San Diego Unified and labor unions have crafted a proposed project labor agreement for Proposition S, the $2.1 billion facilities bond for building, fixing and revamping schools.

Though the debate has been raging over the possibility of such a plan, with competing claims flying about labor agreements’ impact, this is the first time that the actual details are available for the public to understand what, exactly, is being proposed.

Provisions of the plan include:

  • The school district will pick a project labor coordinator from its own staff or an independent contractor to make sure that everyone complies with the agreement.
  • No employee is required to join a union to work on a project, but they are “required to comply with the union security provisions of the applicable Schedule A” while they are working, “to the extent, as permitted by law, of rendering payment of an amount equal to the applicable monthly working dues and non-initiation or application fees.” Frankly, I am still trying to figure out what that means.
  • Contractors must agree to use the job referral systems that the unions who signed the agreement use.
  • The rules do not apply to projects that cost less than $1 million. If there are three or fewer bidders on a project, they do not apply either. The school district could then reject all the bids and re-advertise the project without the labor agreement.
  • Contractors must pay into established funds for employee benefits. If a contractor has its own benefits program “equal to or better than” the established fund, they must submit it to the project labor coordinator for approval before they bid, and if approved they don’t have to pay into the established fund.
  • This part is no surprise: No work stoppages. No picketing. No strikes. No walk outs. You get the idea.
  • Workers who live in the school district will get priority for hiring. If there are no qualified workers available from those areas, then other workers can be referred to the contractor to work on Proposition S.
  • Contractors can use a maximum of three of their own employees as “core workforce,” but they must be San Diego County residents.

You can check out the full agreement here. If you’re familiar with construction, feel free to send me any thoughts on the language, the terms and what they could mean.

I’ll be calling the key players to get more information and understand the jargon better. The school board is slated to decide whether or not to adopt the agreement on Tuesday.


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