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WECA Political Update March 18, 2021

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Government Affairs and Merit Shop Advocacy

Newsom Recall From Politico The deadline for submitting petitions for recall of Gov. Gavin Newsom passed last night at 5 p.m., when recall supporters announced they had submitted 2,117,730 signatures to 58 county registrars. It could take until April 29 to verify whether recall proponents have the 1.5 million valid voter signatures needed to qualify the election. According to veteran California political analyst and Sonoma State University professor David McCuan: “This is going to be the political story of 2021 — and it's going to be national in scope, because the vice president will not be able to take a pass. That means the White House will not be able to take a pass. It’s going to be a ‘proxy war for 2022,’ he added. “The ultimate exhibition game.”

Orange County Democrats Flip Key Supervisors’ Seat, Moorlach Concedes to Foley Surprising essentially no one, Democrats have flipped a Republican seat on the Orange County Board of Supervisors, as former county Supervisor John Moorlach conceded the race to Costa Mesa Mayor Katrina Foley. It will be the first time in decades that Democrats have two seats on the powerful board that impacts everything from homelessness to mental health services to the pandemic. Foley led the field with 44% of the ballots reported in the final election night update at 10 p.m., followed by Republican John Moorlach, a former supervisor, with 31%. Two other Republican challengers – Newport Beach Councilman Kevin Muldoon and Fountain Valley Mayor Michael Vo – each got about 10% of the vote as of the latest results, meaning Muldoon and Vo were spoilers for Moorlach. Story

PROAct moves The House of Representatives passed the Protecting the Right to Organize Act (PRO Act). The vote was 225-206, with five Republicans voting for and one Democrat (Rep. Cuellar) voting against. For comparison, when the bill passed the House last year, seven Democrats, not all of whom survived the 2020 election, voted no. Several Democrats seem to have converted to a “yes” due to an amendment that called for a GAO study to determine the impact of the bill on independent contractors and those businesses considered joint employers. Needless to say, that amendment has no practical value and was a cynical attempt to provide political cover. As most of you know, the PRO Act would essentially eliminate right to work laws, encourage “card check” certification, impose first contract arbitration, legalize secondary boycotts, mandate California’s ABC test for determining independent contractor status under the NLRA, re-establish the Browning Ferris standard for joint employer determinations, and massively increase penalties on employers, among other provisions. This year’s version of the bill is even worse than that from the previous Congress. For example, it adds “contract bar” language that would prevent decertification elections during the life of a contract and allow unions to request mail in ballots in any campaign. The US Chamber “key voted” the PRO Act, lobbied extensively, and worked with state and local chamber partners to generate communications to their delegations. 

Under current filibuster rules, Democrats do not have the votes to pass the bill. Currently there are 45 Senate Democrats supporting the PRO Act. Those who have NOT co-sponsored include Sen. Sinema (AZ), Sen. Kelly (AZ), Sen. Warner (VA), Sen. King (ME), and Sen. Manchin (WV). Arizona members encourage Kelly and Sinema to stay off the bill and to vote no if it ever comes to the floor. It is also critical to encourage senators to maintain the filibuster. At some point Democrats will make a serious move to eliminate the filibuster, likely around a vote on a sensitive issue such as civil rights or voting rights. Whatever that issue may be, it is important that the business community take the long view and understand that if the filibuster is eliminated for one issue, it is gone for the PRO Act as well.
CA teachers could spend more than 12 years on union organizing with new bill From SacBee. "California teachers could take an indefinite leave from the classroom to work on union business without suffering consequences to their pensions under Senate Bill 294, authored by Sen. Connie Leyva, D-Chino. It would remove a cap that compels teachers to return to schools after 12 years of union-related leave. Teachers, like other public employees, accrue service credit toward their pensions for each year they work. When they retire, their years of service are a key factor in how big their pension will be. Under current law, teachers may work full-time for their unions while continuing to accrue service credit, but not for more than 12 years. Leyva’s proposal would remove the cap."

San Diego Supervisors Vote to Require Contractor Disclosure Citing a need to “increase transparency within the County of San Diego”, the San Diego Board of Supervisors voted 5-0 to proceed with a proposal by board chair Nathan Fletcher to “require contractors for building permits and right-of-way permits, to disclose, at the time of subcontractor selection, the subcontractors working on a given project, including their contact information, subcontractor’s workers’ compensation insurance, State Contractor License Board license number and license category, and any other applicable disclosures.” The new county ordinance would “[i]dentify clearly that it is the responsibility of the lead contractor to ensure that, at the time of permit issuance and subcontractor selection, all subcontractors meet state and local labor regulations. Local AGC and BIA representatives cautioned the board that this requirement would be cumbersome and expensive. Worse is the prospect that projects with merit shop contractors and sub-contractors will see delay and objections by the local construction unions. The proposed ordinance is due back to the board within 180 days. No evidence was offered by Fletcher that his proposal would “fix” any problems the County was facing.

Ask Richard

?Richard Markuson
WECA Government Affairs Advocate, Pacific Advocacy Group

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