Voters Strike Down Charter City Initiatives, Yet More Loom On the Horizon

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – November 19, 2012

Contact: Stefanie Ritoper, sritoper@ucla.edu, 213-375-4841

California –On November 6, voters in Costa Mesa, Escondido, and Grover Beach decided on ballot measures to convert their cities from general law cities to charter cities. This is part of conservative campaign to change the governance of California cities. The group hopes to bypass state construction wage law (“prevailing wages”) and downgrade worker wages by converting cities to charter cities.

Voters in Costa Mesa and Escondido voted down charter city measures. In Costa Mesa residents voted down Charter Measure V by 59.9% and in Escondido residents rejected Prop P by 52.71%. In the small city of Grover Beach (13,000 residents), the I-12 charter city measure is too close to call, with just a handful of votes left to count. See voter results in Costa Mesa, Escondido, and Grover Beach.

Supporters of city charters suggest that eliminating prevailing wages would save taxpayer money. However, those who oppose this legislation argue that labor costs typically make up just 25% or less of project costs, and reducing wages provides marginal savings at the expense of workers. Eliminating state wage laws also removes oversight of public works projects, setting a poor precedent for attacks on other state laws. For more on the issue, read Daniel Villao’s Huffington Post piece.

Daniel Villao, Director of the California Construction Academy, a project of the UCLA Labor Center, issued this statement:

“The election results were overall a victory for working families, as voters in Costa Mesa and Escondido decided that budget savings should not come at the expense of middle class jobs. In a difficult economy, where families are struggling to make ends meet, the last thing you want is to cut their ability to contribute to the local economy. Yet, California needs to be alert to more initiatives like these—more are already on the horizon.”

Bakersfield Passes Ordinance that Causes Huge Losses for Workers, City

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – October 18, 2012
Contact: Stefanie Ritoper, sritoper@ucla.edu, 213-375-4841

Bakersfield, California –On October 17, Bakersfield’s city council voted to pass an ordinance to downgrade wages on city construction projects. Over 250 workers who were present in the audience expressed audible disappointment when they heard the results.

Under the cover of the presidential and state ballot races, the Associated Builders and Contractors, a construction lobby group, is quietly working to change the governance of California cities—just to downgrade workers wages. For cities like Bakersfield, which are already charter cities, it is taking steps to eliminate prevailing wages.

Eliminating prevailing wages removes a bottom in construction market wages. Construction is one of the few industries left that provide middle class career opportunities to veterans, minorities and women.

Daniel Villao, Director of the California Construction Academy, a project of the UCLA Labor Center, issued this statement:

“This is draconian, and really the last frontier when it comes to quality construction careers. In a difficult economy, where families are struggling to make ends meet, the last thing you want to do is cut their ability to contribute to the local economy. The few dollars saved will go right into the pockets of construction contracting company owners, and will not have any real benefit to California cities.”

Secretary Hilda Solis Names Daniel as Chair of Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship

Secretary of Labor Hilda L. Solis named Daniel Villao as chair of the Department of Labor Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship. The committee is charged with expanding apprenticeships into all sectors of the economy and building partnerships that increase apprenticeship opportunities for Americans.

Daniel Villao is state director of the California Construction Academy, a project of the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA) Labor Center. He brings over twenty years of experience in the construction industry.

Villao issued this statement:
“In this tough economy, apprenticeships train the workforce and provide important pathways to good, lifelong careers. I feel honored to serve the secretary as the new chair of the Advisory Committee on Apprenticeship and look forward to making the US workforce more competitive globally.”

Read the Department of Labor Press Release.

Read Daniel’s full biography.

Mark Ayers, Building Trades President, Has Passed Away

On Sunday, April 8, Mark Ayers, International President of the National Building and Construction Trades Department passed away suddenly from natural causes. Daniel Villao released a statement:

“Mark Ayers was a shining light in the US Labor movement and his loss will be felt by all those who care about working families. President Ayers had a vision to make the industry stronger, better and available to all who are willing to work.  His work shines through in the collaborative policy and practice of the national construction unions and their contracting partners.

It was his goal to make sure the construction industry operated effectively, and he worked tirelessly to ensure that construction purchasers kept the trades accountable.  He also moved the organized construction industry to play a leading role in creating access to careers through quality training. He embraced innovative and inclusive policies that benefit local communities, like community workforce agreements, which provide access to construction jobs for disadvantaged workers, and the multi-craft core curriculum, which helps prepare workers to enter apprenticeship.

President Ayers’s work set the tone for construction industry’s growing future.  Along with our friends we grieve his loss, but understand his spirit is embodied in the work we continue. The families and communities who we serve will benefit from his efforts for generations to come.”

View a tribute video to Mark Ayers that the National Building and Construction Trades Department released.

Correction on PublicCEO.com Post: CCA Advances Broad Construction Industry Interests

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – March 27, 2012
Contact: Stefanie Ritoper, sritoper@ucla.edu, 213-375-4841

Recently the blog PublicCEO.com interviewed Daniel Villao, Statewide Director of the California Construction Academy, for a story around Project Labor Agreements and CCA’s white paper. Unfortunately, the source misquoted Villao and inaccurately represented the California Construction Academy.

We have sent in a request for a correction to PublicCEO.com and hope that they fill this request.

Statement

Today Daniel Villao issued the following statement:

“As part of the UCLA Labor Center, our central focus is to build a better construction industry, which includes improving the lives of construction workers and promote access to high quality careers. Construction unions have a strong track record of both providing quality training for construction workers and creating pathways to middle class careers. We think it’s important to partner with them.

Because we are affiliated with the university, we are in the unique position to bring together a diversity of partners. As the official construction intermediary of the City of Los Angeles, we regularly bring together a wide range of people, including representatives from academia, government, labor, business (construction contractors), and community.

We receive resources from diverse funding partners, one of which is the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Trust, a partnership of construction contractors and labor unions. We have also received funding from private foundations, government agencies, and individual donors. We see this funding as evidence of our role to bridge together multiple partners.”

PublicCEO.com Blog Post

Some points of clarification on the PublicCEO.com blog post:

  • As clarification, the California Construction Industry Labor-Management Cooperation Trust is not the non-profit arm of the Building Trades Council. It is a partnership between business (construction employers) and labor.
  • The California Construction Industry Labor Management Cooperation Trust does provide some of CCA’s funding, but it did not fund the analysis of the ABC-funded study by National University. In fact, CCA did not receive any specific funding for this study. Having done extensive research on project labor agreements, we found it important to address some of the methodological flaws of the study.
  • The article misquotes Daniel and describes his employer as “a group that represents a group of unions.” This is factually inaccurate. The UCLA Labor Center conducts research and education around pressing issues affecting workers, students, and communities. Read more about Labor Center projects. In the interview Daniel was referring to his own professional experience in the construction industry prior to coming to the Labor Center. Find more about his work here.
  • The article says that according to the 2009 990 IRS Form, the UCLA Labor Center received $450,000. In fact, when clicking on the document, the amount the Labor Center received was $180,000.

The article is based on CCA’s white paper analysis last year of a study by National University, funded by the Associated Builders and Contractors (ABC). Download CCA’s White paper.

CCA White Paper

Some major points regarding the white paper:

  • The white paper analyzes a recent report critical of project labor agreements, raising serious concerns about the study’s focus, methodology, and the way in which results are reported.
  • National University continues to focus on a very small point in the white paper, land acquisition costs, which, without access to the original data, we list as one of many potential factors that influence outlying costs.
  • However, the central argument in the white paper is that when National University researchers conducted an “apples-to-apples” comparison of 65 schools built under PLAs and 65 comparable schools not built under PLAs, they found that the presence of PLAs was not statistically significant.
  • The authors misleadingly place the findings toward the end of the report, in the “Additional Research Questions” section:
    • “…We were able to identify a region of common support, matching 65 PLA projects with 65 non-PLA projects that, but for the absence of a PLA, are similar with respect to other project characteristics, such as the use of demolition and total square footage… In our second phase, we analyzed the matched set of 130 projects (incorporating a propensity weight covariate) using the ordinary least squares method. We found that PLAs were not statistically significant. Similar results were found when the propensity score was omitted from the model.
  • Even the USC researchers who reviewed the National University study indicated methodological issues that remain unresolved.

 

Statement: We can’t afford not to invest in infrastructure

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Download statement: Statement: We can't afford not to invest in infrastructure (306)

STATEMENT: We can’t afford not to invest in infrastructure

October 12, 2011 – On Tuesday, the Senate blocked the American Jobs Act in its first legislative hurdle. The California Construction Academy – UCLA Labor Center’s research has shown that good job creation policy must focus on creating long-term, middle class jobs that are accessible to local communities. The American Jobs Act contains provisions to rebuild and modernize our nation’s infrastructure. This would put construction workers to work in the short-term to rebuild schools and bridges, and also create pathways to long-term careers in construction.

Daniel Villao, Director of the California Construction Academy at the UCLA Labor Center issued this statement:

“With unemployment at an all-time high, we can’t afford not to make a critical investment in infrastructure now. Workers in construction are experiencing disproportionately higher unemployment than other sectors. Middle class people who used to donate money, time and supplies to food banks and other social benefit efforts are now asking for support, yet the cupboards are empty. Real lives are at stake and it is important for legislators to consider policies that create long-term, middle class jobs.”

Right before Labor Day, the California Construction Academy – UCLA Labor Center published “Top 5 Ways to Create a Good Jobs Program,” a list of recommendations for creating jobs in this economic crisis. CCA recommends that any good jobs plan must:

  1. Focus on long-term, middle class jobs
  2. Focus on local, accessible jobs
  3. Create jobs by repairing our crumbling infrastructure
  4. Create jobs by fulfilling the green jobs promise
  5. Bring together and coordinate multiple stakeholders

Read the full post at: http://bit.ly/q10WBK

The California Construction Academy (CCA) (http://constructionacademy.org/), a project of the UCLA Labor Center (http://www.labor.ucla.edu/), is a statewide organization dedicated to building a better construction industry through facilitation, research and popular education.

For media inquiries, contact Stefanie Ritoper, Communications Director at sritoper@ucla.edu or 213-375-4841

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Statement: CCA Commends President Obama’s Proposal to Race to the Top

Right before Labor Day, the California Construction Academy – UCLA Labor Center published “Top 5 Ways to Create a Good Jobs Program,” a list of recommendations for creating jobs in this economic crisis. CCA recommends that any good jobs plan must:

  1. Focus on long-term, middle class jobs
  2. Focus on local, accessible jobs
  3. Create jobs by repairing our crumbling infrastructure
  4. Create jobs by fulfilling the green jobs promise
  5. Bring together and coordinate multiple stakeholders

Read the full post at: http://bit.ly/q10WBK

The California Construction Academy (CCA) (http://constructionacademy.org/), a project of the UCLA Labor Center (http://www.labor.ucla.edu/), is a statewide organization dedicated to building a better construction industry through facilitation, research and popular education.

For media inquiries, contact Stefanie Ritoper, Communications Director at sritoper@ucla.edu or 213-375-4841

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