Western Electrical Contractors Association, Inc.

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Upcoming CFEC EventThursday, October 03, 2019
WECA has supported the Coalition for Fair Employment in Construction since its founding 21 years ago. On October 15th, the CFEC will be holding their annual event at the Elks Tower in downtown Sacramento from 5 to 7 p.m.

At this event they will discuss:
  • Local PLA threats
  • Statewide PLA update
  • PLA lawsuits underway and coming
  • Recent bills signed by the Governor, and what they mean in the PLA fight
  • Update on the effort to combat unions using CQA to extort owners into "agreeing" to PLAs
If you don't already receive the CFEC emails and would like more information about their fight against PLAs - and public works are part of your business plan - you will want to attend and meet the folks fighting on your behalf. Contact Richard Markuson if you would like to be put on the guest list. 
Legislative Year in ReviewThursday, October 03, 2019
 


Richard Markuson

The Legislative session ended with delay, protests and last-minute deal-making and deal-breaking. This week we will run through some significant measures and where they stand. As a civics reminder, Governor Gavin Newsom has until the morning of October 14 to sign or veto legislation - and there is no "pocket-veto" in California like there is at the Federal level. Newsom must veto a bill - or else it is enacted without his signature - something that hasn't occurred accidentally since the tenure of Governor Pete Wilson!
 
Last time we mentioned Senate Bill 1 by Senate President Pro-Tempore Toni Atkins (D-San Diego). Governor Newsom made good on his promise to veto SB 1 on September 27, writing, "While I disagree about the efficacy and necessity of Senate Bill 1, I look forward to working with the Legislature in our shared fight against the weakening of California's environmental and worker protections." Newsom repeated his earlier comments in his veto message, touting the state's defensive maneuvers against the Trump administration that now total 60-plus lawsuits. "No other state has fought harder to defeat Trump's environmental policies, and that will continue to be the case," he wrote. "While I disagree about the efficacy and necessity of Senate Bill 1, I look forward to working with the Legislature in our shared fight against the weakening of California's environmental and worker protections." You can read his veto here.
 
Newson signed two D/B, best value bills. 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. 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. SB 743 (Hertzberg) 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.
 
Newsom also signed two bills that will affect operators of medium and heavy-duty vehicles. SB 44 (Skinner - D) requires the Air Resources Board (ARB) to update the State's 2016 mobile source strategy to include a comprehensive strategy for the deployment of medium duty and heavy-duty vehicles in the state for the purpose of bringing the state into compliance with federal ambient air quality standards and reducing motor vehicle greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the medium duty and heavy-duty vehicle sector. The bill started out with broad industry opposition - but Skinner amended the bill to make it more palatable. SB 210 (Leyva - D) wasn't quite so popular. Like SB 44SB 210 directs the 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. Some are concerned with the impacts this bill will have on trucks licensed as Special Equipment (SE) and trucks complying with the low-use compliance option. SE plated equipment is generally not legally allowed to operate on California roads except for very specific purposes and very short distances. Driving SE plated trucks to facilities to test that their emissions equipment is properly functioning would be in violation of their license and registration. Additionally, low-use trucks are only allowed to be driven 1,000 miles annually to remain in compliance with the Diesel Truck and Bus Rule. For trucks located in rural areas, they may use up to 25 percent of their annual miles driving to the nearest testing facility.
 
Newsom signed SB 610 (Glazer - D) that extends the operation of the CSLB. It requires the CSLB to conduct a study of the contractor bond; and requires the CSLB to charge a fee of $20 to enforce the electrician certification program at renewal. (If you'd like more information about what's going on at CSLB, click here).
 
A number of Labor Code bills are waiting for Newsom to act. Here is a brief summary of several of them:
 
AB 35 (Kalra - D) Requires the California Department of Public Health (DPH) to report high lead level blood tests to the Division of Occupational Safety and Health (Cal/OSHA) and mandates certain inspection and reporting requirements by the Cal/OSHA upon receiving the results.
 
AB 171 (Gonzalez - D) Prohibits an employer from discharging, discriminating, or retaliating against an employee who is a victim of sexual harassment and establishes a rebuttable presumption of retaliation based on the employee's status if the employer takes certain action within 90 days of receiving notice or obtaining knowledge of the victim's status.
 
AB 403 (Kalra - D) extends the time that a victim of workplace retaliation has to file a claim with the California Labor Commissioner from six months to two years and authorizes an attorney's fee award to a worker who prevails on a whistleblower claim.
 
AB 589 (Gonzalez - D) Prohibits an employer from and imposes penalties for withholding an employee's immigration-related documents and establishes a Worker's Bill of Rights regarding freedom of movement and payment of wages. Existing California and federal law already prohibit this conduct.
 
AB 673 (Carrillo - D) Provides that penalties for late payment of wages shall be recovered by the Labor Commissioner (LC) as civil penalties, payable to the affected employee, or by the employee as statutory penalties in a hearing pursuant to the LC's authority under the Labor Code. The affected employee may also enforce civil penalties for late payment of wages through the Private Attorneys General Act (PAGA) but cannot also recover statutory penalties for the same violation.
 
AB 1076 (Ting - D) Requires the Department of Justice (DOJ), as of January 1, 2021, to review its criminal justice databases on a weekly basis, identify persons who are eligible for relief by having either their arrest records or conviction records withheld from disclosure, with specified exceptions, and requires the DOJ to grant that relief to the eligible person without a petition or motion to being filed on the person's behalf. This would deny State licensing authorities of older criminal histories from considering this information when considering an applicant for licensure.
 
SB 530 (Galgiani - D) Provides that construction industry employers that employ workers pursuant to a CBA can satisfy sexual harassment training and education requirements by verifying completion of the training by a state-approved apprenticeship program, labor management training trust, or labor management cooperation committee, and for cases where verification cannot be obtained, by providing it themselves.
 
SB 688 (Monning - D) Expands existing provisions for failure to pay minimum wages to wages or compensation that is due under a contract. Specifically, this bill authorizes the Labor Commissioner to issue a citation to an employer to recover restitution of amounts owed, if, upon inspection or investigation, it is determined that the employer has paid or caused to be paid a wage less than the wage set by contract in excess of the applicable minimum wage.
 
Child Care Workers Can Organize Under New Calif. Law: California on Monday became the 12th state to allow childcare providers to unionize. Newsom signed the legislation, setting the stage for California's biggest union election in decades by giving 40,000 providers the right to collectively bargain with the state." In addition to offering training programs for workers, the new law "allows those who operate subsidized day care programs out of their homes the ability to negotiate over wages, reimbursement rates and other employment issues."
 
California Extends Deadline to Comply with Anti-Harassment Training Requirements. On August 30, 2019, the Governor of California signed SB 778 into law to extend the compliance deadline for anti-harassment training from January 1, 2020 to January 1, 2021. On January 1, 2019, a California law, SB 1343, went into effect that made changes to mandatory anti-harassment training. Specifically, SB 1343 required all employers with five or more employees to provide two hours of classroom or other effective interactive anti-harassment training to all supervisory employees and at least one hour of anti-harassment training to all non-supervisory employees by January 1, 2020. SB 1343 stated that training must take place within six months of hire as a supervisor or of an employee's promotion to a supervisor and every two years thereafter. More
California State Capitol

Merit Shop Advocacy for California

Richard Markuson, WECA Lobbyist

Richard Markuson

"Merit shop electrical contractors throughout California are under pressure from a political system that limits their ability to compete for and win public works contracts. Through our coordinated efforts to further the interests of the merit shop community, we will make doing business in California fair and profitable again."

WECA Government Affairs

Political Advocacy and Government Affairs

WECA is the only organization in California that focuses exclusively on the needs of electrical contractors and their employees. We are proud to represent thousands of electricians and hundreds of contractors. Our members believe that fair and open competition is the key to a robust and growing economy. Our members embrace the idea that political action is not simply prudent, but essential to preserving and enhancing their ability to pursue business opportunities in both the public and private marketplace.

The WECA governmental affairs staff works hard to protect the rights of merit shop business owners and their employees throughout California, but our efforts cannot succeed unless those in the merit shop community get involved.

Routine activities of the GA staff includes:

  • Monitoring all State Legislative and Regulatory proposals for beneficial and detrimental changes
  • Regular interaction with other business and construction groups in California and nationwide
  • Maintenance of a regular presence in Washington DC through membership in the US Chamber of Commerce and trips to Capitol Hill to lobby on Federal initiatives
  • Maintaining close working relationships with other merit shop groups such as CFEC, ABC chapters, AGC, ASCA, and Calpasc
  • Routinely monitors more than 305 local agencies including Cities, Counties, School Districts and other Special Districts
  • Evaluates state-wide ballot measures and candidates and recommends support for those causes and candidates that support WECA’s core values
  • Encourages appointment of state and local officials who will approach their assignments without prejudice
  • This website is designed to both educate our members and to empower them to have the greatest possible impact when it comes to effecting political change on the local, state and federal levels. Check out the latest political news and action alerts, learn more about the WECA Political Action Committee (WECA-PAC), and take a moment to visit the partner organizations we work with.

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WECA Political Advocacy