Big Victory for South Bay Workers and Taxpayers

Sweetwater Union High School District Finalizes Local Hire Agreement

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 11, 2016                                     

CONTACT:     Carol Kim: 619-521-2914 | [email protected]

CHULA VISTA, JULY 11, 2016 – Tonight, boardmembers of the Sweetwater Union High School District (SUHSD) voted 4-0 to finalize a Project Labor Agreement (PLA) with the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council and their affiliated unions.
PLAs ensure that local tax dollars have the greatest impact on the local economy by creating quality jobs and supporting training, apprenticeships, and careers for local workers.
SUHSD Boardmembers have advocated for PLA’s and the inclusion of joint labor/management apprenticeships that build community ladders with job training opportunities and pathways to middle-class careers. These apprenticeships allow workers to ‘learn while they earn’ with on-the-job training and top-notch classroom education from skilled and experienced craftspersons.
Tom Lemmon, Business Manager of the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council, declared “South Bay residents should be proud that their new school board is making sure public tax dollars create good-paying jobs and long term careers for our communities. Our highly skilled craftspersons will deliver top-quality buildings for our children, and a PLA will spur the hiring of South Bay residents and SUHSD parents through our hiring halls, which are open to union and non-union workers alike.”
The agreement will advance more opportunities for community members to join an apprenticeship program and enter the construction industry.  According to Carol Kim, Director of Community Engagement for the San Diego County Building and Construction Trades Council, “our union apprenticeship programs provide excellent training  and enable apprentices to earn good wages with family healthcare and retirement benefits while pursuing their skilled craft education.” Apprenticeships generally start at $14 to $18 per hour and include benefits. Programs are approved by the state of California and can run between two to five years. When finished, an apprentice can eventually become a state-recognized journeyman, earning a base hourly rate around $40 per hour, plus health and retirement benefits.
Doug Tracy, Business Manager for Sheetmetal Workers 206 and President of the Building Trades Council, commended the leadership of the Board. “The hard-working men and women of the Building Trades unions applaud the new Sweetwater Board for their commitment to ensuring public tax dollars are invested back into our local economy and create local jobs and community benefits.”
Project Labor Agreements benefit the community with good-paying jobs and career training opportunities for local residents, disadvantaged taxpayers, and veterans, along with opportunities for small businesses. PLAs invest in communities by ensuring every employee has access to a fair wage, healthcare, and pension benefits so that he or she can support a family.  The influx of family-supporting wages connected to long-term careers alleviates burdens on public assistance programs, increases the tax base, and creates a boon to the local economy.
Benefits of PLAs include:
  • Smart Project Management with On-Time, On-Budget Construction;
  • Quality Jobs and Careers for Local Families with Good Wages and Benefits; and
  • Job Training and Apprenticeship Opportunities for Local Residents.
Project Labor Agreements use a fair, open, and competitive process for union and non-union contractors alike, ensuring that everyone is playing by the same rules.
The San Diego Unified School District, Southwestern Community College District, and Chula Vista Elementary School District have all embraced these agreements and their projects are being completed on time and within budget while creating careers for local residents. Grossmont-Cuyamaca Community College is currently negotiating a PLA. Additionally, the City of Long Beach made news last year when their City Council unanimously adopted a citywide PLA with local hire provisions and opportunities for disadvantaged residents and veterans.
Sign up for updates on PLAs and Community Hiring Agreements at: http://communityhiring.net/.
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San Diego County Building & Construction Trades Council and affiliated union members at the SUHSD hearing.