with Virtual Reality!



As California's premier training provider for the electrical and low voltage industries, WECA is committed to continually bringing cutting-edge technology to its apprentices, students, and member contractors.

To that end, WECA recently piloted a CPR and first aid training program utilizing ground-breaking virtual reality technology from Fremont, CA-based ICE Safety Solutions. First-year commercial and residential apprentices undertook the training on May 1st at WECA's Rancho Cordova facility.

"The idea to pilot virtual reality for CPR and first aid training was a great decision, and I am grateful to Terry [Seabury, WECA's Executive Director and CEO] for making sure WECA took this step," said Don Black, WECA's Apprentice Training director. "The students were deeply engaged and had fun - and more importantly, I think they will retain more of the information. It is Terry's leadership and foresight that makes WECA the premier merit-based apprenticeship program."

ICE Safety Solutions' virtual reality CPR and first aid training utilizes virtual reality headsets featuring videos of real-life CPR and first aid scenarios, a Bluetooth Manikin app that connects to ICE-provided iPhones to provide participants with real-time stats and vitals on the dummies they're 'working' on, and partner and group-based exercises and simulations. Exercises and simulations featured in the pilot training program included chest compressions, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and scenarios for jobsite falls, bleeding, and shock. 

"Technology is a tool that can help in the understanding of existing training to make it more fun and interactive," said Black. "Anytime you can take static content and leverage current technology to make it [training] more interactive and engaging, it improves the student's ability to absorb the content and learn the material."

During the pilot training program, students were absorbed in the exercises, simulations, and material, as evidenced by their asking questions often. And even instructor Lakeal Morris joined in on the training, taking the opportunity to learn alongside his students as well as brush up on his CPR and basic first aid skills. Black, meanwhile, stood off to the side, observing the program with rapt attention and gamely offered suggestions and words of encouragement to apprentices.

Over the course of the program, apprentices quickly gained confidence in their newfound skills and knowledge, even going so far as to take the lead and delegate tasks when carrying out the group-based exercises and simulations.

"I hope that through their training - because it was more engaging, interactive, and immersive - that they will retain more of what they learned today so that if they ever have to perform CPR or first aid, they will be better prepared to potentially save a life," said Black.

This appears to be a safe bet - during the program, apprentices sometimes paused to take pictures of the real-time stats and vitals displayed on the iPhones. And toward the end of the program, apprentices were eager to respectfully take selfies of their groups, replete with a fellow apprentice laying on the ground under a space blanket.

Of his thoughts on the program, Black stated that "because WECA is leveraging current technology to help our apprentices be better prepared through virtual reality training, I think it gives them a competitive advantage [in the field]. I would hope that all organizations will work to provide the best possible training available - especially CPR training - because CPR training has the ability to save lives; maybe even my own life."
Read more >>


Thursday, May 23, 2019   Hiring? Post Today to our Job Board or Access our Student Referral Service

 
WECA's Electrical and Low Voltage Industry Job Board is designed to help connect individuals seeking employment in the electrical and low voltage industry with the WECA member contractors who want to hire them. 
 
Our job board exists for...
  • Talented electricians
  • Low voltage technicians
  • Electrician Trainees
  • Industry employees (including office personnel)
  • And the Member Contractors who want to hire them. 
View this WECA-provided, free-for-our-members, no-obligation service HERE, and post a position to help you find your next great employee today! You can also view active resumes here as part of your member contractor benefits.

You may also use our free job referral service connecting currently-unemployed ETs, Journeymen, and WECA Graduate job seekers to Member Contractors in order to help meet their staffing needs. It's included with your contractor membership!  
This service provides additional customer service by having WECA staff supply you with hands-on referrals. In other words, we take some of the hard work off your plate. The Student Referral Service refers job-seekers to you, and you hire them directly.
To receive referrals from WECA's Student Referral Service, please contact Ana Lopez, WECA ET/Journeyman Program Manager, at alopez@goweca.com
 or 1-877-444-9322.
 
Post a job today!
 
Read more >>


Thursday, May 23, 2019   Jobsite Tech Survey Respondent Raffle Winners


Thank you so much to everyone who took the time to respond to our recent member survey about jobsite technologies. Your input helps to inform updates to our Apprenticeship curriculum and Electrician Trainee and Journeyman Continuing Education course offerings, and to make sure your employees are being trained on the most important new developments and technologies to help your businesses maintain their competitive edges.

As promised, we entered each survey respondent into a raffle for one of three $50 Amazon gift cards. Our raffle winners were:
  • April Thompson of Modesto Executive Electric
  • Angela Silva of Fort Bragg Electric, Inc.
  • Tanner Schamber of Schamber Electric

Congratulations April, Angela, and Tanner, and please watch your inboxes for your gift cards!  
Read more >>


Thursday, May 23, 2019   WECA's 2018 Year in Review



It's here!  WECA's 2018 Year in Review/2019 Anniversary Celebration publication highlights the accomplishments of your merit shop contractors' association over the past year, explores WECA's history, and also provides a glimpse into where we're headed in this, our 90th anniversary year.

If you're a member of WECA, your print edition was recently mailed to you, but anyone can also access the digital version here.
Read more >>


Wednesday, May 22, 2019   Alumni and WECA Member Contractor Spotlight: Windell Pascascio, Jr. and Imperial Electric Service




WECA Alumni Windell Pascascio, Jr., (left) poses with Assistant Director of Apprenticeship, Wendy Flanagan (right).

When Windell Pascascio, Jr. was growing up in the Central American country of Belize, he originally aspired to be an architect.

But when Pascascio, Jr. was just 16 years old, he started doing residential electrical work and contributing to projects such as a hydroelectric dam on the border of Belize and Guatemala. And when Pascascio, Jr., moved to the United States later, he set his sights upon WECA's apprenticeship program thanks to the program's structure and philosophy.

"I think that WECA's program is hands-down the best program out there for upcoming electricians," said Pascascio, Jr. "Everyone should know about WECA and what it has to offer because it's the best way to start or continue in the electrical trade."

Pascascio, Jr.'s praise for WECA doesn't end there.

"[Instructors] Zach Wallace and Jimmie Slemp both have a desire to make sure you're learning something before leaving their class, and took extra time to stay behind to teach you if you didn't know something or how to do something," said Pascascio, Jr.

After graduating from WECA's apprenticeship program in 2013, Windell was on a roll. He started his own business (Imperial Electric Service, based in Fresno), became a WECA Member Contractor, and became a member of the Fresno Metro Black Chamber of Commerce (FMBCC).

"Being part of the FMBCC has been outstanding," said Pascascio, Jr. "They have assisted me from the start, making sure I received all the resources out there that can help my business grow - they have even connected me with a client that has contracted us for over $1 million worth of work this year. And the FMBCC strives to make sure that all cultures and business owners are aware of and educated about the projects and resources out there."

As a business owner, Pascascio, Jr. states that "my greatest joy is being able to accomplish our clients' goals from design to installation. I also strive to provide jobs for those that need someone to give them a chance to learn a trade - especially those that don't realize that they can make a career in the electrical trade."

However, owning a business is not easy.

"Owning my own business has opened my eyes on a whole new level," said Pascascio, Jr. "As a company we have to set our goals to make sure our customers are satisfied and manage each project from start to finish with excellence."

Further, Pascascio, Jr. stresses that "owning your own business isn't an overnight thing - it takes a lot of dedication and hard work. Not only yours, but also your employees' and family's dedication. But don't ever give up, put in the hours every day, and treat your team with respect because a business is not built on the owner - it's built on your employees."

Though Pascascio, Jr. is flying high now, he knows that he would not be where he is now if not for his support group and prior experiences.

"I would like to thank my wife and kids for sticking by my side for all those late nights working," Pascascio, Jr. said. "And I would definitely like to give a shout-out to Rex Moore, because I've only worked for two companies and Rex Moore is a great example of what I would like my company to become in the next five years. I have never seen a company strive like they do to make sure their employees' opinions matter or let them [have input] in making the company better; they have the most outstanding management team that I hope my team will emulate one day."
Read more >>


Wednesday, May 22, 2019   Course Spotlight: Online Solar Courses for Journeymen and Electrician Trainees

 
 


Harness the power of the sun this summer with WECA and SEI's online solar course offerings, which can be completed poolside if you so desire!

These unique 6-week courses range from introductory level to advanced level training, helping you explore the fundamentals of solar components, system architectures, and applications for PV systems to the inspection, commissioning, performance verification, and troubleshooting of PV systems. You'll work through interactive online activities, PowerPoints, readings, quizzes, exercises, and homework - all available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week throughout the full duration of the course.

Students who complete these courses successfully will gain not only Electrician Trainee/Continuing Education (ET/CE) hours for California through WECA, but also North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners (NABCEP) training hours through SEI.

Successful completion of "Solar Electric Design and Installation", paired with "PV System Fundamentals", qualifies you to sit for the NABCEP PV Associate Exam.

With the need for highly trained PV electricians rapidly growing in California, WECA Curriculum Development Lead Mike Moyer states that "It's great that WECA is able to partner with SEI to offer another way for the WECA community to get solar training. Our apprenticeship program covers solar basics, our existing online self-paced courses "Solar Power for Electricians" and "Faultless Solar" take solar to the next level for Journeyman Electricians and Advanced Electrician Trainees, and now our partnership with SEI allows another level of training for these students, plus the opportunity for NABCEP certification."
 
To learn more about enrolling in these courses through WECA (enrollment through WECA is necessary for any student desiring State of California Continuing Education or Electrician Trainee hours in addition to the NABCEP hours granted by SEI), please visit WECA's Solar Course CatalogAct now to enroll in these summer courses! 
 
Read more >>


Wednesday, May 22, 2019   WECA's Participating in National Electrical Safety Month!



May is National Electrical Safety Month, and WECA is still observing it with relevant trivia, safety tips from our instructors, posts from trusted voices in the industry, spotlights on our safety courses - and more - all month long! 
 


So check us out on social media to see what it's all about! Who knows - maybe you'll even see your favorite instructor featured. If so, be sure to give them a shout out in the comments!

Facebook


Twitter


Instagram


LinkedIn
 
Read more >>


Wednesday, May 22, 2019   WECA Grads on the Job: Edward 'EJ' Penick


Look who we ran into on the job while we were at our outreach event at McKinleyville High School in McKinleyville, CA on May 2nd! That's right - Edward 'EJ' Penick, a WECA graduate from the Class of 2017! Great to see you, Edward, and we hope to see more of you - and all our graduates - around on the job, powering California!
Read more >>


Wednesday, May 22, 2019   Unemployed? Check Out Opportunities with a WECA Member Contractor!

 

Are you out of work and seeking employment? Post your resume to the WECA Job Board. Or  view open positions posted by our members. Our contractors are hiring!  


If you are a current WECA student, or a WECA grad, go a step further and contact us about our Student Referral Service! This service provides additional customer service by having WECA staff provide hands-on referrals, taking some of that work off your plate.
 
WECA's Electrical and Low Voltage Industry Job Board is designed to help connect individuals seeking employment in the electrical and low voltage industry with the contractors who want to hire them. 
 
Our job board exists for...
  • Electricians, 
  • Low voltage technicians, 
  • Electrician Trainees and Journeymen,
  • Industry employees (including office personnel!),
  • And the Member Contractors who want to hire them. 
This is a free, no-obligation service open to all workers seeking employment in the electrical and low voltage industry. WECA's purpose in providing this service is to help our Member Contractors find the qualified workers they need. 
 
Search Open Positions Today
 
Read more >>


Wednesday, May 22, 2019   Summer Coupon

SUMMER COUPON summer




$10 off any class
Coupon code: 
ETSUM19
Expiration date: 9-23-19

See you online and in the lab!
  
Read more >>


Wednesday, May 22, 2019   Committed to Safety: WECA Apprentices Learn CPR ... with Virtual Reality!


As California's premier training provider for the electrical and low voltage industries, WECA is committed to continually bringing cutting-edge technology to its apprentices, students, and member contractors.

To that end, WECA recently piloted a CPR and first aid training program utilizing ground-breaking virtual reality technology from Fremont, CA-based ICE Safety Solutions. First-year commercial and residential apprentices undertook the training on May 1st at WECA's Rancho Cordova facility.

"The idea to pilot virtual reality for CPR and first aid training was a great decision, and I am grateful to Terry [Seabury, WECA's Executive Director and CEO] for making sure WECA took this step," said Don Black, WECA's Apprentice Training director. "The students were deeply engaged and had fun - and more importantly, I think they will retain more of the information. It is Terry's leadership and foresight that makes WECA the premier merit-based apprenticeship program."

ICE Safety Solutions' virtual reality CPR and first aid training utilizes virtual reality headsets featuring videos of real-life CPR and first aid scenarios, a Bluetooth Manikin app that connects to ICE-provided iPhones to provide participants with real-time stats and vitals on the dummies they're 'working' on, and partner and group-based exercises and simulations. Exercises and simulations featured in the pilot training program included chest compressions, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, and scenarios for jobsite falls, bleeding, and shock.

"Technology is a tool that can help in the understanding of existing training to make it more fun and interactive," said Black. "Anytime you can take static content and leverage current technology to make it [training] more interactive and engaging, it improves the student's ability to absorb the content and learn the material."

During the pilot training program, students were absorbed in the exercises, simulations, and material, as evidenced by their asking questions often. And even instructor Lakeal Morris joined in on the training, taking the opportunity to learn alongside his students as well as brush up on his CPR and basic first aid skills. Black, meanwhile, stood off to the side, observing the program with rapt attention and gamely offered suggestions and words of encouragement to apprentices.
Over the course of the program, apprentices quickly gained confidence in their newfound skills and knowledge, even going so far as to take the lead and delegate tasks when carrying out the group-based exercises and simulations.

"I hope that through their training - because it was more engaging, interactive, and immersive - that they will retain more of what they learned today so that if they ever have to perform CPR or first aid, they will be better prepared to potentially save a life," said Black.

This appears to be a safe bet - during the program, apprentices sometimes paused to take pictures of the real-time stats and vitals displayed on the iPhones. And toward the end of the program, apprentices were eager to respectfully take selfies of their groups, replete with a fellow apprentice laying on the ground under a space blanket.

Of his thoughts on the program, Black stated that "because WECA is leveraging current technology to help our apprentices be better prepared through virtual reality training, I think it gives them a competitive advantage [in the field]. I would hope that all organizations will work to provide the best possible training available - especially CPR training - because CPR training has the ability to save lives; maybe even my own life."
Read more >>


Wednesday, May 22, 2019   Are You a Veteran? Or an Active Duty or Reserve Member?

Are You a Veteran? Or an Active Duty or Reserve Member? veteran
 
american-flag-banner.jpg


WECA has a special, standing discount for active duty and reserve military members on any Electrician Trainee or Journeyman course.

Call and talk to our client services team at 1-877-444-9322 to sign up with your discount.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 16, 2019   Labor Law and Recent Court Decisions

Ninth Circuit: "Access Regulation" Allowing Union Organizing Activities on Employers' Private Property is Not a Fifth Amendment Taking. On May 8, 2019, in Cedar Point Nursery v. Shiroma, __ F.3d __ (Case No. 16-16321) (2019), a 2-1 Ninth Circuit panel majority held that a California regulation allowing union organizers access to agricultural employees on employers' private property, to communicate about union organization under certain limited circumstances, is not a Fifth Amendment taking. The plaintiffs alleged that the United Farm Workers union disrupted work by moving through their trim sheds with bullhorns, distracting and intimidating workers, and violated the access regulation by failing to provide the required written notice before taking access. Should the aggrieved plaintiffs in the case file a petition for writ of certiorari, the Supreme Court would have a unique opportunity to finally make clear that private property rights are not the second-class rights the case law often reveals them to be. More
In Expansive Decision, Ninth Circuit Rules Dynamex Applies Retroactively In Vazquez v. Jan-Pro Franchising, the Ninth Circuit made several impactful findings related to the infamous Dynamex decision:
 
  1. Aligning with several state court decisions supporting retroactivity, the Ninth Circuit ruled that Dynamex's ABC test applies retroactively.
  2. It also applied Dynamex to a multi-level franchise structure, expanding the test beyond the independent contractor context.
  3. Last, the Court issued guidance to the district court on remand reaffirming the difficulty of "passing" the ABC test
Given the current legal landscape, companies engaging independent contractors and other non-employee workers in California should consider risk mitigation measures. More

SCOTUS Strikes Another Blow to Class-Action Claims, Favoring Individual Arbitration A divided United States Supreme Court recently handed down the latest in a series of wins for employers, manufacturers, retailers, and other businesses looking to use arbitration as a means to mitigate the risks of possible class-action litigation. This time, in Lamps Plus, Inc. v. Varela, the Supreme Court overturned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, finding that an employer could not be compelled to arbitrate similar claims by its employees on a class-wide basis, even though its employment agreement was ambiguous as to whether the arbitration of similar claims be conducted on a class-wide basis, instead of individually. More
Read more >>


Thursday, May 16, 2019   What We're Reading and Watching (Aside from Game of Thrones)

The Oakland A's plan to build a new stadium along the waterfront and leave the Coliseum got a big boost Monday from Commissioners who oversee the Port of Oakland. Commissioners signed off on a deal that would let the ball club perform environmental studies and seek permits to build the privately financed ballpark at Howard Terminal. Story Assemblyman Rob Bonta is author of  AB 1191 that would facilitate a land swap to allow the project. His bill authorizes the State Lands Commission (SLC) to enter into a land exchange for the Howard Terminal Property in the City of Oakland. This bill declares provisions do not limit the authority of the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC) to review any project at the Howard Terminal Property.

Sacramento County supervisors approved a fee plan that would allow development on thousands of acres to get underway. The proposed fee structure, which would require two Board of Supervisors approvals, would charge $26,625 for each housing unit built in a zoned density of five per acre, $17,889 for units built in a zoned density of 20 units per acres, and $29.55 per square foot for commercial developments. Story

Newsom Budget Includes Bold Spending, Fiscal Guardrails Five months into his first term as California governor, and a week ahead of schedule, Governor Gavin Newsom rolled out his "May Revise" budget. The May Revise reflects state revenue projections based on tax receipts and spending adjustments from the governor's January budget proposal, taking into account projected revenues. While the May Revise proposes an expansion of funding in many areas, including education, healthcare and public safety, Governor Newsom strikes a cautionary tone and a mindful approach to the likelihood of a potential recession. More

Repair of Fractured Girders Complete at Shuttered Salesforce Transit Center The repair of two fractured girders spanning Fremont Street and the reinforcement of twin girders spanning First Street are complete at the beleaguered Salesforce Transit Center in San Francisco. More

Weakling or bully? The battle over CEQA, the state's iconic environmental law Inside the Capitol's corridors and pro-development quarters around the state, CEQA is increasingly disparaged as a villain in the state's housing crisis. It's characterized as a litigation lever that allows citizens-and even labor unions and business rivals-to sue or threaten to sue, obstructing direly needed housing projects on thin environmental pretenses. The Legislature is considering a handful of bills to loosen CEQA's rules, something former Gov. Jerry Brown-often stymied in his modest efforts to do so-labeled "the Lord's work." New Gov. Gavin Newsom, to fulfill his hyper-ambitious quota of new housing construction, has called for fast-tracking judicial CEQA review of housing, similar to that granted sports teams building stadiums. The politically potent State Building and Construction Trades Council signed a January letter defending CEQA, although it's been negotiating on a housing plan that could include CEQA relaxations. More

Former manager of $3.3B school construction bond in California files whistleblower complaint The fired manager of the Los Angeles Community College District's $3.3 billion construction bond program has filed a whistleblower complaint, claiming that he was let go in retaliation for publicly raising questions about management and other problems with the program, the Los Angeles Times reported. More

Equal Protection Eight home health care workers sued the Trump administration in the Northern District of California to block a new rule that bars their union, SEIU, from deducting dues from their Medicaid paychecks automatically. The lawsuit follows another challenge Monday by five Democratic attorneys general. The rule is set to take effect in July. The workers in the case argue that the new federal rule violates their First Amendment right to free association and the Constitution's Equal Protection Clause. "It's outrageous that home care workers like me are being singled out," said Camille Christian, a home care worker from Alameda, California. "This rule tries to prevent us from using payroll deduction for any purpose, even to contribute to our healthcare or for transportation costs or to support our union. How would you feel if the government told you how to spend your wages?" I wonder if SEIU would side with us on our suit alleging an equal protection claim against SB 954?
Read more >>


Thursday, May 16, 2019   Thought

 

Richard Markuson

PAGA Reform Dead Again

I was just reading a recent appeals court case (Savea v. YRC, Inc., 2019 WL 1552686, Cal. Ct. App. 2019). In this case, Vaiula Savea sued his employer (henceforth referred to as YRC) for an alleged violation of Labor Code § 226. The violation is based upon YRC's alleged failure to include the correct employer name and address on wage statements. These alleged violations arose from YRC's listing its fictitious business name (YRC Freight) on its wage statements.
 
Furthermore, the complaint alleged that the employer address did not contain a reference to the applicable mail stop code or the ZIP+4 code. YRC successfully demurred to the complaint on the grounds that Savea's complaint failed to state a claim because the employer name and address on its wage statements were, in fact, accurate. The Court of Appeals affirmed dismissal of the complaint, holding that YRC's use of its "actual, recorded fictitious business name" on the wage statements was proper and that the address listed on the wage statements did not need to include the mail stop code or the ZIP+4 code.
 
After contemplating some special future eternal resting place for the attorney who decided that the lack of a ZIP+4 code was grounds for a lawsuit, I thought I would update readers on how the Legislature is addressing this scourge. Below is the list of accomplishments this year:
  • Pretty impressive, right?

However, here is what they haven't acted upon:
 
  • AB 443 (Flora R) would limit attorney's fees in connection with an action for a violation of the wage information requirements under PAGA. AB 443 - which did not receive a hearing - would have capped attorney's fees at 25 percent (the pain, the pain!).
  • AB 789 (Flora R) would have required, for an action under PAGA to recover for any violation of the itemized wage statement requirement, that an employee or representative give prescribed notice of the alleged violation to the employer. The bill would have authorized an employer to cure the alleged violation within 65 calendar days of the postmark date of the notice. The bill would have allowed an action to commence only if the alleged violation is not cured within that period. Further, the bill would have exempted certain violations from these notice and cure provisions (if the employer had not paid the aggrieved employee or provided a wage statement).
These modest improvements could not obtain "labor" sign off, so the Democrats refused to hold a hearing.
 
However, a WECA-supported group is making headway. A judge handed the California Business and Industrial Alliance (CABIA) its first win in March when he denied Attorney General Xavier Becerra's attempt to dismiss CABIA's lawsuit challenging California's PAGA statute. Orange County Superior Court Judge Peter Wilson found that CABIA has standing to bring claims on behalf of its business-owner members challenging the constitutionality of PAGA, a state law that deputizes workers to bring claims against employers believed to be violating state labor laws. Like the one above - citing the lack of a ZIP+4 code. More
Read more >>


Thursday, May 09, 2019   New WECA Industry Partner Spotlight: Construction Happens

It takes one to know one.

That's what Nick Attardi, founder of constructionhappens.com, was banking on when he started the eponymous job board for contractors and electricians in 2012. An electrician and owner of Fair Oaks-based H&H Electric with 14 years of experience under his belt, Attardi understood the stress associated with finding and eventually hiring experienced and qualified electricians.

"We know that there is a huge need for training and hiring skilled tradesmen," said Cari Loskamp, Construction Happens' sales director.

Unlike other job boards, however, Construction Happens really goes to bat for stakeholders on both ends of the employment spectrum.

"We build this connection and network to focus on local construction and local jobs for the right candidate that construction companies need today," said Loskamp. "And we are knocking on every trade school door, working with building associations and workforce centers to develop and build a network of qualified candidates that are eager to find a job or career in the construction industry."

And the passion for securing employment and employees for their stakeholders doesn't stop there.

As a WECA Industry Partner, "We are working on a paid semester program for student sponsorship, working with returning military veterans that need a job or experience, and networking daily with local associations and construction industry affiliates to help WECA members find qualified and skilled candidates," said Loskamp.

Furthermore, Loskamp asserts that "Construction Happens is not just a job board - we are your partner in the industry."

For WECA member contractors, Construction Happens offers a $240 annual membership that includes unlimited job postings, automatic email blasts to connections and partners, and a free banner.

What's more is that membership with Construction Happens also does good in the electrical industry community - for every 75 new memberships, Construction Happens sponsors a student at a trade school for a quarter semester.

"Call us - we can meet with you, partner up in a job fair, assist with job board ads, and connect you with the right people," said Loskamp.

WECA member contractors who are interested in utilizing Construction Happens' services may visit the website and job board at www.constructionhappens.com, or directly contact Construction Happens using the following contact information:

Cari Loskamp
Sales Director
Construction Happens
916-437-5684
cari@constructionhappens.com
Read more >>


Thursday, May 09, 2019   Sponsor the WECA Graduating Class of 2019 Today!



Don't forget - graduation is just around the corner! 

Help us honor our graduates' achievements with your attendance and/or sponsorship at their graduation events on:
  • Northern California: Saturday, June 8, 2019 at WECA headquarters in Rancho Cordova from 4 p.m. - 7:30 p.m. 
  • Southern California: Saturday, July 13, 2019 at Falkner Winery Pinnacle Room in Temecula from 5:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Help us make their graduation memorable - your sponsorship can allow you and members of your team to attend either graduation location and meet the graduates, which is especially meaningful for them 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 one or both graduations, 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.
Individual tickets are also available, independent of the sponsorship packages. 

Please consider the sponsorship opportunities at the link below, and thank you for your support of electrical and low voltage education!

Reserve your sponsorship packages and/or individual tickets here
 
Read more >>


Thursday, May 09, 2019   Public Works Contractors: Renew Registration Starting May 1 New Account Creation Requirements

Update: The DIR has provided instructions on how to set-up an account, how to link an existing registration, and then how to renew. 
 
This is the first time DIR has required an account set-up. Download the instructions here

Content courtesy of: California Department of Industrial Relations


Public Works Contractors: Renew Registration Starting May 1
Contractors can now register for up to three fiscal years


The Department of Industrial Relations (DIR) is informing public works contractors that registrations can be renewed starting on May 1. Public works contractor registrations expire each year on June 30. Contractors now have the option to renew current registrations for one, two or three fiscal years. 


California law requires all contractors to register with DIR prior to bidding, being listed on a bid proposal, being awarded or engaging in the performance of any public works contract on or after April 1, 2015. Fees and penalties may be assessed for a lapse in renewal or failure to register when engaged in public works.


The public works contractor registration application was recently updated to process applications within one business day when paid by credit card, and provide the applicant with a credit card receipt. 


Registration and requirements are available on DIR's public works website, including information on responsibilities related to prevailing wages, apprenticeship and certified payroll records.


DIR protects and improves the health, safety and economic well-being of over 18 million wage earners, and helps their employers comply with state labor laws. 


DIR's Division of Labor Standards Enforcement (DLSE), also known as the Labor Commissioner's Office, enforces prevailing wage rates and apprenticeship standards in public works projects, inspects workplaces for wage and hour violations, adjudicates wage claims, investigates retaliation complaints, issues licenses and registrations for businesses and educates the public on labor laws.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 09, 2019   WECA Grads on the Job: Edward 'EJ' Penick


Look who we ran into on the job while we were at our outreach event at McKinleyville High School in McKinleyville, CA on May 2nd! That's right - Edward 'EJ' Penick, a WECA graduate from the Class of 2017! Great to see you, Edward, and we hope to see more of you - and all our graduates - around on the job, powering California!
Read more >>


Thursday, May 09, 2019   WECA Participating in National Electrical Safety Month



May is National Electrical Safety Month, and we here at WECA are observing it by featuring relevant trivia, safety tips from our instructors, posts from trusted voices in the industry, spotlights on our safety courses - and more - all month long! 


Curious? Check out our social feeds by clicking on the links below to see what it's all about. 

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

LinkedIn
Read more >>


Thursday, May 09, 2019   WECA's Hiring! Seeking a Full-Time Lead Instructor for our GetWired! Program


Your Chance to Teach for WECA! 


Are you a certified electrician or other similarly-qualified individual in the electrical field (former/retired acceptable if you're willing to get re-certified upon hire), or a C10 contractor, who enjoys learning more about your field all the time, sharing your knowledge with others, and educating the next generation, and who'd like to work for an organization that combines the best of all worlds? 

If so, we'd be excited to have you join our team! 
WECA is seeking qualified applicants for the following position: 
  • Full-Time Lead Instructor for Electrician Trainee/Continuing Education programs including GetWired! This position not only teaches, but leads other instructors through quality educational delivery, as well! 







To learn more about this position and apply, please visit our 'Careers' page.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 09, 2019   Seats Filling Fast! Reserve Your Spots in BICSI Courses!


WECA is pleased that our BICSI courses at our Rancho Cordova headquarters have been well-attended, and strongly encourages our member contractors to enroll themselves or their employees in these courses to further develop a wide breadth of knowledge. 

But seats are filling fast, so be sure to register now - especially for popular courses such as Applied Outside Plant Design 102 and Applied Data Center Design and Best Practices 102. 


Wondering if registering yourself or your employees in these courses is worth it? Learn more below to find out what you can expect from these courses: 

OSP102 (Applied Outside Plant Design), June 17 - 21

Why Should I Attend, and What Will I Learn?

Through attendance in this course you will learn the following:
  • Identify the components of an outside plant infrastructure
     
  • Identify outside plant pathways and spaces
     
  • Describe effective route designs for outside plants
     
  • Describe media solutions
     
  • Describe planning requirements for initial outside plant design
     
  • Identify the primary codes and standards associated with outside plant cable installation
     
  • Identify grounding and bonding requirements associated with OSP installation
     
  • Locate requirements in project documentation, including an RFQ, scope of work, and other information typically established during a site and/or field survey
     
  • Identify underground, direct-buried, and aerial sections of a route
     
  • Describe the three primary cabling topologies and hybrid topologies
     
  • Identify special design considerations
     
  • Identify the minimum components of a maintenance plan
     
  • Identify the information that is needed to provide a cost estimate

Learn more about and register for OSP102 here.

DC102 (Applied Data Center Design and Best Practices), June 24 - 28

Why Should I Attend, and What Will I Learn?

After completing this course, you should be able to design a data center based on a set of given requirements; this will include both new and retrofit designs.

In addition to data center design, the course will also include life safety practices such as grounding and bonding to ensure that you can account for these issues when designing a data center.


You will be able to evaluate your learning through a final project and a comprehensive course assessment.

A variety of hands-on exercises, including the final group project, will help reinforce material and prepare students for real-world scenarios.

The DC102 course will address the following areas:
  • Data center design process
  • Site location
  • Building and support spaces
  • Computer room layout
  • Electrical systems
  • Bonding and grounding (earthing)
  • Mechanical systems
  • Telecommunications and IT
  • Ancillary systems
  • Security systems
  • Fire protection systems
  • Building automation systems (BAS)
  • Lighting
  • Security plan
  • Commissioning
Learn more about and register for DC102 here

These classes are rarely offered in Northern California, and we encourage our members to take advantage of this convenient opportunity. Registrations must be processed directly with BICSI. To enroll yourself or an employee,  visit BICSI here.
Read more >>


Thursday, May 02, 2019   Bill Update

APM/DB/CMaR

AB 356 (Santiago - D) Authorizes the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD) to utilize a best-value procurement process as a pilot project until January 1, 2025, for construction projects over $1 million dollars. The bill contains provisions that allow a contractor under a project labor agreement to be presumed to meet the requirements of using a skilled and trained workforce. Watch
 
AB 695 (Medina - D) Extends the sunset on community college districts' (CCDs') authority to enter into design-build public works contracts and adopts the same "skilled and trained workforce" requirements applicable to the design-build authority of state agencies and local governments.
 
SB 743 (Hertzberg - D) This bill would specify that LAUSD, entering into a design-build contract for projects that are subject to project labor agreements retains the discretion to take specified actions related to the contract.
 
Apprenticeship

AB 186 (Cervantes - D) Provides a tax credit of up to $1,000 for each registered apprentice trained by the taxpayer in the taxable year that meets one of the following: has not obtained a high school diploma and is enrolled in high school or a General Education Development (GED) test preparation program; or, has obtained a high school diploma or GED credential while participating in the apprenticeship Support
 
AB 595 (Medina - D) Sponsored by Faculty Association of California Community Colleges (FACCC), this measure seeks to allow the use of ITINs in lieu of SSNs (for students who are ineligible for a SSN), for the purpose of any mandatory background checks that are required for participation in a class or apprenticeship and/or internship program.

AB 1019 (Frazier - D) This bill would add to the ex officio members of the Interagency Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship, the Director of Rehabilitation and the chair of the State Council on Developmental Disabilities. The bill would require the committee to create a subcommittee to address apprenticeship for the developmentally disabled community. The bill would add that it is the intent of the Legislature that the department will encourage greater participation for the developmentally disabled in apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs. Support
 
AB 1558 (Ramos - D) Would require school districts and schools to notify apprenticeship programs of career and college fairs at least two weeks before the fair. It would require career and college fairs to provide apprenticeship programs an adequate amount of space to apprenticeship programs and the same amount of resources provided to other invited groups. The bill would require apprenticeship programs to annually provide school districts within their geographic region a point of contact, phone number, email address, operating location, and purpose of the apprenticeship program. Support

Business Issues
 
SB 210 (Leyva - D)This bill directs the California Air Resources Board (ARB) to work in coordination with multiple state agencies in order to develop and implement a Heavy-Duty Inspection and Maintenance Program for non-gasoline, heavy-duty, on-road trucks.

CEQA
 
AB 1191 (Bonta - D) Allows the State Lands Commission to enter into an exchange with the City of Oakland of certain public trust lands, for the future site of the Oakland Athletics Ballpark project. Watch
 
AB 1673 (Salas - D) Requires plaintiffs in California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuits to identify every person or entity who contributed, or committed to contributing, $1,000 or more to support the lawsuit. Support
 
SB 25 (Caballero - D) Grants accelerated CEQA appeals for certain housing projects. Requires SATWF unless covered by a PLA, exempts contractors under a PLA from completing CPRs. OUA 

Construction Practices

AB 1166 (Levine - D) This bill would require every operator to supply an electronic positive response through the regional notification center before the legal excavation start date and time.

CTE
 
AB 1303 (O'Donnell - D) Makes several changes to the California Career Technical Education Incentive Grant Program, administered by the State Department of Education and provides $450 million for grants. Watch

ESS

AB 1144 (Friedman - D) Requires the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) to allocate $16.6 million of funding from the Self-Generation Incentive Program (SGIP) to pilot projects to install and evaluate community energy storage systems.
 
SB 288 (Wiener - D) This bill would require a number of provisions to support the deployment of customer-sited distributed energy resources, specifically energy storage systems, including requiring electric utilities to establish standardized processes to interconnect to the electric grid, requiring new tariffs and compensation to sell stored energy to the grid and into the wholesale electricity market.

Housing
 
AB 168 (Aguiar-Curry - D) Amends SB 35 of last year that authorizes a development proponent to submit an application for a multifamily housing development that is subject to a streamlined, ministerial approval process, to include a requirement that the development not be located on a site that is a tribal cultural resource. Existing law requires payment of prevailing wages and apprentice wages even if the project is not a public works and prohibits the DLSE from enforcing the Labor Code if the Project is covered by a PLA. Waives CPRs on projects covered by a PLA.

Labor Law
 
AB 5 (Gonzalez - D) AB 5 (Gonzalez)...exempts certain industries/professions (doctors, insurance agents, securities brokers, and direct sellers) from the application of the Dynamex decision. The business community seeks a more progressive and holistic approach to the application of Dynamex that reflects today's modern workforce.
 
AB 9 (Reyes - D) A coalition of employer organizations, including the California Chamber of Commerce, is opposed unless amended. The coalition requests an amendment regarding the nature of the claims covered and seeks clarity that the bill only applies to prospective claims. They state, "while AB 9 is being promoted as an anti-sexual harassment bill, it actually has a broad, sweeping effect on all employment harassment, discrimination and retaliation complaints. The Fair Employment and Housing Act (FEHA) makes specified employment and housing practices unlawful, including discrimination against or harassment of employees and tenants. Additionally, Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 makes specific employment practices unlawful under federal law."
 
AB 403 (Kalra - D) AB 403 incentivizes litigation and provides for a one-sided provision of attorney's fees. California is already widely perceived as having a hostile litigation environment. One factor that contributes to this negative perception is the high award and threat of attorney's fees in civil litigation that often dwarfs the financial recovery the plaintiff actually receives. Oppose

AB 520 (Kalra - D) This bill defines a public subsidy as "de minimis" for the purpose of paying the prevailing wage in public works projects if the subsidy is both less than $275,000 and less than 2% of the total project cost. This standard will apply for bids advertised or contracts awarded after July 1, 2020. Watch
 
AB 555 (Gonzalez - D) Expands the state's paid sick leave program to provide an employee with no less than 40 hours or five days of sick leave by the 200th calendar day of employment. SIA
 
SB 530 (Galgiani - D) Would require DLSE to develop recommendations for an industry-specific harassment and discrimination prevention policy and training standard for use by employers in the construction industry. The bill would also require DIR to convene an advisory committee by March 1, 2020, consisting of specified representatives from the construction industry and state agencies to assist the division in developing the policy Watch

Licensure
 
SB 610 (Glazer - D) extends the operation of the CSLB to January 1, 2024 requires the board to study and report to the Legislature if the current amount of the contractors' bond requirement is sufficient would require the board to charge C-10 contractors a $20 fee for enforcement Existing law requires, as a condition precedent to the board accepting an application for licensure, renewal, reinstatement, or to change officers or other personnel of record, that an applicant, previously found to have failed or refused to pay a contractor, subcontractor, consumer, materials supplier, or employee based on an unsatisfied final judgment, file or have on file with the board a bond sufficient to guarantee payment of an amount equal to the unsatisfied final judgment or judgments. Under existing law, if a judgment is entered against a licensee, then a qualifying person or personnel of record is prohibited from serving as a qualifying individual or other personnel of record on any license until the judgment is satisfied. This bill would extend that prohibition to when a judgment is entered against any personnel of record. Support

Mechanics liens
 
AB 1339 (Gabriel - D) This bill would provide that a mechanics lien has priority over a lien, mortgage, deed of trust, or other encumbrance on the work of improvement or the real property on which the work of improvement is situated, that attaches after the date of commencement of the work of improvement.

PAGA
 
AB 443 (Flora - R) This bill would limit attorney's fees in connection with an action for a violation of the wage information requirements under PAGA. Support

Public Works
 
AB 1736 (Daly - D) This bill would require departments and state agencies with an internet website, to post within 24 hours of awarding a construction contract, the name of the successful bidder, the amount of the successful bidder's bid, and the name of listed subcontractors and their subcontract amounts. Support

STWF
 
AB 1177 (Frazier - D) This bill would delete the requirement in SB 35 from last year that a skilled and trained workforce be employed on any project subject to its provisions. Watch
 
SB 524 (Stern - D) Sponsored by California State Association of Electrical Workers, California State Pipe Trades Council, Western States Council Sheet Metal Workers, this bill requires the CPUC to direct energy efficiency program administrators to ensure that work is performed by a skilled and trained workforce for projects receiving at least $50,000 in ratepayer-funded initiatives within a single facility. Watch

Taxes/Fees
 
AB 613 (Low - D) Authorizes regulatory boards under the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA) to adjust their licensing fees once every four years by an amount not to exceed the increase in the California Consumer Price Index (CPI) for the preceding four years, with limitations.
 
AB 1413 (Gloria - D) Would authorize a local transportation authority to impose a tax applicable to only a portion of its county if 2/3 of the voters voting on the measure within the portion of the county to which the tax would apply vote to approve the tax and other requirements are met, including that the revenues derived from the tax be spent within, or for the benefit of, the portion of the county to which the tax would apply. Would require projects funded by any such tax to use a SATWF unless the project is covered by a PLA.

UI
 
AB 1066 (Gonzalez - D) Current law makes an employee ineligible for UI benefits if the employee left work because of a trade dispute and specifies that the employee remains ineligible for the duration of the trade dispute. This bill would restore eligibility after the first 2 weeks for an employee who left work because of a trade dispute. Watch
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Thursday, May 02, 2019   Thought

 

Richard Markuson

What's Up, Sacramento?

Last Friday was another in a series of deadlines designed to keep the sausage factory otherwise known as the California State Legislature moving toward its session deadline of September 13th. By last Friday, fiscal bills that have an impact on state revenue or stat costs had to be out of their policy committees in their house of origin. I thought this would be a good time to illustrate some of the bills making their way through the California Legislature.
 
This year will be substantially different from the recent session for two reasons: the first being that progressive Democrats have a stranglehold on both houses of the Legislature and the second being that Governor Gavin Newsom is expected by many to be a more liberal governor than Jerry Brown was. Therefore, Newsom probably will sign some - if not all - of the bills that Brown would have vetoed in the past.
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Thursday, May 02, 2019   What We're Reading

Deal or no deal: PLAs in the construction industry The project labor agreement fight has reached the federal level as unions and private associations plead the case for and against. Story
 
California contractors plead guilty to $6M fraud, theft The Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced April 24 that it has entered into a plea deal with siblings Enrique Vera and Gloria Vera to resolve the construction fraud charges levied against the contracting team in November. Story
 
Former CAGOP gubernatorial candidate John Cox criticizes Gov. Gavin Newsom in a new op-ed: "Newsom's theatrics make for great national television morning show content and social media click-bait. I think part of his motivation and political strategy is to divert valuable air away from Democratic presidential primary candidates, so that after the president wins reelection in 2020, Newsom is well-positioned for a 2024 run. Regardless of whether you agree with that theory or not, his first 100 days of showmanship has had virtually no positive impact in the lives of actual Californians." Story
 
How powerful lawmakers are killing bills in California without a peep. Gun control, school spending, curbs on greenhouse gases: With Democrats holding more power at the Capitol than they've had since the 19th century, California's legislative pipeline is full this year with big, blue-state ideas. In theory, no Democrat's bill should be left behind. But that's not what's happening, and the reason is roiling both sides of the aisle in Sacramento. The complaint? Democrats who lead legislative committees are using a powerful tool to kill bills before they even get a vote. The tool? Simply doing nothing. Story
 
San Diego City Councilman Mark Kersey becomes the latest California Republican to leave the party: "Make no mistake: both parties have plenty of good and decent members. But today's political climate rewards ideologues, not problem-solvers. I ran for office to rebuild San Diego, not localize the debate over federal and state partisan malice." Some of you may recall then Republican Kersey and still Republican San Diego County Supervisor Greg Coxvoted in favor of requiring a PLA on the new terminal at San Diego's Lindberg Field.
 
"How California's high-speed rail project was 'captured' by costly consultants," by Ralph Vartabedian in the LATimes: "Development of the nation's first high-speed rail line was overseen by a minuscule government staff. Now, more than a decade later, that decision has proved to be a foundational error in the project's execution - a miscalculation that has resulted in the California High-Speed Rail Authority being overly reliant on a network of high-cost consultants who have consistently underestimated the difficulty of the task." Story
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Thursday, May 02, 2019   2020 Election


Rep. Eric Swalwell has crossed the three-poll threshold needed to appear in Democratic National Committee's presidential primary debate. The Bay Area congressman has gotten plenty of practice as he proliferated on TV during the Trump era.
 
Republican Young Kimlaunched her campaign for CA-39 after losing in 2018 to Democrat Rep. Gil Cisneros in the contest for the former Ed Royce seat. She rolled out with the backing of Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy and Royce. The DCCC sought to undermine Kim out of the gate by framing her as the choice of Washington officials, not Orange County voters.
 
Orange County supervisor Michelle Steel plans to challenge Rep. Harley Roudafor CA 48 House seat in 2020. She told Radio Korea Thursday "that she's been considering a run for CA-48 since the November election. That's when Rouda, D-Laguna Beach, defeated three-decade incumbent Republican Rep. Dana Rohrabacher by 7.2 percentage points." Story
 
The GOP challenger to U.S. Rep. Katie Porter doesn't live in the district: Should that matter? "And with three more Republican challengers already in the race to challenge Porter, D-Irvine, experts say Peggy Huang's residency could become a real issue for her campaign." Story
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