Cuesta College rejects labor deal sought by unions

March 6, 2015

cuestaThe Cuesta College Board of Trustees has unanimously rejected a proposed agreement that would have forced contractors to hire union workers or to pay extra for the use on non-union labor to construct campus renovation projects.

In November, San Luis Obispo County voters approved a $275 million bond measure for Cuesta College campus construction and remodeling projects. After the bond measure passed, union leaders asked Cuesta College trustees to enter a project labor agreement (PLA) that would require contractors to follow a strict set of rules when hiring and paying workers.

Union representatives and their supporters said the PLA would ensure that contractors hire better trained workers. They also argued that the PLA would increase the likelihood of the contractors completing the construction projects on time and within the budget.

But, critics argued that signing a PLA would increase the costs of Cuesta’s projects because it would shrink the labor pool and reroute projects funds to union management.

Opponents of the PLA contended that the agreement would assure the jobs go to union workers by giving union bosses control over the hiring process. Critics also stated that PLAs require non-union workers to pay into union health and retirement plans, likely without receiving any returns on their contributions.

Cuesta College is already required by state law to pay prevailing wage, regardless of whether or not its contractors use union workers.

More than 90 percent of local construction workers do not belong to a union, said Leslie Hall, the executive director of the San Luis Obispo County Builders Exchange.


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11 Comments

  1. womanwhohasbeenthere says:

    The SLO County Builders Exchange took the lead on this. Anyone who is a non-union contractor, whether a member of the Builders Exchange or not, will benefit from this decision – not to mention all of us taxpayers who are footing the bill for the next 30 years!

    The Board made the right decision. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it. There have never been any labor problems at Cuesta, the voters were not informed of the possible PLA, it discriminates against non-union workers, and everyone, regardless,gets prevailing wages.

    Kudos to the Board of Trustees for listening to everyone and making an informed, intelligent decision that I believe is best for the school and us taxpayers. Let’s hope other school boards like San Luis Coastal USD will take a page from this and also reject a PLA should they be approached by the unions.

    (22) 26 Total Votes - 24 up - 2 down
  2. Pelican1 says:

    It’s about time!

    (19) 25 Total Votes - 22 up - 3 down
  3. NorthCountyGuy says:

    All unions, both public and private, are affiliated with organized crime.

    Unions exist solely to line the pockets of their greedy union bosses.

    (2) 10 Total Votes - 6 up - 4 down
    • marcusaurelius says:

      Government exists solely to line the pockets of their greedy mob bosses.

      (-1) 9 Total Votes - 4 up - 5 down
      • OnTheOtherHand says:

        Not entirely true but no more false than the post to which you were replying.

        (-1) 1 Total Votes - 0 up - 1 down
  4. NorCoMod says:

    Even with this decision, which I think is great and in the public’s best interests, union contractors will have the same “level playing field” when they’re bidding on any of the Cuesta projects. That was the idea behind the Davis-Bacon Prevailing Wage laws.
    Now the next time one of our local agencies proposes a bond issue, how about they tell us that they intend to include a PLA agreement for the work BEFORE the bond issue is placed on the ballot. It would eliminate much of this after the fact drama and hand wringing.
    Great decision by the Board and we all appreciate the fact that they are listening. Thank you!

    (29) 35 Total Votes - 32 up - 3 down
    • waterworks says:

      The article states “after the Bond measure passed” the unions approached the District. There was nothing to say before the Bond measure passed as this was not the Districts idea it was the Unions. The District had three public meetings to hear all sides of the issue and then made its decision.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  5. jonhartz says:

    It is so good to see Cuesta College stand up to the power-grabbing, cost-increasing unions! I never could understand why any free American adult woud need a union nanny, at a price, to hold his hand while walking to work. Good job, Cuesta!

    (25) 41 Total Votes - 33 up - 8 down
    • jonhartz says:

      “would”. Duh.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • OnTheOtherHand says:

      Does your anti-union stance include police and correctional officer unions? They seem to be the worst of them (at least in California) from my perspective.

      (1) 1 Total Votes - 1 up - 0 down
  6. justbeware says:

    A good non-union contractor will provide the same, if not better level of service.

    Union does not mean superior.
    In many instances, union means entitled.

    (39) 53 Total Votes - 46 up - 7 down

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