Michael Wright, the Concord Naval Weapons Station (CNWS) reuse manager for the City of Concord, is doing a poor imitation of Solomon these days as he tries (per order of council, no doubt) to split the baby over ground rules for building projects at the CNWS. Wright’s plan, backed by Mayor Laura Hoffmeister and Vice Mayor Ron Leone, recommends a 50-50 split for several initial projects that will pit union workers and their allies against non-union contractors in a Test Drive. Brilliant.
Sadly, Wright’s proposal is just the latest fig leaf for ongoing local government capitulation to union demands for favoritism in exchange for electoral success for politicians. There is no denying that the City of Concord agrees with Paul Doolittle of the IBEW, that it should be in the business of, according to the CCTIMES, “lock[ing] in future jobs for union workers.” Any consideration is just that. Favoritism.
What business is it for the City of Concord to lock in jobs for anyone? Why should any government choose between local workers of any affiliation? Why do we need to set up some bogus cherry-picked “test-drive” when we already know, from countless examples that Project Labor Agreements cost taxpayers 15% or more in overhead, inflated wages, cost overruns, and a premium for industry standard work quality.
What’s to test? Even the suggestion, in the first place, is a gimme to the unions. Debbie Allen of the Associated Builders and Contractors, is correct when she asks, “Why does there need to be a PLA component,” at all?
The same should be said for the sudden appearance of California bills that favor union workers waiting to be signed by Governor Jerry Brown. SB 922—formerly concerning tuberculosis screening—and SB 436 will nullify local government bans on PLAs and earmark tax dollars to be used as incentives to municipalities to require PLAs.
Concord and California taxpayers are not in a position to throw away yet another 15% on the public dollar for what should be private sector led construction projects based on an open and free bidding process for all.