Unions battle local contractors over Cuesta College contracts

February 6, 2015

cuesta collegeMore than 100 people attended Wednesday’s Cuesta College Board of Trustees meeting to voice their opinion over whether contractors hired to do the jobs should be required to hire union workers.

In November, San Luis Obispo County voters approved a $275 million bond measure to be used to fund campus construction and remodeling projects. Cuesta College is required to pay prevailing wage regardless of whether or not it utilizes union workers.

Union leaders asked Cuesta College trustees to enter into a project labor agreement (PLA) requiring union workers. Supporters said union workers are better trained and more likely to get the work done on schedule while sticking to a budget.

Opponents of the PLA said that it would result in out of area workers doing much of the labor.

Leslie Halls, the executive director of the San Luis Obispo County Builders Exchange, said that more than 90 percent of local construction workers do not belong to a union. As a result, labor costs would be higher and local works would be passed over for out of county workers.

Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

Every property owner in the county is on the hook for this now and for many years. That said, being stuck with it, wouldn’t you want as much of the money as possible to stay within the county: benefit local workers and the local economy? Stay local.

I’m with you, I would rather see “hire local” be the issue over “hire union’, which is primarily a political thing.

I didn’t vote for the bond but it won overwhelmingly. I felt it was going to be a boondoggle. No doubt there are very necessary projects but they were asking for the moon (yippee) without the actual projects defined. Now all the gimmies are lining up. Where in the bond issue did it say only union workers could work on the projects? I wonder if the bond would have passed if that was part of the package? I hope not.

So many narrow minded views of Unions. I have worked Union most my life. I worked at Unocal on the mesa that had to have a union to protect it’s workers, even so I was there when two workers were killed due to managements cutting corners to get the job done. The new hospital in Santa Maria was put up in record time and within budget and it was Union. The new college building across the road took twice as much money and three times as long to finish, it was non union.

Many workers who are Union travel because there is no local Union work. Most of the workers at the solar plants were Union and were local. There is not enough local experienced none union workers to draw from, most of THEM will come from out of the area.

If they picketed Doc Burnstein’s imagine what they’ll do with big bucks on the line!

Get ready for some accidental fires during construction if Union doesn’t get the contracts. If they do, get ready for triple the costs!

My family engaged in a battle against the Teamsters in the 1970s, and after a bit of violence they finally backed off when the feds got involved. Fifteen years later, we had just finished the steel framing of a 300,000 square foot building and in the middle of the night someone took large trucks and cables, loosened the anchor bolts, and pulled the entire structure to the ground. Residents in the surrounding area told law enforcement they didn’t hear or see anything. So your comments are not far off the mark.

That was an out of the area local that practiced those methods of trying to unionize jobs such as the Doc Burnstiens, As a Union member I was disgusted by this. Vandalism has been from both sides.. and went out with Jimmy Hoffa. As far as costs.. Union members are trained and there is a pool of workers, some being specialized to draw from that is far cheaper than calling in specialists from out of the area.

I am not aware of any violence from the non-union crowd, ever.

If we see tony soprano and Paulie Walnuts hanging around at Cuesta, we’ll know why.

The Ludlow Massacre, Ludlow Colorado, April 20, 1914.

Corporate goons killed over two dozen miners and their family members, including women and children.

Using union labor will be the fastest way to use up these funds. They will use half the workers and burn up the money twice as fast.

Dont waste this money on overpaid union workers who will only do the things that are in their union bylaws.

Best to hire twice as many people who are willing to do the work at half wages at $25 an hour.

On any government job ALL workers, union or not, are paid a “prevailing wage” which is the union scale wage. It drives up costs by up to 30%. The only good thing is, many local non-union firms land the occasional prevailing wage job, and the temporary pay increase for their employees helps them afford to live here.

With a PLA however, this goes out the window. The firm must pay into the union benefits on top of its own benefits. The employee will never see that union money for benefits because he will never be vested. It’s just a way to funnel taxpayers’ money into the unions.

Non union workers are lucky to get over fifteen, they do not get 25 an hour.

Ask the Union Carpenters who built their office in Arroyo Grande. Clue, it was a NON UNION company. Even the union themselves know where to get the best bang for their buck.

That building is well over 50 years old… it was purchased by the hall years ago.

You are right. A portion of it was there when they acquired it. All additions were built by non union carpenters. The union’s motto: “Do as I say, not as I do.”


There is a certain mental state do to the talking points from a certain news source that you will never change. You can use facts and logic all day long, but their minds are closed.

You have a better chance of pissing in the Mississippi River to try and change it’s direction than to reason with the uncalled for UNION bashers here on CCN.

Thanks Ted.

“Union leaders asked Cuesta College trustees to enter into a project labor agreement (PLA) requiring union workers. Supporters said union workers are better trained and more likely to get the work done on schedule while sticking to a budget”

Could this statement be any further from the truth?!? Just about every municipal, (primarily done by union workers) goes way over budget and deadline! The government is the only one stupid enough to pay prevailing wage.

*Municipal project

As noted above, CA law and federal law mandate a “prevailing wage” which is always union wages on government projects. PLAs add yet another layer of bureaucracy and drive up costs even more while excluding non union contractors. .

Where do you get your facts? Union workers are better skilled, more efficient and finish on time. Prevailing wage is a tool to keep the play field level for the benefit of the American worker. Its a livable wage to properly support a family.

“Prevailing Wage”? Where does it “Prevail”? The Union is the only standard they use to measure “Prevailing Wages” by.

I did some work for the City of Fresno. My “Skilled Laborers” made more than the “City Inspectors”. All it did was increased the cost to the tax payer and spoiled my employees to the extent that they had to be replaced (because of unreasonable demands). So instead of being overly paid laborers, they became unemployed laborers.

PLA’s are creepy. Jerry Brown signed for one on the Naci to San Antonio water storage boondoggle, oops I mean tunnel/pipeline.

Can you say…..Jerry Brown’s Crazy Train….aka…the Browndoggle.

See how it works folks.

The Unions see a pile of money and sha.zam try to lock out the 90% of local construction workers so the money can go to their out of town Union Bosses. Then the Union bosses can use their money to buy votes for the Dems. It’s just a big legal money laundering operation and it’s time to stand up to the Union Thugs and SAY NO!

Can’t like this enough. Unions are an organized-crime branch of the Democrat Party. The union bosses are incredibly wealthy plutocrats.